Best Android Smartwatches: Top Picks for 2019

Last updated: November 04, 2019
BEST CHOICE
Lightweight, Affordable and Functional
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BEST PREMIUM PICK
Interchangeable Wristbands
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BEST VALUE
Ultimate Exercise Watch, Superb Battery Life
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MOST STYLISH
Waterproof, Well-designed
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MOST AFFORDABLE
Affordable, Sim Support
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Your guide

Most consumers think that smartwatches came out in the last ten years when in truth, the first real smartwatch was the Seiko RC-100 Wrist Terminal which was released in 1984. What this means is that it’s taken nearly three decades for the general public to catch on. 

Maybe it’s because smartwatches have always seemed a bit gimmicky; like a gadget that Q would give to James Bond.  I’m still waiting for a smartwatch with a laser cutter.   

However, the present moment is probably the best time to invest in a new smartwatch, especially if you consider all the great options available to you.  Android’s Wear OS is the most popular operating system for wearables. So if you’re looking for a cheaper or more powerful alternative to the Apple Watch, your best bet is to choose an Android smartwatch. In this guide, we’ll introduce you to five of the very best. 

It’s amazing just how much tech you can fit into a wristwatch these days. Smartwatches are a testament to Moore’s law. A few years ago, there weren’t many affordable options for the average middle-class consumer. 

Today, new high-end Android models sport a gigabyte of RAM, Qualcomm’s Snapdragon Wear 3100 and on-board storage capacities that can reach the arena of 16GB. In this guide, we covered the latest and greatest while ensuring that we have something for every need and budget.

While not every smartwatch on this list runs the Android base Wear OS, they’re all compatible with Android devices (phones and tablets). 

Buying Guide 

Wearables are a bit like that girl/guy who seemed pretty ‘meh’ in high school but as you grow older, you come to realize that they were a missed opportunity that deserved a second glance. Okay, objectifying people and comparing them to tech feds is a little shallow and overly pretentious but you get what I mean (I hope). 

My point is that it might be a great time to invest in a smartwatch; they can quite literally change your life. But what should you look for when you’re purchasing a smartwatch? Well, the following section will answer that question for you. 

On-board Storage Capacity: How Much Space Does Your Watch Have?  

A good smartwatch should come with at least 4-6 GB of space. But this depends on you and what you plan on using the smartwatch for. Most smartwatches come with Bluetooth as well as a music player app. So you can essentially put your favorite playlists and music on your smartwatch, connect some wireless Bluetooth headsets to it and use it as an MP3 player.

More storage capacity also means more space for your apps. If you prefer to stream your music, you can download music streaming apps such as Spotify and Soundcloud.

Operating System: The Firmware 

Your watch’s operating system is very important. It will influence how you control and work with your watch. From the user interface to customization and to what apps you can download. For instance, the Android’s Wear OS connects you to the Google Play store which is filled with a host of great apps for your smartwatch.

The most common operating systems for smartwatches are as follows: 

  • Wear OS: This was previously known as Android Wear. It’s basically Android for smartwatches. It was developed by Google. 
  • WatchOS: Apple’s proprietary operating system for their series of smartwatches (Apple Watch). 
  • Tizen: A Linux-based operating system, primarily used on most of Samsung’s smartwatches. 
  • Ubuntu Touch: Ubuntu Touch was made to rival Microsoft’s ecosystem. It’s a cross-platform operating system made for touch screen devices. 
  • Sailfish OS: A mobile Linux distro made for smartphones and smartwatches. 
  • AsteroidOS: Designed as an alternative OS for Android smartwatches. A community-driven project that can be used to hack and replace your Android smartwatch’s original operating system. 

Battery Life: How Long Will Your Watch Last?  

With smartphones, it’s easier to determine how long a battery will last by just looking at the battery capacity. It can be a little trickier with Smartwatches. Battery capacity is usually measured in milliamp Hour. The more mAh a battery has, the more charge it can hold and the longer it will keep your device running.

A smartwatch battery should have a capacity that’s between 380 and 500 mAh. The capacity isn’t the only thing that will influence how long your smartwatch can run before it needs a charge.

Other factors include whether or not it has Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and/or GPS. Screen resolution and size are also a factor, not to mention the processor. Either way, sometimes companies may not be forthcoming with the battery specs. However, they may give you the usage details – how long your smartwatch will last on a single charge.

The standby/smartwatch mode should give you at least 5 days on a full charge. It should give you 5-7 hours of music.

1. Samsung Galaxy Active - Best Choice

Specifications

  • Connectivity: Bluetooth (V4.2), NFC, Wi-Fi (802.11 b/g/n 2.4GHz)
  • OS: Tizen 4.0
  • Processor Speed:  1.15GHz
  • Onboard Memory: 4GB
  • RAM: 0.75 GB 
  • Dust and Water-Resistance: 5ATM, IP68, MIL-STD-810G
  • Main Display Technology: Super AMOLED
  • Resolution: 360 x 360
  • Weight: 25g
  • Battery Capacity: 230mAh

  Key Features

  • Pre-installed with Spotify
  • GPS Navigation
  • Advanced auto-workout
  • Stress and sleep management 
  • Proactive health monitoring 
  • Bixby

Samsung Galaxy Active Review 

The Samsung Galaxy Active Smartwatch tries to strike a balance between affordability and functionality. The average consumer purchases a smartwatch to track their fitness and health. 66% of smartwatch users exercise regularly. So it makes sense that Samsung would build and market a smartwatch for people who are concerned about their health and fitness.  

But how does the Samsung Galaxy compare to fitness orientated offerings from companies like Garmin? It actually does a decent job.   

What I like most about the Galaxy Active is that it’s lightweight. Which is perfect for users who are planning to monitor their sleep. The watch face is protected by the latest gorilla glass. While it’s hard to break, it smudges and scratches easily. Which sucks because it’s not possible to get a screen protector for it because of its convex or bumpy shape. 

When it’s properly shined up and new, the watch face looks absolutely stunning. The resolution isn’t too bad either. You’re bound to see rough images and graphics on most smartwatches. The graphics on the Galaxy Active are remarkably smooth. 

The watch was made to be a part of the Samsung Galaxy ecosystem. It has pairs easily with your other Samsung devices through either Bluetooth or NFC. It also features Bixby which is Samsung’s answer to Amazon’s Alexa and Apple’s Siri. While the feature can be convenient, especially when you’re on the go, it’s also pretty buggy.  

Speaking of bugs, the UI and sensory were riddled with them on the version of the watch we tested. For instance, we found the automatic sleep tracking to be unreliable. The HR tracking would be hit or miss, especially if you moved your hands. The wristband, while large could sometimes be uncomfortable. Luckily, it’s replaceable.  

Hopefully, by the time you read this article, Samsung would have refined and fixed most of the bugs. Even with those bugs, the Samsung Galaxy is an awesome smartwatch to pair with your Android device.

Pros
  • Well designed 
  • Comes with a fairly large strap 
  • Watch face protected by Corning Gorilla Glass 3
  • Lightweight
  • Decent price 
  • Supports wireless charging
Cons
  • Subpar battery life 
  • Annoying notifications 
  • Occasionally buggy user interface

2. Samsung Gear S3 Frontier - Premium Pick

Specifications

  • Connectivity: Bluetooth (V4.2), NFC, Wi-Fi (802.11 b/g/n 2.4GHz), GPS, Glonass
  • OS: Tizen
  • Processor Speed:  1 GHz (Dual-Core)
  • Onboard Memory: 4GB
  • RAM: 0.75 GB 
  • Dust and Water-Resistance: 5ATM, IP68, MIL-STD-810G
  • Main Display Technology: Super AMOLED
  • Resolution: 360 x 360
  • Weight: 63g
  • Battery Capacity: 380mAh

Key Features

  • Steel Bezel 
  • Built-in S Health App
  • Accelerometer
  • Barometer 
  • Gyro Sensor
  • HR Sensor
  • Light Sensor

Samsung Gear S3 Frontier Review 

If you want something a little more rugged than the Samsung Galaxy Active, then this might be a worthy option for you. What I like about the Samsung Galaxy Active is that it looks like a classy and sophisticated timepiece. Most Android smartwatches wear a nondescript formal watch-design to contrast the Apple Watch’s mini-phone screen design.      

But not a lot of tech manufacturers have mastered this low-key design like Samsung has with the Samsung Gear S3 Frontier.  The frontier is basically the Samsung Galaxy Watch’s more affordable sibling. 

The Galaxy Watch was made more for outdoor activities and exercise. For instance, you can swim with the Samsung Galaxy Watch. The frontier isn’t swim-ready. However, the frontier was made to be more fashionably versatile. I can see it complimenting a dress suit or a t-shirt and jeans. The Frontier also sports a pretty large strap that can be replaced. 

That’s one of my favorite things about the Frontier. It comes with a wide variety of wristbands that can be purchased directly from Samsung or a third-party seller. So not only can you customize the user interface and install apps, but you can also customize how you wear the device.

Another feature that I really enjoy is the rotating bezel. You can really tell that it was made to compete against Apple’s Digital Crown. The bezel can be used to easily scroll through your apps and settings. In total, the S3 Frontier has three different mechanical controls. 

The UI is responsive and navigation is intuitive and easy to learn. The graphics on the phone are also pretty decent. No rough edges.  All in all, I can say that the Samsung Galaxy S3 Frontier is perfect for the boardroom or Sunday morning hikes. Just don’t swim with it. 

Pros
  • Compatible with both Android and select iOS devices 
  • Features a handy rotating bezel
  • Features a large selection of apps to download  
  • Supports wireless charging
Cons
  • Battery life leaves a lot to be desired 
  • Not ideal for sleep tracking

3. Skygrand 2019 - Best Value

Specifications

  • Connectivity: Bluetooth (V5 compatibility)
  • OS: Unspecified (Android based)
  • Processor Speed:  Unspecified 
  • Onboard Memory: 1GB
  • RAM: Unspecified 
  • Dust and Water-Resistance: IP68
  • Main Display Technology: LCD
  • Resolution: Unspecified (1.3-inch screen)
  • Weight: 45 grams 
  • Battery Capacity: Unspecified lithium polymer battery (up to thirty days of Standby)

Key Features

  • 14 different exercise modes 
  • Nordic 52840 chipset 
  • All-day activity tracking
  • Lifetime money-back guarantee 
  • Sleep monitor
  • Sedentary Alert
  • Menstrual reminders 

Skygrand 2019 Version Smartwatch Review 

The Skygrand 2019 is a very fitness orientated smartwatch. It comes complete with fourteen different exercise modes to help track your progress; whether you’re rowing, running, biking or hiking. This smartwatch does not come with built-in GPS but you can connect it to your phone via Bluetooth and then use its GPS to get statistics such as your run route, pace, distance, etc. 

The battery life is quite outstanding. You can go days without having to charge it, which is ideal, especially if you’re planning on using the sleep monitor. You also set an alarm and the watch will vibrate once it’s triggered. The stats and data that you get from the watch’s sleep monitor are basic. We would have appreciated a more detailed analysis. 

Another downside is you can’t change the alarms vibration intensity. It’s not that intense but I worry for users who may be a little more sensitive than me. The display quality is impressive for a budget smartwatch.

It has four different brightness levels and the screen graphics are smooth. Colors on the screen also pop. The user interface is simple and easy to navigate. You don’t have a lot of customization options. For instance, you can only pick between four different watch faces. 

As I’ve previously mentioned, the watch is very fitness orientated. It isn’t made for casual or power users.  Despite its flaws, Skygrands 2019 Smartwatch proves that you don’t have to spend over $100 for a really good Android smartwatch.

Pros
  • Affordable 
  • Has Bluetooth 5 support 
  • Can connect to both Android and iOS smartphones 
  • Above-average battery life
Cons
  • The supplied charging cable is short 
  • Options for downloadable apps are a little limited 
  • You can’t change the vibration intensity

4. Fossil Men's Gen 4 - Most Stylish

Specifications

  • Connectivity: Bluetooth, Wi-Fi (802.11 b/g/n), GPS
  • OS: Wear OS
  • Processor Speed:  1.2 GHz (Snapdragon Wear 2100 chipset) 
  • Onboard Memory: 1GB
  • RAM: 512 MB  
  • Dust and Water-Resistance: IP68 (swim-proof)
  • Main Display Technology: AMOLED
  • Resolution: Unspecified 
  • Weight: 98 grams 
  • Battery Capacity: Unspecified (~Estimated usage: One day)

Key Features

  • Automatic time zones
  • Built-in Microphone 
  • Customizable Watch Straps
  • Untethered built-in GPS 
  • LED Flashlight 
  • Two Year Warranty 
  • Customizable dials

Fossil Men’s Gen 4 Explorist Review 

Fossil isn’t a big tech company. They’re known more for designing and manufacturing fashion accessories and items. I myself have owned one or two wallets as well as a few timepieces from them. But I was still skeptical when I heard that they would be coming out with their own series of smartwatches. 

The truth is this isn’t Fossil’s first foray into complex wearable tech. As a matter of fact, they designed and released what was one of the most famous smartwatches of the early noughties. Thanks to Android’s Wear OS, the Fossil gen series 4s are leaps and bounds above the 2003 Fossil Wrist PDA.  

Fossil has an advantage over other smartwatch designers and manufacturers. They know how to design great looking watches. They understand fashion. No one is (arguably) making smartwatches as aesthetically pleasing as Fossil is. From the way, the watch’s shell and straps were designed to how the display screen.

The graphics and picture quality on the display is super sharp. Words and icons are clear and smooth. You can also customize your screen and set up wallpapers.  

It’s unfortunate that unlike the Gen 4s, these don’t come with a built-in speaker. It’s not a major gripe, especially if you plan on connecting your Bluetooth earphones/headphones to it. A problem that seems to plague most high-end smartwatches is terrible battery life.

The Gen 4 Explorist has one of the worst battery lives I’ve ever seen. You may find yourself charging it more than once a day. 

Which is really unfortunate. Considering all the things that the smartwatch can do and what it has to offer. From a large library of apps to sleep and fitness tracking. Not to mention the functional features that a lot of other smartwatches don’t come with such as the LED flashlight and the aforementioned built-in microphone.

Hopefully, Fossil will be able to fix their battery issues when they release the Gen 5s.  If you plan on getting this smartwatch, make sure that you also get a screen protector. The watch’s face does scratch quite easily. 

Pros
  • Swim proof 
  • A wide variety of straps to choose from 
  • Enough space to fit over 500 songs 
  • Wide variety of apps to choose from and download from the Google Play Store 
  • Google Assistant Support 
  • Well designed 
  • Comes with a built-in microphone
Cons
  • Pricey 
  • Terrible battery life

5. Topffy Smartwatch - Most Affordable

Specifications

  • Connectivity: Bluetooth (4.1) 
  • OS: Custom OS 
  • Processor Speed:  Unspecified  
  • Onboard Memory: 128MB
  • RAM: 64MB  
  • Dust and Water-Resistance: Waterproof 
  • Main Display Technology: LCD
  • Resolution: 240 x 240  
  • Weight: 50 grams 
  • Battery Capacity: 480mAh 

Key Features

  • 1.5 inch TFT High Definition LCD Screen 
  • Built-in camera 
  • SIM Card support 
  • SD card slot 
  • Direct call function 
  • Built-in speaker (sound cavity)

Topffy Smartwatch Review

Being poor is expensive and it takes a toll over your health. It can be incredibly stressful. That’s why affordable smartwatches like the Topffy smartwatch is so important. It’s quite easy to write it off as an Apple Watch knock-off because of its design.  

This smartwatch is probably the closest thing to a spy watch. It comes with a built-in 1.3 MP as well as an SD slot and SIM card slot. It’s basically a mini smartphone.

You can basically make calls from it and receive messages. It’s also compatible with a variety of Android phones. It has a connection range of up to 33 feet. 

It’s surprising how a lot of low-end smartwatches outperform high-end smartwatches in terms of features (not raw power and storage capacity). They also outperform them in terms of battery life. A slower processor and lower resolution screen mean a longer usage cycle. 

The battery on this smartwatch is removable. It also comes with an additional battery so if you ever find yourself in a situation where you can’t charge, you can simply swap out the batteries. In addition to this, the smartwatch also comes packaged with a screen protector.  

As you’d expect, it comes pre-installed with a host of apps that are fitness-focused. You get a simple fitness assistant, a sleep monitor, and a sedentary reminder. Don’t expect detailed specs or analysis though. These apps just give you the bare minimum.

The storage capacity on the Topffy Smartwatch is pretty minuscule. Thankfully, you can increase it using a micro-SD card. You can also listen to music from your SD card using the smartwatch’s built-in player. 

Topffy delivers amazing value for money with its smartwatch. A great budget-friendly option for anyone who’s trying to get in shape but can’t afford to get themselves an expensive high-end Android watch.  

Pros
  • Affordable 
  • Comes with a built-in camera
  • SIM card support means direct calling and messages from the smartwatch
  • Decent battery life 
  • Comes with screen protector and additional battery
Cons
  • Limited customizability 
  • Cannot download additional apps

Frequently Asked Questions: Best Android Smartwatch

Is the Apple Smartwatch Compatible with Android?

Unfortunately, Apple Smartwatches aren’t compatible with Android devices. While they both have Bluetooth, if you try to pair your Apple Watch to an Android smartphone, it will reject the connection. Apple smartwatches are only compatible with a select few iPhone models.

Does a Smartwatch Play Music?

Some smartwatches and fitness trackers can play music. Even if they don’t have the storage capacity to hold a lot of music files, they may still have allow you to play music remotely. For instance, you can use a streaming site like Deezer or even stream music directly from your phone. It’s pretty rare to find a smartwatch with 3.5 mm jack for headphones/earphones. Instead, they use Bluetooth to wirelessly connect to speakers or headphones. Some niche smartwatches even come with their own built-in speakers.

Can You Text on a Smartwatch?

Smartwatches aren’t ideal for typing because of their small screens but you can send a text message using your smartwatch. This is even easier for smartwatches that have LTE connectivity or are SIM card enabled. Wear OS has a speech-to-text messaging option where you can verbally dictate what text message you want the watch to send. Your smartwatch will then send the message directly if it has network connectivity, or it will use your phone as a middle man.

Best Android Smartwatches: Top Picks for 2019 — EHome