Best Android Smartwatches 2014
Smartwatches are still a relatively new concept but companies have been quick to jump on the idea and release their own. The number and popularity of the devices is only going to increase, especially now that Google has developed Android Wear and the Apple Watch is on its way.
Until the Apple Watch arrives most of your smartwatch options are running Android Wear, but that’s no bad thing as it’s a slick wrist-focused operating system and the few that don’t run it tend to be less impressive. Read on for an overview of the best Android smartwatches around at the moment.
The Moto 360 is the first Android Wear smartwatch with a round screen and though the similarly circular LG G Watch R will be arriving soon the 360 is currently the only one with a circular face.
That in itself makes it worthy of attention as to our mind it makes it far more stylish and watch-like than its square competition. But that’s not the only reason to buy the Moto 360, it also has an attractive metal frame, a leather strap, support for wireless charging, a heart rate monitor, a pedometer and a water resistant build.
Above and beyond all that it benefits from the same things as any other Android Wear device, specifically the fact that you can receive alerts and notifications on your wrist, use apps, get directions and look things up, all of which can be easily controlled with swipes, taps or your voice.
At £199 it’s not cheap and it could do with both slightly more power and a longer battery life (as it doesn’t tend to last beyond a day), but it’s still one of the best smartwatches money can buy.
Samsung Gear Live
The Samsung Gear Live was one of the very first Android Wear devices to go on sale and with its bright screen, fairly sleek design, heart rate monitor and dust and water resistance it’s a solid all round smartwatch.
Its screen is rectangular and despite a metal frame it doesn’t look anywhere near as good as the Moto 360, it also has a similarly disappointing battery life, but it’s marginally more powerful and slightly cheaper too, at £169.
LG G Watch
The LG G Watch launched alongside the Samsung Gear Live and at £159 it’s the most affordable Android Wear watch you can get. It’s also in many ways the most basic, with a chunky square design and no heart rate monitor.
That latter point makes it less suited as a health and fitness device than either the Gear Live or the Moto 360, but it is at least still dust and water resistant, so you can safely wear it whenever and wherever.
Sony SmartWatch 3
As you might have guessed from the name this is not Sony’s first smartwatch, in fact the company is one of the more experienced players in the market, but this is its first to run Android Wear.
It manages to stand out from the Android Wear crowd in some ways too. That starts with the strap design, which allows you to simply slot the watch in a strap yourself. This makes it easy to change the strap without having to go to a jewellers though it does also mean that standard watch straps aren’t supported.
Straps aside it’s got an attractive albeit square design and it’s one of the most powerful smartwatches around thanks to a 1.2GHz quad-core processor. Built in GPS makes it ideal for runners, bikers and anyone else who likes to explore the great outdoors and micro USB charging means it can be charged with a standard smartphone charger.
It’s one of the more expensive smartwatches at £189.99, but with all the slick utility of Android Wear combined with the additional features we mentioned it’s probably worth it.
Samsung Galaxy Gear
Samsung pulled all the stops out for its first smartwatch, the Samsung Galaxy Gear. The Galaxy Gear runs Android rather than Android Wear, but it’s arguably the most feature packed smartwatch on this list.
You can make calls, receive messages, take photos and even shoot videos with the Galaxy Gear. Many operations support voice control, so it’s largely hands-free and you can use your voice to create memos and schedules.
Plus it has a premium if chunky design, with a metal watch face and it supports numerous apps. With prices starting at around £150 it’s not cheap given that it’s also not as slick as similarly priced Android Wear devices, but if you really want to make calls on your wrist this is a good option.
As well as the Gear Live, Samsung has since released an even more expensive successor to the Galaxy Gear, the Samsung Gear 2 , but in a surprising move it runs Tizen rather than Android (although it's still compatible with Android smartphones).