Best Android Smartwatches: Wear OS, Samsung, more

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Finding the right smartwatch can be very difficult on Android, especially with so many options out there. If you’ve been trying to find the right smartwatch for your wrist, these are the best Android smartwatches you can buy today.

BEST ANDROID SMARTWATCHES – November 2021

New:

Galaxy Watch 4
Fossil Gen 6
TicWatch Pro 3 Ultra

Why you should be careful buying a Wear OS watch

In May 2021, Google announced a major revamp to its Wear OS platform with “Wear OS 3.” The update will be a collaboration between Google, Samsung, and Fitbit and will be the platform’s biggest update since 2016. However, it comes with some major impacts for the market as it stands today.

For the time being, we strongly advise that you avoid most Wear OS watches. If you do want to buy a “stock” Wear OS device, the options that will have support continuing into Wear OS 3 are as follows:

Fossil Gen 6
TicWatch Pro 3
TicWatch E3
TicWatch Pro 3 Ultra

As a result of this, we have removed all Wear OS smartwatches from this list except the eligible TicWatch and Fossil models. New Wear OS smartwatches will be added to this list as they are announced and confirmed to include or be eligible for an update to Wear OS 3.

Samsung Galaxy Watch 4

The clear choice, for now

Cutting right to the chase, the best smartwatch for an Android phone today is the Galaxy Watch 4. Starting at $249, it offers the best overall package with Wear OS 3 powering a healthy app store, Samsung’s One UI Watch making for an excellent overall experience, and a health suite that’s respectable. Plus, the battery life is not bad.

Unlike most of Samsung’s past wearables, its Google’s platform that powers the Galaxy Watch 4. Wear OS 3 debuts on this product as a mix of Google’s apps and services and Samsung’s expertise on battery life and health tracking. Together, as we mentioned in our review, they really shine, offering more user choice and access to apps such as Google Maps and Google Pay, which previously weren’t available on Samsung smartwatches. Google Assistant, sadly, has not yet made the cut.

Looking at the performance aspect, too, Samsung pretty much nailed it. The new Exynos chip combined with plenty of RAM and storage leave the Watch 4 with smooth performance throughout. Somehow, too, that’s done without hurting battery life drastically. The larger models last around 36-40 hours on a charge with the smaller model being an all-day watch.

It’s not all perfect, though. The Galaxy Watch 4 is still very much a product targeted at owners of Samsung Galaxy smartphones. If you’re using a Pixel or OnePlus device, some features will be limited and setup is more complicated. Still, the benefits outweigh the negatives here.

The Galaxy Watch 4 series includes two models, the sporty standard Galaxy Watch 4 as well as the higher-end Galaxy Watch 4 Classic. Both designs are available with small and large designs. Pricing starts at $249.

Galaxy Watch 4

40mm – $249

44mm – $279

Galaxy Watch 4 Classic

42mm – $349

46mm – $379

Fitbit Sense and Versa 3

If health is your priority, there’s nothing better

Fitbit probably isn’t the first name you think of for a smartwatch, but the now-owned-by-Google company has a pretty killer health-focused pair of smartwatches. The Fitbit Sense and Fitbit Versa 3 are unquestionably the best smartwatches to buy if health is your priority.

Fitbit Versa 3

Why these are the best smartwatches for health-focused Android users:

Both the Sense and Versa 3 run on top of Fitbit’s own lightweight operating system, meaning they’ll feel a bit behind Google’s Wear OS and Samsung’s Tizen when it comes to speed and fluidity. Still, the software offers some useful apps, easy navigation, and reliable notifications too. Both offer Google Assistant integration as well, a useful tool for any Android user. The less power-hungry OS also keeps both watches running for 6 days or more.

The Fitbit Sense is the more powerful of the two, immediately evident by its higher price tag. On both watches, you’ll get OLED displays, heart rate monitoring, blood oxygen tracking, step counting, and workout monitoring. However, Fitbit Sense adds ECG, skin temperature, and several other sensors too. You can’t get hardly any of those advanced health features on other smartwatches, and paired with the Fitbit app and programs like Health Coaching, Fitbit just has the complete package here for your health.

Fitbit Sense

Where to buy:

Fitbit Sense is a $329 smartwatch, a hefty price but one that’s worthwhile considering all of the health features available. Meanwhile, Fitbit Versa 3 is a more reasonable $229. Both watches also come with 6 months of Fitbit Premium for no additional charge. Sales, though, often cut down the prices on both products. We’ve seen Fitbit Sense priced as low as $199 many times.

TicWatch Pro 3/Ultra/E3

The only Wear OS products you should buy today

The Mobvoi brand is best known for its affordable Wear OS smartwatches, but its TicWatch Pro 3 and TicWatch E3 are now notable for a different reason — they’re the only options getting Wear OS 3 that you can buy right now.

Wear OS may be lacking in its current form when it comes to health features, but the platform is still an excellent extension of any Android phone. It delivers notifications reliably and can access the Play Store for watchfaces or apps. The Google Assistant is also on board.

Now, too, you can do all of that in a package that performs well. As we detail in our review of the TicWatch Pro 3, the Snapdragon 4100 combined with 1GB of RAM and 8GB of storage makes for an experience that runs smoothly from apps to Assistant and more. The same applies to the TicWatch E3.

The design of the TicWatch Pro 3 isn’t particularly good-looking, but its utilitarian design is something many may like. The overall footprint isn’t small at 47x48x12.2mm, but it’s not overbearing. This is the slimmest TicWatch Pro to date. Despite that, it has a bigger battery that lasts up to three days on a charge. The dual-layer display also manages to extend that battery life by up to 45 days while retaining step counting and other health data.

Meanwhile, the TicWatch E3 offers up a smaller design at 44x47x12.6mm that’s almost entirely made from plastic. This does drive the cost down to just $199, though. It also only promises a little over a day for the battery

Where to buy:

TicWatch Pro 3 costs $299, a pretty average cost for a smartwatch in 2021. If it’s got your interest, you can buy now from Amazon or Mobvoi’s own site. Meanwhile, the TicWatch E3 is available from Amazon and Mobvoi’s site for $199. Both watches are confirmed to be eligible for Wear OS 3 sometime in 2022. There’s also a new TicWatch Pro 3 Ultra model that costs the same $299 with the same core specs. Not much has changed, but like the rest it’s being updated to Wear OS 3 eventually.

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Fossil Gen 6

If style matters

Fossil is one of the biggest Wear OS partners, and the brand is still pumping out hardware for Wear OS 2. The first to be eligible for Wear OS 3, though, is the Fossil Gen 6 which starts at $299.

Running on top of the Snapdragon 4100+, this smartwatch offers decent enough performance and Fossil’s own health tracking software to enable sleep tracking and more statistics that Google Fit can’t handle today. The physical hardware is also not very small, with a 44mm casing that feels even bigger on the wrist. One big upgrade to the hardware, though, is a new set of charging rings that won’t fall out over time and enable faster charging speeds — which is good news, as the battery life wasn’t too impressive in our testing.

The main reason to buy the Fossil Gen 6 over the Galaxy Watch 4 or even Mobvoi’s TicWatch line really comes down to style. In a classic sense, it’s just a better looking product.

You can buy Fossil Gen 6 from Amazon or Fossil’s website. Its Wear OS 3 upgrade is scheduled for 2022.

Samsung Galaxy Watch 3/Galaxy Watch Active 2

Still solid, if you can find them

Samsung’s Galaxy Watch series prior to the current release doesn’t actually use an Android-based OS. Rather, Samsung’s Tizen runs the show. It’s a slick operating system that’s designed with the hardware in mind, meaning the two feel cohesive together.

The different watches vary greatly in looks, though. The Galaxy Watch 3 comes in 41mm and 45mm variants, one using 20mm bands and the other 22mm. There are also two sizes for the Galaxy Watch Active2 with 40mm and 44mm options. Both use 20mm bands.

For all of these watches, you’ll find almost the same set of features. Both charge wirelessly, offer more expensive LTE variants and can manage around two days on a charge. Health features include the classics such as heart rate, step counting, and workout detection, but there’s also fall detection, blood oxygen readings, and ECG support is coming.

The two watches differ greatly in looks, though. The Watch 3 has more of a classic, rugged aesthetic where the Watch Active 2 is a bit sportier. Functionally, they’re nearly identical outside of the physical bezel on the Watch 3 which gives some extra tactile input when you’re scrolling around the UI.

The only real caveat is that Samsung has put a lifespan on these products. Following the move over to Wear OS, Samsung will only support its Tizen products for around 3 years, which means these will only be supported for a little while longer. Still, given these products are regularly on sale, they’re worth consideration.

Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2

Where to buy Samsung’s watches:

Now that the Galaxy Watch 4 is out, Samsung has mostly discontinued sales of these older smartwatches. Still, some retailers are carrying the products. Amazon still sells the Watch Active 2 for around $200, and Best Buy does too. Refurbished Galaxy Watch 3 models are also sold by Amazon for around this price point, and there’s always the used route too through respectable outlets such as Swappa. It’ll certainly be easier to buy a Galaxy Watch 4 instead, but the rest of the Galaxy Watch series still hold up as some of the best smartwatches for Android.

Fossil Hybrid HR

If you don’t want Wear OS, there are still some solid options out on the market. The Fossil Hybrid HR uses its own operating system and an e-ink display to offer up better battery life and a different experience from Google’s Wear OS. The Hybrid HR is available in a variety of designs with pricing starting at $195.

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