And it’s not just a new name – Wear OS has been revamped and is easier to use, with improved support for pairing its smartwatches with iPhones as well as Android smartphones.
Apps like Google Fit are now a better fit for the wrist too, while Qualcomm’s new 3100 processor is appearing in the latest crop of smartwatches, letting manufacturers stretch out battery life a little further.
Below, we’ll go into detail on what the top Wear OS watches are right now, with links to our comprehensive reviews. However, if you want a quick snapshot of our current faves, here are our top picks:
1.Fossil Q Explorist HR
2.Fossil Q Venture HR
4.Montblanc Summit 2
5.Tag Heuer Connected Modular 45
6.Michael Kors Access Runway
7.Kate Spade Scallop Smartwatch 2
8.Skagen Falster 2
9.Casio Pro Trek WSD-F30
11.LG Watch Sport
Wear OS 2019 top picks
Skagen Falster 2
What’s most surprising about the Falster 2 is that it’s still so light despite all the new tech that it packs inside. Skagen deserves praise for managing to somehow squeeze more tech into less space in less than a year.
Fossil Q Venture HR
Amazon: Fossil Q Venture HR
The Q Venture HR is a Wear OS smartwatch that combines elegant design with must-have functionality and is every bit as stylish as its predecessor. It also boasts long-awaited tech upgrades to match its main rivals.
Casio Pro Trek WSD-F30
Like its predecessors, the WSD-F30 screams ‘outdoors’. It’s a chunky watch with the kind of outdoor watch design hallmarks that instantly tell you this is another rugged timepiece, designed to withstand some serious rough and tumble.
Incoming: IFA’s Wear OS watches
IFA 2019 has just hit our rear-view mirrors, and it was a big show for Wear OS. The Berlin event saw a range of smartwatches announced for the platform, all of which we’ll be reviewing over the coming weeks and months.
Fossil Group – Wear OS’ biggest vendor – announced a host of new watches. The Michael Kors Access MKGO is a snappy smartwatch available now, while the Diesel On Axial is a brutalist metallic beast, and the Emporio Armani Smartwatch is a sleeker, sporty number. The Diesel and Armani models will be available from 26 September. Fossil’s also making Puma’s first smartwatch, which launches in November, meanwhile.
Even before IFA, Fossil’s fifth generation smartwatches were starting to hit the market, so we’ve got floods of models to judge against each other. We’ll be sure to go hands-on with them as soon as we can, to give detailed reviews and determine where they fit on this list of recommendations, which you can find below.
Buy now: Amazon | £249
The Fossil Q Explorist was a Wareable favourite, and the Q Explorist HR builds on that with new activity and sports tracking features, making it a better fitness performer. It still looks the part, but Fossil has now added a heart rate monitor, built-in GPS, a waterproof design (with swim tracking support) and even NFC for Google Pay.
In fact, having payments alone makes this a better watch. Oh, and it doesn’t just look good; it’s super comfortable to wear.
Onto the bad points: the sports tracking, while most definitely present, doesn’t perform as well as we’d like. The GPS is generally fine, but the heart rate monitor struggled to keep in check with the chest strap. Gym-heads, there are better performers out there. But for anyone who doesn’t demand tip-top accuracy for those intense workouts, you’ll be fine.
The star of the show here though is still its looks, which makes the inclusion of the other features all the more impressive. This is one of the most beautiful Wear watches you can buy for men. If you’ve got smaller wrists, this may not be a great option, but for everyone else, there are very few other smartwatches that look better than Fossil’s best.
Wareable verdict: Fossil Q Explorist HR review
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Buy now: Amazon |£249
For women, the Q Venture HR may be a preferable choice over the Explorist HR. You still get the heart rate monitor, built-in GPS, waterproof design and NFC, but its 40mm case will be a better fit for smaller, slimmer wrists.
It’s really maxing out on style with nine cases to choose from and a body that’s just 13mm thick, meaning it won’t stand out for the wrong reasons. In testing, the heart rate monitor performed about as well as it did on the Explorist HR. So, good for casual workouts, but it won’t cut it for more intense exercise. GPS performance isn’t fantastic either.
We do like that it’s now 50m water resistant, making it an option for swimmers too. But even if none of that matters to you and you just want a regular, user-friendly smartwatch, this is a great option for a good price.
Buy now: Amazon | £145.99
If you don’t want to spend big on a Wear smartwatch, the Ticwatch E2 is, in our opinion, the best budget option available right now.
Joined by the Ticwatch S2, the E2 becomes the first Mobvoi smartwatch to feature a waterproof design. With that new waterproofing, it also adds some pretty impressive swim tracking features for the price too.
The size of the watch has jumped up ever so slightly, so it’s still a bit on the chunky side, but it does mean there’s room for a heart rate sensor and GPS with all the big satellite support covered.
It still has a lovely touchscreen and Mobvoi’s additional health and fitness apps nicely complement Google’s own apps. With Wear running things, you can expect all the standard features, so you’ll have more customisable watch faces and access to Google Assistant. You won’t have access to Google Pay.
You can expect a battery life of 1-2 days, so it’s nothing groundbreaking on that front. But if you’re looking for an affordable, well-balanced watch with decent sports tracking skills, we think you’re going to like it.
Wareable verdict: Ticwatch E2 review
Buy now: montblanc.com | £845
Montblanc’s first Wear smartwatch was a bit of a disappointment. It was light on features, but it was the ordinary design that really let us down. Thankfully things have changed in a big way and the second generation smartwatch is more worthy of a place on your wrist.
Inspired by Montblanc’s 1858 collection, the Summit 2 looks like a beautiful watch, let alone a smartwatch. It houses a crisp, 1.2-inch 390 x 390 AMOLED display to show off Montblanc’s original watch faces and it comes with a lovely interchangeable leather band.
On the features front, there’s built-in GPS, a heart rate monitor and a waterproof design to make it more durable than its predecessor. Google’s Wear OS runs the show of course, with Montblanc largely making its presence felt through the added watch faces and some travel-centric apps that are nice additions.
Buy now: Amazon | From £1,200
Another one for those in the market for a luxury smartwatch, this ‘Swiss Made’ 45mm beauty is available with titanium, ceramic and 18K rose gold finishes. It’ll also provide you with a modular design, which essentially means you’re free to switch out the electronic watch with a traditional mechanical Tag module such as the Calibre 5 or the chronograph Tourbillon Heuer 02-T. Mixing up the lugs, straps and buckle is also an option, with 56 different versions available at launch.
There’s an Intel Atom Z34XX processor powering performance, 4GB of storage memory and a battery life of around 24 hours. There’s also built-in Wi-Fi and GPS to give it standalone smarts, NFC to let you make payments from the wrist and water resistance up to 50 metres.
For more on the watch, check out our Tag Heuer Connected Modular 45 review. Tag has also recently launched a special golf edition of its 45 smartwatch and you can read our Tag Heuer Connected Modular 45 Golf Edition review. If you’re after something that’s smaller, you can also check out the Tag Heuer Connected Modular 41.
Wareable verdict: Tag Heuer Connected Modular 45 review
Buy now: Amazon | From £279
Like the Fossil Group’s other fourth-generation smartwatches, this 41mm beaut with 18mm lugs manages to fit in built-in GPS, a heart rate monitor and NFC for Google Pay. That’s also all wrapped up in a design that’s now fit for the pool.
It’s made from stainless steel and comes in a range of nine styles including gold, silver, rose gold and pavé finishes, and Michael Kors’ first silicone smartwatch straps to make it more fitness tracking friendly.
Based on our experience, the new fitness features are not up to scratch for serious sports men and women, and we’d definitely appreciate more battery life. But if you want a Wear watch that looks the part and delivers of all those core Wear features, it’s definitely one to consider.
If you loved the look of the Michael Kors Access Sofie, there is a follow-up in the shape of the Michael Kors Access Sofie Heart Rate. Like Runway, it brings new features like GPS, heart rate monitoring and NFC for Google Pay. We are putting the finishing touches to our review before deciding whether it deserves a spot in our list of great Wear watches.
Buy now: Amazon | From £279
Kate Spade was one of the last of the Fossil Group brands to get the Wear treatment, and remains one of the standout additions to Google’s smartwatch clan.
First and foremost, it looks the part, with a 1.19-inch, 390 x 390 resolution touchscreen display and no flat tyre in sight. It’s offered in rose gold or a silver-and-gold case with a range of straps to match it up with. It’s built for daintier wrists and one of the slimmest Wear watches out there.
In terms of features, this is a fourth generation Wear smartwatch from the Fossil Group so it does add GPS, heart rate and NFC for Google Pay. You’ll also be able to customise watch faces, download apps, receive smartphone notifications and access Google Assistant when you press down on the crown. It also works as a fitness tracker, which is powered by Google Fit.
Wareable verdict: Kate Spade Scallop Smartwatch 2 review
If you love Wear, then you’ll love…
Buy now: Amazon | £269
The Danish watch brand is renowned for making gorgeous, minimalist watches. After impressing us with its hybrid watches and very first Falster Wear smartwatch, it’s back with the Falster 2, which is another gorgeous timepiece.
The Falster 2 channels the same ‘less is more’ design values with a smaller 40mm watch case, making it just small enough to be considered unisex. You also have your pick of leather or steel bracelet bands that should appeal to a range of tastes.
There’s now also a heart rate sensor, built-in GPS, a waterproof design and Google Pay support. Like its predecessor it opts for more watch faces to choose from and streamlining information so Falster 2 owners aren’t constantly overloaded with reams of data.
Like the rest of the Fossil Group’s fourth-generation watches, it’s a little disappointing on sports tracking, but the inclusion of Google Pay without impacting on its sleek design is enough to warrant a spot in our top Wear picks.
Wareable verdict: Skagen Falster 2 review
Buy now: Amazon | £500
If you want a Wear smartwatch that’s built for the outdoors, your only real option at the moment is Casio’s Pro Trek, which has improved with every iteration (and another is coming down the pike, the WSD-F21HR, adding a heart rate monitor).
The WSD-F30 is Casio’s third outdoor Wear watch and it’s slimmed down while retaining that same rugged, military-grade exterior. It has built-in GPS, but no heart rate monitor and dual display technology to help conserve battery life when you’re out on those big treks.
Casio chucks in some of its own useful apps to aid you on your outdoor pursuits and put the collection of sensors onboard to good use. You get all the usual Wear OS features too, although there’s no Google Pay here for contactless payments.
It offers a good mix of smartwatch and outdoor watch features and if you can live with some compromises, it’s definitely one to take a look at.
Buy now: Amazon | £270
Aside from those under the hood improvements, this is the smartwatch in Fossil’s collection that’s actually the most suitable for getting sweaty with. The waterproof Sport comes in either 41mm or 43mm case sizes with both packing built-in GPS, a heart rate monitor and swimproof designs. It’s one of the most comfortable Wear smartwatches we’ve worn and it’s certainly one of the most colourful options you can choose.
Alongside standard Wear OS, Fossil preloads a few handy apps including Spotify and Noonlight, an app that can send alerts to emergency services. The inclusion of NFC means you get Google Pay here too for contactless payments.
Buy now: Amazon | $319
If you really want the most complete Wear smartwatch experience out there, then the LG Watch Sport is still the one of the best, despite its age and the fact that it’s becoming harder and harder to find.
It’s packing a 1.38-inch, 480 x 480 P-OLED display giving it the best Wear display available. It’s also got a lot of oomph in the engine room, with a 1.1GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon Wear 2100 processor and 768MB of RAM. What that means in the real world is a super snappy Wear experience with the new standalone apps loading without a stutter.
But it’s the inclusion of the GPS / NFC / LTE connectivity trio that really sets it apart. Thanks to that holy trinity, it’s the first – and still the only – Wear smartwatch that really could consider itself a genuine smartphone replacement.