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Best Android smartwatches 2016

Authored by: Kris Carlon — 1 month ago

A number of new Android smartwatches have been launched recently, including the Samsung Gear S2, Huawei Watch and the second generation Moto 360. 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.

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These are the best Android smartwatches of 2015. / © ANDROIDPIT

Best smartwatch overall: Moto 360 (2015)

The original Moto 360 was a much-hyped Android Wear smartwatch that didn't quite live up to the high expectations placed on it. When the Moto 360 (2015) arrived this year it improved upon a number of its predecessor's weaknesses, and benefitted from a more robust version of Android Wear. 

There's still some questions about whether the current lineup of Android Wear devices are worth the investment, but if you are going to buy one, the Moto 360 (2015) is your best bet. It's the most well-rounded Android smartwatch with the fewest caveats; combining good performance, practicality and lots of customization options in a neat package. 

Screen:

1.37-inch, circular, LCD 

1.56-inch, circular, LCD 

Resolution:

360 x 325 pixels, 263 ppi

360 x 330 pixels, 233 ppi

Size: 42 x 42 x 11.4 mm 
46 x 46 x 11.4 mm 
Processor: Snapdragon 400, 1.2 GHz         
Internal storage / RAM: 4 GB / 512 MB RAM IP: IP67 dust and water resistant
Price: Approx. US$299 / £229 Battery:

300 mAh

400 mAh 

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The Moto 360 (2015) is our current favorite Android Wear smartwatch. / © ANDROIDPIT

Best value smartwatch: Asus ZenWatch 2

If you want a good Android Wear experience on a budget, the sub-US$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. 

Screen:

1.45-inch, square(ish), AMOLED 

1.63-inch, square(ish), AMOLED

Resolution:

280 x 280 pixels, 273 ppi

320 x 320 pixels, 278 ppi

Size:

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. US$149 / £110 Battery: 400 mAh
 

 

 

 

 

 

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The very reasonably priced Asus ZenWatch 2 shouldn't be overlooked. / © ANDROIDPIT
Asus Zenwatch 2
$199.99

Best smartwatch design: Huawei Watch

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 USD / £289 Battery: 300 mAh 

 

 

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The Huawei Watch wins our award for most stylish Android Wear device. / © ANDROIDPIT
Huawei Watch
$299.99

Best sports smartwatch: Samsung Gear S2 

The Samsung Gear S2 gets a lot of things right. It looks great, it has excellent build quality and intuitive software. But it's this software that stops it being our first recommendation for best smartwatch. Not only does Samsung's Tizen-based operating system mean this isn't a true Android Wear device, but Tizen's apps are more limited than the Android Wear bunch.  

Still, as a sports watch, it's fantastic. With a smaller body than the Moto 360, and integration with Samsung's own S-Health app, the Gear S2 makes keeping track of your fitness easy and fun. 

Screen: 1.2-inch, circular AMOLED Resolution: 360 x 360 pixels, 302 ppi
Size: 42.3 x 49.8 x 11.4 mm  Processor: Exynos 3250
Internal storage / RAM: 4 GB / 512 MB RAM Weight / IP: 47g / IP68
Price: Approx. 249 USD / 179 GBP Battery: 300 mAh
 

 

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If it's health and fitness you're interested in, go with the Samsung Gear S2. / © ANDROIDPIT

Best battery life: Pebble Time Steel

The Pebble Time Steel isn't going to blow anybody away in terms of specs: it relies on an extremely lightweight operating system and apps. It's also quite expensive for what it offers. But the advantage that it provides above the rest of the competition is up to 10 days of battery life. 

Lasting more than five times as long as the next best Android smartwatch is no small feat, just be prepared to sacrifice true Android Wear performance for it. 

Screen: 1.25-inch, square Resolution: 144 x 168 pixels, 182 ppi
Size: 40.5mm x 37.5mm x 10.5mm Processor: Cortex M4, 1 core, 100 MHz
Internal storage / RAM: 16 MB / 64 KB Weight / IP: 62.3 g / water and dust resistant
Price: Approx. US$299 USD / £229 Battery: Up to 10 days      
 

 

androidpit Pebble Time Steel
Pebble's Time Steel range has the best smartwatch battery life. / © Pebble

 

Pebble Time Steel
$205.02

Android Wear smartwatch buying guide

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.

new watch faces
With so many Android Wear choices on offer, how do you choose? / © Google

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.

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Picking the right style and display type for your lifestyle are important. / © ANDROIDPIT

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.

Kris is a former AndroidPIT Editor who came to the team via a lengthy period spent traveling and relying on technology to keep him in touch with the outside world. He can usually be found juggling three phones at once and poring over G+ posts, Reddit and RSS feeds.

10 comments

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  • All are really wonderful watches.

  • I had a classic Pebble which suffered from screen tearing. So i updated to a Pebble Time Steel. And i can't say I'm happy with it. It's big and heavy. And for some reason it doesn't always gets the notifications. Wheres on my other arm there is a Microsoft band. Not so much smartwatch but a lot of sports band. It gets notifications, measures my sleep and my every move. I must say that I actually prefer that. But coming from a classic Pebble I only used notifications on a smartwatch and not apps.

  • I have just put a payment down for a Tag Heuer Connected watch. I have been promised by Harrods that it will arrive before Christmas, but everywhere in the UK has already sold out of their first orders (due to arrive on 9th December).

    I bought a Huawei watch to see if I liked it. I do, but I'm used to much more expensive and higher quality watches, so I think the Tag is the way to go.

  • I owned (and sold) the original Moto and Zen. Battery life was so bad I just stopped using them both. Add in the bulky cases, I just figured smartwatchs were not for me, until I bought the Pebble time. Honestly outstanding. Lasts days, does everything I want (notifications, alarms, ability to send responses to sms via voice, trip info, syncs with Google cal and has a slew of apps) and light enough where I forget about it. Its not perfect, but I've not used anything better yet. Samsung's s-voice eliminates them for me.

  • How come the Moto 360 is the best? I doesn´t even have a proper circular screen. That black band at the bottom is anoying. The LG Urbane is much better.

  • prooter 2 months ago Link to comment

    Best smartwatch design: Huawei Watch, this one looks like a real watch.

  • I've owned the original gear and currently the gear live. The latter in terms of functionality and customisation via watchmaker is way better.
    The cradles are truly painful. The live Cradle being the worse design possible. In both cases however price was the deciding factor. $180 AUD for the live.
    Connection drop out is my number 1 gripe. I rely heavily on the notifications. It's annoying Android wear doesn't support sound like the 1st gear. Then again muting the gear after hours was a pain.

    I intend to switch to a round watch next so I'm keen to see what the Moto360 2nd gen brings. As I've just updated to a LG G4, the LG R might end up on my wrist.

  • I have the Gear and its not a bad watch once you root it and can run any android app on it - the downfall of all thee watches is the battery life though - I cant be bothered to take the watch off and insert it in its charging cradle every night!
    www.xbmcplayer.co.uk

  • I got a Gear Live and like it because it was dirt cheap. the cradle sucks and I had to replace it once already. luckily they began to be offered on eBay about 3 days after it broke. the 360 is just ugly as sin, and I wouldn't be caught dead wearing the original G Watch. the newer version (round) is cool, but pricey. I like Sony, but the armband on the SW3 is crap...I still can't grasp why they would make that pop out module, and not offer a pocketwatch chain...
    I'm ok with the Gear Live for now, but only because it was the lesser of 8 evils. next year might be time for an upgrade to a 2015 model.

  • I have an LG G Watch, which was given to me by a family member who works at Google. While its kind of cool its also a bit gimmicky. I wouldnt pay money for one of these things. They need to improve the battery lives of these things and also make the watches standalone devices

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