The 10 Best Android Watches
Tell Me More, Tell Me More
I was sick with envy as he used it to easily sync with his maps program and navigate to our destination without ever so much as taking his hands off the wheel.
You can control just about everything your phone can do from the convenience of your wrist and not look like a tool while doing so.
I've been a watch guy for most of my life, so when smartwatches hit the scene I had nothing but doubts. The watches I revered were analogue, stuffed to their edges with gears and springs for every complication imaginable. The more little faces you could pack onto the facade of a watch, each with its own set of hands and secret method for deducing its information, the better.
The part of me that knew a smartwatch could tell you so much more than the things an analogue watch could was excited, but the look of the watches left me miserable. I was more than content with my diver's watches, aviator's watches, and simple chronographs; I figured I didn't need my watch to tell me anything else.
Then, the second and third waves of these watches started to hit the market, and I found myself doing the same double-takes over smartwatches I'd see worn on the street that I'd previously only done in the presence of an analogue piece. To compound things further, I went on a brief, ten-hour road trip to Maine with a buddy of mine who had one of the watches on this list. I was sick with envy as he used it to easily sync with his maps program and navigate to our destination without ever so much as taking his hands off the wheel.
When these Android smartwatches hook into your cell phone via Bluetooth, the level of customization and notification is astounding. You can control just about everything your phone can do from the convenience of your wrist and not look like a tool while doing so.
With this latest generation of Android smartwatches, the companies have doubled-down on their design styles, as well. Even if the momentum they've gained toward looking as good as the finest watches out there were to stop in its tracks, they've still achieved enough in the upgrades to their appearance to warrant serious consideration from even the snootiest watch guys.
Looking Good All The Time
We spent a lot of time above talking about the evolution of the look of these smartwatches, and that really is the first thing you ought to consider when comparing the models you'll find on our list. Your watch and your shoes are the first two things most people notice about your wardrobe; even if you're wearing a particularly loud shirt or ridiculous golden parachute pants, it's the watch and the shoes that make the first deep and lasting impression.
Fortunately, the faces of all the watches on our list are interchangeable, just like the background on your phone or the desktop on your computer.
So, you want to have a watch that says a little something about you. Fortunately, the faces of all the watches on our list are interchangeable, just like the background on your phone or the desktop on your computer. Even the bands are sometimes interchangeable, so that if you grow tired of one or if it wears down, you can replace it with ease.
What's harder to replace or to mask is the actual body of the watch, the shape and color of which you're stuck with once you strap it on. The trend in analogue watches leading up to the introduction of the smartwatch leaned toward larger and larger designs, allowing men in particular yet another avenue for overcompensation. At the present moment, it seems that manufacturers are content to keep all of their smartwatches in a similar range of sizes, just big enough for easy manipulation without becoming nothing more than a phone awkwardly strapped to your wrist.
Look for a watch the body of which compliments the shape of your body. I'm a lanky guy, so I like narrow pieces, rectangular faces, or complicated layouts to match what I believe to be my own internal complexity. Rectangular watches don't quite look as becoming on shorter, rounder people.
Finally, since all of these pieces are electronic in nature, keep an eye out for the expected battery life of each watch, as a dead smartwatch is about as useful as an ugly bracelet.
The Wrist Is The Place
Wearable tech reaches way back before Google Glass and the Apple Watch. Before wristwatches were a thing, for example, they were pocket watches. Members of the British military in the trenches during the Second Boer War in South Africa and in Europe during World War I began wearing their pocket watches strapped to their wrists to more quickly ascertain the time in moments of extreme duress and necessity.
A few other companies created similar devices that were capable of scheduling, memo delivery, and more throughout the 1990s.
Nearly a century later, inspired by this innovation, and presumably by the Dick Tracy comics that eventually led to the cult classic film adaptation of 1990, Seiko produced a digital watch that could interface with a computer in 1984. A few other companies created similar devices that were capable of scheduling, memo delivery, and more throughout the 1990s.
Samsung released a watch phone in 1999 that nobody seems to remember. Perhaps they should have thought of a catchier name than the Samsung SPH-WP10. They tried again in 2010 with a little more success, more because of the color screen and the fact that it didn't look like a children's toy than for the name. This time around they called it the S9110.
Samsung, LG, and Sony all had big smartwatch announcements at the 2014 Consumer Electronics Show, but that's mainly because they all knew what was coming in September of that year, when Apple would unveil their first smartwatch and cause the world to scramble after its quality.
The Android smartwatches on our list have met the Apple watch on most every point throughout the spec sheets, and they integrate within a system that's more open and more streamlined than Apple's mashup of platforms.