Regardless whether you own an Android phone or an iPhone, you can connect an Android Wear smartwatch to it, so you’re instantly ready to enter the wonderful world of notifications, map directions, and embarrassing voice control all from your wrist. When Android Wear first came out, the choice of watches was small, and not exactly inspiring. That has all changed, and there’s a wide variety of models from which to choose.
Related: Looking for some wrist candy? Here are the best smartwatches you can buy right now
Before you go browsing for a new watch at the store, we’ve got some advice for you — take a look at one of these models before any others. Although some of those listed have been around for a while, they’re still the best out there, and Android Wear releases have slowed in 2016. Don’t dismiss some of the even older models either, they can be had at bargain prices, so we’ve added one or two of those to our list as well.
Here’s our pick of the Android Wear watches you should be wearing on your wrist.
Huawei Watch ($350+)
You look at the Huawei Watch and think, “It’s just so pretty.” Luckily, Huawei’s first Android Wear smartwatch is also very technically impressive, too. For example, the 1.4-inch circular AMOLED screen has the sharpest resolution — 400 x 400 pixels — seen on an Android Wear watch yet. The 42mm body is made for both male and female wrists, and comes in several colors with different strap material options.
You could end up paying $800 for the top models, but the cheapest one comes in at a more reasonable $350. Like all the best watches, smart or otherwise, the Huawei Watch needs to be tried on. Once you get it on your wrist, we think it’s very hard to resist, and it’s our current favourite Android Wear watch. Read our full review.
Fossil Q Founder ($275)
While men and women could wear the Huawei Watch, the Fossil Q Founder is considerably more masculine. The 46mm face is really big, and will dominate the small-of-wrist. That aside, if it suits you, the Q Founder is really slick. Available with several different strap combinations, the silver stainless steel model is a stunner, and easily passes for a mechanical Fossil watch from a distance. Unusually, the Fossil Q Founder has an Intel processor inside, but does lack some features such as a heart rate sensor, and has the same ‘flat-tire’ circular screen seen on the Moto 360. At just under $300, it’s reasonably priced for such a great looking watch from a well-known brand. Read our full review.
Amazon Fossil Google Store
Motorola Moto 360 2nd Gen ($300+)
If you want some creative freedom, the new second-generation Moto 360 can be customized using Motorola’s Moto Maker software, where everything from the bezel’s finish to the color of the strap can be changed. Match it to your new Moto phone to complete the effect. What’s more, the new Moto 360 comes in two sizes, making it suitable for men’s or women’s wrists. That familiar flat-tire circular screen is still there, almost like a trademark, and measures 1.4-inches, while the size of the battery varies depending on the size of watch chosen. The price starts at $300, and will go up from there, depending on how wild you go with the specs. Read our full review.
Amazon Best Buy Motorola
Asus ZenWatch 2 ($130)
The ZenWatch 2 can also be customized with different straps, and comes in two different sizes — a 49mm body, and a 45mm body. Unusually, the ZenWatch 2 has a rectangular face, making it stand out in amongst the onslaught of circular Android Wear smartwatches. The two models have different sized screens — 1.45-inches and 1.63-inches — so you should be able to find one ZenWatch 2 that suits your wrist. To sweeten the ZenWatch 2, Asus has added a selection of apps for fitness tracking, and remote phone control, plus a wide selection of watch faces. Read our full review.
LG Watch Urbane ($219+)
The oldest Android Wear smartwatch on our list, the LG Watch Urbane was one of the first to adopt a more traditional mechanical timepiece look on a smartwatch. It still holds up today, whether you choose the gold or silver version, and the 1.3-inch P-OLED circular screen is bright, crisp, and colourful. Available for around $250, it’s about the cheapest Android Wear watch with a circular screen you’ll find, and its features ensure it’s equal to, or better equipped than some other models. Best of all, the battery will usually last two days without a recharge. Read our full review.
There may be some changes to this list in the near future, as several Android Wear watches have been announced, but have yet to go on sale. None are from the major technology manufacturers, and instead come from watch companies and fashion-first brands, eager to bring some style and panache to the smartwatch world.
What should you look out for? The Casio WSD-F10 is one, a sturdy, rugged Android Wear watch that’s aimed at anyone who enjoys outdoor activities. We spent some time with the watch already, and have it covered in some detail here. It’s going on sale very soon through Google Play and other retailers.
The LG Watch Urbane 2nd Edition is also ready for a comeback, after being cancelled at the end of 2015. It’s now back up for pre-order, and is of particular interest because it has its own SIM card slot, so it can operate independently of your phone. You can learn more about the watch here, when we tried it out late last year.
Finally, Fossil has launched two different versions of the Q Founder — called the Q Wander and the Q Marshal — and Nixon’s Mission is a rugged Android Wear smartwatch for action sports fans. We’ll update you on these in the future, once we’ve tried them out.