Big news: Android Wear is no more. Well, the name has been ditched. Google has decided to rename its smartwatch operating system Wear OS by Google. Along with a new name, Google is aiming to improve support for pairing its smartwatches with iPhones, bringing it closer to the experience you currently get with Android smartphones.
Still, choosing the best Wear smartwatch is no easy task. There's an ever-expanding range of Wear wearables on sale, from a whole host of different brands. It's not just tech companies that are making them these days.
Wear 2.0 is now running at full speed, with smartwatches from the likes of Tag Heuer, Montblanc, ZTE, Asus, Huawei and Fossil rocking the updated operating system, and most older watches aksi running the newer platform.
The full lowdown: The top smartwatches across all platforms
The good news for iPhone owners, too, is that Wear does play nicely with iOS, so you don't have to go for an Apple Watch if you want a smartwatch companion in your life.
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.
Best Wear smartwatch: LG Watch Sport
The flag-carrier for Wear, the LG Watch Sport is the undisputed king of the Google smartwatch world right now. It taps into the rich feature set of the smartwatch platform and doesn't disappoint.
The 1.38-inch, 480 x 480 P-OLED display is, pixel for pixel (348ppi), the best Wear display so far. It's also got the most 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 Wear smartwatch that really could consider itself a genuine smartphone replacement. It's the best all-rounder from the Google stable so far, and the most likely to worry the bods over in Cupertino. The Huawei Watch 2 and the newest Tag smartwatch (below) also boast this level of connectivity, but the LG Watch Sport remains our top pick.
Have a look at our comprehensive LG Watch Sport review.
Best luxury Wear smartwatch: Tag Heuer Connected Modular 45
The leading luxury smartwatch, this 'Swiss Made' 45mm beauty is available with titanium, ceramic and 18K rose gold finishes and will 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 newly announced, smaller Tag Heuer Connected Modular 41, which we have now cast our verdict on.
If Tag isn't for you, there's also the Louis Vuitton Tambour Horizon, which doesn't include as many bells and whistles. You won't find GPS or NFC payment support here, but you will find an expertly crafted luxury watch that perfectly matches your Louis Vuitton luggage. If you do want Google Pay, and something a bit less expensive than Louis Vuitton, there's the Movado Connect and Emporio Armani Connected to consider, too.
Best Wear smartwatch for running: Polar M600
With the Moto 360 Sport, we finally had an Wear smartwatch to rival the Sony SmartWatch 3's GPS skills, but it's Polar's M600 that is now easily the best Wear option for runners.
Your M600 syncs directly to Polar Flow, and not only will your smartphone be able to display all your stats, but all that data is 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 – and it doesn't even have to be a Polar one.
Read our full Polar M600 review for more info.
Best cheap Wear smartwatch: Ticwatch E
If you don't want to spend big on a smartwatch, the Ticwatch E is in our opinion the best budget option available right now.
Joined by the Ticwatch S on Kickstarter earlier this year, maker Mobvoi decided to ditch its own operating system for Google's on the 45mm watch which packs in a 1.4-inch OLED display plus a heart rate sensor and has a GPS sensor built into the strap.
That means you can track your runs and rides without your phone by your side, offering compatibility with Movboi's fitness suite and third party fitness apps. With Wear running things, you can expect all the standard features including the ones introduced in Wear 2.0. So you'll have more customisable watch faces and access to Google Assistant. You won't however have access to Google Pay, which is disappointing.
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.
Read our Ticwatch E review to find out more about the money-saving smartwatch.
Best Wear smartwatch for women: Michael Kors Access Sofie
The first generation Michael Kors Access series consisted of two models: the Bradshaw Access and Dylan Access, both based on bestselling women's and men's Michael Kors watches. Now there's two newer additions, the Access Grayson and the Access Sofie, with the latter being the more female-friendly version of the duo.
It's available in a number of different styles, including gold, rose gold, silver and sable-tone. Crucially, it still delivers that fairly blingy, pretty smartwatch look that we're fans of. The 42mm watch is still a little on the chunky side, but it's definitely slimmed down from last year's devices, so dimensions are heading in the right direction.
As far as unique features are concerned, it's added a new My Social 'micro app' for watch faces to offer greater customisation, letting you use Facebook and Instagram pictures as faces.
Again, you have to make do without features like NFC for Google Pay and LTE to leave your phone behind, but if you want a Wear watch that looks the part and delivers of all those core Wear features, it's one to consider.
Best Wear smartwatch for basics: Asus ZenWatch 3
The Asus ZenWatch 3 is a solid smartwatch that's all about style with some nice custom twists from Asus. It's also a much better device thanks to its Wear 2.0 update.
Battery life on the ZenWatch 3 isn't bad by smartwatch standards. We managed to squeeze a little over two days on average, but that's with moderate, mostly passive use; mainly just checking notifications from time to time.
Best Wear smartwatch for outdoor adventures: Casio Pro Trek Smart WSD-F20
The iconic Japanese watchmaker was quick to give us a successor to the WSD-F10 and this time around it has included GPS – the big omission from the original.
What hasn't changed is that rugged outdoor look, nor its rugged, outdoor adventure credentials. It's water resistant to 50 metres, and it's been built to military standards (MIL-STD-810). The onboard GPS also unlocks more outdoor-focused features, including GPS-based watch faces (think altitude and compass widgets).
Casio has a bunch of its own apps designed for adventurers, as well as third-party apps such as ViewRanger, MyRadar and Yamap, and a monochrome mode is available for when you're running low on battery, giving you a month's life if you're just using it in normal watch mode.
Find out more by reading our in-depth Casio Pro Trek Smart review.
Most discreet Wear smartwatch: Huawei Watch
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.
Fast forward a couple of years and, with the Huawei Watch 2 now on sale, there are bargains to be had when buying the original model, which we think still beats out its successor in the style-stakes – we really wish the Huawei Watch 2 had stuck to this simple design. In terms of actually looking like a watch, nothing comes close to the Huawei Watch.
The AMOLED display is a 1.4-inch, 400 x 400 screen with a 286ppi count. That was (before the LG Watch Sport came along) the highest on any Wear device and Huawei's effort is made all the more impressive thanks to a 10,000:1 contrast ratio. Side by side with the smaller Moto 360 2 – its closest rival in terms of aesthetics – it's clearly a better display. Not just because it offers genuine 360-degree visuals, but because everything just looks sharper.
Have a look at our Huawei Watch review to see why you shouldn't write off this old timer just yet.
Wear: New watches coming soon
As well as our picks above, there will be Wear smartwatches landing over the next few months. We're talking official, announced, devices here, not rumour mill fodder.
The biggest name (literally) is the Hublot Big Bang Referee 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia 2018. This is the Swiss watch brand's first ever smartwatch and is a tie-in with the major football tournament, which takes place in the summer. Along with the usual Wear features, it will also offer football-centric features like the ability to follow games in real-time and referees at the World Cup will be able to access goal line technology and the video assistant referee as well.
Despite the quiet arrival of some of the Movado Group's Wear long-awaited options, we're still awaiting the release of the Tommy Hilfiger TH24/7You.
So, while the smartwatches detailed above are the ones we consider to be the best currently on sale, it may be worth doing some reading around to see what's yet to come before making your choice and handing over your cash. We also expect even more Wear-toting watches to be teased throughout the rest of the year.
Shop for recommended Android Wear watches on Amazon
Wareable may get a commission