Ticwatch E2Source: Android Central

Best Cheap Android Smartwatches Android Central 2020

If you're thinking about buying a Wear OS smartwatch, you may have noticed there are a lot of appealing choices from top brands. However, not everyone wants to spend a fortune. Luckily, there are quality options available at lower price points. One of the most affordable yet feature-packed Android smartwatches is the TicWatch S2, which is all about rugged durability. There's plenty more where that came from.

Best Overall: TicWatch S2

Mobvoi TicWatch S2 reviewSource: Android Central

The TicWatch S2 isn't for the faint of heart. This smartwatch was designed with the active individual in mind. Whether you're the outdoorsy type or a certified gym fiend, you'll be glad to have this level of strength on your wrist. The large 1.39-inch display is crisp and easy to read. It's not only waterproof but it was also built with military-grade durability, so you know it's tough. You won't have trouble keeping track of your stats, either. The combination of Google Fit and TicMotion will help you stay motivated with easy access to all of your workouts and data.

The TicWatch S2 also provides you with smartphone notifications so can stay connected to the world as you go about your day. Let's not forget about the convenience of having Google Assistant readily available. With that said, you can expect up to two days of battery life. If you take advantage of always-on display and regularly use GPS and apps, you can expect closer to one day of battery. It would've been nice to have Google Pay on the S2, but at this price point, it's hard to complain. You also don't have an altimeter, so you won't be able to track floors climbed.

Pros:

  • Onboard GPS
  • Two color options
  • Military-grade durability
  • 5 ATM water resistance
  • Heart-rate monitoring

Cons:

  • Lacks NFC payments
  • Rugged look isn't for everyone
  • No altimeter

Best Overall

TicWatch S2

Affordably durability

The S2 offers a pretty display, military-grade durability, GPS, and great fitness tracking. It's also reasonably priced.

Best Value: TicWatch E2

Mobvoi TicWatch E2Source: Ara Wagoner / Android Central

When you're seeking the best possible bang for your buck, you can't go wrong with the TicWatch E2. It might resemble the S2 at first glance, but there are a few differences between the two. This model isn't nearly as bulky, which means you won't get the military-grade durability. If you're not worried about maximum ruggedness in a smartwatch, this could be a great choice.

Other than that, the TicWatch E2 functions just like the S2. They have the same display and battery size as well as the same processor and storage space. It's only available in one color, but this can easily be jazzed up with a new band. You'll still enjoy onboard GPS, Google Fit and TicMotion, 24/7 heart-rate monitoring, and Google Assistant. Like the S2, the E2 is also missing an altimeter and Google Pay.

Pros:

  • Onboard GPS
  • Sleeker look than the S2
  • 5 ATM water resistance
  • Great fitness tracking
  • Heart-rate monitoring

Cons:

  • No NFC payments
  • Lacks MIL-STD-810G rating
  • No altimeter
  • Only available in one color

Best Value

TicWatch E2

The most bang for your buck

Aside from lacking military-grade durability, the E2 is just as capable as the S2. You'll have the same core features that count.

Best for Basics: Misfit Vapor

Misfit VaporSource: Misfit

The Misfit Vapor may already have a successor, but the original is still a perfectly competent smartwatch for those who don't want to pay extra for the newer version and are content with the basics. You'll have a lovely AMOLED display, heart-rate monitoring, music storage, and 5 ATM water resistance. It's also nice that there's a virtual bezel for easy navigation. You'll get at least a day of battery life with the Misfit Vapor, possibly a bit more.

When you settle for an older version of a smartwatch, there's likely to be some compromises. In the case of the Misfit Vapor, you won't get built-in GPS or NFC payments. While you can go out for a run and listen to music without needing your phone, you'll still need to have it if you want to utilize connected GPS during your workout. The watch case is 14mm thick, so it might be a bit too chunky for some users.

Pros:

  • Strong, solid build
  • Heart-rate monitoring
  • 5 ATM water resistance
  • Music storage
  • Decent fitness tracking

Cons:

  • Lacks onboard GPS
  • No NFC payments
  • A bit bulky

Best for Basics

Misfit Vapor

Keeping it simple

The Misfit Vapor might keep things simple, but sometimes that's all you need. You'll have music storage, waterproofing, and fitness tracking.

Best for Athletes: Fossil Sport

Fossil SportSource: Android Central

Those who maintain an active lifestyle and aren't looking for a fancy watch may prefer the Fossil Sport. It's got the features to satisfy workout enthusiasts. You'll have built-in GPS, seamless integration with Google Fit, a reliable heart-rate monitor, a sweat-resistant plastic frame, and a soft rubber band. Perhaps the most important improvement is the long-awaited addition of the Snapdragon Wear 3100 processor for faster performance.

We were hoping for more battery life when the Fossil Sport was released, but it didn't happen. You'll get the usual 24 hours of battery life from this smartwatch. Sure, there's a low-power mode that claims to extend the battery life, but it will disable everything except for the ability to keep time. Considering that most people will be using a Wear OS smartwatch for more than telling time, you can count on having to charge it daily. The new processor is a plus, but Wear OS still has its flaws and lags from time to time.

Pros:

  • Multiple colors and two size options
  • Running new Snapdragon processor
  • Lightweight and perfect for workouts
  • 5 ATM water resistance
  • Onboard GPS
  • Google Pay

Cons:

  • Battery life isn't the best
  • Software can still be buggy
  • Screen struggles in sunlight

Best for Athletes

Fossil Sport

For the sporty folks

The Fossil Sport is ready to be active with you. It has GPS, 5 ATM water resistance, heart-rate monitoring, and Google Fit.

Best for Men's Fashion: Fossil Gen 4 Explorist HR

Fossil Gen 4 ExploristSource: Fossil

If you like the Fossil Sport but want a bit more class, go for the Fossil Gen 4 Explorist HR. It comes in many eye-catching colors, including Gunmetal, Black, Silver, and Rose Gold.

This successor offers heart-rate tracking, Google Pay, onboard GPS, and music storage. All of these features are new when you compare it to the previous Gen 3 model. Battery life is estimated to last for up to 24 hours. A recent update offers additional battery modes. For example, Extended mode claims to prolong battery life for multiple days by turning off nonessential features, like Wi-Fi, always-on display, and so on. Time-Only mode gives you additional hours when you're running low by turning off all features except timekeeping.

While the Fossil Gen 4 Explorist HR is a great improvement from the predecessor, it's still lacking in some important areas. It's not fully waterproof like many of the other smartwatches on this list nor does it have its own swim tracking app. It's also still running on the old Snapdragon Wear 2100, which is a bit of a bummer. When all is said and done, though, you'll get some solid features without breaking the bank.

Pros:

  • Fashionable design
  • Onboard GPS
  • Activity and heart-rate tracking
  • Music storage and controls
  • Google Pay

Cons:

  • Only 3 ATM water resistance
  • No native swim tracking
  • Still running old processor

Best for Men's Fashion

Fossil Gen 4 Explorist HR

Form and function

An affordable watch doesn't have to lack style. The fashionable Gen 4 Explorist model gives you GPS, NFC, music storage, and more.

Best for Women's Fashion: Michael Kors Access Sofie

Michael Kors Access Sofie Press HeroSource: Michael Kors

Women can wear smartwatches without having to give up their passion for fashion. One affordable choice is the Michael Kors Access Sofie, which is available in silver, gold, rose gold, and some other sparkly options. Keep in mind that this watch was designed as a luxurious accessory above all else. That being said, you still get some helpful smartwatch features, like notifications, music controls, customizable watch faces, Google Assistant, and activity tracking via Google Fit.

As you may have noticed, you'll be missing out on some premium features, like onboard GPS, heart-rate monitoring, and Google Pay. However, if you're all about looks and less about the function, you may not be missing these features at all. Of course, if you're investing in an Android smartwatch to start tracking your activity and want access to these key features, you may want to keep scrolling.

Pros:

  • Activity tracking
  • Stunning design
  • Google Assistant
  • Music controls
  • Smartphone notifications

Cons:

  • Only 1 ATM water resistance
  • Battery only lasts one day
  • Lacks HRM, GPS, NFC

Best for Women's Fashion

Michael Kors Access Sofie

Luxury at its finest

The Michael Kors Access Sofie lets you enjoy smartwatch perks, like activity tracking, while staying stylish.

Best Compact Design: Skagen Falster 2

Skagen Falster 2 Source: Android Central

The Skagen Falster 2 recently fell into the affordable smartwatches category when the third edition hit the market. At just 11 mm thick, this is a super-slim smartwatch that boasts a compact yet attractive design. This stainless steel smartwatch is available in an array of band materials and colors. It also works with 20 mm interchangeable bands, so you can swap them out for new ones as you please. It isn't lacking in features, either. You'll have onboard GPS, heart-rate monitoring, 3 ATM water resistance, Google Assistant, Google Pay, and activity tracking with Google Fit.

Considering that the Skagen Falster 2 is running the old Snapdragon Wear 2100, battery life and software performance are mediocre at best. You can expect it to last for up to 24 hours before you need to recharge it. The new processor might have helped with laggy software issues, too. However, if it's a slim, compact smartwatch full of features that you're after, you may not find this to be a major issue.

Pros:

  • Onboard GPS
  • Heart-rate monitoring
  • Google Pay
  • Google Assistant
  • Compact, slim design

Cons:

  • Short battery life
  • Laggy software
  • Lacks new Snapdragon Wear 3100

Best Compact Design

Skagen Falster 2

Compact yet robust

You can't go wrong with a feature-packed smartwatch. The compact Falster 2 has heart-rate monitoring, GPS, Google Pay, and more.

Best Improvement: Misfit Vapor 2

Misfit VaporSource: Android Central

While there were many great things to say about the original Misfit Vapor, the successor brings even more to the table. You'll have onboard GPS to go along with the music storage, which means you can take advantage of the full phone-free workout experience. Don't forget that Google Pay is available this time around, too. It also gives you two size options: 41 mm or 46 mm. You can go big or stay modest, the choice is yours.

This smartwatch boasts all-day battery life, but that figure can vary depending on individual usage. If you can't live without the always-on display, you won't be able to live without your charger for a day. Although, it's worth noting that the same update we mentioned for the Fossil Gen 4 Explorist HR also applies to the Misfit Vapor 2. You'll have some additional battery modes to extend the life of your smartwatch. Considering that it's still running the Snapdragon Wear 2100, performance can be rather sluggish on the Vapor 2. The rotating crown isn't the best, either.

Pros:

  • Onboard GPS
  • Two size options
  • Google Pay
  • 5 ATM water resistance
  • Music storage and controls

Cons:

  • Performance could be better
  • Mediocre battery life
  • Poor rotating crown

Best Improvement

Misfit Vapor 2

Truly new and improved

The Misfit Vapor 2 is pricier than the original, but it's worth it if you want built-in GPS, Google Pay, and two size options.

Bottom line

While Wear OS smartwatches may not be the most popular wearables on the market, there are a handful of excellent options that hold their own. Most importantly, you don't have to spend a fortune to get one of these bad boys. Mobvoi's TicWatch series is a great place to start, especially if you're a beginner in the smartwatch world. When it comes to finding one that offers both affordability and a well-rounded experience, the TicWatch S2 is ideal. This rugged watch comes with military-grade durability, all-day battery life, waterproofing, heart-rate monitoring, and more.

If you're not a fan of how large most of the TicWatch models are, there are other Wear OS options that you may find more suitable. Whether you're prioritizing fashion, features, or both, you'll have the chance to choose a smartwatch that will make your wrist happy without making your wallet sad.

Credits — The team that worked on this guide

Courtney Lynch is a freelance writer at Android Central. She's obsessed with all things health, fitness, and music. At any given time she can be found checking out the latest and greatest gadgets while simultaneously petting her dog and sipping iced coffee.

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