Wear OS represents a growing ecosystem of smartwatches from tech and lifestyle brands, and we’ve tried them all to bring you a guide for buying the perfect smartwatch.
What’s the best Android smartwatch? The Mobvoi TicWatch Pro is a great smartwatch with a pretty silly name. But that’s OK, because once you put it on your wrist you won’t care what it’s called. Instead, you’ll care that it has a great screen, long battery life, and all the features you’d expect from a high-end smartwatch, including NFC for payments, and a heart rate monitor for tracking your workouts.
If you’re looking for a smartwatch you can use everywhere, this is it.
A solid, sturdy watch with two displays for great performance indoors and out, with a classy design you can get away with anywhere and still feel great about using it.
Who should buy this watch?
It’s not easy to find a Wear OS watch that ticks all the boxes. Some are great for fitness and the outdoor life, while others pack NFC payment tech and offer quality microphones for good Google Assistant functionality. TicWatch Pro is, in my opinion, the first Wear OS watch I’ve wanted to wear everywhere. It looks nice in every environment, comes with a leather strap you can wear while working out due to its textured silicone backing, and its two-stage display means you get phenomenal visibility everywhere.
Is it a good time to buy this watch?
Yes, but only on sale. On the one hand, this watch is running the same Qualcomm Snapdragon Wear 2100 processor as every other Wear OS watch released in the last couple of years. It’s not running the newest Snapdragon Wear 3100, which is on one of the newer watches on the list, but the difference between the two isn’t significant and doesn’t affect your overall experience.
On the other hand, TicWatch Pro already offers a great experience with features unlike any of its competition. A new model with an updated processor isn’t going to make the things that make this watch to stand apart, like its dual-display screen, any better. If you’re excited about what makes this watch special, you’re going to really enjoy wearing it.
Reasons to buy
- Great build quality and design for the price
- Excellent visibility in the sun
- Good battery life
- Solid sporty strap included
Reasons not to buy
- On the thicker side for a smartwatch
- Magnetic charging dock is difficult to replace
- No longer using the newest Snapdragon Wear processor
Your smartwatch should be equal parts gadget and watch
The thing that makes a watch convenient is the ability to glance down at your wrist to get the information you need. Smartwatches take this one step further by making that information dynamic, including fitness information and notifications from your phone and sometimes even turn-by-turn navigation or phone calls. But the core feature should still be the ability to glance down and use the watch as a matter of convenience. Few smartwatches hit this mark, because most displays are easily washed out in the sun and battery life suffers when the display is on and active all the time.
If you’re looking for the best Wear OS experience, even if you’re an iPhone user, right now this is it.
This is what makes the TicWatch Pro so special. On top of feeling like a well-made watch, it’s the kind of thing you can use anywhere. The hybrid leather/silicone strap looks great under a nice dress shirt, but also works well during an intense workout. The AMOLED display looks amazing indoors, but the secondary high contrast display fills in the gaps when you need to glance down or you’re in full sunlight. It’s these design decisions which really make this watch stand out as something you can enjoy wearing everywhere. That is, as long as your wrist is large enough to support it.
This watch is a little on the bigger side, but the overall design makes it very comfortable to use despite this, and it’s honestly just a nice looking watch at the end of the day. If you’re looking for the best Wear OS experience, even if you’re an iPhone user, right now this is it.
Alternatives to the TicWatch Pro
There’s no such thing as one design for everyone. If your goal is fitness oriented, you may prefer something built with more fitness functionality and a slimmer profile. If you spend more time in a suit than you do a sweatband, you may want something a little classier on your wrist. Alternately, you may just want something a little cheaper with most of the same features. In those cases, Huawei and Misfit have some amazing options built specifically for those needs and are well worth checking out.
The best-looking smartwatch you can buy
If you’re looking for a smartwatch that looks like a regular watch but has the same great features of any high-end wearable, the Skagen Falster 2 is your best bet.
Skagen, the Danish-owned watch maker with a legacy of beautiful, minimalist designs, blew us away with the release of the Falster 2. It improved every aspect of the smartwatch, including the design, the usability, and the feature set. This one has a heart rate sensor, NFC, GPS, and is waterproof. And while it’s expensive, it’s worth it to look this good.
A great lifestyle pick
The latest and greatest
The Fossil Sport is among the first smartwatches to run the latest Snapdragon Wear 3100 processor, and as a result offers excellent battery life and improved speed. It’s made for sport with a heart-rate monitor and GPS, but it looks good with everything.
Fossil provides lots of color and band options with the $250 Sport, and it’s proven so popular it’s difficult to find online right now. That’s too bad, because it’s one of the best smartwatches you can buy.
Top value pick
A little bit cheaper
Not quite as stylish as the other options on the list, but the TicWatch E2 is robust, unassuming, and can be submerged in 5ATM of water. Plus it has a two-day battery!
Mobvoi’s Ticwatch E2 is among the best value in the smartwatch space. It provides all of the value at half the cost of the rest of our picks, forgoing metal for a plastic body. But that’s OK because it looks great, anyway. And at $160, it’s considerably cheaper than most Wear OS devices out there.
The TicWatch Pro is not just a good watch, it’s the best Wear OS watch you can currently buy.
Credits — The team that worked on this guide
Russell Holly is a Contributing Editor at Android Central. He lives for the shiniest new thing, and loves explaining its potential to improve your life. Whatever you do, don’t tell his spouse about the drawer full of tech under the bed.
Daniel Bader is the Managing Editor of Android Central. As he’s writing this, a mountain of old Android phones is about to fall on his head, but his Great Dane will protect him. He drinks way too much coffee and sleeps too little. He wonders if there’s a correlation.
February 11, 2019 at 08:00PM