The best smartwatch

Our continuously updated list of the best Android Wear watch you can wear

We can't possibly declare the best Android smartwatch already, can we? We're just weeks into the Android Wear space, with but two watches currently available. But we get paid to make the tough calls.

Seriously, though, consider this a living document. This is where we'll continuously update the best Android Wear smartwatches as more are released. The Moto 360 has been announced — we're just waiting on it to be made available. ASUS, Fossil and HTC are other manufacturers that have announced their intentions to build for Android Wear. So this list of the best Android Wear smartwatches will absolutely grow over time. And it'll be interesting to see where things stand and how they compare to Apple's long-rumored iWatch.

Enough preamble. Let's get to it. These are the best Android Wear smartwatches as we see them in mid-July 2014.

The best: The LG G Watch ($229 retail)

LG G Watch

More: Read our complete LG G Watch review!

It took us a little while to come around to the LG G Watch. It's an unassuming entry — really just a (nearly) square watch, partnered with a run-of-the-mill rubber strap. It doesn't look all that exciting. It's the more expensive (by all of $30) of the first two Android Wear devices. It has a lower-resolution display (280x280 at 1.65 inches diagonal) than Samsung's Gear Live.

It's not sexy, but the G Watch has proven to be a solid first-gen Android Wear smartwatch.

But there are a couple reasons we're comfortable putting the G Watch at the top of our list.

The first is that it's a lot easier to charge. LG uses a little charging dock that's just a tiny bit bigger than the watch itself. It's magnetic, so the watch (usually) will stay in place. All you have to do is line up the charging contacts properly, and plug the thing into a microUSB cable. It's easy — much easier than Samsung's charging clip. And since you're going to be charging this thing once a day or so, that means a lot.

The other thing that's put the G Watch ahead for us is the use of custom straps, and the way they fit against the body. Because the G Watch is a more generic design, custom straps fit better and look better. And they're a little easier to install. While you probably won't be swapping straps too often, it's nice to know that it's easy to do.

All in all, the G Watch is a solid entry to Android Wear, and it garners the top spot — for now — on our list. It likely won't remain there forever, though.

Where to buy: The LG G Watch is available on Google Play or from Best Buy in black and in white.

 

Reader comments

The best Android Wear smartwatch

88 Comments

In my opinion none of these are worth it right now. This sector is going to advance so quickly our heads will spin. I'm definitely holding out for Gen 2 or Gen 3 which should come fairly quickly considering how pedestrian these are in specs, viewing angles, sunlight viewing, features, etc.

I do. It's neat as hell. I purchased the white LG G watch, and it's pretty great. I have a long commute, and being able to reliably send messages is worth the money by itself. The mic on the watch seems to discard wind noise well, so most messages go out the right way the first time.

Honestly, I'm not blown away by the aesthetic of any watches so far, even the Moto. I'm waiting for HTC's wear watch. They mentioned something about solving some issues that cripple smart watches right now, and I'm excited to see what they design.

if they make the bezels in their watch like they make the bezels in their smartphones i think you will have a 1 inch screen and a 3 inch watch. BUT THEN YOU GOT FRONTSPEAKERS, YOU KNOW, THAT'S VERY IMPORTANT!

Yes but there lies the problem. If you not enough people buy the Gen 1 product then there won't be a Gen 2 product.

True, but its kinda neat to be ahead of the curve in learning the features and how best to use this in day to day living. Figure my G-Watch will get me through until the third gens cone out next Christmas. Thinking I am gonna pass on the Moto 360 as it only offers a round face at this time. If it does support Qi then I will consider it, but if it is some other standard, forget about it.

Posted via Android Central App

Unfortunately the minute you get off the fence and buy a watch it will be obsolete and a better one will be coming soon! I have already moved on from a Samsung Gear 2 Neo to a Samsung Gear Live. Neither is perfect but I am enjoying using them.

Not dead until another smart watch can go more than a day without charging. At least for me.
Sent from my seriously HD G3!

I really don't understand the complaints about the Gear Lives clip. I guess I'm in the minority on that one but I literally have zero issues with it..

I agree. If I was buying a watch just so I could charge it, the G Watch would make sense, but the Gear Live charger works fine. And the watch is so much better in every other way. Has anyone looked at the G Watch display at night when it's always on and the whole watch is lit up? Compare that to my Gear Live with amoled that only lights up the colors and the black is black. There is no comparison. Also, the watch itself looks significantly better than the boring G Watch that just sits on top of your wrist. (Even my wife's original Pebble looks better.)

I agree as well. The G watch is so bland and it looks like an entry level attempt. So boxy, boring and uninspiring. My gear live works fine, a little buggy,but that is expected with a brand new OS. Looks so much better and I bought new leather straps for mine and it looks amazing

we need the Apple iWatch to show the Android guys how it's done. then they can copy and commoditize it.

There is truth in that statement. But maybe over stated. Could have just said "Can't wait to see Apple's iWatch and let the competition begin"

Posted via Android Central App

I have to agree with you on this one. I think that somehow Apple will find a way to make their offering seem unique and innovative.
Posted via Android Central App

the Apple iWatch will be intuitive, elegant, beautiful, high quality, and expensive. and it will raise the bar for Android Wear. Google and partners will copy the best parts and consumers will win.

everyone in the tech world copies something from someone its just a matter of improving what they copy. Apple will have plenty of copies running in the so called iWatch as well as some added fluff that will be improved on by Google and its partners.

When's the last time Apple "wowed" us? I expect their best effort but in the end it won't matter because I don't like iPhones (to darn boring and currently to darn small as well). I'd go back to Windows Phone before I went to Apple (Still love those live tiles).

just the other day i was thinking what apple wants to give us with their "iWatch" (whatever name they choose), and i really couldnt think of anything. i mean google has google now which they implemented really good into their android wear (i got an lg g watch, and love it), but what has apple to give us?

Coming to iOS8... it's Siri Now! Much more magical than Google Now, because it's on an iPhone! Siri Now gives you relevant info on cards...er, no not cards. iCards! iCards of information! Look, a weather iCard!. And here's an iCard saying your commute home should only take 43.9 hours (info provided by Apple Maps).

no apple will wait two years... come out with the lg g watch design call it brand new... and say everyone copied them...

I bought the LG G with high hopes during the pre-order phase. Due to IMHO inadequate vibration, I sadly returned it within 24 hours. While ancient technology, my Sony Smartwatch 2 does a better job on notifications. I will try again in six months to a year.

Moto is the only one worth considering The others are geek wear. Like others said these devices the technology is going to ramp up fast.

Posted via Android Central App

Waiting to see what Sony do and get their head out their ass to make a SW with the same screen running Wear. That or the Toq2 if one is made and the HTC. This sector is so new for Wear the hype and excitement for me has worn down to wait till shopping season to see newer options. I still favor the 360 but I think I'll wait.

Posted via Android Central App

Phil, please do a side-by-side comparison of how all three watches do in direct sunlight. Thanks!

Posted via Android Central App

I can see my Gear Live in the sun just fine and it's only on brightness level 3. (I use it for Runkeeper and can see it running in the afternoons.)

Agree. I was expecting it to be woeful considering the reviews but have had no problem in direct sunlight so far. I just bumped the brightness up a bit and all was well. With Wear Mini Launcher, changing the brightness is easy too.

Also agreed. I've yet to be in any lighting or situation where I can't read the screen on my G Watch just fine (brightness level 4).

That's what it seems for the first two. But how about the third-- Moto product? You've reviewed it. How does it do in direct sunlight, and outside in general?

Posted via Android Central App

When I said you have reviewed it, I meant Android Central. Your team has provided great reviews and information on the Moto 360, but nowhere in that information could I find how it does in direct sunlight.

Posted via Android Central App

Oh, ok. Thanks for getting back to me and letting me know. I really appreciate it.

Posted via Android Central App

I waited for these android wear watches to come out, read the reviews, then made my decision on what to buy... I bought a pebble steel last week. So far, I am loving it.

Phil can we get a link to with replacement band your put on your g watch please.

Posted via Android Central App

I would still prefer a Casio G-Shock with Android Wear than just about anything. That is what I am truly waiting for.

Posted via Android Central App

You took the words right out of my mouth. Is there any chance something like that is in the works I wonder?

That's what I'm saying. I have a Casio G Shock and love it. It has lots of features but would love it to be smart. Could fit a bigger battery in it too.

LG? That is the worse looking watch out so far. And it's made by LG! Enough said.

I have a feeling people are going to be highly disappointed with the 360. Too much hype to live up to.

on the pics it looks bad, i know. yesterday mine arrived and i was surprised how awesome it looks in "real life"...
and whats your point about "its made by lg, enough said"? you know that lg is by far the best phone manufacturer from 2014? (considering their sales compared to samsung/sony/htc) and with the g3 they made a reeally good job.
(if you answer me please no fanboyism, i'd like to hear a good opinion)

I have the gear live and i love it. People are talking next gens just remember the currents will be updated to the next gens most likely for the next few years at least

Posted via Android Central App

Samsung playing second fiddle again for having more capabilities? Oh okay.

Posted from my caseless GS5, because I believe in myself

Yep, also water and dust resistant. Which...for a watch, is important.
And so what its just a heart rate sensor n your never gonna use it? Its just one more thing that that watch does that others don't.
Ever heard the saying: "better to have n not need..than need n not have"? Works well in sales.
Plus it's cheaper?! Gimme a break.

Posted from my caseless GS5, because I believe in myself

the lg g watch and the samsung gear live have both the exact same IP67 certificate, so both are water/dust resistant

2 dumbest reasons for making the LG G watch the best. Charging cradle and custom straps. Neither has ANYTHING to do with the functioning of the watch. The Gear Live charging cradle isn't the most intuitive design, but after you do it a few times it's no big deal. It's almost identical, just bigger than, the Gear Fit charger and I've never heard too many complaints about that.

If functionality were the only consideration, you would be correct. But it isn't. A lot of people don't care for the strap, and aftermarket straps don't follow the contour of the watch as well. That's worth considering. As for the charger... It's hard for the watch to function if the charger breaks (or if the watch itself breaks because of the charger, as it has for a few people already).

Has there been any news of a release window for the Moto 360 yet? I'm really curious about that one. I have held off on the first year or so of these smartwatches because they haven't been compelling enough and the price point for the functionality isn't worth it. But I hope that with the Android Wear platform starting to pick up steam, these other OEMs have to bring something unique, stylish, functional yet affordable for me to get one.

Posted from my Verizon Galaxy S III via Android Central App... And Don't Eat Yellow Snow!

The Moto 360 is shaping to be quite the letdown.

I say this because I fear the increasing expectations will exceed what the watch actually brings to the table (or wrist). That being said, I certainly hope I'm wrong because I want the Moto to be an excellent Android Wear watch.

Posted via Android Central App

If wireless charging actually works seamlessly and Moto doesn't price it too high I don't see why it'd be a letdown... Unless it's got some other previously unseen flaw.

I'm inclined to agree with you, I've just seen too many highly anticipated devices. I could be wrong though.

Posted via Android Central App

I still feel like my Motoactv is a better option than these right now. Just under 48 hours of battery life when connected via bluetooth. I get 4-5 days battery life of battery life without a bluetooth connection active. Yes, I know I don't have Google Now integration, but I do get text message notifications.

Can you NOT make multipage articles? This is the internet, not a newspaper. I've turned my ad blocker back on, as I can't be bothered to log in and refresh every tab every time I realize you've logged me out.

The Gear's display must not be very efficient, or the smaller battery really dings it's useful life... I mean, you'd think displaying a black watch face with AMOLED should otherwise give it a humongous advantage but it looks like that hasn't panned out.

I have the Gear 2 Neo and I love it. I thought about the Gear Live but it doesn't even have a speaker. No phone calls and no playing music (I can from my Neo). Of all the watches currently out there, I like it's looks the best and no little thing is the watch band. I hate buckle type bands. The Neo's band is exactly what the doctor ordered - very comfortable.

I don't what the big deal is with battery life. I have to charge my phone every night. My watch will last considerably longer but I throw it on the charger every night anyway. So what. Better safe than sorry.

I think these watches are about where Google Glass is. OK for early experimenters and developers, but not ready for general users. Unfortunately the clock is ticking on them because Apple's iWatch may come out very soon.

just got my G Watch today but didn't get to open it until tonight when I got home. Been playing with it for about 30 min and so far it's pretty cool. I'm going to use the return period as a test run to see if a smart watch is as really awesome as I want it to be or if it's going to be something I don't really need. I haven't worn a watch in about 10 years so it so far feels odd wearing one again but I'm sure that will pass.

The reasoning behind the "best of" choice is so flawed that it makes absolutely no sense. Really... the LG G Watch is a better watch because you can change out the strap more easily and it has a better charger? Sorry guys, you really blew it on this one.

First of all, you can change the strap very easily on the Gear Live... its just that the very corners of the lugs won't match up with any specific strap (yet). Ok, big deal, who really cares about that. And as far as the charger goes, I have had absolutely no issues with mine, as I believe the majority of the owners of the Gear Live would attest to as well. And, the article even states that the G Watch doesn't fall off its charger very often. Which is saying that it isn't all that perfect either.

The "best of" should have been centered around the technology of each watch... not just based on the strap and charger... that is ridiculous. That's like saying a Ford is better than a Chevy because the tires look better.

"the very corners of the lugs won't match up with any specific strap (yet). Ok, big deal, who really cares about that. "

It messes with the aesthetics. And given the number of people here that are patiently waiting on the Moto360 only because it looks nicer, I would say a lot of people find aesthetics important. Do you think anyone would be excited about Google Glass if it only came in 70s Elton John styles? Same technology, but shaped like big glittery stars. Just like Glass, a smartwatch is something worn on the body. People are going to worry about how it looks.

As for the charger, I'm glad you haven't had a problem with it. But others have, with some reporting breakage on the watch, where the charger clips on to it. For a device that's only been out a few weeks, that's a significant concern. It was actually the deciding factor in me getting the LG. Would I have preferred an AMOLED display? Yes. But a nicer screen doesn't do much if you can't charge the battery.

Um, am I the only who thinks picking "the best android wear smartwatch" is kind of silly when there are only two contenders? Isn't that like a beauty pageant with only 2 contestants? American Idol with only 2 singers? NASCAR with only 2 cars? Government controlled by only 2 parties? Oh, wait a minute. Ok, nevermind. But seriously, you should have called it "the better android wear smartwatch."

...Joe K.

IMO, these watches are not worth the price tag. Not even close. I would rather spend the money on a Citizens watch or similar. You get much more bang for your buck. I didn't see water resistence. Sad, high price low quality. You are paying for a name at this point. I'm sure over the next year these watches will advance but just not worth the price tag they have set right now.