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Best Android smartwatch of 2015

Authored by: Kris Carlon — 1 month ago

The Moto 360 and LG G Watch R may have dominated the smartwatch landscape in 2015, but there are plenty more great Android smartwatch options already available with even more coming up in the very near future, including the long-awaited Moto 360 (second generation). These are the best Android smartwatches on the market, including our best Android Wear smartwatch list and other Android-based smartwatches, now with a convenient buying guide and quick comparison chart.

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There are some front runners, but which will be the best Android watch? / © ANDROIDPIT

Shortcuts:

Android Wear smartwatches

1. LG G Watch R

Link to Video

The LG G Watch R is the first Android Wear smartwatch to really look like a normal watch. Even more so than the Moto 360. The G Watch R has a diver's watch style bezel around the outside and is the first smartwatch to feature a fully circular display.

The G Watch R uses a plastic OLED screen, which provides better blacks and improved night-time performance than you would've found on the original LG G Watch. The battery life is exceptional, the screen is impressive and the internal specs are top-notch.

Screen: 1.3-inch, circular P-OLED Resolution: 320 x 320 pixels, 348 ppi
Size: 46.4 x 53.6 x 9.7 mm (Bezel Ring included: 11.1 mm) Processor: Snapdragon 400, 1.2 GHz         
Internal storage / RAM: 4 GB / 512 MB RAM Weight / IP: 62g / IP67
Price: Approx. 280 USD / 199 GBP Battery: 410 mAh 
 

 

 

 

 

2. Asus ZenWatch

Asus ZenWatch NoWatermark 15
The Asus ZenWatch is one of the best Android smartwatches around. © ANDROIDPIT

Asus' ZenWatch created quite a stir at IFA 2014 because it is a seriously good looking smartwatch with a seriously low price: just 199 USD. Rose gold sits sandwiched between a rounded rectangular front with a slight curve to the screen: a creative concept backed up by impressive execution. The ZenWatch definitely sticks in your mind. 

The ZenWatch runs on a fairly standard Android Wear base with Asus' unique ZenUI added on top, which brings a bunch of additional software features like double tap to wake, remote camera trigger, phone locator function and some gesture controls like covering the display to dismiss a call.

How Asus managed to get away from Google's chokehold on Android Wear we don't know and don't care, we're just glad they did because the ZenWatch is a ripper.

Screen: 1.63-inch, square(ish) AMOLED Resolution: 320 x 320 pixels, 278 ppi
Size: 39.9 x 51 x 7.9 ~ 9.4 mm Processor: Snapdragon 400, 1.2 GHz
Internal storage / RAM: 4 GB / 512 MB RAM Weight / IP: 50g (75 g with strap) / IP55
Price: Approx. 255 USD / 204 GBP Battery: 369 mAh

 

 

 

 

3. LG Watch Urbane

Link to Video

If the LG Watch Urbane looks familiar, that's because it is. The Watch Urbane is basically just a fancier looking G Watch R. The only real difference is the price. This is why we think the ZenWatch deserves the number two position: because there's simply not enough to differentiate between the Watch Urbane and G Watch R to justify the additional price. And we prefer the G Watch R's style anyway.

Having sad that the Watch Urbane is still a stand-out smartwatch, delivering the same specs as the G Watch R with the addition of Wi-Fi out of the box (the G Watch is getting Wi-Fi via a software patch in July). It takes a more classical, elegant approach to the design, and comes in a silver or gold version. Expect to pay a little more though.

Screen: 1.3-inch, circular P-OLED Resolution: 320 x 320 pixels, 348 ppi
Size: 45.5 x 52.2 x 10.9 mm Processor: Snapdragon 400, 1.2 GHz         
Internal storage / RAM: 4 GB / 512 MB RAM Weight / IP: 62g / IP67
Price: Approx. 349 USD / 259 GBP Battery: 410 mAh 

 

 

 

 

4. Motorola Moto 360

Link to Video

The Moto 360 in many ways kicked off the serious interest in smartwatches this year. While the battery life hasn't knocked anyone's socks off (even though it has been improved), the ability to charge the Moto 360 wirelessly with the included Qi dock is a big selling point for the 360, along with its impressive styling.

The Moto 360 is a little large for some, but it has a beautiful edge to edge round display. A small black bezel at the bottom of the screen, humorously dubbed the "flat tyre" holds various sensors, including an ambient light sensor and display drivers. 

The Moto 360 certainly set the standard for style with its circular design and classic looks and for many represents the benchmark for how a smartwatch should look.

Screen: 1.56-inch, circular backlit LCD Resolution: 320 x 290, 205 ppi
Size: 46 mm diameter x 11.5 mm high Processor: Texas Instruments OMAP 3
Internal storage / RAM: 4 GB / 512 MB RAM Weight / IP: 49g / IP67
Price: Approx. 249 USD / 179 GBP Battery: 320mAh
 

 

 

 

5. Samsung Gear Live

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The Gear Live is right up there as one of the best Android Wear smartwatches. © ANDROIDPIT

Samsung has delivered a few Gear watches on different platforms already, including the first major Android watch: the Galaxy Gear. Then came the Gear 2 on Tizen, followed by the Gear Live on Android Wear with the SIM-equipped Gear S based on Tizen without the need for a paired smartwatch.

Samsung added a heart rate sensor to their hardware with the Gear Live and it also features an OLED display, which is brighter than the original G Watch's LCD but isn't so easy to see in bright daylight. On the other hand, it isn't as irritating at night because a lot of the pixels are off. The silly charging cradle is very annoying though and easy to lose.

Screen: 1.63-inch square Super AMOLED Resolution: 320 x 320 pixels, 278 ppi
Size: 37.9 x 56.4 x 8.9 mm Processor: Snapdragon 400, 1.2 GHz
Internal storage / RAM: 4 GB / 512 MB RAM Weight / IP: 59g / IP67
Price: Approx. 199 USD / 249 GBP Battery: 300mAh             
 

 

 

 

6. LG G Watch

LG G Watch microUSB
The LG G Watch may not be all that sexy, but it has a better charging setup / © ANDROIDPIT

The LG G Watch might be a fairly unattractive slab with big old bezels, but the G Watch is still a very respectable smartwatch. It does away with some of the additions that Samsung bundled with the Gear Live (charging cradle and heart rate monitor) and comes with an LCD display instead. It's not the sexiest watch around, but its battery life and solid performance endeared it to many.

The G Watch's LCD display tends to be easier to read in daylight, but the G Watch is quite bright at night because it still has back-lit pixels, even when the screen is dimmed. The G Watch screen also has fewer pixels than the Gear Live, so it isn't quite as fine, but it does handle screen dimming transitions better and shows more content on-screen when the screen is in its default state.

Screen: 1.65-inch square IPS LCD Resolution: 280 x 280 pixels, 240 ppi
Size: 37.9 x 46.5 x 9.95 mm Processor: Snapdragon 400, 1.2 GHz
Internal storage / RAM: 4 GB / 512 MB RAM Weight / IP: 63g / IP67
Price: Approx. 100 USD / 105 GBP Battery: 400 mAh
 

 

 

 

7. Sony Smartwatch 3

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The Sony Smartwatch 3 is a removable pod with interchangeable arm bands. © ANDROIDPIT

With all the fuss over the Moto 360 and LG G Watch R, Sony's update to their wearable effort, the Smartwatch 3, went a little unnoticed when it appeared in September at IFA 2014. The Smartwatch 3 is obviously Sony's third crack at the whip, and they're starting to get things right, even if there's not much going on in the looks department.

Running Android Wear, the Smartwatch 3 is a removable pod that pops out of interchangeable plastic wrist bands and is charged by microUSB. The Smartwatch 3 can reportedly be used in ''other devices'' but Sony wouldn't tell us what exactly. Sony is slowly improving their smartwatches, but we're yet to see the "wow' release.

Screen: 1.6-inch square Transflective Display LCD Resolution: 320 x 320 pixels, 278 ppi
Size: 36 x 51 x 10 mm Processor: Snapdragon 400, 1.2 GHz
Internal storage / RAM: 4 GB / 512 MB RAM Weight / IP: 38g/45g / IP68
Price: Approx. 229 USD / 165 GBP Battery: 420 mAh
 

 

 

 

 

 

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 do 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. We've listed some of the better options for you below. Assuming you're focused on Android Wear, 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-resistancy and all are light enough.

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. Of course, if you have a very slim wrist you might want to avoid the particularly large ones though, so keep an eye on size too. Style is probably the biggest factor for you though.

Here's a quick reference guide of the most critical aspects of choosing a smartwatch. Check the individual entries above for more information or visit our full reviews for even more detail and evaluation.

  Screen size Screen type Resolution Battery Size Dimensions Wi-Fi Price
LG G Watch R 1.3-inch circle P-OLED 320 x 320 pixels, 348 ppi 410 mAh 46.4 x 53.6 x 9.7 ~ 11.1 mm Yes (in July) ~254 USD / ~190 GBP
Asus Zenwatch 1.63-inch square AMOLED 320 x 320 pixels, 278 ppi 369 mAh 39.9 x 51 x 7.9 ~ 9.4 mm No ~149 USD / ~179 GBP
LG Watch Urbane 1.3-inch circle P-OLED 320 x 320 pixels, 348 ppi 410 mAh 45.5 x 52.2 x 10.9 mm Yes ~300 USD / ~226 GBP
Motorola Moto 360 1.56-inch circle LCD 320 x 290 pixels, 205 ppi 320 mAh 46 mm (diameter) x 11.5 mm Yes ~175 USD / ~150 GBP
Samsung Gear Live 1.63-inch square AMOLED 320 x 320 pixels, 278 ppi 300 mAh 37.9 x 56.4 x 8.9 mm Yes ~170 USD / ~199 GBP
LG G Watch 1.65-inch square LCD 280 x 280 pixels, 240 ppi 400 mAh 37.9 x 46.5 x 9.95 mm No ~115 USD / ~99 GBP
Sony Smartwatch 3 1.6-inch square LCD 320 x 320 pixels, 278 ppi 420 mAh 36 x 51 x 10 mm Yes ~175 USD / ~120 GBP

Smartwatches compatible with Android (not Android Wear)

1. Samsung Gear S

samsung galaxy gear s
The Samsung Gear S isn't very pretty, but we do like that curved OLED display. © ANDROIDPIT

Samsung's Gear S is the first smartwatch equipped with its very own SIM card, meaning it does not require a smartphone in order to function.

As the first standalone smartwatch, the Gear S has attracted a lot of attention for that reason alone, but once again Samsung may have shot itself in the foot by running it on Tizen rather than Android Wear. The Gear S also features a curved OLED display, which is, in our opinion, one of the best things about it. 

Screen: 2.0-inch curved rectangular Super AMOLED  Resolution: 360 x 480 pixels, 300 ppi
Size: 39.9 x 58.1 x 12.5 mm Processor: Snapdragon 400, 1.0 GHz
Internal storage / RAM: 4 GB / 512 MB RAM Weight / IP: 66g/84g / IP67
Price: Approx. 349 USD / 305 GBP Battery: 300mAh
 

 

 

 

 

2. Omate X

Omate X 8
The Omate X is super cheap and supports pairing to both Android and iOS devices. © Omate

The Omate X has also ditched Android in favor of an RTOS (real-time operating system) by the name of Nucleus. This means both Android and iOS devices can be paired with the wearable.

The Omate X is also a stunner in the design stakes, with a great metal build and slightly curved display. At a rock-bottom 129 USD it's a frontrunner in the price stakes too.

Screen: 1.54-inch, curved TFT LCD Resolution: 240 x 240 pixels, 220 ppi
Size: 45 x 41 x 11.2 mm Processor: MediaTek MT2502A
Internal storage / RAM: 128 MB / 32 MB RAM Weight / IP: TBC
Price: Approx. 105 USD / 78 GBP Battery: 400 mAh
 

 

 

 

3. Pebble Steel

Pebble Steel Range
The Pebble Steel was the first smartwatch to truly look like a watch. © Pebble

Pebble rocked our smartwatch expectations a long time ago, but they never really delivered a knock-out device until the Pebble Steel. It has an all-new interface and more importantly, it looks fantastic.

It doesn't run on Android Wear, and it's not quite as kitted out with functionality as the new batch of Android Wear watches but there's no denying the Pebble Steel was the first smartwatch this year to make us realize smartwatches could actually look good too.

Screen: 1.26-inch square e-paper display Resolution: 144 x 168 pixels
Size: 46 mm x 34 x 10.5 mm Processor: ARM Cortex-M3, 120 MHz
Internal storage / RAM: 512 KB / 128 KB RAM Weight / IP: 56g / 5 ATM (50m)
Price: Approx. 199 USD / 155 GBP Battery: 130 mAh
 

 

 

 

4. Samsung Gear 2

samsung Gear 2 black
The Gear 2 switched to Tizen and refined the look of the original Galaxy Gear. © Samsung

Samsung's Gear 2 made the switch to the Tizen platform after the first Galaxy Gear wasn't received so well. The pimple-like wrist camera with terrible resolution was ditched and a little more attention was paid to the design of the watch, but it still looked much like the previous one.

Samsung is taking a bit of a punt on Tizen as an alternative wearable platform, flying in the face of Google's Android Wear. While we're happy to have a competing platform on the market, it will be hard for Samsung to compete with the Google juggernaut in the wearable OS stakes.

Screen: 1.63-inch square Super AMOLED Resolution: 320 x 320 pixels, 277 ppi
Size: 36.9 x 58.4x 10.0 mm Processor: Exynos 3250, 1.0 GHz
Internal storage / RAM: 4 GB / 512 MB RAM Weight / IP: 68g / IP67
Price: Approx. 289 USD / 235 GBP Battery: 300 mAh
 

Do you own any Android wearables? Which would you say is the best Android smartwatch?

Kris Carlon comes to the AndroidPIT Editorial Team via a lengthy period spent traveling and relying on technology to keep him in touch with the outside world. He joined the Android community while resurfacing in civilization back in 2010 and has never looked back, using technology to replace his actual presence in other people's lives ever since. He can usually be found juggling three phones at once and poring over G+ posts, Reddit and RSS feeds.

4 comments

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  • Shane Davis 3 weeks ago Link to comment

    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.

  • Xbmcplayer 1 month ago Link to comment

    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

  • Sean Stockemer 1 month ago Link to comment

    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.

  • Glostermeteor 6 months ago Link to comment

    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