Whether you use it for its fitness tracking features, or as a less-distracting alternative to your, a smartwatch can be a great addition to your tech arsenal in 2021. However, if you have an Android phone and are unwilling to switch to an iPhone, you’re going to have to forgo the popular Apple Watch in favor of a wearable that’s compatible with your preferred operating system. Luckily, there are plenty of worthy contenders for just about any budget, which offer key features such as activity tracking and other fitness features, a heart rate sensor, Samsung Pay and more.
If you’re looking for the best Android smartwatch, check out the recommendations below. You’ll notice we’re not recommending any watches powered by Google’s Wear OS for two reasons: We haven’t reviewed many new ones in the last year, and Google and Samsung have rebooted the OS this year. Every Android smartwatch device listed here is a solid wearable with great smartwatch features that pairs seamlessly with your Android device or Android phone. We’ll update this best Android smartwatch list periodically as we review new products.
The Galaxy Watch 4 is the first smartwatch to run the new Google Wear platform, co-designed by Samsung and Google. It has a round design with the option of paying a little more for the Classic version with a rotating bezel. ECG and heart-rate tracking are onboard, but Samsung tries to differentiate itself from other watches with a new impedance-based electrical sensor that can tell you more about your body composition.
But some of the key features like ECG are locked to Samsung phones for now, and the battery life is not as strong as others on the list.
Read the Galaxy Watch 4 review.
The Versa 3 smartwatch is compatible with both iOS and Android phones and lets you choose between Alexa or Google Assistant as your go-to voice assistant. It doesn’t offer all the apps and smart features that some of its competitors do, but it’s a well-rounded smartwatch with plenty of health and fitness features to keep you on track, such as onboard GPS and live heart rate monitoring notifications. The Android user can use this wearable to receive notifications for calls, texts, and calendar events. If your Android phone is nearby, you can use the Fitbit Versa to send a quick reply. It’s the best smartwatch on this list for sleep tracking, and it even gives you a breakout of your SpO2 and body temperature data overnight (for Fitbit Premium users). Battery life is also better than most: I got about four full days (and nights) of use with the screen always on.
Read our Fitbit Versa 3 review.
Garmin makes plenty of great smartwatches for fitness enthusiasts, but they don’t always have that many smart features. The Venu 2 hybrid smartwatch offers the best of both worlds. You can respond to notifications from the watch with quick replies, use contactless payments with Garmin Pay and store music from apps like Spotify. The bright AMOLED circular screen is easy to see outdoors and the battery lasts for 5 days or more.
Read our Garmin Venu 2 review.
The Active 2 offers many of the same smartwatch features as the newer Galaxy Watch 3 and 4, including an ECG app and fall detection, for a lot less cash. It’s not as flashy as the Watch 4 with its physical rotating bezel and thicker frame, but it’s less bulky and more comfortable to wear at night and during workouts. The Active 2 handles calls, texts and app notifications, and this Samsung smartwatch offers Spotify support as well as all the basic fitness features for activity tracking you’ll need. You can also get an LTE edition of this smartwatch, which gives you LTE connectivity to receive calls on the go without your Android smartphone nearby.
Read our Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2 review.
If you’re looking for a fitness-focused Android watch without too many distractions, which works with both Android and iOS, the Garmin Venu Sq is the watch to get. It has a built-in GPS, plenty of workout options to choose from, and lots of fitness tracking data about your workout like heart rate zones and running dynamics in the mobile app.
This Android smartwatch also doubles as a health tracker with high and low heart rate alerts, a comprehensive sleep analysis and SpO2 tracking. It measures blood oxygen levels on demand, or automatically throughout the day and night just like the latest Apple Watch Series 6, but for half the price. But you do compromise on design. The watch has a plastic frame, and the watch face’s screen isn’t as big or as vibrant as those on some of the other watches on the list.
Read our Garmin Venu Sq review.
Vanessa Hand Orellana/CNET
If you’re looking to get more value for money, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a better deal than the Amazfit Bip S. This $70 smartwatch is compatible with either an iOS or Android device and this wearable checks most of the boxes when it comes to features: heart rate sensor, always-on display, built-in GPS tracking and the best battery life of any device on this list. You can get up to 40 days of use on a charge, or about two weeks of heavy usage with the GPS on and brightness up (a time that’s still above and beyond the rest).
You may have to make some sacrifices when it comes to aesthetics, though, as it has a plastic casing and the screen isn’t as bright or responsive as watches from Samsung and Apple. There’s also a newer model called the Bip U Pro, but we haven’t fully reviewed that watch yet.
Read our Amazfit Bip S review.
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