Friday, December 8, 2023

These are the best Wear OS watches you can buy right now



If you’re shopping for the best Android smartwatch, you’ll notice that many of the options are Wear OS watches, including the new Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 and Galaxy Watch 4 Classic. Now that the new Wear OS 3 platform is finally here, the smartwatch game is changing. However, not every existing Wear OS watch will be eligible to upgrade to the new platform, so this is something to think about when making your decision. If you want to enjoy Wear OS 3 now, the Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 might be the best Wear OS watch for you.

Best overall: Samsung Galaxy Watch 4


By now, you’ve probably heard that the Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 has arrived. While this normally wouldn’t mean anything to Wear OS users, this Samsung smartwatch is the first wearable to run on Wear OS 3. There are two variants to pick from: the Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 and the Galaxy Watch 4 Classic. The only difference between these two has to do with case size and physical design elements. The Watch 4 comes in a 40mm or 44mm aluminum case with a digital rotating bezel. The Watch 4 Classic comes in a 42mm or 46mm stainless steel case with a physical rotating bezel.

Other than the long-awaited debut of Wear OS 3, there are several improvements, but that’s certainly a big draw. Samsung has outdone itself with the new 3-in-1 BioActive sensor. This clever technology uses a single chip for several key sensors. It offers optical heart rate, electrical heart (ECG), blood pressure, and Bioelectrical Impedance Analysis (BIA). The new BIA sensor can analyze your body composition by recording key metrics. Some examples include body water and fat percentage, skeletal muscle mass, basal metabolic rate, and more.

The performance on the Galaxy Watch 4 is quite impressive, thanks to Samsung’s Exynos W920 SoC. Combined with 1.5GB of RAM and 16GB of storage, you’ll enjoy snappy performance. If you’ve gotten comfortable with Wear OS, don’t worry. You won’t experience a night-and-day difference that feels like an impossible adjustment. One positive change is improved app support. You’ll find several preloaded apps aside from the usual Samsung ones. Now, you’ll also have Google Maps, Messages by Google, and Google Pay.

Right now, the Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 and Watch 4 Classic are the only devices running Wear OS 3. However, Google says that existing eligible smartwatches should start receiving the update during the mid or second half of 2022.


  • Optional LTE
  • Great performance
  • Improved health/fitness tracking
  • Several size options


  • Not your typical Wear OS experience
  • Mediocre battery life

Best overall

Samsung Galaxy Watch 4


  • From $210 at Samsung
  • From $210 at Amazon
  • From $210 at Best Buy

Wear OS 3 is in the building

If you’re eager to get your hands on a smartwatch with Wear OS 3, you’ll love the new Samsung Galaxy Watch 4.

Best budget-friendly watch: Fossil Gen 5E

If you’re a fan of Fossil watches, but you want something slim and sleek, you’ll appreciate the 5E’s refined design. More importantly, it’s packed with essential features that most users will find useful. You can choose whether you want a men’s model in a larger 44mm case or the women’s model that comes in a 42mm case. Both Fossil Gen 5E variants are compatible with interchangeable bands. There are numerous color options, including Silver/Gold, Rose Gold, Pink, Black, and more.

As far as features go, there is a lot to unpack. The Fossil Gen 5E offers heart-rate monitoring, activity/health tracking, NFC payments, smartphone notifications, Google Assistant, and multiple battery-saving modes. It also has a built-in microphone/speaker, so it can easily take Bluetooth calls on your wrist. It’s water-resistant up to 30 meters, which means you don’t have to panic if it gets wet.

You might’ve picked up on this by now, but one of the main missing features is onboard GPS. You’ll need to use your phone for connected GPS. You get the same Snapdragon 3100 Wear processor that the original Gen 5 models have, but you’ll get 4GB of storage instead of the previous 8GB. Users can take advantage of the multi-day battery modes to prevent the watch from dying, but these modes limit what features are available for use. Considering the low price tag, it’s not surprising that you’ll have to make a few compromises. With that said, the Fossil Gen 5E is the best Wear OS watch for budget shoppers.


  • Heart-rate monitoring
  • Activity/health tracking
  • Built-in mic/speaker
  • Google Assistant
  • Google Pay


  • Less storage than original Gen 5 models
  • Lacks built-in GPS
  • Short battery life

Best budget-friendly watch

Fossil Women’s Gen 5E 42mm Stainless Steel Touchscreen Smartwatch


  • $169 at Amazon
  • $169 at Best Buy
  • $159 at Walmart

A close second

It may not have Wear OS 3, but the Fossil Gen 5E is packed with useful features that offer an excellent user experience.

Best value: Ticwatch E3


One of the newest watches from Mobvoi is the TicWatch E3. It’s also the second watch from the company to run the Snapdragon Wear 4100 chipset, so you can expect stellar performance from this watch. You’ll get around 2 days of battery life on a single charge depending on usage. Fortunately, this watch has Essential Mode. This feature disables the always-on display, but you can still use tilt-to-wake. The display will show the date, time, step count, heart rate, and battery indicator. In fact, the watch will still track your sleep in Essential Mode.

The design is similar to what you’ve seen on previous TicWatch E models. For starters, you get a large and bright 1.3″ HD display. It is encompassed by a rather large and bulky bezel that you’ll either love or hate depending on your preferences. Fortunately, the watch is compatible with 20mm interchangeable bands, so swapping it out for a new one is never an issue. It offers IP68 water resistance is suitable for pool swimming,

You get more than your share of features as far as the health and fitness side of things. The Mobvoi TicWatch E3 offers onboard GPS, activity tracking, heart-rate monitoring, sleep tracking, and more. There are a few extra perks as well, including Google Assistant and Google Pay. These are all fantastic perks to have, but the short battery life is a drawback. This is not unheard of for Wear OS watches, though. If you can live with that and the chunky bezel, this is an incredible value that’s hard to beat. Most importantly, the TicWatch E3 will be eligible for the Wear OS 3 update.


  • Activity/health tracking
  • Built-in mic/speaker
  • Google Assistant
  • Ultra-smooth performance


  • Bulky bezel
  • Mediocre battery life

Best value

Ticwatch E3 Smart Watch


  • $200 at Amazon

The most bang for your buck

The TicWatch E2 offers excellent performance and health/fitness tracking features at an affordable price.

Best style: Skagen Falster 3


Perhaps you’re not looking for the biggest Wear OS watch on the block. Those who prefer a more traditional aesthetic will love the stylish appeal of the Skagen Falster 3. It comes in a modest 42mm case, so it sits right in the middle of the size scale. You can choose whether you want the stainless steel case in Black, Silver, or Rose Gold. The band options include silicone, stainless steel mesh, and leather.

There’s a lot to love about the Skagen Falster 3, including the clever three-button layout that comes with a smooth rotating crown. Scrolling through menus is effortless and eliminates the need to always use the touchscreen. The main features include built-in GPS, heart-rate monitoring, activity/health tracking, NFC payments, smartphone notifications, Google Assistant, and a built-in microphone/speaker. It also has a 3 ATM water resistance rating.

The proprietary bands can be a hassle to change, but that’s a small disadvantage compared to the positives here. If style is the name of your game, you can’t go wrong with the Skagen Falster 3. Again, the extended battery modes are available, but they’ll restrict how you can use your watch. Otherwise, you can expect to charge it daily.


  • Sleek, attractive design
  • Smooth rotating crown
  • Built-in mic/speaker
  • Google Assistant


  • Proprietary bands
  • Short battery life

Best style

Skagen Connected Falster 3 Gen 5


  • From $179 at Amazon

Fashion first

The Skagen Falster 3 is an attractive Wear OS watch that nails fashion and functionality in one gorgeous package.

Best upgrade pick: TicWatch Pro 3 Ultra GPS

The new TicWatch Pro 3 Ultra GPS is one of those upgrade picks that just feels right. Sometimes, an upgrade to a new model doesn’t offer many improvements. That’s not the case with this new smartwatch from Mobvoi. For starters, the improved design offers a new customizable backlight feature display’s top layer. You can also now choose from 18 different vibrant backlight colors. What’s more, the battery will last for up to 72 hours, and you can extend that figure quite a bit when you use Essential mode, but it does shut off key features.

Another improvement is the launch of new software features for the TicHealth suite. If you’re a frequent user of health and fitness tracking on your smartwatch, you’ll appreciate this upgrade. The TicWatch Pro 3 Ultra GPS is also much more durable than the previous model. It comes with a MIL-STD-810G rating, so you can feel confident that this watch is equipped to handle your intense workouts and rugged adventures.

Now more than ever, users are thinking about the longevity of a device before they buy it, especially now that Wear OS 3 is here. The good news is that the TicWatch Pro 3 Ultra GPS will be eligible to upgrade to the new platform, but you’ll have to wait until 2022 for it. This might be a drawback for some people, but at least you know your watch will eventually upgrade to Wear OS 3.


  • Stellar performance
  • More durable design
  • Customizable backlight
  • Google Assistant


  • Pretty expensive
  • Only comes in one color
  • A bit large for some wrists
  • Won’t get Wear OS 3 upgrade until 2022

Best upgrade pick

TicWatch Pro 3 Ultra GPS Smartwatch


  • $300 at Amazon
  • $300 at Mobvoi

Solid upgrade

The TicWatch Pro 3 Ultra offers many performance and design upgrades. It’s also eligible for the Wear OS 3 upgrade in 2022.

Best for fitness buffs: Suunto 7


If you’re a fitness buff, you’re probably looking for more from a Wear OS watch. The Suunto 7 fits the bill. Not only does it come in a large, durable case, but it’s also packed with fitness features that will likely meet all of your tracking needs. It might not be as popular or well-known as some of the other options on this list, but it’s got some serious potential.

Not only do you get built-in GPS as well as full-color accurate mapping software, but you also have access to more than 70 sport modes. We should also mention that with the apps available from Suunto, you can view helpful metrics that go into further detail than what’s available on Google Fit, such as training load, training recovery, and much more. This watch is 5 ATM water-resistant.

These features are undeniably great, especially if you’re a hardcore fitness buff. Make sure that you’re content with only 2 days of battery life in smartwatch mode, though. It’s also not uncommon to experience sluggish performance due to the ever-evolving nature of Wear OS, but that’s not exactly a new problem. If you can deal with these minor flaws, this is the best choice for serious athletes.


  • Durable, sporty design
  • Superior activity tracking
  • Full-color mapping
  • Google Assistant


  • Gigantic
  • Mediocre battery life
  • Too expensive for some

Best for fitness buffs

SUUNTO 7 GPS Sports Smart Watch


  • From $298 at Amazon

Time to get fit

If you’re a fitness buff, you can’t settle for anything but a serious Wear OS watch. The Suunto 7 has everything you need.

Best for connectivity: Fossil Gen 5 LTE


Those who have been longing for a Wear OS smartwatch with improved performance and LTE connectivity will be more than pleased with the Fossil Gen 5 LTE. This model was just recently announced, so it’s relatively new to the market. This is also the first Fossil smartwatch to offer LTE. The one thing to note here is that it’s only available on Verizon. This model has all of the same features that the original Gen 5 smartwatches had. The design is similar as well. You get a 45mm stainless steel case that is available in Rose Gold or Smoke. Both models are water-resistant up to 30 meters.

If you need a quick refresher on those features, we’ve got you covered. You’ll get built-in GPS, heart-rate monitoring, activity/health tracking, Google, Pay, smartphone notifications, and Google Assistant. The new feature, of course, is LTE connectivity. This means you can leave your phone at home and still take calls, send texts, and stream music. Not bad, right? As you might’ve guessed, you also get the battery-saving modes on this Wear OS watch.

The only real problem might be that the Fossil Gen 5 LTE is exclusive to Verizon. If you’re an existing customer, you might’ve hit the jackpot. If not, it might be more trouble than it’s worth to switch carriers. We also would’ve liked to see the new Snapdragon Wear 4100 processor, but Fossil stuck with the 3100. You’ll also want to be aware that LTE smartwatches aren’t exactly cheap, so be prepared for the hefty price tag.


  • LTE connectivity
  • Built-in GPS
  • Two color options
  • Activity/health tracking
  • Google Pay & Google Assistant


  • Only one size option
  • Verizon exclusive
  • Missing Snapdragon Wear 4100

Best for connectivity

Fossil Gen 5 LTE Smartwatch


  • $249 at Fossil
  • $349 at Verizon

Get connected

Those longing for a Wear OS watch with LTE connectivity will have met their match with the Fossil Gen 5 LTE.

Best lifestyle watch: Fossil Gen 6


Perhaps you’re interested in finding a wearable that blends stunning design elements with a solid set of smartwatch perks. If so, the Fossil Gen 6 may be what you’re searching for. This latest release from Fossil offers improved performance, fast charging speeds, accurate health tracking, and more. Keep in mind that this smartwatch is one of the lucky Wear OS devices that is eligible to upgrade to the new platform in 2022.

One of the most notable improvements to the Fossil Gen 6 is that it’s equipped with the Qualcomm Snapdragon 4100+ chipset, so performance is smooth and seamless. Additionally, the 1.7GHz co-processor allows this watch to use always-on health metrics without negatively affecting performance or draining the battery life. You’ll get more detailed heart rate readings, more precise sleep tracking, and better health statistics all around.

While the Fossil Gen 6 is an excellent lifestyle smartwatch, there’s one thorn in this wearable’s side that has yet to go away. If you’re familiar with Wear OS watches, you know that battery life has always been an issue. The Fossil Gen 6 is estimated to last around 24 hours on a single charge. While smart battery modes can help a bit, there’s nothing groundbreaking. Fortunately, Fossil offers ultra-fast charging on the new Gen 6 models. Users can charge their watch up to 80% after only 30 minutes on the charger.


  • Multiple design options
  • Improved health tracking
  • Google Assistant
  • Fast charging speeds


  • No Wear OS 3 until 2022
  • Short battery life

Best lifestyle watch

Fossil Gen 6 Touchscreen Smartwatch


  • From $220 at Amazon
  • $229 at Best Buy

New and improved

If you want a watch that’s ideal for daily wear with an attractive design and tons of features, you’ll love the Fossil Gen 6.

Best Wear OS watch: Making a choice

As you can see, Wear OS covers quite a bit of ground in today’s wearable market. While it might be a bit different from the Wear OS experience you’re used to, the Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 is easily the best option right now. This is especially true when you consider that many watches on the old platform won’t be eligible to upgrade to Wear OS 3. Therefore, it’s time to start thinking about this ever-changing landscape when shopping for the best Wear OS watch.

With that said, the Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 has a lot to offer to long-time Wear OS users as well as new ones. For starters, you get to choose whether you want a physical bezel or a digital one. You can also opt for a model with LTE connectivity if you’d like. Other key features include onboard GPS, heart-rate monitoring, activity/sleep tracking, and many sophisticated health sensors to keep you informed of your overall well-being.

If the Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 isn’t quite what you’re looking for, don’t worry. There are many other wearables out there for you to explore. There are plenty of excellent options out there, which includes the other options on this list. Whether you’re a serious athlete, a budget shopper, or someone who wants to stay connected with LTE, you’ll be able to find the best Wear OS watch for your needs.

Credits — The team that worked on this guide


Courtney Lynch is a freelance writer at Android Central. She’s obsessed with all things health, fitness, and music. At any given time, she can be found checking out the latest and greatest gadgets while simultaneously petting her dog and sipping iced coffee.

Read more

More News