The best smartwatches

The Android Wear race is heating up. Samsung and LG already have skin in the game. The Moto 360 is (hopefully) only a week away from release. And LG's about to take its second swing with the LG G Watch R. Plus, ASUS, HTC and Fossil are still to take a turn.

And while the battle between square and round is beginning, perhaps it's not all that matters.

So what is it that makes smartwatches tick for you? We'll recap the answers on Friday.

 

Reader comments

This week's sidebar poll: What matters more in a smartwatch?

99 Comments

Battery and outisde visibility will be king for me. Since these are all android wear watches, the one with the best battery and day light viewing will get my money.

Yeah, I am pretty sure that battery life is going to prevent me from ever getting one of these. I won't get one if I have to charge it every night, and unless something big changes, I doubt we'll be getting two or three days' life out of a charge. I'll probably stick to my Pebble.

The Galaxy Gear 2 or upcoming Galaxy Gear 3 Solo trashes any silly Android wear watch.

From my Galaxy Note 3 on T-Mobile via Android Central App

There is no such thing as a Galaxy Gear 2 nor a "Solo". For a fanboy that talks as much shit as you, Id think you'd figure that out by now.

Agree. You get used to the design of the watch but to me the worst thing is less than a day battery an bad display in bright light

Posted via the Android Central App

How about what it DOES better than what a regular watch or phone can't? They still haven't convinced me to wear a watch since having to carry my cell wherever I go. Fashion is NOT why anyone buys a smartwatch as any real watch looks better than any of these including the Moto.

Posted via Android Central App

I absolutely will buy a smartwatch based on which one looks the best. Fashion is the number one reason for me to pick one, but I'm so glad you can speak for everyone on the planet like that.

I don't think he's speaking for everyone, but it's pretty universal that normal watches look better than these smartwatches. The 360 looks nice, but I would still wear a normal watch over it mainly for the fact I don't have to charge it every other day.

Posted via Android Central App

I'm going to buy /wear a watch anyway. I have for many years. I buy watches because they look good, so if I'm going to buy a watch anyway, why not but a smartwatch? Form and function/convience. What's better than that?

Posted via Android Central App

Exactly.. No one speaks to this exact point. I wear a watch anyways and dont sleep in it at night. If a smartwatch can give me the same function (tell time, date etc..) and add a bunch of other features, why not get one. I take mine off to sleep so there is my charge time. 360 or lg round will get my money if one of them uses amoled screens, I dont want a gray lit up background all the time, just want to see what I am supposed to see.

I feel that my Pebble Steel looks very nice. Especially with the steel band. The looks, battery life and outdoor visibility are all reasons I don't really want Android Wear right now. I was in an At&t store a few weeks ago buying a phone. The lady and man helping me were poopooing the lg gwatch, and saying how the Pebble is very functional but looks horrible also. I had my Pebble Steel on and said, I really like my Pebble Steel. They freaked out! The lady said that she thought is was a normal watch. They had no idea that the Pebble Steel even existed.

Posted via the Android Central App

I second this notion. I still wear my motoactv for that very reason, usability. I would like a watch that is a stand-alone device with an added bonus of being able to interact with your phone or tablet. I think it's ridiculous to buy a watch only to have to keep my phone close by to use all of the features, and the talk feature on a watch is to gimmicky and unnecessary in my opinion.

Posted via Android Central App

I want a snapdragon 810 and 2k screen and 4gb of ram and last but not least MOAR cores /s

Posted via Nexus 7 2013 or Galaxy S5

I know that was joking butnimaging if we have 12mp smartwatch cameras someday? So unobtrusive yet amazing clarity, u literally point at things and take great photos?? I think that would be pretty cool, provided it didn't ruin the rest of the watch by weight or size :)

Posted via Android Central App

Those are big ifs, though. As it stands now, having a camera on a smartwatch means you get what you have on the original Galaxy Gear: a camera that's equivalent to the front-facing camera on a phone housed on a terrible band that is non-replaceable by design. Those are big trade-offs for a feature you probably won't use very often at all.

Based on what I've read about their functions and abilities, I simply have no need or desire for a smartwatch right now. They're basically just very limited smartphones that go on your wrist, right? Am I missing something? I always have my phone with me, that's more than sufficient.

I wish I felt the same as you. I can't live without my watch now that I've used one for a year. I've already spent $800 or so on smart watches, and I haven't even bought an Android Wear watch yet.

Posted via the Android Central App

I bought the gear live thinking I would use it. Nope sits on my dresser cause I hate that I have to charge it every day or every other day. And it destroys my G2s battery life.

Posted via the Android Central App

This, I wear large watches for my skinny wrist, but none of the smart watches so far are something I could wear.

Posted via Android Central App

software. IMO the software needs to become more refined and mature. i look for Apple to raise the bar. Google will copy and we'll all win.

Serious question: Why do you expect Apple to raise the bar? When was the last time they actually were innovative? I expect them to raise the marketing bar, but as far as the watch itself, I really don't expect much at all from Apple.

I really hope that Apple makes a great smartwatch. I'm not a fanboy of any OS. Whoever makes the best product gets my money, whether its Android, Apple or even Windows Phone.

As of now I'm sticking with Android.

Posted via the Android Central App

Macintosh, iPod, iPhone, iPad.

The last three devices in particular have been furiously copied by tech companies. I like Android a lot, but there's no denying that Apple revolutionised this smart-device industry.

The latter three industries I mentioned, music player, phone and tablet, Apple really did revolutionise those industries. The iPod became the standard for music players, iPhone became the standard for smartphones, iPad became the standard for tablets.

You can argue they didn't invent X, Y and Z technology first, and that MP3 players, 'smartphones' and 'tablets' existed prior to Apple making those products, and you're right, however, Apple were really the first company to do them *right*.

You can argue marketing all you want, but marketing can only go so far. The products have to be good to last.

I don't know... I'm kinda stuck on this because I go to this mythical place called "outside" where colors are vibrant and these things in all sorts of shapes, sizes, and colors walk upright. When I enter this zone called "outside" I have a difficult time seeing a smart watch. I'd just like to see the product I've bought when this star called the "sun" happens to be above me.

Cup the watch with your hand and thus shield the blinding rays of the sun from the watch. You know, just like you do already now with your phone in the sun.

I don't have time for all that cupping action. I find this thing called a "tree" and hide under it because it provides some kind of mythical shadow that's beyond all comprehension of man.

But seriously, I wouldn't pay 250 for a cup of Jack and Pepsi. Why do I have to pay 250+ to cup a watch?

Pun intended.

I had a Sony Smartwatch 2 for a week and had to return it. Overall I had a problem with it's looks and what it's function was. I found it as an expensive buzzer for my phone I already have in my pocket. Made no sense to me. The look was too "geeky" for me (strange because I've been in IT for 30 years). The new watches are looking much better (LG's teaser looks very good) however, what features it offers will decide if I want to shell out $200+ for one. Until then, I'll continue to use my Citizen and keep the phone in my pocket.

Side note: I do they will have a place, soon.

Just my $.02

Eventually these watches will get more rugged to use in the military where they can do short range communication and short text communications between soldiers

Posted via Android Central App

Battery !!
That's what matter the most to me. I would give up the style, feeling for a +10 days battery.

Posted via Android Central App

I want it to look good, like the moto x. but I need some thing with a rubber band and that's water proof. I work in medicine and wash my hands alot!! also need to be readable in daylight

Posted via the Android Central App

My smartphone matters. A watch is something I haven't worn in more than a dozen years!

Posted via the Android Central App

Over all feel and design to me. If its all android wear the functionality will be the same but I want one that feels and looks good . As long as I get a day out of it I'm fine

Posted via the Android Central App

Funny that actual functionality is not included in your poll.

I have a first-generation Gear and it's OK, basically a Bluetooth headset allowing me to do a few things witout taking my Note 3 out of my pocket...but functionality, available apps and other such practical issues will count in the long run, not the shape of the face.

I'm with others. Battery life and visibility is the highest importance. It's because of these issues I won't be turning in my gen 1 Pebble any time soon!

Surprised battery isn't there as an option. That's the 1st thing that comes up in my mind.

Posted via Android Central App on nexus 7 (2nd gen)

Seriously. None of this matters at all to me if it's one more thing I have to charge every single night. Especially if it requires a Qi charger, which will be another thing I have to carry in my travel bag.

Can't vote cause I want the whole package. No feature is that much more important than another, in my opinion, so I'm waiting a year or two or even longer if needed to buy one.

The better question is, are the Wear watches actually selling? And not just to tech nerds?

I still don't see the point of a watch in 2014.

Posted via Android Central App

For me battery. I have not enjoyed the smart watch fad for that reason. I love actual watches, I love android, you would think the 2 would mix. When I can charge a smart watch once a month I'll get one. If through some crazy event my smartphone and smart watch battery dies, I literally wouldn't know what time it is. Not cool. Plus I imagine it looks attractive to thieves. But if I could very rarely charge it, like every one or two months, I can deal with the thieves

Posted via my OnePlus One

Nothing coming out looks decent. Got a nice price on a pebble steel today. Will wait until next year.

Posted via Android Central App

Battery life first, because I want it to function as a watch and not a pretty device connected to a charger. And then design.

The Pebble isn't very sexy (although people really like seeing it) but the only reason I'm reluctant to replace it is because of the amazing battery life compared to all other smartwatches

For me, first and foremost is design. It has to look good as the #1 factor for me. If it doesn't look good, I don't care how many functions it has, how long the battery lasts etc, I wouldn't get it.

To me, the Samsung and LG watches do not look appealing at all (that includes the newly teased rounded LG watch), and only the Motorola 360 looks good to me.

After that, it has to be functional. Why should I purchase this over a regular watch and what does it do that adds value? So far, Android Wear seem to be heavy on voice actions and Google Now, both of which I do not use.

So I could spend the money on getting a watch that I'd just use to tell the time and have to recharge it every day, or I can buy a nicer designed watch of my choice which will also tell the time and only require a new battery every few years.

Not sold on smartwatches yet. I like watches, I like Android, so I would have thought I'd be all over Android Wear, but I'm not really interested in it at all. I think because of how heavily it's focused on Google Now, which I don't use

The argument about a designer watch vs a smart watch is an interesting one. I have a $3000 Tag that keeps crappy time and I wear a few times a year. I bought an $1800 german sports watch as a 40th birthday present for myself just before I bit the bullet and supported the pebble kickstarter. Had the steel since it came out. Guess which watch I wear every day? The pebble. Just started getting into Google now and I find the voice activation pretty bloody good so excited about either the 360 or the LG-R.
Watches that just tell the time are frikken boring man. Fashion changes and I would rather spend a few hundred bucks every other year on a new watch than a few grand on something that does one thing.
The recharging thing is a pain but like most things you get used to it. And I find my mobile lasts longer on a charge because I'm not messing with it as much. I like leaving my phone on the desk or in my jacket and screening calls and messages on the wrist. And controlling my Bluetooth speaker... and Pandora.... in the pool or bath or whatever.

Yeah these selections are pointless the things I like about my gear 2 is that it gets around 4 days of battery life and shows a list of missed notifications of your choice, and ties into s health

Posted via the Android Central App

Android Wear needs to mature. I like Tizen the only thing is that I couldn't take it with my if I switched to lg or htc

Posted via the Android Central App

What matters in a smartwatch? The choices we could vote for are indeed pointless. I bought my Pebble not really being sure what I wanted to do with it. Didn't take me long to love the notifications (email, text, incoming phone calls, calendar notifications, etc). I don't wear it every day because I have some nice regular watches, but I have found it to be very useful when I take vacatons or am away from home. The Pebble battery is great and the screen is easy to see in almost all conditions. I recently got a Gear 2 Neo, and I like it a lot, but the Pebble is still my favorite. I would not consider an Android Wear watch (no matter how pretty it is) until it has been out for a while and thoroughly tested and reviewed. I am puzzled by those that are stating "take my money" for the Moto watch when it has not even been released. Even the AC staff, who have actually had their hands on one, cautioned buyers to temper their expectations.

It must have a flexible display. Yes, that is what a smartwatch must have--a flexible display. LG... You can do it! ;)

Posted via the Android Central App

What is it good for? What does it do that I can't live without?
Nothing, so far. Until that changes there is no compelling reason to get one.

They all seem to have similar functionality as a smartwatch, so from the choices in the poll I want a watch that looks good (I already own 10 watches). This is not a phone that spends most of the time in my pocket or hidden by a case -- it's on my wrist, on show all the time. Design is important; having been collecting watches for a decade, I've seen some hideous ones out there.

I have a few different watches. I change between them to enhance the style look I am wearing. So I want a watch that looks dignified enough to wear to a nice restaurant and one that also works well and is rugged enough when I am riding my bicycle 24 miles on a Sunday afternoon or at the gym every morning. My hope with Android wear is that I won't have to pull my phone out of a side pocket or someplace every time I want to search for something or look something up via Google. I would also like to be able to read headline news from sources like CNN and NY times - not sure that will happen but I can hope.

What a clueless fucking poll. You didn't even think for two seconds about the things that are truly going to be decision factors.

In no particular order:

1. Battery life
2. Quality of product (everyone is shit in that list but Motorola and HTC hardware, IMO)
3. Bloatware (you can expect some from HTC, Samsung, LG in some way or the other)
4. Daylight visibility
5. Looks
6. Comfort
7. Wait for next generation
8. None

Let's redo your failpoll.

The features and what I'm using the watch for, for example I have the gear 2 which can make and recieve phone calls, I have a long work commute so hands free phone calls and text is a big deal to me. If the watch doesn't have that feature then it's worthless to me. I love being able to double tap my watch, and tell it who to call or text while keeping my hand on the steering wheel! I love technology!!

It has to look as good as my current watch, and perform mundane tasks easier than pulling my phone out of my pocket.

As for battery life, a full day with heavy usage is needed. But also fast charging and a simple base to drop it onto. It isn't unusual for me to take my watch off for an hour while typing at the office desk, if that time could be used to refill the batt, that would be ideal.

Let's just improve the android wear software..... I've had my gear live for two weeks now and I'm in impressed. So far my battery life is OK could be better but a software upgrade can fix that alone with improving in android wear like being able to go back after you swipe away a card. For starters. And more watch faces.....

If the design stinks I don't care what it can do. Give me a nice watch first first then good and plenty of features second.

I think battery life is a bit over rated, I'm so used to charging my phone that its no big deal with any watch - I own The Wear, Pebble, and Gear 2, pros & cons with all 3, I do think the Gear 2 is the best, if they figure out how to have display remain on all the time, even dimmed, this will be my ongoing watch!! For now I'm liking the Wear, square

Posted via Android Central App

How is battery not a check box? Lets look at a pebble steel for a second. I know it isn't as flashy as android wear, but it has the same basic functionality. Lets pretend you get an average of 5 days battery life with a pebble steel. You can buy a pebble steel for about $230.00 USD. Thats $46.00 USD per day of battery life. How much do you want to pay for the rest of what android wear offers over pebble. I personally think for something that gets under 48 hours of battery life, you should be paying $99 and under to get the masses to actually get interested in this. Even the people that say they don't care about battery on android wear and can do with 18 hours battery life, would be interested if someone comes out with a smart watch battery wrist band to extend the battery life of their android wear watch... Hey... wait a minute... I smell the next big kickstarter!

I already own multiple watches, and I certainly don't sleep with them on, so whats the problem with throwing them on a charger when you set your phone down? Battery isn't an issue for me. I think the overall design and looks is gonna be the main factor, that's what is going to get me to fork over my money, and is what is holding me back from purchasing some of the current smartwatches that are certainly lacking there *cough* pebble products *cough*