The best Wear OS smartwatches: Android watches from Fossil, Huawei and more

Our faves from an ever growing group of Google-powered watches

Android Wear has been going by the name Wear OS for a while now, and in 2018, we were blessed with more smartwatches running Google's operating system than ever before.

In 2019, we are expecting more of the same with the likes of Fossil Group, tech companies like LG and Huawei and maybe a few newcomers likely to launch new Wear smartwatches over the coming year.

The full lowdown: The top smartwatches across all platforms

The good news is that Google has been spending some time (ahem) making big improvements to its smartwatch platform. The Wear OS look 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 with Android smartphones.

Apps like Google Fit are now a better fit for the wrist too while Qualcomm's new 3100 processor is set to appear in the next crop of smartwatches, letting manufacturers stretch the battery life further.

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.

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Fossil Q Explorist HR

The best Wear OS smartwatches: Android watches from Fossil, LG and more

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; it's something we wish we could have with all Wear OS smartwatches. 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

$255, | Amazon

Fossil Q Venture HR

The best Wear OS smartwatches: Android watches from Fossil, LG and more

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 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

$255, | Amazon

Ticwatch E

The best Android Wear smartwatches: LG, Tag Heuer, Huawei, Asus, Polar and more

If you don't want to spend big on a Wear smartwatch, the Ticwatch E is in our opinion the best budget option available right now.

Joined by the Ticwatch S on Kickstarter in 2018, maker Mobvoi decided to ditch its own operating system for Google's on the 45mm watch – one that 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.

Wareable verdict: Ticwatch E review

$159.99, | Amazon

Louis Vuitton Tambour Horizon

The best Wear smartwatches: LG, Tag Heuer, Huawei, Asus, Polar and more

For the big spenders that like the idea of your Wear smartwatch having a more luxury feel, Louis Vuitton's debut smartwatch certainly fits the bill.

The travel-centric Tambour Horizon models its design on LV's existing Tambour Moon watches, helping make it one of the most attractive watches on our list. Even the charging setup screams luxury.

It doesn't bother with sporty features like GPS or a heart rate monitor, which is to be expected, but disappointingly doesn't include Google Pay support, either. As far as putting its own spin on Wear OS goes, Louis Vuitton makes more effort than others, including LV Guide and My Flight apps that are built for travellers, and that will help pinpoint places to visit when you're away and even make it easier to board your flight.

You can expect battery life to be around the day mark, but be warned it's a bit of a slow charger in comparison to other Wear watches.

Overall though, the 2017 Wareable Tech Awards nominee is a beaut of a smartwatch and definitely one we've loved living with.

We should mention though that a Louis Vuitton Tambour Horizon 2019 edition is on the way and will include Qualcomm's new Wear 3100 chip, which among a host of improvements does give battery life a boost.

Wareable verdict: Louis Vuitton Tambour Horizon review


Tag Heuer Connected Modular 45

The best Android Wear smartwatch: LG, Tag Heuer, Huawei, Asus, Polar and more

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.

From $1,550, | Amazon

Michael Kors Access Runway

The best Wear OS smartwatches: Android watches from Fossil, LG and more

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 pavé 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 one to consider.

Wareable verdict: Michael Kors Access Runway review

From $350, | Amazon

Kate Spade New York Scallop

The best Wear smartwatches: LG, Tag Heuer, Huawei, Asus, Polar and more

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. But it doesn't have the ability to make contactless payments or have a heart rate monitor or built-in GPS.. Battery life should be enough for a day, so you can expect to be charging it every night.

But the good definitely outweighs the bad on this stylish third generation Wear smartwatch built for women.

Wareable verdict: Kate Spade New York Scallop review

From $325, | Amazon

LG Watch Sport

The best Wear smartwatches: LG, Tag Heuer, Huawei, Asus, Polar and more

If you want the most complete Wear smartwatch experience out there, then the LG Watch Sport is still the one of the best, even if it's looking a little long in the tooth now.

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 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.

Yes, you'll have to contend with the bigger than average body, and it's not the prettiest, but if you want the most feature-packed Wear watch, this is it.

Wareable verdict: LG Watch Sport review

$349, | Amazon

Skagen Falster 2

The best Wear OS smartwatches: Android watches from Fossil, Huawei and more

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

Prices start at $275,

Polar M600

best Android Wear smartwatch

If you want a Wear smartwatch that takes sports tracking up a notch, the Polar M600 is still for us the 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 – 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

$299.95, | Amazon

Huawei Watch

The best Wear smartwatches: LG, Fossil, Huawei, Polar and more

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.

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.

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.

From $219, | Amazon

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  • Jamnoggin·

    I did pick up on that patronising heading too. It's not the listing of the category, they are entitled to review whatever product they wish, but the choice of words is somewhat insensitive to forward thinking human beings. "Best fashion watch" would be preferable, especially as the article lists both the Sophie and the Greyson anyway..

  • MotionCo·

    I wish the WearOS was more like a real android. It looks like it is, but it is very limited. Only certain apps can be run on it with limited capabilities. I bougth an android watch for a specific app to control my tennis ball machine, but unfortunately it doesn't work on WearOS. :( I wish I knew this before I bought it as I got it only for this specific task.

    • 2meterpeter·

      Great article and nice content. Well done.

      In reply to MotionCo:
      "I bougth an android watch for a specific app to control my tennis ball machine, but unfortunately it doesn't work on WearOS. :("

      hahaha! One of the best first world problems comments I've seen in a long time.

      In all serious though I've got a galaxy watch and a little disappointed in 2019 with its limitations - no reliable app for philips hue and a bigger disappointment that there is no google assistant integration on it's tizen software at all, especially now the Google home hub is like magic in comparison with how it can control stuff around the house.

      Oh well. It looks good and lasts two days with AOD on. I was going to try and explore IFTTT but hopefully future updates, maybe an official hue app or even google assistant work around and better apps will come.

  • paul.wong·

    Love this watch