Top 10 Best Android Smartwatches Buyer’s Guide – December 2016

Not that we expected such a thing to happen, but there's been little movement in the smartwatch world since the last time we did this list, and in fact there's little happening in the wearable space at all right now. Most will be waiting for 2017 to announce their new plans, and with Android Wear 2.0 launching some time in the Spring, there's going to be more to be excited about. For now though, what's a smartwatch fan to do? Well, there are still some excellent options available, and this week sees a couple of changes, as well as an alternative to the usual options. So, for those looking to see whether or not their Black Friday purchase was a good one, or see which is the best to get as a last-minute gift for the Holidays, keep reading.

10. Fossil Q Founder

The Q Founder was Fossil's first attempt at launching a smartwatch, and while it might not have been their best attempt, it has a lot going for it. Not the least of which is the fact that it's a chunky watch and will appeal to those looking for a good piece of metal for their wrist. It might not suit women or those with smaller wrists, but then Fossil have other options for that. Instead, the Q Founder was a good first attempt, and a watch that is well-made, feels good on the wrist, and has a classic design that's hard to argue with. Our review is here.

09. Motorola Moto 360 - 2nd Gen

The original Moto 360 arguably put Android Wear on the map, but it has been a long time since we saw a release from Motorola on the smartwatch front. The Moto 360 - 2nd Gen featured here is the latest from the firm, and while it might be a little long in the tooth at this point, it's available in a pair of different sizes, and features a standard watch band fitting to swap bands nice and easily, and it still runs the same version of Android Wear as everyone else does, which hopefully stays the same when Android Wear 2.0 launches, but that remains to be seen. A great smartwatch overall, these are good for those that want a good-looking timepiece as well as all the trimmings where smart features are concerned. Compared to other models that have a fully-circular display, however, the Moto 360's original formula has lost some of its sheen recently.

08. Polar M600

The Polar M600 was launched earlier this year, and while it tries quite hard to be the mega fitness watch many were hoping it'd be, it's too bulky and too expensive for most to really invest in. Where watches like the Moto 360 Sport and Huawei Watch might be subtle, this is an Android Wear watch that is anything but subtle, it's more of a cuff than it is anything else, and while this is personal preference, the trend has been to produce good-looking watches first, and gadgets second. Even so, the Polar M600 has excellent heart-rate tracking, and is easily the best on this list for outright fitness tracking, but it's too bulky to recommend to the majority of users out there, sadly.

07. Fossil Q Marshall and Fossil Q Wander

These two new watches from Fossil essentially dress up the older Fossil Q Founder design, although the Fossil Q Marshall on the right does mix things up a little bit. Both of these feature the same flat tire display and the same Snapdragon Wear 2100 CPU as well as the same selection of watch faces, too. Neither are particularly exciting, with neither of them featuring a heart rate sensor or anything out of the ordinary, but in terms of looks, these are some of the more attractive watches that will look good on the wrists of most people. It would have been nice to see Fossil try a little bit harder with their second attempt, but as far as looks are concerned, these are good options for the average user.

06. Mobvoi Ticwatch 2

The Ticwatch 2 has had an interesting path to market, with it starting off as a Chinese watch, and then turning to Kickstarter for funding to go global. It doesn't run Android Wear, and instead runs TicWear, a version of Android designed for the watch, and there are some fun features here. This features a speaker as well as a mic to make phone calls from the wrist, and there's more than enough on offer for those wanting a good-looking watch to deal with notifications. Wireless charging and a heart rate sensor round things out, and the overall package is one that should tick the majority of boxes for people. It does, however, have a few niggles here and there and could do with a cleaner way to install apps, but this is a solid alternative overall, and one that's fairly cheap at $200, too.

05. Moto 360 Sport

The Moto 360 Sport was on sale recently for Black Friday, and it's still a great watch to get even now. It's modern and sleek look will appeal to those looking for a smartwatch that's on the smaller side of things. Designed for those that want to do more sporty things with their smartwatch, the Moto 360 Sport can certainly live up to that, offering a great heart rate sensor, a waterproof band and casing and of course all the Moto body apps and a myriad of other options available in the Play Store. Well-priced and a good-looking smartwatch that will appeal to everyone, the Moto 360 Sport is worth looking into.

04. Michael Kors Access Collection

Available in Bradshaw and Dylan options, the above being the Bradshaw, the Michael Kors Access Collection is a pair of smartwatches that sport the same sort of innards as the Fossil watches, but of course sport Michael Kors designs. This extends to the selection of watch faces available here as well, but again, it's a shame to see those flat tire displays used here, as the Bradshaw in particular deserves better. Feature wise, there's again little to write home about, with there being no heart rate sensor or anything like that, and there's also no GPS or anything like that. For those wanting a good-looking watch though, it might be hard to beat the Bradshaw we reviewed here. The Michael Kors branding alone will be enough to bring in most users, but the overall look and feel will probably do the rest.

03. Nixon Mission

The Mission is Nixon's first attempt at a smartwatch, and what an attempt it is. We reviewed the Mission here, and as we said in our review, it does a lot that other smartwatches simply can't manage, such as being able to withstand depths up to 10ATM and take more than a few knocks here and there. It's a big and bulky watch, that's for sure, but with an excellent display - which could be better in direct sunlight - as well as specific use cases for snowboarders and surfers, the Mission has a lot to offer users. They can even customize the watch at the time of purchase, too, making their own unique Mission to wear on the daily or hit the waves with.

02. Huawei Watch

The Huawei Watch was another watch that was on offer during Black Friday, and even at full price it's still an excellent watch. Upgraded with the ability to make and take phone calls, the Huawei Watch has gone from strength to strength since it was first launched. The watch looks and feels like a real timepiece, and the myriad of different watch faces that are on offer really help to complete the overall package. A good-looking watch that has all the right Android Wear boxes ticked, this is arguably one of the better devices running Android Wear available right now.

01. Samsung Gear S3

The Gear S3 might have taken its sweet time in getting to the market, but considering that it's now on back order, it's clear that people have been looking forward to the device launching for some time now. With improved designs in both the Classic and Frontier models, the Gear S3 is a sort of marriage between traditional watch design and high tech gadgetry, and it comes together brilliantly. The bezel that moves to interact with the display is great fun to use and actually serves a great purpose and it's the sort of design that will appeal to all kinds of users, especially those looking for something different. The only downside to all of this is that there's no Android Wear here and instead, users have to deal with a quality, yet limited, version of Samsung's Tizen OS.

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About the Author

Tom Dawson

Former Editor-in-Chief
For years now I've had a heavy interest in technology, growing up with 8-bit computers and gaming consoles has fed into an addiction to everything that beeps. Android saved me from the boredom of iOS years ago and I love watching the platform grow. As an avid reader and writer nothing pleases me more than to write about the exciting world of Android, Google and mobile technology as a whole.