Anyone hunting for an excellent Android smartwatch has more choices than ever. For the past year, the only Android smartwatch worth recommending was the Galaxy Watch 4. Now, in addition to the Galaxy Watch 5 and GW5 Pro, the Google Pixel Watch has impressed us thus far, Wear OS 3 has finally come to Fossil watches (and maybe Mobvoi next), and new Fitbit watches have arrived with a Wear OS-lite experience.
Unsurprisingly, our pick for best Android watch came down to Samsung and Google, and it was a tough decision given we gave both the same 4.5/5 review score. But our reviewer who tested both watches eventually chose the Galaxy Watch 5 as our top pick, followed by the Pixel Watch at #2. Google's watch is the more stylish pick, but the Galaxy Watch 5's price, durability, size and band options, and other perks make it the better option for most.
But these are the only great options available to you. After all, there are two types of Android watches: lifestyle watches running Wear OS that directly sync with Android phones, and fitness watches from Garmin, Fitbit, and other brands that connect to Android, but don't have the same level of integration. We're highlighting both types across a range of prices, so you'll have plenty of options.
If you want the very best Android smartwatch, go with the Galaxy Watch 5. But you may want the Galaxy Watch 5 Pro or the last-gen Galaxy Watch 4 Classic instead. Otherwise, if the Pixel Watch doesn't speak to you, you'll want to check out options from Mobvoi, Fossil, Fitbit, or Garmin.
These are our picks for the best Android smartwatches
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Last year's Galaxy Watch 4 made huge, flashy upgrades while adapting to Wear OS 3, making it the Android watch to beat — until now. 2022's Galaxy Watch 5 is more of an iterative upgrade, tweaking last year's template, but relying on a similar design and the same processor and memory. But despite the Galaxy Watch 5's similarities to last year's model, it makes several changes to address the last model's shortcomings, helping it to retain its Android watch crown.
As our Galaxy Watch 5 review outlines, the newer watch made the 3-in-1 health sensor package sit more directly on your skin, "providing more reliable readings." It doubles the charging speed to 10W, which lets you get nearly a full battery recharge in "under an hour." Our reviewer loves the revamped sleep coaching tools on the Galaxy Watch 5, which is more comfortable to wear overnight than the thicker Pro. We just hope the new body temperature sensor is activated soon, so it can match the Fitbit Sense for sleep data.
The Galaxy Watch 5 may have the same Exynos processor and 1.5GB of RAM as last year, but it's just as speedy as ever, leaping through menus where other watches on Snapdragon Wear sometimes tend to encounter more lag. It also received a slight battery capacity boost, though it only lasted a day if you use the always-on display and always-listening assistant. Without those, it might last Samsung's promised 40-hour max, but you'll need the Pro if you want a watch that consistently works longer per charge. But for a more affordable and compact device, the Galaxy Watch 5 is the Android watch to beat.
Bottom line: The Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 still offers the best combination of Samsung's hardware ingenuity and Tizen expertise, mixed with Google's software. While a couple of health-tracking features are exclusive to Samsung phones, it otherwise will work perfectly well with your Android phone of choice. It'll only last you a little over a day, but twice-as-fast recharging solves this issue from the last model.
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After waiting years and years for it to arrive, the Pixel Watch is simultaneously a triumphant moment for Google and Wear OS and a mixture of questionable decisions. If you can get past some of the Pixel Watch's quirks, it might be a better fit for you than the Galaxy Watch 5.
First, the laundry list of perks. It's more stylish than any Android smartwatch we've tested and looks more like a status symbol than the Galaxy Watch 5. As our Pixel Watch reviewer explains, the watch's notoriously thick bezel isn't actually that bad, as Wear OS 3.5 can easily squeeze a ton of information into the display. And both the haptic feedback and the little bumps on the rotating crown are "both subtle and very satisfying" to use.
We were also pleasantly surprised at how "snappy" the Pixel Watch performance was given its use of the older Exynos 9110 chip found in the original Galaxy Watch. Clearly, the massive 2GB of RAM counterbalanced any limitations quite nicely. The watch does consistently last 24 hours with AOD active, which isn't great but does at least beat the Apple Watch.
Perhaps the biggest perk of the Pixel Watch over the Galaxy Watch 5 is its Fitbit Premium integration, if you take advantage of the 6-month free trial. Whereas Samsung Health doesn't really do anything with workout data, Fitbit Premium can deliver a Daily Readiness Score based on your fitness and sleep data, as well as other tracked data like stress. The only downside is that Pixel Watch inexplicably doesn't offer automatic workout tracking, a mainstay of most smartwatches. And SpO2 tracking, another common feature, wasn't enabled at launch.
The biggest issue with the Pixel Watch is that it only ships in one 41mm size for $350 ($70 more than the Galaxy Watch 5), with no size upgrade for people who prefer a larger screen. It also relies on proprietary bands, and while we like the Pixel Watch bands we've tested, the finicky band mechanism precludes you from using the bands you already love, making you spend extra on Google's. Even the wireless charger is proprietary; you can't even use the speedy Qi chargers you have lying around.
Bottom line: The Google Pixel Watch is the ideal Android watch to bring in the same Material You style as Android 13, along with seamless controls for tools like Google Home and Google Assistant — which other Wear OS watches may not get anytime soon. It's certain to get speedy support from Google through the next three years, and won't tie specific features to a phone brand like Samsung does.
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All of the Galaxy Watch 5's perks, from the smooth Wear OS UI to the improved sensor readings and faster charging, apply to the Galaxy Watch 5 Pro. In most respects, it's a jumbo-sized version of the Watch 5, with only a couple of tools that you can't access on the smaller watch, and no physically rotating bezel like you got on the Galaxy Watch 4 Classic. If you're buying the Pro, you're primarily doing so for the more rugged materials and the long-lasting battery life.
In our Galaxy Watch 5 Pro review testing across multiple units, it consistently lasted three days even with continuous heart rate, blood oxygen, and sleep tracking, as well as a couple of hours of GPS-backed workout and regular app use. Even with all that and the always-on display and music streaming, it hit 31 hours. And once your watch runs out of juice, 10W charging lets you refill it to capacity in about 90 minutes.
The other perk is that, along with the sapphire crystal display, the case itself is made of titanium materials that are more likely to withstand heavy falls without anything getting damaged or scratched. The design itself has the display recessed underneath the outer bezel, whereas the standard Galaxy Watch 5 display is flush, and therefore more exposed to possible damage.
Are these perks enough to justify the extra expense and weight? It's hard to say; the Galaxy Watch 4 44mm has the same 1.4-inch display and the same software tools, but only slightly more than half the battery capacity. The Pro has Track Back and GPX mapping fitness tools, but most Android smartwatch buyers won't care about these. We generally consider the Galaxy Watch 5 the "better" watch proportional to its cost; but if you're willing to spend the difference, the Pro will rarely die on you, and could last longer thanks to its fancier materials.
Bottom line: The Galaxy Watch 5 Pro isn't really meant for pro athletes, but rather for pro Android users who plan to use it for frequent health sensor tracking, music storage and streaming, LTE phone calls, and other mobile tools squeezed into its relatively massive display — all without having to recharge it daily like you would with most other picks on this list.
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Although it's been supplanted by the Galaxy Watch 5, the Galaxy Watch 4 hasn't suddenly become archaic. It has the same Exynos chipset and memory, so it should hypothetically receive similar software support from Samsung for years to come. In fact, it's already received the same One UI Watch 4.5 software running on the newer models. And the similarities don't end there: It has the same display sizes, IP68 and MIL-STD-810H protection, signature capacitive touch bezel, and aluminum material.
The 2021 Galaxy Watch 4 is technically $30 less than the newer Galaxy Watch 5 at list price, but since the newer model launched, we've seen it regularly on sale at a steep discount. So given their similarities, what's the catch? It lacks the new temperature sensor and 37mAh battery upgrade, but the watch itself is significantly lighter and thinner than the newer model. It lacks the new Sapphire Glass, but does at least have Corning Gorilla Glass with DX+ protection.
So even though we now recommend the newer model, our Galaxy Watch 4 review emphasizes the fact that this excellent watch runs rings around most current Android watches in software quality. If you're looking for something cheaper than the Galaxy Watch 5, you could look at some of the other picks below, but this watch could be a better fit.
Also, now that the Galaxy Watch 5 Pro has abandoned the physical bezel popularized with past Galaxy Watches, the Galaxy Watch 4 Classic could be your last chance to enjoy that feature for a long time. As our reviewer said, "there's something just so satisfying about whizzing through notifications, tiles, and menus without tapping the display at all," something the digital bezel on the Galaxy Watch 5 and 5 Pro cannot emulate.
Bottom line: The Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 gives you 80% of the same perks as the Galaxy Watch 5 for a lower price, while the Galaxy Watch 4 Classic adds the physical rotating bezel that makes navigating Wear OS 3 a breeze. Both have a stunning design accompanied by endless smartwatch features and health/fitness tracking perks. You get optional LTE connectivity, GPS, heart-rate monitoring, ECG, and much more.
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There are quite a few reasons to consider the TicWatch E3 when weighing your options. First, some people want to enjoy the perks of owning a smartwatch without having a loud fashion statement on their wrist. Second, the TicWatch E3 has a straightforward design that consists of a light polycarbonate case and a curved high-density (HD) display. It may not be as crisp as AMOLED displays, but it's sharp and visible even in direct sunlight.
With a simple design and attainable price tag, you might not expect much from the TicWatch E3. However, Mobvoi decided to include the latest Snapdragon Wear 4100 processor under the hood. Combining that with 1GB of RAM allows you to expect slick performance for an overall seamless experience.
This Wear OS watch is complete with GPS, activity/sleep tracking, heart-rate monitoring, Google Assistant, Google Pay, heart-rate monitoring, and more. It also provides users with a microphone and a speaker. Considering all the features you'll be using, the battery will last for up to three days in SmartWatch Mode.
There's also Essential Mode, which helps preserve battery life by disabling key features. Fortunately, the watch can still track your sleep in Essential Mode. You can adjust the settings, so your device automatically switches to Essential Mode at a certain battery percentage, or you can manually activate it.
If you're not concerned about having a fancy watch on your wrist and looking for something reasonably priced, the TicWatch E3 is an excellent option for Wear OS users. As our TicWatch E3 review explained, buying this watch now offers "delayed gratification" because it hasn't come into its own as a Wear OS 3 watch yet, but we've received assurances that it will very soon.
Bottom line: With all the changes happening to Wear OS watches, users might be hesitant to consider buying one right now. However, a select few are already confirmed for the new platform, including the Mobvoi TicWatch E3. It doesn't cost a fortune, and it has several key features, like GPS, heart-rate monitoring, activity tracking, and Google Pay.
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If you want Android smarts with plenty of fitness tools on the side, the Galaxy Watch 5 with Samsung Health will fit the bill. If you care more about smart fitness features, but still want to see your Android notifications, the Garmin Forerunner 255 is the best running watch available by a mile.
Our Garmin Forerunner 255 reviewer had a bevy of compliments for the device, praising its "significant precision boost" in both GPS and HRM tracking over competing models, its revamped battery life over the 245 that ensures it "really will last a full two weeks per charge," and the useful new widgets like Morning Report and Race Widget. While he noted that it's decently heavy and thick enough to catch on doorways, in hindsight, it's much more comfortable than the Galaxy Watch 5 Pro he tested immediately afterward.
The watch comes in two sizes, with the Forerunner 255S slightly shrinking the battery life from 14 to 12 days, and the display from 1.3 to 1.1 inches, but otherwise offering all of the same perks at 10 grams less weight. And both the 255 and 255S have Music versions that cost $50 extra, in exchange for storage for 500 songs from Spotify, Amazon Music, or Deezer playlists. This lets you leave your phone at home and hit your personal bests with high-BPM tunes on your wireless earbuds.
While the Forerunner 255 works with both iOS and Android, it has a few Android-only features like text responses, rejecting phone calls, and live event tracking. It lacks an actual mic/speaker set to answer calls, though, so you'll need the Garmin Venu 2 Plus for even more Android smarts.
Bottom line: If running is the name of your game, the Garmin Forerunner 255 Music is easily the best choice. It has a transflective display that is easy to read in direct sunlight. It has a comfortable band, stellar battery life, and unmatched workout tracking.
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We never know what we're going to get when a company releases a so-called improved model, but the TicWatch Pro 3 Ultra GPS does a superb job of maintaining everything good from the previous model, the TicWatch Pro 3, while also offering helpful improvements.
First, you'll appreciate the refined design that features a new customizable backlight for the top layer of the display. Mobvoi also launched new software features for the TicHealth suite, which is helpful for those who take advantage of these tracking features. It's also more durable than the previous model, thanks to the MIL-STD-810G rating.
One of the most attractive features is the dual-layer display: one layer has a customizable backlight with 18 vibrant color options that makes things easy to read, while the other enables a longer-lasting battery option. As our TicWatch Pro 3 Ultra GPS review explains, you can easily get 3 days of use between charges with "24-hour heart rate monitoring and blood oxygen tracking, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, sleep tracking, notifications, and even a workout or two." In other words, its battery life matches that of the Galaxy Watch 5 Pro, only at a much lower price tag.
Nowadays, a common concern when buying a Wear OS watch is whether or not it will be eligible to upgrade to the new platform. Fortunately, this isn't an issue with the TicWatch Pro 3 Ultra GPS, which will receive Wear OS 3 sometime in 2022 — meaning very soon at this point. Other than this delay, some users may also shy away from the giant case size that enables its long battery life.
Bottom line: If you're familiar with Mobvoi, you won't be surprised to learn that the new TicWatch Pro 3 Ultra GPS is larger than ever. There's more to it than that, though. This smartwatch offers an improved dual display, ultra-smooth performance, and solid battery life. So if you loved the TicWatch Pro 3 GPS, this is even better.
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Note: we haven't been able to test the new Fitbit Versa 4 as of yet, so this spot remains claimed by the Versa 3. However, the Versa 4 made a few key upgrades over the 3, most likely making it the better purchase. We hope to review the newer watch soon.
Fitbit makes some of the best wearables in the industry, and while the Fitbit Versa 3 is a fitness smartwatch first and foremost, it's also undeniably an Android watch in a way other trackers aren't. It has a stunning squircle AMOLED display, easy-to-access smartphone notifications, music storage, NFC tap-to-pay, a limited 3rd-party app library, and (most importantly) a mic and speaker for talking to Google Assistant, responding to text messages, or answering calls on your wrist.
Of course, as our Fitbit Versa 3 review explains, it's "comfortable, stylish, and does just about everything that I want a smartwatch to do," while also giving you the fitness tools that typically sit in far uglier and less usable devices. You have 24/7 heart-rate monitoring, all-day activity/sleep tracking, and automatic workout detection. You'll also receive reminders to move throughout your day, and it offers on-screen workouts that you can follow.
Add in a 6-day battery, lightweight and attractive design, and a ton of health sensors like ECG, EDA, skin temperature, and SpO2, and the Versa 3 is one of the best Fitbit smartwatches you can buy. It may not be overflowing with higher-end features you'd find on a Garmin watch, but it's easily the best mid-range option for casual trackers who don't want to spend a fortune on a wearable.
Bottom line: As one of the most popular names in the wearable world, Fitbit is always a good option. The Versa 3 is centered around health and fitness tracking, ideal for workout enthusiasts. You have built-in GPS, activity/sleep tracking, heart-rate monitoring, and Fitbit Pay.
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Most companies either lump fitness tools into lifestyle watches or go all-in on fitness tech to the detriment of the design. With the Garmin Venu 2 Plus, it strikes a delicate balance, giving you all the tools you'd expect from the best Garmin watches in a more aesthetically pleasing and premium package, though with a price tag to match.
Both it and the older Garmin Venu 2 give you a gorgeous AMOLED touchscreen with a stainless steel bezel, along with music storage, tap-to-pay, enduring battery life, and all of Garmin's usual software tricks. But it's the combination of touchscreen and buttons that's unique, as most Garmin watches rely solely on button navigation, making them less user-friendly.
The Venu 2 Plus improves on its predecessor by adding a mic and speaker to answer calls or speak with Google Assistant, Siri, and Bixby. It also adds a fifth button for an extra shortcut, which lets you access tools like Garmin Pay or your assistant more quickly. The new tech cuts the battery life estimate to 9 days, but that's still miles ahead of what most Android watch batteries can offer.
The premium perks are wonderful, but the Venu 2 Plus goes deeper. You'll still have tons of features to track your health and fitness, including onboard GPS, heart-rate monitoring, sleep tracking, blood oxygen monitoring, and more.
There's no denying that this is a great smartwatch, but it's very expensive compared to the other Android watches available. You'll have to decide if the additional perks are worth the money. But as our Venu 2 Plus review explains, it's a great option for serious athletes who will use the HIIT timers and on-screen workouts for cross-training, and then want something stylish and comfortable to wear outside of workouts.
Bottom line: Those who want a premium lifestyle smartwatch that can track health and fitness may prefer the Garmin Venu 2 Plus. It's not exactly cheap, but there's a reason for that. In addition to having many essential features such as GPS, heart-rate monitoring, activity/sleep tracking, blood oxygen monitoring, it also offers extra perks such as phone calls and voice assistants.
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If you want a watch with a classic design packed with features, the Fossil Gen 6 might be what you're looking for. You'll receive great performance thanks to the Snapdragon 4100+ chipset paired with 1GB RAM. As our Fossil Gen 6 review details, battery life consistently lasts well beyond a day even with sleep and workout tracking, and it can recharge to 80% in just 30 minutes of charging. Plus, compared to the bulky TicWatches, the Fossil Gen 6 looks thinner and more attractive on your wrist.
The 4100+ has a 1.7GHz co-processor that deserves recognition for the Fossil Gen 6's success, as this enables the device to use always-on health metrics without hindering performance or draining the battery life. Users will receive more detailed heart rate readings, more accurate sleep tracking, and better health statistics overall.
Of course, our review detailed plenty of frustrations with the onboarding process and software limitations. But after a long, long wait, Wear OS 3 rolls out to the Fossil Gen 6 series on October 17, so we hope to see software tools on par with what you'll see on the Pixel Watch. Unfortunately, we've learned Google Assistant won't come to other Wear OS 3 watches just yet due to quality issues, so that means another indefinite waiting period for Fossil owners.
Otherwise, you may want to check out the Skagen Falster Gen 6, a Fossil Gen 6 spin-off with the same features but a unique design.
Bottom line: The Fossil Gen 6 is the first Fossil wearable to have the new Qualcomm Snapdragon 4100+ chipset. So, in addition to being a highly fashionable smartwatch, you can also expect better performance. You'll also be able to choose from two different sizes this time around. There are still plenty of health and fitness tracking features, too.
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One of the biggest complaints that we have when it comes to the majority of smartwatches is the proprietary charging cables that we have to use. Many of the best Samsung smartwatches rely on Qi charging, but outside of those, get ready to deal with cables with connections you've never seen before. But what if we told you that there was a smartwatch that could be re-charged with just the sun?
That's where the Garmin Instinct 2 Solar comes in, offering the ability to literally put your watch on a window sill and let it get juiced back up. Of course, you won't enjoy a "traditional" smartwatch interface, as many of the best Garmin smartwatches make use of Garmin's own operating system. But that's not necessarily a bad thing, as the Instinct 2 Solar has plenty of ways to keep track of your workouts and various fitness metrics with ease.
Other great features of Garmin's Instinct 2 Solar include a 10ATM water rating, a comfortable silicone strap, Garmin Pay, the revamped Elevate v4 sensor for accurate heart rate tracking, and MIL-STD-810G drop protection.
But what truly makes this one of the best smartwatches is the battery life. According to Garmin, the Instinct 2 Solar will last for up to 28 days in normal use, up to 65 days in "Battery Saver Watch Mode," and up to 30 hours if you're constantly using GPS. In practice, our Garmin Instinct 2 Solar reviewer found it actually lived up to Garmin's estimates, but that you'll get the most benefit out of its solar panel if you're someone that spends plenty of time outdoors. Otherwise, its lavish price and fitness-focused display would be extravagant.
Bottom line: The Garmin Instinct 2 Solar pairs its impressive Elevate 4.0 sensor with better health and fitness tracking, with absolutely incredible battery life, all without actually needing to charge it back up using a proprietary cable if you don't want to.
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If you prefer the look of a traditional timepiece, but you still want some extra perks, you might benefit from a hybrid smartwatch. These wearables are unique in many ways. Most importantly, if you're someone "longing for a traditional watch" that looks retro but has all the core smart features of an Android watch, the Garmin Vivomove Sport should be your first choice. As our reviewer says, it's a watch that offers "the best of both worlds," even if it's not quite a full-blown smartwatch.
The lack of onboard GPS is the main difference between this hybrid smartwatch and the other options on this list. With that said, your watch can use your smartphone's GPS to track your route during an activity. It still has many other key features that fitness enthusiasts swear by, like heart-rate monitoring, detailed sleep tracking, stress monitoring, and many others. You'll also have smartphone notifications and music controls. The battery life will last up to five days in smartwatch mode, which can be stretched to six days in regular watch mode.
Another difference is that you won't have a color AMOLED touchscreen. Considering this is a hybrid smartwatch, it's understandable that the display works a bit differently. In this case, you'll have a hidden OLED touchscreen on the bottom half of the display you can wake a double-tap or by lifting your wrist. This is more than you get on most hybrid wearables, which usually have an E-In display. However, it can take time to get comfortable navigating such a small display area with only tapping and swiping.
Bottom line: The Garmin Vivomove Sport is a hybrid smartwatch that delivers a perfectly balanced experience. You'll enjoy superior health and fitness tracking and some great smartwatch perks. This wearable comes with heart-rate monitoring, activity/sleep tracking, blood oxygen monitoring, Body Battery, contactless payments, and smartphone notifications.
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Not everyone is willing to drop a few Benjamins on a smartwatch. Some options make it possible to enjoy smartwatch features without paying top dollar. One example is the growing lineup of Amazfit smartwatches. The Amazfit GTS 2 Mini is an excellent budget smartwatch to get the most bang for your buck, one that our reviewer called the best fitness smartwatch available under $100
You might notice that the Amazfit GTS 2 Mini makes for a great Apple Watch alternative for Android users. It has the modern rectangular design that so many users love, but it's also packed with features that make it a desirable wearable for those who want a smartwatch experience without having to spend a fortune on it.
The battery life on the Amazfit GTS 2 Mini will vary depending on how you use it. You can expect the battery to last for seven days for heavy usage. However, it can last for up to 14 days with typical use. At under 20g, this is easily one of the most lightweight smartwatches out there, ideal for fitness enthusiasts. You also get built-in GPS, heart-rate monitoring, activity/sleep tracking, more than 70 sport modes, and blood oxygen monitoring.
It's a lot like the original Amazfit GTS 2, but it's not quite as robust when it comes to features. You won't have a built-in microphone or speaker, so you won't be able to use voice commands to start workouts or take Bluetooth calls on your wrist. The other feature left off the Mini is music storage. The budget-friendly price tag and the attractive design will make up for these missing features for some users. If you want to land somewhere in the middle, the newer Amazfit GTS 3 or GTS 4 Mini might be what you're looking for.
Bottom line: The Amazfit GTS 2 Mini looks good on your wrist, and it handles activity/health tracking nicely. However, the main attraction is the low price tag and lightweight design, making it both appealing and affordable for those on a budget who want to enjoy some smartwatch perks.
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How to pick the best Android smartwatch for you
The good news about wearing a smartwatch in 2022 is that there are tons of options on the Wear OS side. If that's not quite your speed, you also have some fantastic options from other leading companies such as Samsung (which puts its own spin on Wear OS), Fitbit, and Garmin.
The Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 is an outstanding choice for most people and has received our most coveted best overall recommendation for multiple reasons. It's the best watch on the new Wear OS 3 platform, so that in itself is pretty exciting. You'll also have optional LTE connectivity, built-in GPS, activity, sleep, heart-rate tracking, smartphone notifications, Samsung Pay, Google Pay, etc. It doesn't get much better than this. Considering all of the improvements and upgrades, it's priced reasonably.
Of course, everyone has their preferences. If you're unsure how you feel about Wear OS 3, or are not particularly fond of Samsung Health, your choices certainly don't stop there. You'll have your pick of many other wearables, whether it be from Fitbit, Garmin, Mobvoi, or any other brand that has captured your attention.
There are plenty of factors to consider when shopping for a smartwatch. Whether this is your first wearable or you've been around the block a time or two, you'll want to narrow down some key aspects before deciding. Here are the main factors you should focus on:
1. Size and design preferences
First and perhaps most importantly, you'll need to determine what size watch you're after. Smaller watches are often a bit cheaper than their larger counterparts, and some watches may be too large or small for your wrist, which will quickly thin out the herd. There's a huge difference in price and comfort between the Galaxy Watch 5 40mm and Galaxy Watch 5 Pro 45mm, for instance.
And, of course, we can't forget about aesthetics. After all, you're still shopping for a watch, and it should be compatible with your style. You can always opt for one of the fashionable options. If you're looking for the best smartwatch for women, you might prefer something more subtle like the Fitbit Versa 3 or Garmin Vivomove Sport. And the new Pixel Watch has a fantastic edge-to-edge look that others can't match.
If you're more concerned about having a comfortable fit than a stylish design, other options might catch your eye. For example, runners will love the simplistic look and feel of the Garmin Forerunner 255 Music. If you're intrigued by the idea of a minimalistic design, but prefer something slightly more appealing, the Fossil Gen 6 is elegant enough for daily wear.
2. Consider your must-have features
You'll also need to weigh the importance of features like GPS, fitness and sleep tracking, cellular connectivity, heart-rate monitoring, and mobile payments. Fortunately, it's not hard to find a watch that has a bit of everything these days. With that said, your list of options will be much shorter if you're set on having a watch with cellular connectivity. You'll only find three models on this list with that feature, so the pickings are rather slim. Not everyone is buying a smartwatch for LTE connectivity, so this won't be a deal-breaker for most users.
Some of the more common features on most smartwatches these days include GPS, fitness tracking, and heart-rate monitoring. Some models still have yet to jump on the built-in GPS wagon, so you'll have to decide how much this means to you. You'll be pleased to learn there are many smartwatches and fitness trackers with GPS to pick from. Granted, you can still use connected GPS via your smartphone, but it's not nearly as convenient. This is a more common issue on trackers than smartwatches. Some of the best fitness trackers don't offer built-in GPS. Fortunately, most of the Android smartwatches on this list have onboard GPS.
Another feature we see more and more of is NFC for mobile payments. In fact, more than half of the wearables on this list have it. For example, you won't find it on the more niche watches, like the Garmin Vivomove Sport. However, that's mainly because those models are geared toward a different user type.
3. Which OS do you prefer?
Choosing an operating system can be tricky, especially now that you have to factor Wear OS 3 into the equation. If you're new to the smartwatch world, you might be indifferent on the matter, but it can affect your overall experience, so it's worth mulling over. One of the most common concerns is how well your smartphone will work with your smartwatch.
Is it easier and more fluid to have an Android smartwatch paired with an Android smartphone? Absolutely. Should that be the deciding factor? Not necessarily. You can use an iPhone with some Android smartwatches but be prepared for some hiccups. There can also be certain limitations, like not using the quick reply feature to respond to a text message from your watch.
A recurring complaint from Samsung users is that Tizen OS doesn't always do a great job of displaying notifications on its watches. It's not that they fail to appear but that the options for how they appear are somewhat limited. As a result, you might have an easier time scrolling through notifications on a Wear OS smartwatch. Fortunately, this isn't a problem on the Galaxy Watch 5, thanks to the new Wear OS 3 platform.
Other smartwatch companies such as Garmin and Fitbit use their own operating systems. This can involve a bit of a learning curve in some cases, but it just might be worth it. For example, if you're a passionate runner who frequently tracks your workouts and other stats, Garmin is an excellent choice. On the other hand, casual athletes might find the simple nature of FitbitOS to be user-friendly and easier to navigate.
4. How smart is a hybrid smartwatch?
If you're learning about hybrid smartwatches for the first time, you might be wondering just how smart they are. You get a nice blend of a traditional timepiece with some smartwatch perks sprinkled in. However, don't buy one of these wearables expecting premium features. These watches are designed to focus on the basics so that you won't find many advanced perks.
The Garmin Vivomove Sport, for example, offers some standard features that you've probably come to expect, like heart-rate monitoring, basic activity tracking, music controls, and smartphone notifications. You won't have a bright AMOLED display, voice assistants, or onboard GPS. Those who want a taste of the smartwatch world without going all-in might find this an excellent place to start.
5. What about battery life?
Some users can't stand having to take their watch off every 24 hours to charge it. Luckily, there are many multi-day battery life picks on this list. You can also go for a model with advanced technology that helps extend battery life, like the dual-layer display on the TicWatch Pro 3 Ultra GPS.
Other models offer battery-saving modes that turn off certain features to prolong battery life, but this isn't always ideal. Alternatively, when you choose a watch such as the Fossil Gen 6 that offers rapid charging, it might not be as much of a hassle to charge your wearable more frequently. Simply set your watch to charge in the morning as you get ready for the day, and it'll be fully charged by the time you're prepared to leave.
If you're still determined to find a watch with superior battery life, Garmin and Fitbit offer some of the best options for a week or more of battery life. For example, you can get a full nine days of battery with Garmin Venu 2 Plus and a solid six days with the Fitbit Versa 3.
Once you've hammered out these essential details, you should be able to form a general idea of what type of Android smartwatch you should buy. No matter which option you choose, you can look forward to owning a nifty piece of tech that will help you track your health and fitness while also giving you a fun accessory to pair with your style.
What are the best Android smartwatches?
If you're currently in the market for the best Android smartwatch, you should consider our best overall pick, the Samsung Galaxy Watch 5. This wearable is loaded with many features that users are looking for, while maintaining an attractive design. However, if you don't mind spending a bit more money on a premium watch, you should consider upgrading to the battery-packed Galaxy Watch 5 Pro. These are some of the most impressive Android wearables to date.
What makes the Galaxy wearables so great is the new Wear OS 3 platform mixed with beautiful hardware. For example, the Galaxy Watch 5 has a "virtual" bezel that lets you move around the software by rotating around the edge of the vivid AMOLED display.
Samsung Health has also improved immensely over the last couple of years, and features a well-rounded selection of workout tracking options, as well as a built-in GPS for monitoring outdoor runs or bike rides. Battery life tops out at around 40 hours, and the included sports bands are comfortable enough that you'll forget you're wearing anything on your wrist at all — until a notification comes in, which is easy to activate or dismiss.
The latest Galaxy wearable is optimized for Samsung phones but can also be worn with other Android devices. There's no support for iOS users, though. Now that Samsung and Google have merged to create Wear OS 3, the user experience will be slightly different. It's the first watch to launch with the new software, so it's somewhat of a guinea pig. With that said, not all existing Wear OS watches will get the update. As for existing Galaxy wearables running Tizen OS, Samsung plans to provide at least three years of software support from each product's initial launch date. So when shopping for the best Android smartwatch, you want to make sure you consider the software.
If you're not interested in a Samsung smartwatch or simply prefer how Google does things, we recommend the Google Pixel Watch for obvious reasons. It gives you most of the same perks, but with a Pixel-like flair that other Android users will love.