Android Wear has been going by the name Wear OS for a while and we're now blessed with more smartwatches running Google's operating system than ever before.
In 2019, it looks like we can expect more of the same with the likes of Fossil Group, tech companies like LG and Huawei and maybe a few newcomers set to launch new Wear OS smartwatches this year.
The full lowdown: The top smartwatches across all platforms
The good news is that Google has been spending some time (ahem) to make big improvements to its smartwatch platform. The Wear OS software has been revamped and is easier to use and it has improved support for pairing its smartwatches with iPhones, bringing it closer to the experience you currently get when you pair a Wear watch with Android smartphones.
Apps like Google Fit are now a better fit for the wrist too while Qualcomm's new 3100 processor is appearing in the latest crop of smartwatches, letting manufacturers stretch out battery life a little further.
Below, we'll go into detail on what the top Wear OS watches are right now, with links to our comprehensive reviews. However, if you want a quick snapshot of our current faves - here's our top picks right now.
Wear OS 2019 top picks
Skagen Falster 2
What‚Äôs most surprising about the Falster 2 is that it's still so light despite all the new tech that it packs inside. Skagen deserves praise for managing to, somehow, squeeze more tech into less space in less than a year.
Fossil Q Venture HR
The Q Venture HR is a Wear OS smartwatch that combines elegant design with must-have functionality and is every bit as stylish as its predecessor. It also boasts long-awaited tech upgrades to match its main rivals.
Casio Pro Trek WSD-F30
Like its predecessors, the WSD-F30 screams 'outdoors'. It‚Äôs a chunky watch with the kind of outdoor watch design hallmarks that instantly tell you this is another rugged timepiece, designed to withstand some serious rough and tumble.
Choosing the best Wear OS smartwatch
With so much choice now for both men and women, choosing the right Wear smartwatch is no easy task. So if you're looking to get a Google-powered smartwatch on your wrist sooner rather than later, here are all the key details on the top Wear smartwatches available now.
Here's all the key info on the best Wear OS smartwatches you can buy right now.
Fossil Q Explorist HR
The Fossil Q Explorist was a Wareable favourite, and the Q Explorist HR builds on that with new activity and sports tracking features, making it a better fitness performer. It still looks the part, but Fossil has now added a heart rate monitor, built-in GPS, a waterproof design (with swim tracking support) and even NFC for Google Pay.
In fact, having payments alone makes this a better watch. Oh, and it doesn't just look good; it's super comfortable to wear.
Onto the bad points: the sports tracking, while most definitely present, doesn't perform as well as we'd like. The GPS is generally fine, but the heart rate monitor struggled to keep in check with the chest strap. Gym heads, there are better performers out there. But for anyone who doesn't demand tip-top accuracy for those intense workouts, you'll be fine.
The star of the show here though is still its looks, which makes the inclusion of the other features all the more impressive. This is one of the most beautiful Wear watches you can buy for men. If you've got smaller wrists, this may not be a great option, but for everyone else, there are very few other smartwatches that look better.
Wareable verdict: Fossil Q Explorist HR review
Fossil Q Venture HR
For women, the Q Venture HR may be a preferable choice over the Explorist HR. You still get the heart rate monitor, built-in GPS, waterproof design and NFC, but its 40mm case will be a better fit for smaller, slimmer wrists.
It's really maxing out on style with nine cases to choose from and a body that's just 13mm thick, meaning it won't stand out for the wrong reasons. In testing, the heart rate monitor performed about as well as it did on the Explorist HR. So, good for casual workouts, but it won't cut it for more intense exercise. GPS performance isn't fantastic either.
We do like that it's now 50m water resistant, making it an option for swimmers too. But even if none of that matters to you and you just want a regular, user-friendly smartwatch, this is a great option for a good price.
Wareable verdict: Fossil Q Venture HR review
If you don't want to spend big on a Wear smartwatch, the Ticwatch E2 is in our opinion the best budget option available right now.
Joined by the Ticwatch S2, the E2 becomes the first Mobvoi smartwatch to feature a waterproof design. With that new waterproofing, it also adds some pretty impressive swim tracking features for the price too.
The size of the watch has jumped up ever so slightly, so it's still a bit on the chunky side, but it does mean there's room for a heart rate sensor and GPS with all the big satellite support covered.
It still has a lovely touchscreen and Mobvoi's additional health and fitness apps nicely compliment Google's own apps. With Wear running things, you can expect all the standard features, so you'll have more customisable watch faces and access to Google Assistant. You won't have access to Google Pay.
You can expect a battery life of 1-2 days, so it's nothing groundbreaking on that front. But if you're looking for an affordable, well-balanced watch with decent sports tracking skills, we think you're going to like it.
Wareable verdict: Ticwatch E2 review
Montblanc Summit 2
Montblanc's first Wear smartwatch was a bit of a disappointment. It was light on features, but it was the ordinary design that really let us down. Thankfully things have changed in a big way and the second generation smartwatch is more worthy of a place on your wrist.
Inspired by Montblanc's 1858 collection, the Summit 2 looks like a beautiful watch let alone a smartwatch. It houses a crisp, 1.2-inch 390 x 390 AMOLED display to show off Montblanc's original watch faces and it comes with a lovely interchangeable leather band.
On the features front, there's built-in GPS, a heart rate monitor and a waterproof design to make it more durable than its predecessor. Google's Wear OS runs the show of course with Montblanc largely making its presence felt through the added watch faces and some travel-centric apps that are nice additions.
Battery life is around the Wear OS norm giving you a day and half with a battery saver mode giving you a little extra watch time.
It's one of the best looking Wear smartwatches we've had the pleasure of wearing and if you're willing to spend big, you won't be disappointed.
Wareable verdict: Montblanc Summit 2 review
Tag Heuer Connected Modular 45
Another one for those in the market for a luxury smartwatch, this 'Swiss Made' 45mm beauty is available with titanium, ceramic and 18K rose gold finishes. It'll also provide you with a modular design, which essentially means you're free to switch out the electronic watch with a traditional mechanical Tag module such as the Calibre 5 or the chronograph Tourbillon Heuer 02-T. Mixing up the lugs, straps and buckle is also an option, with 56 different versions available at launch.
There's an Intel Atom Z34XX processor powering performance, 4GB of storage memory and a battery life of around 24 hours. There's also built-in Wi-Fi and GPS to give it standalone smarts, NFC to let you make payments from the wrist and water resistance up to 50 metres.
For more on the watch, check out our Tag Heuer Connected Modular 45 review. And seeing as this device is on the bigger side, those with smaller wrists may want to check out the Tag Heuer Connected Modular 41.
Michael Kors Access Runway
The Michael Kors Access Sofie was a firm Wear smartwatch fave and with the Access Runway, you're getting the same sleek watch packed with more smarts.
Like the Fossil Group's other four generation smartwatches, this 41mm beaut with 18mm lugs manages to fit in built-in GPS, a heart rate monitor and NFC for Google Pay. That's also all wrapped up in design that's now fit for the swimming pool.
It's made from stainless steel and comes in a range of nine styles including gold, silver, rose gold and pav√© finishes and Michael Kors' first silicone smartwatch straps to make it more fitness tracking friendly.
Based on our experience, the new fitness features are not up to scratch for serious sports men and women and we'd definitely appreciate more battery life. But if you want a Wear watch that looks the part and delivers of all those core Wear features, it's definitely one to consider.
Wareable verdict: Michael Kors Access Runway review
Kate Spade New York Scallop
Kate Spade was one of the last of the Fossil Group brands to get the Wear treatment, and it's without doubt one of the standout additions to the Google smartwatch clan.
First and foremost, the New York Scallop looks the part, with a 1.19-inch, 390 x 390 resolution touchscreen display and no flat tyre in sight. It features a polished stainless steel case that comes in both a gold and rose gold finish, with both 16mm metal and black/cream leather straps available. It's built for daintier wrists, although we'd still see Fossil go a little slimmer in the future.
In terms of features, this is a third generation Wear smartwatch from the Fossil Group so doesn't get the new raft of features. You'll be able to customise watch faces, download apps, receive smartphone notifications and access Google Assistant when you press down on the crown. It also works as a fitness tracker, which is powered by Google Fit.
The good definitely outweighs the bad on this stylish third generation Wear smartwatch built for women.
Keep in mind that the Kate Spade Scallop Smartwatch 2 is now out. While we haven't yet given it a full review, it does add GPS, heart rate and NFC for Google Pay. Thus, Kate Spade has stopped selling the original - you can still pick it up on Amazon though.
Wareable verdict: Kate Spade New York Scallop review
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Skagen Falster 2
The Danish watch brand is renowned for making gorgeous, minimalist watches. After impressing us with its hybrids watches and very first Falster Wear smartwatch, it's back with the Falster 2, which is another gorgeous connected timepiece.
The Falster 2 channels the same 'less is more' design values with a smaller 40mm watch case, making it just small enough to be considered unisex. You also have your pick of leather or steel bracelet bands that should appeal to a range of tastes.
There's now also a heart rate sensor, built-in GPS, a waterproof design and Google Pay support. Like its predecessor it opts for more watch faces to choose from and streamlining information so Falster 2 owners are not constantly overloaded with data.
Like the rest of the Fossil Group's 4th Gen watches, it's a little disappointing on the sports tracking front, but the inclusion of Google Pay without impacting on its sleek design is enough to warrant a spot in our top Wear picks.
Wareable verdict: Skagen Falster 2 review
Casio Pro Trek WSD-F30
If you want a Wear smartwatch that's built for the outdoors, your only real option at the moment is Casio's Pro Trek, which has improved with every iteration.
The WSD-F30 is Casio's third outdoor Wear watch and it's slimmed down while retaining that same rugged, military-grade exterior. It has built-in GPS, but no heart rate monitor and dual display technology to help conserve battery life when you're out on those big treks.
Casio chucks on some its own useful apps to aid you on your outdoor pursuits and put the collection of sensors onboard to good use. You get all the usual Wear OS features too, although there's no Google Pay love here for contactless payments.
It offers a good mix of smartwatch and outdoor watch features and if you can live with some compromises, it's definitely one to take a look at.
Wareable verdict: Casio Pro Trek WSD-F30 review
The Fossil Sport is the first affordable Wear OS smartwatch to run on Qualcomm's new tech that aims to make performance improvements across the board including ramping up battery life.
Aside from those under the hood improvements, this is the smartwatch in Fossil's collection that's actually the most suitable for getting sweaty with. The waterproof Sport comes in either 41mm or 43mm case sizes with both packing built-in GPS, a heart rate monitor and swimproof designs. It's one of the most comfortable Wear smartwatches we've worn and it's certainly one of the most colorful options you can opt for too.
Alongside standard Wear OS, Fossil preloads a few handy apps including Spotify and Noonlight, an app that can send alerts to emergency services. The inclusion of NFC means you get Google Pay here too for contactless payments.
From performance point of view, its fitness and sports tracking skills are good, but not fantastic. Battery life is still around the norm of a day and a half, but should improve when Google releases its "H" Wear update that brings a new battery saver mode.
It's a well priced, fun-looking smartwatch that might not be the ultimate fitness companion but is a good showcase of what Google's OS can do.
Wareable verdict: Fossil Sport review
LG Watch Sport
If you still want the most complete Wear smartwatch experience out there, then the LG Watch Sport is still the one of the best, despite its age and the fact that it's becoming harder and harder to find.
It's packing a 1.38-inch, 480 x 480 P-OLED display giving it the best Wear display out there. It's also got a lot of oomph in the engine room, with a 1.1GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon Wear 2100 processor and 768MB of RAM. What that means in the real world is a super snappy Wear experience with the new standalone apps loading without a stutter.
But it's the inclusion of the GPS / NFC / LTE connectivity trio that really sets it apart. Thanks to that holy trinity, it's the first - and still only - Wear smartwatch that really could consider itself a genuine smartphone replacement.
The bad news is that it's bulky and ugly. Also, it's so old that LG doesn't sell it anymore; on Amazon, you'll mostly find used versions for sale. So if you want one, you need to act quick.
Wareable verdict: LG Watch Sport review
If you want a Wear smartwatch that takes sports tracking up a notch, the Polar M600 is still for us one to go for.
It syncs directly to the excellent Polar Flow, and not only will your smartphone be able to display all your stats, but all that data is also synced to the cloud so you can dig deeper using the Flow desktop client or the browser based version. What's more, if you don't trust the optical heart rate monitor on the M600 (you really should though), you can pair it with a dedicated chest strap ‚Äď and it doesn't even have to be a Polar one.
It gives you the kind of sports tracking you'd expect to find on Polar's GPS sports watches and by combining that with the best that Wear OS has to offer. It's still our pick of the sporty Wear smartwatches.
Wareable verdict: Polar M600 review
It's an oldie, but it's still very much a great Wear watch in our eyes. When we first reviewed the original Huawei Watch, we called it the slickest looking Wear smartwatch but lamented that those good looks came at a premium.
But now? Now it's one of the best Wear OS deals you can get. See, Huawei has since released a second Wear OS smartwatch, the Huawei Watch 2, and then it went and abandoned Wear OS for Lite OS, it's own proprietary operating system. It even released a Lite OS watch, the Watch GT. That means that there are plenty of bargains to be had when buying the original, which is better than the Watch 2 in the style-stakes.
The AMOLED display is a 1.4-inch, 400 x 400 screen with a 286ppi count. That used to be the highest on any Wear device until the LG Watch Sport came along.
Huawei is no longer selling it, but if you're willing to shop around you should be able to get it at a good price on Amazon. Have a look at our Huawei Watch review to see why you shouldn't write off this old timer just yet.