Smartwatches have taken the fitness world by storm, to the point that it’s common at many gyms today to see more people with a smartwatch than without. It’s easy to see why, too – smartwatches offer tons of passive benefits, even for folks who don’t go to the gym every day. Smartwatches can monitor your heart rate, help you adjust your sleeping habits, and even let you take calls or texts while your phone is on the treadmill counter.
Still, it’s taken me awhile to jump on the smartwatch bandwagon. Don’t get me wrong, they’re very interesting gadgets through and through, but I initially failed to see exactly why they were necessary unless you planned on using them every day. After all, I thought, aren’t smartwatches mostly for fitness fanatics?
But I was browsing Amazon one day and stumbled onto a selection of smartwatches for Android phones. Since I have an Android phone now, these seemed like perfect fits. The more I investigated, I found that the smartwatches on display weren’t only for people wanting to track their fitness progress. In fact, smartwatches are great for all kinds of uses, including people who like to pay without a physical card or guys like me who just enjoy having fun gadgets to fiddle with.
Suffice it to say that I plunged down into a smartwatch rabbit hole I’m ultimately glad I checked out. I delved deep into some of the best new smartwatches of 2020. Plus, you benefit – I found some of the best Android smartwatches on the market for you to examine yourself. Note that many of these also work for other phones, like Google Pixel devices or iPhones. But I did specifically tailor the search for watches compatible with Android devices.
Anyway, let’s get down to it!
- Top 10 Android Smartwatches to Buy in 2020 – At a Glance
- Best Smartwatches for Android Users in 2020
- 1. Samsung Galaxy Watch 3 – Best Overall Samsung Android Smartwatch
- 2. Samsung Galaxy Watch Active – Best Value Samsung Fitness Smartwatch
- 3. Fitbit Versa Lite – Best Affordable Android Smartwatch
- 4. Fossil Sport – Best Android Smartwatch for Fitness/Sports Enthusiasts
- 5. Fossil Gen 5 – Best Wear OS Watch
- 6. TicWatch E2 – Best Wear OS Smartwatch You’ve Never Heard Of
- 7. TicWatch Pro – Best Value Smartwatch with Two Screens
- 8. Skagen Falster 3 – Best Looking Android Smartwatch
- 9. Fitbit Versa 3 – Best Health + Hybrid Android Smartwatch
- 10. Amazfit Bip – Best Cheap Android Smartwatch
- Buyer’s Guide
- Final Verdict
Top 10 Android Smartwatches to Buy in 2020 – At a Glance
- Best Overall Samsung Android Smartwatch – Samsung Galaxy Watch 3
- Best Value Samsung Fitness Smartwatch – Samsung Galaxy Watch Active
- Best Affordable Android Smartwatch – Fitbit Versa Lite
- Best Android Smartwatch for Fitness/Sports Enthusiasts – Fossil Sport
- Best Wear OS Watch – Fossil Gen 5
- Best Wear OS Smartwatch You’ve Never Heard Of – TicWatch E2
- Best Value Smartwatch with Two Screens – TicWatch Pro
- Best Looking Android Smartwatch – Skagen Falster 3
- Best Health + Hybrid Android Smartwatch – Fitbit Versa 3
- Best Cheap Android Smartwatch – Amazfit Bit
Best Smartwatches for Android Users in 2020
Last update on 2020-11-17 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
1. Samsung Galaxy Watch 3 – Best Overall Samsung Android Smartwatch
There are few smartwatches that impress as totally as the Samsung Galaxy Watch 3. Even I, with my more minimalist fashion sensibilities, found myself constantly tinkering with and playing with the watch since there’s just so much to do. I guess that also means it’s like an adult toy – you’ll never stop checking the watch and investigating its features if you like gadgets as much as I do!
Let’s get down to the details. For starters, the Galaxy Watch 3 offers multiple styles to choose from, allowing you to customize it to your aesthetic. There are two sizes in total (ideal for both men and women) and three colors. But more importantly, each new Android smartwatch comes with military-grade durability for the watch face. Basically, this means you won’t totally bust the watch if you accidentally slam it into the wall (guilty as charged).
But it’s also a great watch for taking out on a run, even in inclement weather, since it’s built with water resistance in mind. It can do all this even with a battery that lasts for over 24 hours on a single charge. Granted, it’s not the best smartwatch battery life you can find, but it’s certainly enough battery life to suit most folks’ needs.
What does the battery power? You’ll be able to connect the galaxy Watch 3 to your Android phone. This means that it’s the perfect watch for taking calls and connecting with your friends and peers while on the go. Even better, it connects via very strong Bluetooth signaling, and you’ll be able to opt-in to call notifications or text messaging indications for the same feature. This constant “plugged-in” nature makes it a great smartwatch for those who never want to be without their phone’s communication lifeline.
But it’s one of the best Samsung Android watches for fitness purposes as well. For instance, the Galaxy Watch 3 can record your ECG for up to 30 seconds, which is pretty standard across the fitness smartwatch industry. You do need an ECG-compatible smartphone for this to work, but most folks who are interested in this watch will already have a Galaxy smartphone to begin with.
The proprietary ECG monitoring app can also check for the signs of atrial fibrillation (which is a kind of irregular heart rhythm). Sharing the reports from the watch with your healthcare provider is extremely easy since the watch works with the proprietary Samsung Health Monitor app – again, this is when the watch is connected to a standard Galaxy phone.
Add to that an automatic sleep tracker (which can tell you how well you sleep every night), a highly-accurate GPS tracker for your runs, and a stress level monitor and you have a fantastic, health-improving watch that makes it suitable for high-energy, go-go-go professionals.
In this way, it’s an ideal GPS smartphone watch for those who already like their Galaxy smartphone and want to add even more functionality to it. All this focus on data might leave your security sensitivities tingling. But I found that the watch also came with multilayered digital security to keep your data safe. One last thing I noticed – it comes with voice control functionality and can even read your texts to you so you don’t have to take your eyes off the road.
The downside? Ultimately, this Android Samsung watch is great if you have the money, but it’s also easily one of the most expensive Android smartwatches on the market. Then again, if you’re after the best of the best, there’s nothing (that I found, at least) that beats the Galaxy Watch 3.
2. Samsung Galaxy Watch Active – Best Value Samsung Fitness Smartwatch
There are those of us who aren’t interested in super-expensive smartwatches, and I can’t blame you! For myself, I usually opt for gadgets and devices that are good enough rather than being top-tier, especially since cutting-edge gadgets usually have a few bugs or kinks to work out. To that end, I present the Galaxy Watch Active: an Android smartwatch with many of the same features as the last but without the exorbitant price tag.
It’s also a watch more straightforwardly designed for fitness fanatics. You can tell this by the fact that it can detect up to six exercises while you’re moving, plus track your results or progress for up to 39 more. It’s a perfect pick for crossfit enthusiasts or regular gym-goers who want to tangibly mark their progress as they go up in weight or shed pounds.
More than that, the watch can also help you rest better by analyzing your sleep patterns and setting automatic alerts to help to wind down and go to sleep at the same time every night. Considering that most modern sleep research indicates that setting a regular bedtime (and not staying on the computer until midnight) does wonders for your rest quality, this is a great feature that more smartwatches ought to offer.
The watch can also send you real-time alerts if it detects a low heart rate. Thus, it’s a great pick if you do have a heartbeat irregularity and your doctor has recommended that you keep an eye on the anomaly for the foreseeable future.
Alright, so it’s a great fitness watch. But what does it bring to the table in terms of raw enjoyment? It’s a lightweight but durable watch and I found it to be comfortable while exercising or when wearing it daily. Furthermore, it’s totally swim-ready since it’s waterproof and comes in a decent selection of colors. The bands are interchangeable, so it’s a fun watch if you like to adjust your look from time to time instead of being stuck with a single watch color.
The watch can also work with both Samsung Android smartphones and iOS phones so long as the operating system is 9.0 or higher. Most will still want to pair this with a Samsung smartphone, however. Once paired, it can sync with a music playlist and give you text or call alerts like most modern smartwatches on the market. It’s a smartwatch with long battery life and can run for up to several days on a single charge.
Ultimately, it’s a great alternative to the Samsung Galaxy Watch 3 if you want something more affordable with many of the same features.
3. Fitbit Versa Lite – Best Affordable Android Smartwatch
Many smartwatches are simply too expensive for lots of regular people to get their hands on them. This is a shame, considering that smartwatches are fun and versatile devices that offer much more value than just a little exercise assistance. This being said, I was able to find a few more budget-friendly Android smartwatches on the market.
The Fitbit Versa Lite is, undoubtedly, one of the best Android watches I saw. The price, however, can oscillate depending on the color of the band, meaning that some Versa Lites are cheaper than others if you’re willing to stick with an ugly color. For instance, the bright, bubblegum pink color is the cheapest on the market at the time of this writing.
But for some, aesthetic is secondary to function, so the Versa Lite will ultimately be a great fit. Like most smartwatches, it can track a variety of daily activities 24/7, plus give you valuable data about your heart rate and sleep stages. It does all this pretty reliably since it has a four-day battery life with a single charge (though of course this varies based on how much you use it).
In total, the Versa Lite comes with over 15 exercise modes so you can record your workouts and connect to a smartphone for integration with various fitness apps. It also has pretty good GPS recording accuracy, meaning it’ll reliably track your pacing and distance. It’s a great, affordable smartwatch for runners who are more likely to be interested in a watch that works rather than a watch that turns heads.
The relatively wide screen allows you to access a multitude of apps without fumbling with the buttons – something I hate with other smartwatches. It also pairs pretty quickly to various smartphone types and can receive texts and other app alerts. If you pair the watch with an Android device, you can send quick replies to text messages or calls at the touch of a button. This is a really handy feature for those who primarily wear the watch while exercising and who don’t want to mess up their groove in the middle of a workout.
I also really like the slim and comfortable design of the watch. The watch’s body is made with lightweight and anodized aluminum. This just means that it won’t corrode very easily (something to consider if the watch rests on a sweaty wrist often). It’s also water resistant down to 50 m, meaning it’s functionally waterproof.
With all these plus sides, there are negatives to consider. As mentioned, some of the cheaper colors are pretty shockingly ugly. Furthermore, the watch does have some lag when you try to engage multiple functions at once. This can make the interface feel unintuitive or unresponsive. But it’s still a decent, affordable Android smartwatch all in all.
4. Fossil Sport – Best Android Smartwatch for Fitness/Sports Enthusiasts
Some Android smartwatches are relatively gender-neutral, while others trend clearly toward one side of the sex spectrum. The Fossil Sport is clearly one of the latter, and I found that it fit perfectly on my more masculine wrist compared to many of the others on this list. Indeed, it’s designed for use by men (though women can still technically make it work) in terms of its aesthetic and a few of the features.
For example, many smartwatches designed to be used for women have women’s health fitness apps to track female-only health issues. This watch lacks those functionalities in exchange for more general features, like heart rate and activity tracking through Google Fit and fantastic built-in GPS tracking. This makes it a great watch for hiking or running, particularly in places where you’re a newcomer.
I mentioned Google Fit for a reason: this watch comes built with Google Assistant functionality ready to go. It’s super easy to engage this feature through voice commands alone, though be warned – the speaker isn’t super great at actually picking up your voice sometimes. But the Assistant is still a valuable feature overall, as it allows you to do things like:
- Check out at various stores using the smartwatch
- Download third-party apps with the touch of a button
- Customize the watch face
- Handle your music storage and controls
- Set various alarms and alerts
- Engage an LED flashlight
- And more
There are, as you can see, a lot of practical tools built into this watch. This Android watch for men is a great casual or sportswear accessory for this reason alone. The watch does come with a downside in that it only has around 24 hours of battery life, whereas many other smartwatches come with longer lifespans of a few days on a single charge. Still, this downside doesn’t offset the sheer value offered here.
This Android men’s watch is extremely lightweight, built with an aluminum case and a durable silicone band. The bands are interchangeable and the watch comes in multiple sizes, but they all maintain the relatively rugged and minimalist aesthetic lots of men appreciate the Fossil brand for in the first place.
Is it right for you? I enjoyed my time with the Fossil Sport. But I also think there are flatly better options within this Android smartwatch review. It’s ultimately the best Android smartwatch for men who want something decidedly masculine and functional above all else.
5. Fossil Gen 5 – Best Wear OS Watch
Many of the best Android smartwatches will, in fact, not be powered by an Android-specific OS at all. Instead, they’ll work with Wear OS: a special operating system developed by Google to work with most smartphone devices and offer intuitive functionality for the small screen sizes typical of most smartwatches on the market. Plus, Wear OS smartwatches are really great choices if you have an advanced Google Pixel phone. The Fossil Gen 5 is one of those, and it benefits from it tremendously.
For instance, it offers both a high-power and multi-day extended mode. This means the watch can last for up to 24 hours for faster responsiveness or for multiple days on lower power settings. It also comes with Google Fit built into its software. You’ll benefit from enhanced GPS tracking your distance measurements and for maintaining your fitness goals, wellness enhancements that let you track your sleep history, restfulness monitoring, heart rate monitoring, and much more.
Wear OS also allows you to customize the watch face with a startling degree of freedom. You don’t just get to pick from a few pre-made templates. Instead, you can personalize the display with tons of images or colors and select what information is always viewable on the watch screen. It offers hundreds of apps for downloading, including social, news, game, fitness, and payment apps all with the same interface.
Additional women’s health apps make this one of the best Android smartwatches for women. But it’s a great smartwatch for Google Pixel phones, too, since you can benefit from some Google-only apps and features through the Wear OS.
It’s also a durable watch through and through, featuring a swim-proof design and a durable band that comes in silicone, leather, and metal options. Furthermore, this is one of the few smartwatches that can make calls without caveats or poor performance. It’s very easy to make and answer calls using the watch as long as it’s synced to your phone. Furthermore, voice quality is usually quite high for both ends of the conversation.
I also really liked the USB cable that comes with this heart rate monitor smartwatch. This includes a magnetic charger that can snap to the rings on the watch’s case back, plus spin 360° for easy charging in any environment. The charge time is also pretty rapid – it usually only takes about 90 minutes to go from no power to fully charged.
It’s not the most noticeable watch on the market, but the customization and the fantastic spread of included features really make it worth most folks’ time in my opinion. Check it out if you want something intuitive, advanced, and well worth the middling asking price.
6. TicWatch E2 – Best Wear OS Smartwatch You’ve Never Heard Of
Most of the best Wear OS smartwatches are paired with cornerstone designers or brands, like Samsung, Fitbit, etc. However, there are a few lesser-known brands that combine the functionality and ease of use of Wear OS with their own unique spins on the smartwatch template. I really like the TicWatch E2 for this reason.
Let me break it down. Like all Wear OS smartwatches, it connects to online app stores and offers hundreds of apps for download as soon as you boot it up. It’s compatible with both Android and iPhone devices, so finding a selection of fitness and other apps that are perfect for your interests and needs is relatively quick and painless.
It also comes with Google Assistant built-in, which offers that AI’s staple functions like caller identification and notifications for your various installed apps, and easy integration with Google Pixel phones.
This Android Wear watch is also water resistant and swim ready; it can go down up to 50 m underwater without breaking. The rest of the watch is pretty durable, featuring a thick rubber/silicone band and a hard metal watch body. Even better, TicWatch offers a 30-day moneyback guarantee and a 12-month warranty for manufacturer issues. Talk about peace of mind!
It offers some great fitness-oriented apps and functions as well. The built-in GPS feature is fairly accurate, even when you’re away from civilization centers or big cities. Furthermore, the watch can accurately and reliably track your heart rate and other bodily functions.
What makes this watch stand out? In my opinion, this is one of the best Wear OS smartwatches you can get since it’s so affordable due to not being associated with any big brand. It still comes with all the same important features and design benchmarks you’d expect, like two-day battery life and Qualcomm Bluetooth chips for a strong connection. But you get all that value without having to pay up to 30% or 50% more just for brand-name recognition.
The downside? This Android Bluetooth watch is pretty thick and heavy compared to many others on the market, so those with thinner wrists might be interested in a different watch that doesn’t feel so solid on the wrist. But if you’re a gym-goer or exercise enthusiast, this is arguably one of the best fitness watch choices you can make.
7. TicWatch Pro – Best Value Smartwatch with Two Screens
Two screens? What am I on about?
Let me break it down. Some smartwatch faces are built with dual-layered screens to offer two modes of functionality. The TicWatch Pro is one of those devices. In a nutshell, its dual-layered watch face comes with an LCD screen on top that offers a long-lasting battery life of up to 30 days. This “essential” screen will allow you to keep using and enjoying the smartwatch for weeks on end, making it an ideal long-term hiking or camping companion if you won’t be able to recharge the watch for some time.
Beneath the LCD screen is an AMOLED screen, which works when the watch’s “smart mode” is engaged. This necessarily drains battery life more quickly, but it still offers a long-lasting battery life of between two and five days depending on the functions you use. In this way, the TicWatch Pro is versatile and reliable when other smartwatches might run out of battery and leave you hanging in a pinch.
There are other reasons that this watch made this review of the best Android smartwatches, of course. For instance, it’s built with 1 GB of RAM to ensure fast and smooth operation without lag. It’s also built with the Wear OS by Google, so it supports Google Assistant and allows you to benefit from:
- Voice call functionality
- Sleep and heart rate tracking
- Hundreds of apps between iOS and Android app stores
- A ton of fitness measuring functions, including how many calories you burn, how fast you run, GPS tracking, and more
- Phone calls – you can place and accept calls depending on your situation
- An ambient light sensor
- Music playback
- SMS, call, and other app notifications and reminders
- Quick reply functionality if you pair the watch to an Android device
Ultimately, there’s a ton of value contained in this small device. It’s not even excessively heavy (though the watch face is a bit thicker than many of the others I’ve showcased so far). The band is made of rugged silicone, and the rest of the watch is durable and waterproof. The watch even comes with a 12-month manufacturer warranty and a 30-day moneyback guarantee.
However, I did notice a striking downside in that the Bluetooth connectivity tends to quit if you had to go to another room or separate your watch and phone for longer than a couple of minutes. You’ll likely have to re-pair your phone and the watch over and over. Even so, I’d heartily recommend this watch for fitness enthusiasts or folks who want advanced devices that they can rely on over a long time.
8. Skagen Falster 3 – Best Looking Android Smartwatch
In my eyes, a great Android smartwatch should be sleek and slim to reflect the utility of the overall device. It’s not usually worthwhile to get a gaudy, heavy, or overly designed piece of hardware. That style is better suited to simple timepieces that you wear more for the way they accentuate your outfit or ensemble.
The Skagen Falster 3 is perhaps the best-looking Android smartwatch that I found in my search. But remember that this is ultimately a subjective measure, and what I think looks good could differ significantly from your own opinion.
The Skagen Falster 3 is minimalist and all-black by default, although it comes in eight styles in total. Regardless, each smartwatch is designed with band interchangeability, so you can quickly swap the style of your smartwatch if you purchase additional bands on the manufacturer’s website. But the exterior isn’t the only worthwhile part of this smartwatch.
For instance, it’s powered by Wear OS and works with both Android and iPhone smartphones. This, accordingly, comes with all of the bells and whistles you’d expect, including heart rate and activity tracking features from Google Fit, plus high-tech built-in GPS to track your distance traveled and other metrics. It’s also a great watch for swimming since it’s essentially waterproof down to 50 m.
It’s also one of the most rapid response smartwatches on the market, featuring 4 GB of storage and 1 GB of RAM. You’ll be able to download practically any third-party app and use it instantaneously. The watch is also built with Google Assistant by default, so it works well for receiving and making calls using the onboard speaker and microphone. You can also play music and customize your interface to your heart’s content.
An additional magnetic USB rapid charger is included, allowing you to go from no power to full power in a little over an hour. In my opinion, the hardware could use a little work even if the integrated software is everything you could want. There are some finicky parts and sometimes the watch fails to respond to physical button commands. Still, since it’s not overly expensive, it’s a great minimalist watch for those who like the style.
9. Fitbit Versa 3 – Best Health + Hybrid Android Smartwatch
Some smartwatches are designed for fitness fanatics from the ground up, while others only include fitness apps and functions as afterthoughts. The Fitbit Versa 3 is one of the former, and I was easily able to tell just from a quick look at the watch and its included features.
For starters, the Versa 2 includes an enhanced heart rate monitoring app that allows you to track your heart rate consistently 24/7 without any hiccups, even if you take the watch into water or alternate between running and walking. It even features an “Active Zone” function that can monitor your resting heart rate to accurately gauge your exercise effort. The watch will physically buzz to make sure you step up your intensity appropriately.
It also comes with Amazon Alexa built in, affording you access to tons of excellent apps and features like weather apps, reminders, smart home appliance control, and much more. The watch can take voice commands, though the speaker is a little iffy at times depending on the background noise, and it also comes with excellent built-in GPS functionality.
But most importantly, the Versa 3 comes with a 90-day trial of Fitbit Premium, making it easily one of the best Android smartwatches for heavy exercisers. This gives you access to additional fitness tracking apps and timers. I found the trial helpful if not absolutely necessary, but others will undoubtedly feel differently.
Furthermore, this phone watch for Android allows you to store and play music pretty easily through both Pandora and Deezer, or control Spotify if you have the latter installed on your connected phone. Plus, the watch comes with six days of battery with a full charge and you can get a full day of charge in as little as 12 minutes when it’s plugged in.
What’s not to like? If you don’t keep Fitbit Premium, the watch becomes pretty easy to miss. There aren’t any features that distinctly set it apart from most others on the market, and it’s not the most affordable Android smartwatch, either. Still, I’d recommend checking it out if you do like to use smartwatches primarily as fitness accessories and think you’ll benefit from the included Fitbit Premium subscription.
10. Amazfit Bip – Best Cheap Android Smartwatch
Last but not least, I have to point out this exceedingly affordable Android smartwatch for those on tight budgets. Granted, this smartwatch isn’t going to reinvent any wheels and won’t overly impress. But it can be a good pick if you want a smartwatch for its basic functions and conveniences and don’t care about getting a top Android smartwatch.
The Amazfit Bip, however, may have the best Android smartwatch battery life I’ve seen. Charge it for 2.5 hours and you’ll get over 30 days of battery life. This might even be the longest battery life in the industry (though I can’t check every smartwatch on the market at the moment!). It also comes with 10 separate sports modes to track different exercise activities, like cycling, yoga, and more.
The built-in GPS is reasonably accurate and can help you track your steps each day, how many calories you burn, and your sleep quality. The heart rate monitor is also pretty decent. Both features are bolstered by the colorful display that’s among the easiest to read when you’re outside. Take note, however, that this is a relatively limited smartwatch in that you need Android 5.0 or iOS 10.0 or above to sync it to your smartphone.
Again, the downside is the watch’s relatively limited design options and general cheapness. While it’s ostensibly waterproof, it’s definitely not as airtight as other models. It’s also not as durable overall, and each watch only comes with relatively simplistic band options. Still, this could be a good choice if you don’t mind going cheap for something basic.
The thing about most smartwatches is that you can’t really tell whether they’re a good buy unless you give them a try. So I did! After all, you wouldn’t want to try out a new smartphone if the guy recommending it hadn’t given it a shot personally, right?
This took a little finagling, but through some offers to manufacturers for an unbiased review of their Android smartwatches, and by looting the wrists of some of my fellow staffers here, I was able to get my hands on all of the above smartwatches for an in-depth look. With the latter sources, I was also able to get some hands-on information about what the watches were good for and if there were any real downsides (which is how I learned about some of the above cons in terms of functionality or hardware deficiencies).
After collecting a bunch of notes and writing down bullet points, I sat down to write the review. After getting to the end of the smartwatch comparison, I ultimately bought and kept the smartwatch that I liked more than any of the others. What can I say? I’m a sucker for slick devices that offer tangible benefits to my daily life. Plus, maybe this will motivate me to head to the gym a little more often and start tracking my fitness goals.
How exactly did I break down the best Android smartwatches from the dozens (maybe even hundreds) on the market right now? Let me show you a buyer’s guide you can use to determine the rough value of a new Android smartwatch and help determine whether it’s a good pick for your needs.
First off, all smartwatches will have some measure of Bluetooth compatibility. What I mean by this category is how well that Bluetooth functionality works out. Some smartwatches can’t maintain a Bluetooth connection past 10 feet, while others can easily go upwards of 30 feet while maintaining a crystal-clear connection for music or phone call playback purposes.
Obviously, more range is usually better, especially since it means that the watch’s connection to your Bluetooth enabled device will be steadier and more consistent, reducing lag across the board.
You should also look into how easy it is to re-pair a phone to a Bluetooth watch for Android in case the two devices get disconnected. Some smartwatches come with an automatic reconnection functionality, which is a nice boost to user convenience.
OS and Google Pixel Compatibility
Next, consider what operating systems or phone types a given smartwatch works with. Obviously, all of the above smartwatches will be compatible with Apple and Android devices (usually Android software at 5.0 or above is fine, though there are a few exceptions detailed in some of the smartwatch reviews).
However, some can also work with iOS devices or with Google Pixel devices. Google Pixel devices aren’t as common as Android or iOS phones, but they come with additional features and compatibility bonuses if the smartwatch in question also has Google Assistant or Fit.
Some people like to collect devices from the same brand or manufacturer for improvements like this. The best smartwatches for Google Pixel phones will pair more quickly, benefit more broadly from Google Assistant voice commands, and ultimately have access to a few extra apps and control features.
Consider buying a smartwatch that works with Google Pixel if you already have some Google devices in your collection.
How’s the GPS on the Watch?
Most smartwatches also come with GPS navigation features, but the quality of those features can vary dramatically. In the worst cases, the “GPS” offered on a smartwatch barely qualifies and can’t be relied on to any meaningful degree.
Other smartwatches with GPS are so accurate that you can rely on them when navigating unfamiliar territory or hiking off-road. It all depends on the watch. I made sure to distinguish which smartwatches had great GPS functions in the above Android and Google smartwatch reviews.
Can the Watch Connect for Phone Calls?
While all smartwatches can connect to smartphones, only some of them will allow you to make and receive phone calls from the same paired device. This feature is hit or miss depending on the quality of the speaker and microphone attached to the smartwatch in question. A smartwatch that makes calls isn’t worth much if you can’t have a clear conversation with whoever you’re calling.
Still, this feature can be worthwhile if you get a smartphone that has both a great speaker and microphone and phone call functionality. It’s a good way to maintain a conversation while you’re working out or if you’re trying to hustle to work without having your phone in your hand. But it’s far from an absolutely necessary feature for most users.
What Other Features Does the Smartwatch Have?
Lastly, be sure to do a thorough rundown of any other features or apps that a smartwatch might come with or offer. More smartwatch features are usually great, especially since extra apps or functions are paired with smartwatches with more RAM or better hardware to handle the extra computing.
For example, advanced smartwatches might contain extra fitness apps for tracking dozens of different sports, or offer additional payment apps so you can go card-less when shopping. Other smartwatches might come with music playback features and apps – these are a particular focus of mine since most folks want to listen to music while they work out. Doing so wirelessly with a smartwatch and phone with a strong Bluetooth connection is easy and enjoyable.
Bottom line: which Android smartwatch would I stick with if I had to choose?
I’m not normally about picking the most expensive option on the market. But in this case, the Samsung Galaxy 3 Smartwatch won me over in the end. There’s just too much that’s useful and fun about it for me to pass it up (which is why I ultimately ended up buying that one after trying the others).
Basically, it’s got it all – excellent compatibility with various smartphones and other devices, a great design, easy connectivity, and some of the best available fitness apps and other functionalities at my fingertips. While I do wish that I had a slightly better battery life compared to many competitors, it’s not an issue since I’m usually good about remembering to plug in my devices every night.
But that’s just my choice. You might very well choose something different based on your needs and your budget level. If you’re in doubt, remember what I went over in the buying guide to determine the best Android smartwatch for your unique needs.
Q: What is the best smartwatch for Android phones?
A: In my opinion, the flat-out best Android-compatible smartwatch is the Samsung Galaxy 3 watch, which combines lots of innovative features with excellent design and durability (aside from relatively short battery life). But the best smartwatch for you depends on your budget level and the features you’re looking for.
For instance, do you want something more stylish and slick? Try the Skagen Falster 3. Or if you want something super affordable with most of the major features you can find in modern smartwatches, check out the Amazfit Bip.
Q: What can a smartwatch do?
A: Most smartwatches offer a host of similar features. Smartwatches are all usually based on tracking a few fitness or health-related metrics, but more advanced watches will include additional functions based on whether they have compatibility with Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa, and similar voice assistant features.
Some smartwatches can:
- Allow you to pay for things remotely without a card
- Make and accept phone calls when paired with a smartphone
- Receive and respond to texts
- Play games and media
- Guide you through unfamiliar territory with GPS navigation
- And more
Q: Do all smartwatches work with Google Pixel?
A: Most smartwatches are compatible with Google Pixel at this time, but not all. The fact is that Google Pixel is still not as common as either iOS or Android’s various operating systems, so smartphones are designed for those two options more frequently. Most of the smartwatches above do work with Google Pixel, and a great way to tell whether a watch is compatible or not is if it comes with Google Fit or Assistant by default.
Q: How do smartwatches check your heart rate?
A: The exact process might differ from watch to watch, but the basics are the same. Smartwatches with heart rate monitors feature a sensor on the bottom of the base that hovers over your wrist. This projects green light onto your skin. Since the green light isn’t absorbed by the tissue beneath your epidermis, it’s reflected back to the sensor. By measuring the variations in the green light, the smartwatch can calculate your heart rate with variable accuracy.
Q: Are smartwatches good for kids?
A: Letting kids use smartwatches, as with any smart device, comes with risks and rewards. Although many features are designed with adults in mind, the health tracking features that are prominent in smartwatches hold a lot of value. Knowing if our children are sleeping well, getting enough exercise, and have steady heart and breathing rates is a huge, even life saving, benefit.
On the other hand, as parents we need to be vigilant with smart devices and ensure that our children aren’t exposed to content they aren’t ready for or don’t understand. So, we need to be careful which devices we choose and what parental controls they have. Our list of recommended smartwatches for kids should help your buying decision if you choose to give your child a smartwatch.