A number of new Android smartwatches have been launched recently, including the Samsung Gear S3, Huawei Watch and the second generation Asus ZenWatch 3. Now that we've had a chance to complete our full reviews, we've been able to compile our current list of the best Android smartwatches of 2016, including a convenient buying guide.
Jump to section:
- Best smartwatch overall: Asus ZenWatch 3
- Best value smartwatch: Asus ZenWatch 2
- Best smartwatch design: Huawei Watch
- Best smartwatch for making calls: LG Watch Urbane 2nd Edition 3G
- Best sports smartwatch: Samsung Gear S3
- Android Wear smartwatch buying guide
The best comes last, with Asus' latest smartwatch. The display, quick recharge time, long-lasting battery, etc make it the best watch on the market. Asus has targeted millenials with the design of the ZenWatch 3. This smartwatch with its three buttons looks much sportier than other watches that the company has so far released, for a more personal and unique twist. The new design also comes with IP67 certification, meaning it is resistant to water and dust.
So far, almost all Android Wear smartwatches have come equipped with the Snapdragon 400. The ZenWatch 3 comes with Qualcomm’s new replacement for this: the Snapdragon 2100. In our review, the performance was solid.
There is no built-in pulsometer, GPS or SIM capability. For sports, navigation or connecting to the internet without being tethered to a cell phone, you should look elsewhere. The ZenWatch 3 offers the basics you expect from a smartwatch: notifications, fitness tracking, playing music via Bluetooth, hands-free operation features and more.
|Display||1.4-inch, round, AMOLED||Resolution||400 x 400 pixels, 287 ppi|
|Size||45.2 x 10.65 mm||Processor||Qualcomm Snapdragon Wear 2100, Quad-Core, 1.2 GHz|
|Internal Storage / RAM||4 GB / 512 MB RAM||IP||IP67 Dust and water resistant|
If you want a good Android Wear experience on a budget, the under $150 ZenWatch 2 is the way to go. Asus didn't change much between its first ZenWatch and this version, preferring instead to focus on customization options (I wonder where it got that idea from... *cough* Apple *cough*), but it has added quick-charging and a Wi-Fi chip to enable the ZenWatch 2 to take advantage of the latest Android Wear features.
It delivers much the same experience as the Moto 360 (2015) at half the price, and we have to recommend the ZenWatch 2 as the best entry point to the Android Wear world.
1.45-inch, square(ish), AMOLED
1.63-inch, square(ish), AMOLED
280 x 280 pixels, 273 ppi
320 x 320 pixels, 278 ppi
45.2 x 37.2 x 10.5 mm
49.6 x 40.7 x 9.5 mm
|Processor:||Snapdragon 400, 1.2 GHz|
|Internal storage / RAM:||4 GB / 512 MB RAM||IP:||IP67 dust and water resistant|
|Price:||Approx. $129.99||Battery:||400 mAh|
Huawei has succeeded where many manufacturers have gone wrong: it made a watch that looks good first, and performs well second. That's not to say the Huawei Watch's performance is substandard, but with relatively weak battery life, no ambient light sensor and a couple of interface problems, Huawei's wearable is a little behind the likes of the Moto 360 (2015).
That being said, if you want the best-looking watch on Android, this is it.
|Screen:||1.4-inch, circular, AMOLED||Resolution:||400 x 400 pixels, 286 ppi|
|Size:||42 mm diameter x 11.3 mm depth||Processor:||Snapdragon 400, 1.2 GHz|
|Internal storage / RAM:||4 GB / 512 MB RAM||Weight / IP:||60.5 g / IP67|
|Price:||Approx. $349||Battery:||300 mAh|
The LG Watch Urbane 2nd Edition (3G) gets top marks with a full round display, a large battery and a great mobile interface. And the design is also a success, though the watch face is a bit too tall.
|Screen:||1.38-inch, round||Resolution:||480 x 480 pixels, 348 ppi|
|Size:||47 x 47 x 14 mm||Processor:||Qualcomm Snapdragon 400|
|Internal storage / RAM:||4 GB / 768 MB RAM||IP:||IP67 Dust and water resistant|
|Price:||approx. $199.99 with contract||Battery:||570 mAh|
Hands down the best smartwatch for sports and hiking is the Samsung Gear S3. It comes in two versions: Classic with a leather strap and Frontier with a silicone strap. Both are water and dust resistant. Samsung uses its own operating system called Tizen, but it is still compatible with all smartphones.
The smartwatch comes with GPS, a speedometer, barometer and an altimeter, so it is the ultimate hiker's companion. Athletes can use the smartwatch to measure their pulse and count their steps. You can store MP3 files on the watch itself and listen without having your phone paired if you're out for a run.
|Screen:||1.3-inch, circular AMOLED||Resolution:||360 x 360 pixels, 278 ppi|
|Size:||49 x 46 x 12.9 mm||Processor:||Exynos 3250|
|Internal storage / RAM:||4 GB / 768 MB RAM||Weight / IP:||57g / IP68|
|Price:||approx. $299.99||Battery:||380 mAh|
If you've decided to take the plunge and invest in a smartwatch, you've got a few decisions in front of you, the first of which is whether you want an Android Wear device or something else?
There are other smartwatch options available running on Samsung's Tizen platform as well as interesting devices by Pebble and Omate. Assuming you're focused on Android Wear though, we'll continue.
What to consider when buying a smartwatch
There are a few things to think about: size and weight, style, display type (some displays are easier to read outdoors than others), battery size and so on. Consider what you want from your watch and how you plan to use it. All of them offer a degree of water-resistance and all are reasonably light.
If you plan to never take your smartwatch off except to charge it, then a large battery is critical. If you're outdoors a lot then you might want to opt for a smartwatch with an LCD display. OLED displays are better for battery life but they are not always so visible in the sunshine.
Internally, most Android Wear watches are about the same, so there's no real technical advantage of one over the other. Battery size and life, screen resolution and type are the main considerations. If you have a very slim wrist you might want to avoid the particularly large designs, so size is a consideration too. Arguably the biggest factor will be style – you want the watch you wear to look good, after all.
Do you own any Android wearables? Which would you say is the best Android smartwatch? Tell us what you think in the comments.