Best Wear OS watch 2020: our list of the top ex-Android Wear smartwatches

Picking the best Wear OS watch is a fun process but it’s also a daunting one. Much like Android runs on tons of different manufacturers’ smartphones, there are loads of different brands who make and sell Wear OS smartwatches.

These brands include Huawei, Fossil, TicWatch and Misfit, who continuously put out the best the platform has to offer. It means this list doesn’t have watches from Fitbit or Samsung as those wearables run their own operating systems. The best part of many manufacturers making Wear OS devices is that you can pick from a wide range of designs and prices to get whichever is best for you.

Similarly to Android, Google licenses Wear OS, so the software on these watches is very similar. It has a clean design and focuses on providing you with notifications from your phone while pairing with the watches’ physical sensors to track your health and fitness.

Some Wear OS watches will have heart rate sensors and some will have GPS built-in meaning you can go for a run or walk and it’ll still track your route even if you don’t take your phone. Some also have NFC so you can make contact payments, while all of the watches on this list will count your steps like a pedometer. 

We’ve also been sure to only include some of the latest Wear OS products, so rest assured these watches will all have recent software and won’t be outdated. Make sure to read the individual reviews for each smartwatch to make sure you pick the one that best suits your needs, tastes and budget. 

Looking for the greatest Wear OS watch money can buy? We currently think that's the Fossil Sport. It's not the very best smartwatch overall, and it doesn't boast many unique features but it does offer a fantastic all round package.

The Fossil Sport is a great combination of value and features in a lightweight body that you're able to wear comfortably day-to-day or when you're working out. There's GPS, the battery life often lasts around two days and you have access to all of the latest Wear OS apps too.

Our favorite part is that this is one of the first smartwatches to sport the Qualcomm Snapdragon Wear 3100 chipset. That means this watch offers a smoother experience than a lot of the others in this list, and if you're often frustrated by smartwatch software you may find this to work much better.

Overall, if you're looking for a smoother experience or an easy to use smartwatch. you're almost certain to enjoy the Fossil Sport.

Read the full Fossil Sport review

We'll jump right to it – the reason the TicWatch E2 sits so highly in this list is largely down to its price. It's one of the best cheap smartwatches money can buy, and it sports the latest in Wear OS software.

Compared to the last-gen TicWatch E, you'll get 30% better battery life here with our reviewer saying it lasted for over two days with average usage. You'll get less if you're using lots of fitness features though.

It's waterproof so you can take this watch into the swimming pool, there's GPS to track your location and there are lots of other features here too. It lacks NFC, so you can't use this for Google Pay but considering the price you'll likely love what the TicWatch E2 can do.

Read the full TicWatch E2 review

This watch from Mobvoi is a powerhouse that comes with two displays. That doesn't mean there's one display on each side of the watch, but instead it has a transparent LCD display on top of a full color OLED. When it's conserving battery, the watch will switch to the LCD screen that shows you the time, your step count and more.

The normal OLED screen will work like your average smartwatch, but the other display means the watch has much better battery life than a lot of the other watches on this list.

The TicWatch Pro also has a premium design, a heart rate sensor, great GPS tracking, NFC for Google Pay and much more alongside the latest Wear OS software powering the whole watch.

Read the full TicWatch Pro review

This watch is very similar to the TicWatch E2 on paper, and that's largely because it is. In fact, all of the spec is exactly the same here and the company has released two versions with different names because they have differing designs.

The TicWatch S2 stands for 'Sport' and that's because it has a more durable design than the E2 that is listed above.

It has military grade durability so it should be able to take a bit more of a beating than any other watch on this list making it suitable for adventurers as well as runners.

Other than that, you'll have two-day battery life, GPS, a waterproof design and all the other benefits of the latest Wear OS software. If you're trying to save money look at the TicWatch E2, but if you prefer this design the S2 isn't much more expensive.

Read the full TicWatch S2 review

Misfit's second attempt at a Wear OS watch is a positive step in the right direction with this new product solving a lot of the issues we found with the first generation. There's NFC here for Google Pay, GPS so you can track your runs and you can get it in two separate sizes.

The design of this watch is simple, and that may be something you're looking for from your smartwatch. There's either a 1.2-inch or 1.4-inch display in the center of the watch, which is more than enough room to navigate around Wear OS.

This is one of the best smartwatches for exercising, and the lower price point than some of the alternative smartwatches on the market makes the Misfit Vapor 2 an attractive option for a lot of people.

Read the full Misfit Vapor 2 review

This isn't our favorite device in the TicWatch range – which takes up a lot of places near the top of this list – and that's because it isn't as innovative as the TicWatch Pro. That said, it's still a good option if you're looking for an affordable smartwatch.

In fact, this is one of the most affordable smartwatches if you want GPS and Google Pay support in the same package. 

This isn't as built for fitness fans as a lot of other options on this list, but it does feature some elements for you to use to workout. With some impressive tech built-in considering the price, you should take a look at the TicWatch C2 before buying any other watch on this list.

Read the full TicWatch C2 review

Best Wear OS watch: Fossil Gen 5

 

The Gen 5 is a decent Fossil smartwatch but not a patch on the Fossil Sport sitting at number one in this ranking. The Gen 5 cost is more expensive without bringing too much else, but you might prefer its classic watch looks to the Sport’s more active design.

The Gen 5 comes in a larger Carlyle version or a smaller Julianna, but both have the same premium features like bright vibrant displays, GPS, a heart rate sensor, 1GB RAM and the latest Snapdragon Wear 3100 chipset, meaning it’s very fast and responsive. 

Its battery saver modes are genuinely useful and it has water resistance up to 30m, but it’s more expensive than other Wear OS watches and the speaker is poor.

Read the Fossil Gen 5 review 

The Huawei Watch 2 is an attempt by the Chinese company to widen the use of Wear OS watches. Huawei has tried to include a variety of new features in its latest smartwatch and it's not entirely clear if it succeeded with the Watch 2.

We like the built-in GPS and NFC on the watch as well as the option to have a 4G model, but the Huawei Watch 2 can be sluggish and the screen is a little small for some. 

This may suit you though with an attractive design and a plethora of features, but the price is much higher than the original Huawei Watch.

Read the full Huawei Watch 2 review

Photo illustration: TechRadar; Mobvoi; Huawei; Misfit

Source: techradar.com

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