There were only a few decent smartwatch options in the early days of Android Wear — mainly from Motorola and LG. Since then, the platform has been rebranded to Wear OS, and many other companies have joined the Wear OS party. We’re now seeing Wear OS watches come from fashion brands and watchmakers instead of smartphone OEMs. There are plenty of options out there, but which ones are the best? Here are our picks for the best Wear OS watches and best Android watches you can buy.
Why choose Wear OS in 2021?
Wear OS has seen better days. It’s been some time since Google released a major update to the platform. However, that will change soon: Google announced a big Wear OS update in May that will supposedly roll out to devices later this year. Many details about the new version are up in the air, though, including what it’ll look like, how it’ll perform, and more. We do know a few things about the new Wear OS, which you can read about here.
With all that said, the current version of Wear OS does have some things going for it. First, tight integration with Android: whether you’re interacting with a notification or asking Google Assistant a question, the experience between your smartwatch and your smartphone should be relatively seamless. Wear OS is a lot like Android proper in that it provides choice to the user. Need something sporty for your outdoor activities? There’s a watch for that. Looking for a classier smartwatch that actually looks like a traditional timepiece? Yep, there are watches for that use case as well.
The best Wear OS watches
- The Mobvoi TicWatch Pro 3 is the best Wear OS watch you can buy. It’s running on the latest hardware and has awesome battery life.
- The Fossil Gen 5 is the best last-gen Wear OS smartwatch. It’s available in lots of styles and still (mostly) holds up today.
- The Skagen Falster 3 is another great Wear OS watch. It has the same hardware as the Fossil Gen 5, only it was designed by Skagen.
- The Suunto 7 is the best Wear OS watch for fitness. It’s a full-fledged GPS multisport watch with Wear OS.
- The Moto 360 (2019) is one of the best Wear OS watches to buy for battery life. It can easily last two days on a single charge.
Mobvoi TicWatch Pro 3: The best Wear OS watch
Mobvoi’s TicWatch Pro 3 is the first smartwatch with Qualcomm’s new Snapdragon Wear 4100 chipset. This, coupled with 1GB of RAM, makes for overall good performance and stellar battery life. While some materials seem a little cheap, the Mobvoi TicWatch Pro 3 is still our pick for the best Wear OS watch you can buy.
If you’re looking to save some cash but don’t want to sacrifice the 4100 chipset, check out Mobvoi’s new TicWatch E3. The $200 wearable shares many of the same specs as the TicWatch Pro 3 but cuts a few corners to keep the price down.
- Great battery life
- Zippy performance
- Dual display is ace
- Improved design
- Accurate heart rate sensor
- Dire companion app
- Inaccurate sleep and fitness tracking
- Cheap strap
- Less durable than previous models
Check out our full review to learn more about the TicWatch Pro 3.
Fossil Gen 5: An oldie but a goodie
The Fossil Gen 5 smartwatch makes the best of a strange software situation with excellent hardware and performance. It has 1GB of RAM and Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 3100 SoC, which means the performance is great.
Even the software is a positive. Google hasn’t prioritized Wear OS as it should, but it’s nice to have quick access to Google Assistant, Calendar, and other Google apps.
Looking for something with LTE connectivity? You’ll want to check out the Fossil Gen 5 LTE.
- Crisp, bright display
- Plenty of great watch faces preinstalled
- Useful custom battery modes
- GPS, NFC, and heart rate sensor
- Accurate fitness tracking
- The built-in speaker is handy
- So-so battery life
- Pokey performance in 2021
- It can be expensive when not on sale
Check out our full review to learn more about the Fossil Gen 5.
Skagen Falster 3: Same as the Gen 5, but different
The Skagen Falster 3 fixes all the performance and battery issues that plagued the first two Falster smartwatches. It has essentially the same specs as the Fossil Gen 5 (above), as well as its fantastic custom battery modes that really help it eke out as much battery as possible. There’s also a built-in speaker, so you can hear Google Assistant talk to you and answer phone calls directly on the watch through Bluetooth.
If I had one complaint, it’d be that this watch is too expensive. So is the Gen 5, but the Falster 3 rarely sees discounts.
- Simple, clean design
- All-day battery life
- Useful custom battery modes
- Performance is greatly improved
- The built-in speaker is convenient
- Wear OS can be very buggy
- It can be expensive when not on sale
Check out our full review to learn more about the Skagen Falster 3.
Suunto 7: The best Wear OS watch for fitness tracking
Suunto is new to the smartwatch space, and its first offering, the Suunto 7, is a solid first try.
It’s the best smartwatch you can buy from Suunto, for starters, and it’s absolutely the best Wear OS watch for fitness. You get access to Suunto’s wonderful Heatmaps feature, a super cool Heatmaps watch face, and the watch syncs with Suunto’s smartphone app.
However, fitness and health stats are split up between the Suunto app and Google Fit, which is frankly a big misstep. The heart rate sensor is also not up to par with some other fitness watches. This might not be the watch for diehard Suunto users.
Even with its caveats, the Suunto 7 is a solid Wear OS smartwatch, and definitely one of the best Wear OS watches you can buy today.
- Durable, high-end design
- Solid performance
- Accurate GPS tracking
- Plenty of workout modes and health features
- Two-day battery life
- Activity metrics split up between Suunto app and Google Fit
- Not compatible with external HR sensors
- Wear OS has limitations that hinder the overall experience
- Too pricey for the feature set
Moto 360 (2019): One of the best for battery life
A company called eBuyNow resurrected the iconic Moto 360 line with a new Wear OS device in 2019. The Moto 360 (2019) is an overall fantastic Wear OS smartwatch. The display, performance, and battery life are all top-notch and exactly what you’d want out of a modern Wear OS watch.
Any negatives? It’s pricey. The charging puck is also pretty bad. If you like the design, though, you should consider picking one up. I don’t think you’ll be sorry.
- Classy design
- Good battery life (for Wear OS)
- GPS, NFC, and HR sensor are all here
- (Mostly) accurate heart rate sensor
- Bad charging puck
Check out our full review to learn more about the Moto 360 (2019).
Why you should trust the editor
Not only does Jimmy Westenberg love wearables, he loves helping people find the right devices to suit their needs. He’s been our resident fitness reviewer at Android Authority since 2016, and in that time, has reviewed dozens of fitness products and other wearables.
Through his rigorous testing of fitness products and deep knowledge of health devices and services, you can rest assured knowing Jimmy will give you honest recommendations. Looking for more brand-specific recommendations? Check out the following guides: