Right now, the best smartwatch for Android users is the Samsung Galaxy Watch Active. It’s optimized for Samsung phones but runs well on all Android devices and has all the smartwatch and fitness features you’d expect. It’s also compact and lightweight, and has very good battery life. But if you’re not into that one, the good news is that there are so many other amazing options from Fossil to Garmin to Fitbit and more.
Best Overall — Samsung Galaxy Watch Active
You don’t have to use a Samsung phone to enjoy the benefits of owning a Samsung smartwatch, and the Galaxy Watch Active provides the most well-rounded wearables experience for Android users right now. It’s compact and light, but features an extremely sharp and vivid touch display that’s easy to navigate and fun to use. The Tizen OS is smooth and battery-friendly, unlike Google’s own Wear OS, and while the app selection isn’t huge, the core tenets are there, like Spotify, Strava, Flipboard, and more.
The Galaxy Watch Active contains its primary purpose in its name: exercise tracking. The watch comes with GPS built-in, and features automatic workout tracking, along with sleep tracking, water, food and caffeine consumption tracking, and more. But if you mainly wear a smartwatch for notifications, the Galaxy Watch Active delivers there, too, with excellent support for Android’s notification system, letting you reply using your voice, the built-in keyboard, or with one of the many quick answers.
Finally, battery life, while not quite as good as some of the other larger watches on the list, is still excellent, and the watch can be topped up with select Qi wireless pads or with the Galaxy S10’s Wireless PowerShare feature.
With a solid price point, the Galaxy Watch Active is definitely our favorite Android smartwatch, and one of the best currently available.
- Compact and well-designed
- Relatively inexpensive
- Automatic workout tracking
- Water resistant up to 5ATM
- Built-in GPS and NFC
- Lacks the rotating bezel of other Galaxy wearables
- Battery may not be enough for serious athletes
Samsung Galaxy Watch Active
Smooth, elegant, and smart(watch).
The Galaxy Watch Active is the best smartwatch for most people because it’s good at everything, even if it isn’t perfect overall. It’s light, comfortable, and easy to wear for long periods, and features fantastic fitness features.
Best Value — Mobvoi TicWatch E2
Without breaking the bank, Mobvoi’s TicWatch E2 is a killer smartwatch that doesn’t cost an arm (you’re not wearing your smartwatch around your leg, are you?). It’s got a big 1.4-inch display that looks way better than its price would suggest, along with all the fixings a smartwatch should have: great touch response, awesome battery life, waterproofing, a heart-rate monitor and automatic workout detection, and decent 1+ day battery life.
This smartwatch runs Google’s Wear OS, which is great for a lot of things, including notification support and Google Assistant. And while Wear OS doesn’t have amazing native fitness support, the TicWatch E2 supersedes Google here with its own TicMotion layer that automatically detects workouts and monitors swim performance and provides stroke analysis.
So why’s it cheap? Well, it’s not the most stylish or skinny smartwatch on the planet, so it’s more for the person who wants utility more than aesthetics.
- Solid construction
- Automatic workout detection
- Excellent notification support
- Built-in GPS
- Not exactly stylish
- Did we mention it was pretty chunky?
- Built-in watch strap is kind of gross (but easily replaceable)
- No navigation crown
Mobvoi TicWatch E2
Gets the job done
The TicWatch E2 is a no-frills Wear OS-powered wearable that does everything you need a smartwatch to do — for a lot less than you’d expect to pay. It lacks the build quality of its more expensive counterpart, but it excels in almost every other area.
Most Stylish — Skagen Falster 2
Sometimes you just want a smartwatch to look like a … watch. Simple design, great-quality strap, and a finish that doesn’t scream, "This is a piece of technology!" Well, the Falster 2 from well-known Danish watch brand Skagen is exactly that.
One of the Falster 2’s main benefits is its three-button layout, which includes a rotating crown that helps to scroll through Wear OS without having to touch the screen — an enormous benefit once you start using it. You also get a beautiful stainless steel body, well-constructed straps in either leather, metal, or silicone in a variety of colors, and all the important features you’d expect, like water resistance, GPS, a heart rate monitor, NFC, and more.
- Attractive, classic design
- Digital crown is fantastic
- GPS, NFC, water resistance and heart-rate tracking
- Excellent quality display
- Built-in GPS and NFC
- Some performance issues with Wear OS
- Battery life is limited to one day
Skagen Falster 2
Day and night ready
The Skagen 2 is a perfect blend of style and sophistication — and it’s an awesome smartwatch, too. With the choice of replaceable leather, metal mesh or silicone bands, and exposed lugs with a simple strap change system, the watch is extremely versatile and one of our favorites running Wear OS.
An Oversized Masterpiece — Samsung Galaxy Watch
If you love everything about the Galaxy Watch Active but want it in a larger size with Samsung’s incredible rotating bezel to get around the Tizen interface, the Galaxy Watch is going to be your best friend. Samsung’s spent a long time perfecting its smartwatch design, and the Galaxy Watch is an amalgam of all of the company’s best ideas. A beautiful AMOLED screen available in either 42mm or 46mm sizes, the Galaxy Watch offers all of the tracking features you’d expect, including 24/7 heart rate monitoring, GPS, NFC for Samsung Pay, and more.
The main difference between the Galaxy Watch and our best overall choice, the Galaxy Watch Active, is the included rotating bezel and its larger battery, which adds a few extra hours to the uptime. The downside, though? It’s considerably bigger and not quite as universally accessible from a design perspective.
- Well-built and nicely designed
- Beautiful AMOLED display
- Rotating bezel is super useful
- Excellent multi-day battery life
- Large and a bit utilitarian-looking
Samsung Galaxy Watch
A big hunk of smartwatch on your wrist
Available in 42mm and 46mm sizes, and a variety of colors, the Galaxy Watch is an outstanding smartwatch for any Android user. The rotating bezel feature is the reason to consider it, but the awesome battery life and outstanding simple interface is the reason to buy it.
Best for long-distance runners — Garmin Forerunner 245 Music
There’s a smartwatch for every type of Android user, and the Garmin Forerunner 245 Music is an outstanding choice for anyone who runs, bikes, or swims. It’s not the best smartwatch but it does receive notifications from your phone. If you don’t need much more than that — and who does these days? — the Forerunner 245 makes up for it with incredible 7+ day battery life, or 6 hours with GPS enabled, which is more than enough for a marathon (or two if you’re really good).
Better yet, the transflective screen means that the Forerunner 245 is easily visible in direct sunlight, making it perfect for long outdoor excursions. There’s also music storage and the option to stream from Spotify or Deezer, which is seriously great if you’re trying to hit those personal bests. Add in 24/7 heart rate monitoring, sleep tracking, advanced workout capture and advanced features like VO2 max estimation, a recovery advisor, and more, this is an awesome option.
- Advanced workout tracking and guidance
- Incredible battery life
- Sunlight-friendly transflective display
- Music streaming
- Extremely comfortable strap
- Limited smartwatch features
- Basic design may not be for everyone
For The Pros
Garmin Forerunner 245 Music
A solid, slim GPS tracker.
Garmin’s GPS tech is combined with a solid heart-rate tracker in a slim, simple watch that syncs easily to its own app as well as popular social apps like Strava when your workout is over. While most of the features are focused on running, the cycling mode also works very well.
Best for casual athletes — Fitbit Versa
Fitbit has gone to great lengths to convince the world that it’s more than just a fitness tracker company. The Versa is a fantastic, colorful product that combines the best of the company’s athletic DNA with solid smartwatch features, a bevy of useful apps, and nearly a week of battery life.
The best part of Fitbit is how seamlessly it interacts with your Android phone. You just wear it — to work, to bed, in the shower — and it uploads your results in the background, syncing with your phone and, potentially, your group of friends who are constantly keeping you challenged. Yes, that’s the other best part of Fitbit: its social network. Enjoy weekly challenges, or compete with the company’s many experts in pre-made discovery challenges and adventures.
While the Versa lacks GPS, it makes up for it by including on-screen workouts, and collecting plenty of useful data. Plus, if you’re into sleep tracking, no one beats Fitbit for insights and accuracy.
- Low-profile, attractive design
- Excellent battery life
- Solid smartwatch features
- Lots of different colors
- NFC (with Versa SE)
- Limited app selection
- Have to pay extra for Fitbit Pay
- Very obviously not a watch
Jack Of All Trades
A fitness tracker that’s good at everything
Fitbit OS doesn’t have the same number of features as Wear OS, but the Versa is so comfortable and so easy to use that it doesn’t really matter. The Versa, like all Fitbit products, has limited notification support — you only get a handful of pre-defined quick replies for text messages, for example — but if that’s alright you get some of the best fitness and sleep tracking features around.
A fantastic Wear OS choice — Fossil Sport
The Fossil Sport is probably the best-looking "sport" watch running Wear OS. It’s also one of the few on this list running Qualcomm’s newest Snapdragon Wear 3100 platform, which gives it in an edge in battery life and some much-needed future-proofing for when Google roles out big updates to its wearables platform.
While it has the same features as the more-expensive Skagen Falster 2 (GPS, 24/7 heart rate tracking, NFC, waterproofing), it’s set in a lighter, slimmer and more versatile aluminum and plastic body. Fossil has also added a number of attractive sporty watch faces that you’ll love, as well.
- Lots of colors
- Attractive, sporty design
- Included silicone band is very comfortable
- Has all the features you want in a smartwatch
- Wear OS is still buggy
- Battery life is limited to around a day
All Of The Colors
A rainbow of good features
The Fossil Sport is super comfortable to wear all day, and it has a versatile design to be attractive under any circumstance. While you can get it in bright red or yellow, there are more subdued colors, too, and the silicone bands are easily replaceable.
The cheap hybrid — Withings Move
Sometimes you don’t need a screen — you just want to tell the time, track steps and sleep, and not charge your watch every night. The Withings Move is an outstanding value product — it offers a battery that lasts nine months while tracking steps, swims and sleep in a fun, lightweight body. Given that it’s so cheap, it’s made of plastic, but the materials are hardy enough to withstand everyday life. The Android app that it syncs to is also really good.
You should come for its simplicity but stay for one of the five color combinations.
- Lots of fun colors options
- Simple, effective step and sleep tracking
- Months-long battery life
- Lacks a screen
- Doesn’t support notifications or apps
The Amazing Hybrid
Cheap and cheerful
If you just want a regular watch that can take a beating and keep on ticking, but also tracks steps, swims, and sleep, the Withings Move is your best bet.
The good news about wearing a smartwatch in 2019 is that while there are plenty of options on the Wear OS side, you have fantastic options from companies like Samsung, Fitbit and Garmin, too.
In fact, the Samsung Galaxy Watch Active is an outstanding choice for most people, and has received our most coveted Best Overall recommendation. You can even enjoy it if you don’t own a Samsung device.
If Wear OS is your style, though, the Fossil Sport and Skagen Falster 2 are both great if you don’t mind spending a bit of money, while the TicWatch E2 trades design and features for a lower price. You’ll be very happy with either selection, though.
And if it’s all-round fitness tracking you want, the Fitbit Versa is an outstanding pick, especially if you enjoy sleep tracking.
July 17, 2019 at 08:06AM