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Pick the best Android smartwatch for you

The Apple Watch makes all the headlines, but that doesn’t mean Android users are left out in the cold when it comes to smartwatches. Google has its own watch operating system, called Wear OS, but there are also other watches that play nice with the Android system.

An Android smartwatch is for you if you don’t want to dive into Apple’s ecosystem, or if you’re a dedicated Android user looking for a budget wearable. There are some capable inexpensive options as well as some high-end smartwatches available.

Finding the perfect Android watch for you involves weighing your budget and figuring out what features are important to you. Check out some of these options and get ready to upgrade your wrist technology.

Fitbit Versa, $169.95, Amazon

Fitbit has been a popular choice for both fitness fanatics and people who are looking for some tech encouragement to get into shape. The $199 Versa smartwatch works with Fitbit’s Play Store app to bring the activity tracker’s smarts onto your Android phone. The app lets you track both daily goals and long-term progress. You can add details of your routine, whether it’s the yoga class you just attended or the salad you had for dinner.

The watch itself is water resistant and can notify you of calls, texts, emails and calendar events. You can control notifications from the Fitbit app. If you’re focused on fitness and don’t want to drop a huge bundle of cash, then this smartwatch could become your new best workout buddy.

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Samsung Galaxy Watch, $296.88, Amazon

Moving up to the higher end of the Android smartwatch spectrum, we find the Samsung Galaxy Watch. It runs between $249 and $350 depending on size and style. This watch runs Samsung’s own Tizen Wearable OS. While it has the usual fitness and sleep-tracking features, it also has some more advanced capabilities befitting its price tag. You can swim with it on, it has decent battery life and it comes with a convenient wireless charger.

The Galaxy Watch has a speaker and mic for voice calls, and you can get your text messages when you pair it with a compatible Android phone. One target market for this watch is people who love their Samsung Galaxy phones. This may be the closest thing to an Apple Watch without buying an actual Apple Watch.

Amazfit Bip, $67.49, Amazon

Here’s one for budget buyers and people looking for a friendly fitness-focused smartwatch. The $67 Amazfit Bip has a rugged Gorilla Glass display to stand up to vigorous workouts. It’s lightweight, but packs in a lot of desirable features, including GPS, a heart-rate sensor, and sleep tracking.

To connect the Bip with your Android phone, you’ll need to download the Mi Fit app from the Play Store. It will help you track your fitness routines and receive notifications. The Bip doesn’t have much competition in this price range. As a big bonus, the battery can last up to a month, so you can spend more time wearing it and less time charging it up.

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Fossil Explorist HR, $199, Amazon

The $255 Gen-4 Explorist HR from Fossil runs Google’s Wear OS, which gives you all the advantages of strong Android integration. The watch itself has a classic look to it, but that old-school appearance comes with a touchscreen, Google Pay, GPS, fitness tracking, heart-rate tracking and smartphone notifications. You can customize the look of the watch through the Wear OS interface.

For people who like water sports, this is a smart option. You can even take it swimming in the pool. This is a classy looking Android smartwatch at a manageable price.

TicWatch Pro, $249.99, Amazon

What sets the $250 TicWatch Pro apart from other Wear OS smartwatches is its dual-screen feature. It looks normal at first glance, but it has a layered display that operates in either Smart Mode (where you can access the Wear OS smart functions) or in Essential Mode (where you can see basic time, date and fitness tracking information). Mobvoi, the watch’s maker, says Essential Mode can extend the battery life to up to 30 days. You can decide whether to (and when to) prioritize battery savings versus smartwatch functions.

The TicWatch Pro definitely has a interesting idea going on with the two-screen concept, though keeping it in Smart Mode will mean the battery runs down just as fast as other Wear OS watches. If you’re interested in a smartwatch that’s a bit different and you’re set on having Wear OS, then this is worth checking out. Just be sure to weigh it against the similarly priced Samsung Galaxy Watch.

Finding a smartwatch to go with your Android phone is all about prioritizing which features are important and what price level you’re looking for. You can spend very little and get access to some great fitness-tracking features. When you move up in price, you can get closer to the sort of options found in an Apple Watch, such as getting your text messages or making phone calls.

When an Apple Watch isn’t an option, these smartwatches can answer the call.

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