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The best Wear OS watches for 2020

If you own an Android phone and are in the market for a smartwatch, you may not want an Apple Watch, even though we named it the best smartwatch available. If Android compatibility is your top priority then look no further than Google’s Wear OS, the software previously known as Android Wear. While we don’t find it quite as polished and usable as Watch OS on the Apple Watch, it’s still a great way to get notifications and directions, track fitness, and have the Google Assistant on your wrist.

The good news is there’s a massive amount of choice, with an increasing number of fashion and watch brands designing Wear OS smartwatches, including Fossil, Misfit, Kate Spade, and Mobvoi. We’ve chosen the best Wear OS watches at varying prices and laid out what features they pack.

The best

Fossil Gen 5

Fossil Gen 5 watch face
Corey Gaskin / Digital Trends

The Fossil Gen 5 smartwatch comes packed with the latest Snapdragon Wear 3100 chip, which offers better battery life and improved performance. It also runs Google’s latest version of Wear OS, which provides a better user experience all-around. Under the hood, the smartwatch comes with heart rate monitoring, built-in GPS, and an NFC chip, all for an affordable price. It also features a great design and options for the consumer to select their preferred aesthetic among numerous colors and body styles.

With a 1.28-inch AMOLED display, content looks bright and sharp, whether you’re checking the time or using an app. With redesigned Wear OS and 1GB of RAM on board, this smartwatch offers a powerful platform in a sleek package.

The rest

Mobvoi TicWatch E2

Mobvoi Ticwatch E2
Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends

No, it’s not a beauty, but the Ticwatch E2 is very well priced and does almost everything you want a smartwatch to do, matching many more expensive models. The case measures 46mm and contains a 1.4-inch screen with a 400 x 400-pixel resolution. Wear OS is managed by a Snapdragon 2100 processor, plus there is a heart rate sensor and GPS for the fitness fan.

We managed to get at least a day from the battery too, although it’s not quite strong enough to manage two days. However, we can’t complain about this or the list of features when the watch itself costs just $160, which is less than half what you’ll pay for some of the designer models.

Misfit Vapor 2 

Brenda Stolyar/Digital Trends

As a follow-up to the Misfit Vapor, Misfit launched its second-generation Vapor 2, which comes with a few more features. In addition to a heart rate sensor, it also now has built-in GPS and comes with the redesigned version of Wear OS. While Misfit has done away with the touch-sensitive bezel, it still looks extremely sleek, with a 1.2-inch AMOLED touchscreen display and a rotating crown. It also comes in two different case sizes — 41mm and 46mm.

While it doesn’t include Qualcomm’s new chipset, Google’s new Wear OS interface makes up for it, since it’s far easier to use. The Vapor 2 also comes in eight different colorways, with interchangeable watch straps for further customization.

Kate Spade Scallop 2 

Kate Spade Scallop 2 Smartwatch review
Andy Boxall/Digital Trends

Kate Spade is known as a very fashion-forward, tech-friendly company, and the Kate Spade Scallop 2 proves it. The Scallop 2 features a similarly understated and classic design to the original, but then pulls in more design aspects associated with the Kate Spade brand for a fresher look. It’s slim — which is helpful in ensuring that the watch looks stylish — has all-new tech including GPS and a heart rate sensor, new watch faces, and NFC for Google Pay.

We really like the clever watch face that can be set up to complement the color scheme of your outfit. Don’t be put off by the large-sounding 42mm body — the screen is just 1.2 inches, so the watch is very compact and wearable. There are various Wear OS smartwatches for women, but this is by far our favorite, and don’t entirely dismiss the original Scallop if you happen to see a great deal on it either.

Ticwatch Pro 2020

Mobvoi

The history of this particular smartwatch is a storied one. We reviewed the Ticwatch Pro upon its release in 2018. What we found was a pretty neat smartwatch that played it safe when it came to design and featured a nifty screen, but was held back by laggy performance and a then-weak Wear OS.

In 2019 we reviewed the updated 4G/LTE version of the watch. It came with the obvious addition of 4G/LTE connectivity, though it was limited to Verizon, and while its face with dual-display technology remained about the same, it benefited from improved textures around the dial and edges of the watch. Mobvoi also upped the RAM just a touch, but we still found it to be lacking in performance. It lost a bit of weight and sported great battery life, while its heart rate tracking abilities and fitness integrations made it a good performer for the exercise-minded buyer.

For the 2020 refresh, Mobvoi doubled the memory on the smartwatch to a full 1GB, resulting in much smoother performance, and leaned into the rugged design with new “military standard 810G durability.” It still features NFC technology compatible with Google Pay, as well as its trademark dual LCD/AMOLED display.

The Ticwatch Pro 2020 is a great fit if you’re looking for an Android-compatible smartwatch for a more rugged lifestyle and at a reasonable price point, coming in at $260.

Amazon

Which Wear OS smartwatch will you choose? While we are fans of all these watches and they’re all good choices, it’s difficult not to recommend the Fossil Gen 5 due to the price, features, design, and up-to-date tech. We’re excited to see what the future holds for Wear OS watches, and we’ll be here to guide you through as their journey progresses.

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