What is the Best Android Smart Watch ?May 17, 2019
It seems like every year we are treated to a bunch of new Smart Watches, 2019 is no exception. Although, this year it does seem like we have a lot more Android options. I have put together this list to help you with one very important question, What is the Best Android Smart Watch ?.
As always, I will run through a few different categories. I will go over the Best Android Smart Watch, Best 2nd Place, and Best Budget Android Smart Watch. After reading through this article you should have a clear idea of which Android Smart Watch is for you and why.
1. Samsung Galaxy Watch
Best Android Smart Watch
- Great Fitness Tracking
- Impressive Super AMOLED Screen
- Impressive 4 Day Battery
- Rotating Bezel
- Samsung Proprietary Wireless Charger
- Software – IE Bixby Integration
- Lack of App Support
The Samsung Galaxy watch is hands down the best Android Smart Watch you can buy right now. For years Samsung have led the pack when it comes to Smart Watches. The Galaxy watch is a natural progression from the Samsung Gear S3, which was the best Android Smart Watch when it was released.
First thing you notice with this Smart Watch is, it looks like a normal watch, a fashionable watch, an expensive watch. Build quality is top-notch and it has a bit of heft behind it, the 46 mm version is a heavyweight at 63g compared to other Smart Watches. All that weight is due to the quality of materials used and the amount of features packed into it. It comes in 2 sizes, 46 mm and 42 mm. Samsung have given the 42 mm a 472mAh battery that lasts up to 4 days of normal use, and the 40 mm a 270mAh battery that will give you 3 days of normal use.
Samsung makes some of the best screens on the planet, their Super AMOLED technology is present here. The Galaxy Watch has a 1.2 inch touch screen on its 46mm model, it is very bright and rich. It has adaptive brightness and you will have no trouble viewing it outdoors. The screen has a 320 x 320 resolution and makes watch faces look very sharp. Speaking of outdoor activities and any fitness related activity, Samsungs fitness tracking has been vastly improved with the Galaxy Watch. This watch tracks 39 exercises in total, including 21 indoor exercises and strength-training exercises. This feature is rarely seen on Smart Watches that look this good.
Navigating touchscreens on Smart Watches can be annoying at time, Samsungs rotating bezel has returned to make navigation a lot easier and more intuitive. The UI is built to take full advantage of this rotating bezel and once you navigate a watch this way its hard to go back.
Its not all sunshine and rainbows when it comes to this watch. Almost all the issues I have with it boil down to its custom UI “Tizen”. Look, it works well out of the box, the UI is easy to navigate, but the main problem comes when trying to download apps for it. It isn’t compatible with the likes of, Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, and Google Maps to name a few. The other problem I have is the charging dock, Samsung have made another proprietary charging cradle for its wireless charging. Meaning, you cannot charge this watch on normal Qi Wireless Pads, like you can with their Phones and Wireless Earbuds. Furthermore, the charging cradle uses a micro USB connection, I repeat a MICRO USB connection, even the last 3 generations of Samsung phone use USB-C for pete sake. I don’t know what Samsung were thinking.
The Galaxy Watch is still the king of Android Smart Watches, even with the shortcomings I mentioned in the previous paragraph. Samsung have packed all the features you could want into a Smart Watch that looks the part. The Galaxy watch is a statement Smart Watch that won’t get lost in the sea of Apple Watches, and a Smart Watch that in my opinion has no Android Rivals. You can pick up a fully loaded Galaxy Watch with LTE from Samsung for $399.99 USD and you can usually find a special on Amazon for much cheaper than that.
2. Samsung Galaxy Watch Active
- Minimalist Design
- Fitness Focus
- Impressive Super AMOLED display
- Small form factor
- No rotating bezel
If you aren’t a fan of the hulking Galaxy Watch, the Galaxy Watch Active is a great alternative. This watch is basically a trimmed down flagship Smart Watch. It has all the core features of the Galaxy Watch, minus a couple of design choices.
First up, Samsung removed the rotating bezel and trimmed down the design to a slimmer minimalist design. You lose the use of the bezel to navigate the watch, but it does make the watch feel a lot sportier. The Active only comes with a 40 mm Super AMOLED display, but resolution has been bumped up to 360×360 pixels.
The 230mAh battery will give you just under 2 days of use and a lot less if you are a power user. Other than that, the internal chipset is the same as the Galaxy Watch. You get all the same fitness features as the Galaxy Watch, but you will lose out on LTE support. Which isn’t a massive deal breaker for most.
The Galaxy Watch Active is a great compromise for those that want a Galaxy Watch without the “High End” design. This watch is for the Fitness Enthusiast that like minimalist design. Cutting all the fat off the Galaxy Watch also cuts down the price, you can pick up a Galaxy Watch Active on Amazon for under $200 USD.
4. Mobvoi TicWatch E2
Best Budget Android Smart Watch
- 2 Day Battery Life
- Water Resistant for Pool Use
- Wear OS
- No NFC Payments
- Basic Fitness Tracking
- Old Chip Set
I’m a big fan of Mobvoi and I personally own the first generation TicWatch E. The TicWatch E2 improves on the first gen by adding a few new features that enhance the overall user experience. The TicWatch isn’t going to blow your hair back like the Galaxy Watch, but it isn’t priced to compete with it. Mobvois aim with the E2 is to provide the best value for the least amount of money.
The TicWatch E2 has a very understated look. From a far it looks like a normal watch and reminds me of an old school retro watch. It comes with a 1.2 inch AMOLED display 400×400 px, and it is a decent panel that gets the job done. Even though it doesn’t have the newest hardware, the quickest spec, and it lacks NFC for google pay, the E2 is still miles ahead of any Smart Watch in its price range.
The biggest selling point with this watch is Wear OS, it is one of the few Smart Watches in this price range that runs stock Wear OS. You can get a Wear OS device that has all the latest software features, effectively tracks your steps and exercise, has a 2-day battery and looks like a watch that costs a hundred dollars more. Wear OS is actually designed to work with devices that have older chip sets, like the TicWatch E2.
If you have never owned a Smart Watch the TicWatch E2 is a solid introduction to Smart Watches. If you have owned previous Smart Watches and are looking for a set and forget device with Fitness Tracking capabilities, the TicWatch E2 is a great choice. You can pick up the TicWatch E2 for $160 USD on Mobvois official website and on Amazon.
Which Smart Watch is for Me?
I have mentioned 3 very different options here. If money is no object, you always go with the 46 mm Galaxy Watch. If you don’t like the look of the Galaxy Watch but like its core functionality, the Galaxy Watch Active is for you. For everyone else the TicWatch E2 is the go to for a reliable Smart Watch that won’t break the bank.