2015 has come to a close, and while it’s all fun and games to look ahead to the future – as if CES gives us a choice, right? – it’s important to look back. Each month, we put together a list of the best smartwatches, that are compatible with Android smartphones, and as we enter a new year things seem to have peaked a little. There are a couple of new entries on the Android Wear front that couldn’t be further apart in terms of features and use case, but for the most part the status quo remains. For the smartwatch, 2015 has been an excellent year, and it signals good things for 2016.
10. Fossil Q Founder
Having just reviewed the Fossil Q Founder recently, this is a device that’s still quite fresh. Entirely a device that is more about looks than features, the Fossil Q Founder is an Intel-powered device with an LCD display complete with a Moto 360 flat-bottom look. It’s a chunky, well-made watch that does look fancy on the wrist, but there’s no heart rate monitor and aside from the fancy charging dock there’s little else from Fossil thrown on top of Android Wear. The custom watch face selection is poor, and it’s as basic as Android Wear gets. Still, if you’re a bring it yourself kind of user, the Fossil Q Founder’s chunky hardware might be a nice change of pace.
09. Sony SmartWatch 3
There’s a new sporty Android Wear watch in town, which takes one more plus point away from the SmartWatch 3. Launched last year, the SmartWatch 3 from Sony was a strange device that eschewed their previous work on their own smartwatch platform for Android Wear. The SmartWatch 3 is okay in its silicon state, but the stainless steel band is a sharp-looking watch, sadly Sony want a lot more on top for that as well. With GPS and standard microUSB charging, there are some high points here, but for the most part it’s a fairly unexciting square smartwatch.
08. ASUS ZenWatch 2
The ASUS ZenWatch 2, much like the original, is a great example that a smartwatch doesn’t need to have a round display to look good. With a svelte face thickness and some pretty nice software additions, there’s a lot to love about the ZenWatch 2. Like better battery life for one, as well as a refreshing simple and foolproof charging cable. However, it’s still a fairly standard watch, and it’s quite obvious that corners were cut to make this a little cheaper. For a modern Android Wear watch that won’t break the bank however, there are certainly worse options out there.
07. Motorola Moto 360 Sport
The Moto 360 Sport is an interesting option for those looking for a smartwatch that can pull double-duty as a decent tracker. Sure, the FitBit Surge exists, and other watches on this list have similar features, but they’re often too bulky or just too heavy. The Moto 360 Sport offers a casing and design built to be worn while on the move, and little touches like the built-in running app make it a great way of having a watch that well, acts like a watch, as well as something that can help you when getting it in wherever you might be. Add on top all of the Android Wear apps available for the fitness-inclined, and the Moto 360 Sport’s hardware makes a huge difference.
06. LG G Watch R
The G Watch R has been around for over a year now, and there’s very little wrong with the original blueprint that LG put together. This is practically an older Watch Urbane, and the P-OLED display is still as vibrant and sharp as it is on the Urbane today. With a design that will remind some of more sportier offerings from the last couple of decades, the G Watch R is a great watch, and one that has all the right features in the right places. It’s also pretty affordable now, and shouldn’t leave anyone disappointed. Our review of the G Watch R can be found here.
05. LG Watch Urbane
So you like the look of the G Watch R but don’t fancy the numbers around the dial? Well, LG has a classier, more traditional answer for you. The Watch Urbane comes in a silver as well as a gold option, and for the older user, this is a nice option. Paired with the right sort of strap of course, this is the sort of thing that should suit anybody. With the same features as most anything else on this list, the Watch Urbane is a well-presented package with an excellent display up front, and the only real complaints is that there just aren’t any more options available in colors or different sizes.
04. Motorola Moto 360 2nd Generation
The original Moto 360 was criticized for its ‘flat tire’ and pretty sub-standard battery life. Even so, it became one of the most popular Android Wear watches and one of the most popular smartwatches of 2014, period. So, what did they do with the new one? They made it better in every way, while also keeping some of its charm with the flat tire look as well even more options in Moto Maker for those looking for a little something different. Available in two different sizes, with a variety of different colors, accents and watch straps, there’s a lot of choice on offer and it’s a well-made piece of hardware to boot. You can read our review of the new Moto 360 here.
03. Samsung Gear S2
Samsung was a pioneer of sorts in the world of smartwatches, and the Gear S2 shows that they’ve steadily perfected their craft. With a fully-circular display, and an intriguing new UI, we found the Gear S2 to be a real joy to use when we reviewed it. Since then, AT&T now offer up a version that lets you take calls using your existing cell number, and Samsung has updated it with software updates and plan to keep doing so. The Gear S2 also works with other smartphones outside of the Galaxy camp as well, making this something that any can use, not just the Samsung die-hard of old.
02. TAG Heuer Connected
The TAG Heuer is one hell of a pricey smartwatch, and there is no way around that fact. Even so, it’s also one hell of a watch. Despite the fact that it’s all silicon on the inside instead of a Swiss movement, it’s still quite obviously a TAG Heuer. It’s big, hefty and well, says something when people notice it on your wrist. For a lot of people, the Connected will be simply too expensive, but the fact such a watch is on the market says a lot about the future for Android Wear and should help the platform achieve legitimacy.
01. Huawei Watch
For a watch that came out of nowhere, the Huawei Watch has become one of the best Android Wear watches out there, and there’s something to be said of the excellent build quality that Huawei have put together here. With a choice of different casings, as well as different straps, this is a real good-looking watch, and it actually looks like a watch. Unlike the Fossil Q or TAG Heuer Connected, Huawei might not have the branding in the watch market, but this has certainly made people take notice, and we have high hopes for a second version in 2016.