Top 10: Best Android Smartwatches Buyer's Guide - January 2017

With 2016 come and gone and a new year of technology ahead, a new round of smartwatches are likely to make their way into the spotlight over the course of the year. It's still early and there are yet to be any new smartwatches announced so far in these first couple of weeks that consumers can get their hands on, but it won't be long before some of them are available on store shelves and there are still quite a few that were announced late last year that are worthy options for those looking to buy into the smartwatch ecosystem. With that said, if you're in the market for a smartwatch here are ten devices worth considering.

Fossil Q Founder

Fossil's round of Android Wear smartwatches were never the poster child for a perfect smartwatch, let alone one running Android Wear, but that doesn't mean that they weren't good smartwatches. On the contrary, they simply were just too similar to other devices out there to win over a majority of the consumer who were interested in smartwatches. Nevertheless, Fossil has been making watches for quite some time and that fact alone makes their Android Wear smartwatch a worthy one. The Fossil Q Founder was simply one of a few options they offered, and it's more classic and traditional look that evoked a standard watch is a perfect fit for anyone who wants something that appears less like tech and more like a timepiece.

Polar M600

While most Android Wear smartwatches are reminiscent of a more standard watch, the Polar M600 is one that is almost entirely geared towards those who want something sporty. It has a silicone band and watch case and it screams "sports watch," and it should as Polar makes other similar devices that are aimed at consumers with a fitness-oriented lifestyle. It's design as well as features like built-in GPS make it a great option for anyone who loves to exercise, and it has a nice, big display to interact with while also running Android Wear so it's much more capable than many of the other sports wearables on the market.

Samsung Gear S2

It might be an older model, but the Samsung Gear S2 is still a viable option for an interested Smartwatch buyer. It comes in both a standard and classic edition which makes it perfect for the undecided who aren't sure whether they want something with a more traditional look or something that is better fit for exercise. It's also got long battery life and it's compatible with more than just Samsung Galaxy smartphones, making it possible for other Android devices to use the watch as well. It tops things off with unique features like the rotating bezel for accessing applications, as this prevented the user from having to touch the display as often.

CASIO Pro Trek

CASIO's first entry into the smartwatch market wasn't a huge hit, but CASIO is back with another device this year and is looking to give it another go with the Pro Trek, their new Android Wear smartwatch that was announced at CES this year. While not yet available for purchase, the Pro Trek aims to run Android Wear 2.0 at launch so it will come with all of the goodies that the new software has been promising, such as Android Pay support. It's kept the rugged style that CASIO's first smartwatch had, so it'll be perfect for the outdoorsy types that want something more durable. It's also water resistant and it comes with a slew of different sensors including an altimeter, barometer, and a compass, which should prove useful when out on any excursions and such. There's no listed price yet, but it launches April 21st and is sure to be one of the more expensive options.

Fossil Q Marshal & Fossil Q Wander

These are Fossil's more recent smartwatch options and are featuring a couple of updates like the new Snapdragon Wear 2100 processor that was designed just for smartwatches and wearables by Qualcomm. They also feature a slightly updated design (the Fossil Q Wander more so than the Fossil Q Marshal) and since it's Android Wear they have mostly the same great experience that other Android Wear smartwatches have. You can buy these both in a variety of different customization options including different colored watch cases, silicone, leather, and metal bands, and just like most of the other Android Wear smartwatches they feature removable straps so you can find the perfect watch band that meets your taste.

Moto 360 2nd Gen.

The Moto 360 line (both 1st and 2nd Gen.) were once the darlings of the smartwatch world and while they're still great smartwatches, they have been usurped by a few others at this point, mostly due to their age and the improved styles of newer watches. Still, those looking for an all around solid smartwatch with great customization need look no further than the Moto 360 2nd Gen. Although the flat tire look may not appeal to everyone, there are those that won't mind this particular detail and instead will focus on things like the great looking micro knurl bezel option one can possess. Although these are no longer available in the Google Store, you can still find them on Amazon and they're slated to receive Android Wear 2.0 when it launches so the software will be current.

Micahel Kors Access Dylan & Bradshaw

Those wanting something a little more refined at least in terms of the brand have the Access Dylan and Access Bradshaw from Michael Kors. The designer name will be recognizable, and just might convince someone who was on the fence about smartwatches to decide to give them a go. Although they look similar to the options from Fossil, there are some slight differences like a slightly wider watch case, as well as a more sporty look in the Dylan model, keeping in mind that this is still Android Wear, and will have the same software experience as pretty much every other Android Wear smartwatch.

Huawei Watch

Although the Huawei Watch is beginning to get a little bit long in the tooth, it's still one of the best Android Wear smartwatches (and for that matter smartwatches in general) that's ever hit the market and this is due in large part to its more traditional and upscale design. It comes with a completely circular display that many will find immensely appealing compared to the many watches that have the flat tire look, and it's available in both a standard model as well as two separate models designed for women. It also features things like the speaker, which most other smartwatches don't have giving it a slight advantage over many options.

Nixon Mission

Nixon's Mission smartwatch certainly won't be everyone's cup of tea, but there's no denying that this is one slick smartwatch coming from a brand that is known for making some damn fine watches. It carries the standard design and style you'd expect from Nixon, which is a more ruggedized outer shell thanks to the chunky metal watch case and thick silicone rubber strap. As this is one of the newer smartwatch options that came to market late last year it's featuring Qualcomm's new processor designed just for wearables, the Snapdragon Wear 2100, and it has other useful specs and hardware features like GPS (naturally), as well as water resistance, and the ability to connect to Nixon's Trace Technology for tracking snow and surf sessions.

Samsung Gear S3

It might not run Android Wear but that doesn't make it any less of a great smartwatch. Carrying on from the Gear S2, the Gear S3 is compatible with both Samsung's Galaxy smartphones as well as other Android devices, which makes it all the more appealing. Coming in both Classic and Frontier models gives consumers the option to choose a more traditional style or a watch that keeps things looking a little more sporty and adventurous. Both models feature built-in GPS, and Samsung is coming out with an LTE-capable model so you can use the watch without a connection to your smartphone or Wi-Fi networks. Both models also support Samsung Pay (with a compatible Galaxy device) and they feature dust and water resistance for protection from the elements. The rotating bezel also makes a return for easy navigation of your apps. For now, the Gear S3 is simply the best smartwatch available.

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About the Author
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Justin Diaz

Head Editor
Lover of food, craft beer, movies, travel, and all things tech. Video games have always been a passion of his due to their ability to tell incredible stories, and home automation tech is the next big interest, in large part because of the Philips Hue integration with Razer Chroma. Current Device: Google Pixel.