Smartwatches for Android Phones: Top 10 Reviewed Watches for 2023
Smartwatches have taken the fitness world by storm, to the point that it’s common at many gyms today to see more people with a smartwatch than without. It’s easy to see why, too – smartwatches offer tons of passive benefits, even for folks who don’t go to the gym every day. Smartwatches can monitor your heart rate, help you adjust your sleeping habits, and even let you take calls or texts while your phone is on the treadmill counter.
Still, it’s taken me awhile to jump on the smartwatch bandwagon. Don’t get me wrong, they’re very interesting gadgets through and through, but I initially failed to see exactly why they were necessary unless you planned on using them every day. After all, I thought, aren’t smartwatches mostly for fitness fanatics?
But I was browsing Amazon one day and stumbled onto a selection of smartwatches for Android phones. Since I have an Android phone now, these seemed like perfect fits. The more I investigated, I found that the smartwatches on display weren’t only for people wanting to track their fitness progress. In fact, smartwatches are great for all kinds of uses, including people who like to pay without a physical card or guys like me who just enjoy having fun gadgets to fiddle with.
Suffice it to say that I plunged down into a smartwatch rabbit hole I’m ultimately glad I checked out. I delved deep into some of the best new smartwatches of 2022. Plus, you benefit – I found some of the best Android smartwatches on the market for you to examine yourself. Note that many of these also work for other phones, like Google Pixel devices or iPhones. But I did specifically tailor the reviews for watches compatible with Android devices.
Anyway, let’s get down to it!
SAMSUNG GALAXY WATCH 5 SPECS:
Starting price: $279
Colors: Graphite, Silver, Sapphire, Pink Gold
Size : 44.4 x 43.3 x 9.8 mm (44mm) / 39.3 x 40.4 x 9.8 mm (40mm)
Weight: 1.18 oz (44mm) / 1.01 oz (40mm)
Display: 1.4 in, 450 x 450 (44mm) / 1.2 in, 396 x 396 (40mm)
Processor: Exynos W920
Memory: 1.5GB RAM + 16GB
Battery life (rated): 50 hours
Durability: 5ATM + IP68
Connectivity: Bluetooth, LTE, NFC, GPS
Compatibility: Android 8.0 or higher
Top 10 Android Smartwatches to Buy in 2023 – At a Glance
- Best Overall Samsung Android Smartwatch – Samsung Galaxy Watch 5
- Best Value Samsung Fitness Smartwatch – Samsung Galaxy Watch Active
- Best Affordable Android Smartwatch – Fitbit Versa Lite
- Best Android Smartwatch for Fitness/Sports Enthusiasts – Fossil Sport
- Best Wear OS Watch – Fossil Gen 6
- Best Wear OS Smartwatch You’ve Never Heard Of – Tic Watch E2
- Best Value Smartwatch with Two Screens – Tic Watch Pro
- Best Looking Android Smartwatch – Skagen Falster 6
- Best Health + Hybrid Android Smartwatch – Fitbit Versa 4
- Best Cheap Android Smartwatch – Amazfit Bit
1. Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 – Best Overall Samsung Android Smartwatch
With the Samsung Galaxy Watch 5, Samsung has found its stride in the smartwatch space. No, it’s not all that different from last year’s Samsung Galaxy Watch 4, but the handful of upgrades have incremental, yet ample appeal.
The Samsung Galaxy Watch 5’s battery life is up to 10 hours longer, while the device is also more durable against scratches thanks to a sapphire crystal glass display. The bottom curvature is reshaped to fit wrists more naturally and increase the amount of surface area that actually makes contact with your skin, improving the accuracy of sensor readings.
Speaking of health sensors, the Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 has a new one to offer — a skin-temperature reader. It doesn’t actually work yet, but when it does, it’ll inform sleep tracking and be open to third-party health developers.
After spending a full week with the device for this Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 review, it’s clear it’s the best Samsung watch yet for most people, and the best smartwatch overall for anyone with a Samsung smartphone.
Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 price and availability
The Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 price starts at $279 for the 40mm Bluetooth model. The 40mm LTE model starts at $329. The price goes up to $299 and $349 for the 44mm configurations for Bluetooth and LTE, respectively. I’ll note this is a consistent $30 price hike compared to the Galaxy Watch 4. Samsung has changed the prices of the Galaxy Watch every year, so I’m not necessarily surprised.
Meanwhile the Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 Pro, the new “rugged” or outdoor sports watch offered this year, costs $449 for Bluetooth and $499 for LTE. It comes in a singular 45mm size. The Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 Classic remains on sale as well.
Both watches became available on August 26. If you’re thinking of buying one when they’re finally released, make sure to check our Samsung promo codes to save a few extra dollars on your order.
Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 vs. Galaxy Watch 5 Pro
There are key differences between the Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 vs. Galaxy Watch 5 Pro that could make one of the versions of this year’s watch offerings better for you than the other. The Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 Pro is an all-new model looking to cut into Garmin’s market with an 80-hour battery life, ultra-durable design and outdoor sports-specific features.
These perks come at price — as I mentioned above, the the Galaxy Watch 5 Pro starts at $449. I still haven’t conducted a full review of of the Watch 5 Pro, but I did speculate on who the Galaxy Watch 5 Pro is for, based on what I’ve seen so far.
Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 review: Design
As you might recall, last year the standard Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 offered an updated shape and feel compared to the Samsung Galaxy Watch 3. It was still sporty, and even reminiscent of the Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2, but it had a more refined case and a seamless transition from watch to watch strap. The overall look of the Galaxy Watch 5 is still a bit athletic, but found customizing my watch face added enough versatility.
Unlike the option between the Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 vs. Galaxy Watch 4 Classic, there’s no rotating bezel offered for the Galaxy Watch 5 lineup. The rotating bezel amassed fans over the years, including some of our own writers. Personally, I’m fine seeing it phased out, but I know many others (including my fellow Galaxy Watch 5 reviewers) will protest. It keeps the watch slim, and again, if you love the bezel that much, just get the Galaxy Watch 4 Classic.
Otherwise, the Galaxy Watch 5’s reshaped curvature on the bottom creates more surface area for watch-to-skin contact, which Samsung says helps with accuracy on data collected from the biometric sensor. As for durability, the watch remains water resistant up to 5ATM with a IP68 rating. The display is made of sapphire crystal glass, which Samsung claims is stronger against scratches by 60% more than before.
The Galaxy Watch 5 comes in four colors: Graphite, Silver, Sapphire (44mm only) and Pink Gold (40mm only). It comes with silicone straps but Samsung sells a number of interchangeable bands. I tried a few of the newer strap designs out during this and appreciated the variety.
Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 review: Skin temperature sensor
The most notable new internal Galaxy Watch 5 feature is the addition of a temperature analysis sensor, which appears to exist separately from Samsung’s 3-in-1 Bio Active sensor. Debuted last year, the Bio Active sensor reads heart rate, SpO2 and body composition via BIA (bioelectrical impedance analysis.) The skin-temperature reader sits slightly off-center on the bottom of the Galaxy Watch’s case.
Unfortunately, the skin-temperature reader will be functional at launch. That said, Samsung has clarified what the Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 skin temperature sensor will do. I can’t help but wish I could try it now, but it’ll be worth testing out once it’s live.
The pressure is also on a bit — the rivaling Apple Watch Series 8 and Fitbit Sense 2 both have features powered by a skin-temperature sensor.
Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 review: Fitness tracking
In my Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 workout test, I found the Galaxy Watch to be a capable fitness companion. If you follow my my Instagram account you might’ve seen more more day-to-day fitness experiences with Samsung’s latest smartwatch already, but I’m glad to report it’s still a solid activity tracker for more than just counting steps (though, it can do that, too.)
It can track familiar workout types such as running, cycling and Pilates but also specific workout movements with form guides, like push-ups and bicep curls. All the while, the device tracks heart rate, calories burned and time elapsed.
One of my favorite Galaxy Watch 5 fitness tracking features is auto-tracking for walking (among other activities). Living in a city, I walk almost everywhere I can. The Galaxy Watch 5 automatically started tracking my walking data after 10 minutes, and automatically ended my walk about 10 minutes after I stopped moving as well. The auto-pause feature for walking came in handy for stopping at traffic lights, too.
Of course, the Galaxy Watch 5 continues the body composition analysis feature. Taking a BIA reading on the Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 is easy and quick, especially compared to the effort it would take to get your physical makeup tested at a doctor’s office. If I were looking to track my fitness journey, an on-wrist bioelectrical impedance analysis (BIA) test once a week or so could help me see how my body changes over time.
Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 review: Sleep tracking
The Galaxy Watch 5 features an updated sleep coach, designed to offer actionable sleep plans based on how well (or not) you’re catching zzz’s. After wearing the Galaxy Watch 5 overnight for a few days, I established a baseline. Luckily, I’m on a regulated sleep schedule, and the time the watch detected I was asleep seemed accurate.
I could review my snoring and sleep stages data on my wrist or on my paired Samsung phone. I could also check my respiratory rate overnight thanks to the blood oxygen (SpO2) sensor in the Galaxy Watch 5. That said, this sensor is one that cuts into battery life, but more on that below.
Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 review: Wear OS
The Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 runs Wear OS powered by Samsung, which basically means Google’s smartwatch software is at the foundation of the experience but it’s layered by many of Samsung’s in-house apps, watch faces and menus. It also means that the smartwatch pairs and syncs effortlessly with other Samsung devices in the same user ecosystem.
Wear OS 3’s biggest perk is its inclusion of Google services, namely Gmail, Google Maps and, more recently for Galaxy Watch devices, Google Assistant. These are all things the Google Pixel Watch will have when it debuts, but for now, the Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 is shaping up to be the best smartwatch for Android.
If you’re looking to see how the wearables are stacking up, check out our Galaxy Watch 5 vs Google Pixel Watch preview. I’ll note that I recently tried out the Montblanc Summit 3 and found it felt more like the Wear OS of old, compared to Samsung’s tailored version. The contrast surprised me, but shows the Galaxy Watch 5 user experience will be individualized one.
Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 review: Battery life and charging
The Galaxy Watch 5 has a 15% bigger battery than the Galaxy Watch 4, promising up to 50 hours of battery life. That’s about 10 more hours than before, and I definitely noticed the improvement. On a full charge, my Galaxy Watch 5 unit lasted more than two days before kicking into a low-power, time-only mode.
That said, when I enabled the always-on display and SpO2 monitoring, the Galaxy Watch 5 lasted closer to 30 hours in my testing. Though I usually prefer AOD, for extending the Galaxy Watch 5’s battery life, it seemed worthwhile to turn it off.
As for charging, Samsung says an 8-minute charge should get you 8 hours sleep tracking, and the smartwatch can recharge to 45% in just 30 minutes. I actually got to 48% from dead in a timed 30 minutes, which should mean a complete charge in one hour.
Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 review: Verdict
The Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 introduces a small, yet respectable collection of incremental upgrades. It doesn’t make any radical changes, but improves two pillars that are typically important to smartwatch users: health-tracking and battery life. The temperature sensor is particularly interesting, though as it’s not available yet, there could be a reason to wait to buy.
But for those with Samsung phones looking for the best wearable accessory, the Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 is a no-brainer. It looks great, is a capable fitness tracker and, starting at $279, is a fair value. Especially when you compare it to the Apple Watch, which starts at $399.
It’s hard not to draw comparisons the Galaxy Watch and Apple Watch, as they’ve diverged as two different devices for two different product ecosystems. To me, it seems like the Galaxy Watch is following the Apple Watch’s M.O. by making an annual minor upgrade to what was already a popular smartwatch. And there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that.
2. Samsung Galaxy Watch Active – Best Value Samsung Fitness Smartwatch
There are those of us who aren’t interested in super-expensive smartwatches, and I can’t blame you! For myself, I usually opt for gadgets and devices that are good enough rather than being top-tier, especially since cutting-edge gadgets usually have a few bugs or kinks to work out. To that end, I present the Galaxy Watch Active: an Android smartwatch with many of the same features as the last but without the exorbitant price tag.
It’s also a watch more straightforwardly designed for fitness fanatics. You can tell this by the fact that it can detect up to six exercises while you’re moving, plus track your results or progress for up to 39 more. It’s a perfect pick for CrossFit enthusiasts or regular gym-goers who want to tangibly mark their progress as they go up in weight or shed pounds.
More than that, the watch can also help you rest better by analyzing your sleep patterns and setting automatic alerts to help to wind down and go to sleep at the same time every night. Considering that most modern sleep research indicates that setting a regular bedtime (and not staying on the computer until midnight) does wonders for your rest quality, this is a great feature that more smartwatches ought to offer.
The watch can also send you real-time alerts if it detects a low heart rate. Thus, it’s a great pick if you do have a heartbeat irregularity and your doctor has recommended that you keep an eye on the anomaly for the foreseeable future.
Alright, so it’s a great fitness watch. But what does it bring to the table in terms of raw enjoyment? It’s a lightweight but durable watch and I found it to be comfortable while exercising or when wearing it daily. Furthermore, it’s totally swim-ready since it’s waterproof and comes in a decent selection of colors. The bands are interchangeable, so it’s a fun watch if you like to adjust your look from time to time instead of being stuck with a single watch color.
The watch can also work with both Samsung Android smartphones and iOS phones so long as the operating system is 9.0 or higher. Most will still want to pair this with a Samsung smartphone, however. Once paired, it can sync with a music playlist and give you text or call alerts like most modern smartwatches on the market. It’s a smartwatch with long battery life and can run for up to several days on a single charge.
Ultimately, it’s a great alternative to the Samsung Galaxy Watch 3 if you want something more affordable with many of the same features.
- Made with durable but lightweight materials to keep the watch soft and comfortable
- Comes in several colors and the bands are interchangeable to allow a degree of aesthetic flexibility
- The watch has lots of fitness-oriented features, making it ideal for regular exercisers
- Pairs with both Android and iOS smartphones and devices, offering some extra flexibility
- Not as good for hands-free operation, like when you’re driving
- Aesthetic is definitely “cheaper”/not suitable for some business or professional environments
3. Fitbit Versa Lite – Best Affordable Android Smartwatch
Many smartwatches are simply too expensive for lots of regular people to get their hands on them. This is a shame, considering that smartwatches are fun and versatile devices that offer much more value than just a little exercise assistance. This being said, I was able to find a few more budget-friendly Android smartwatches on the market.
The Fitbit Versa Lite is, undoubtedly, one of the best Android watches I saw. The price, however, can oscillate depending on the color of the band, meaning that some Versa Lites are cheaper than others if you’re willing to stick with an ugly color. For instance, the bright, bubblegum pink color is the cheapest on the market at the time of this writing.
But for some, aesthetic is secondary to function, so the Versa Lite will ultimately be a great fit. Like most smartwatches, it can track a variety of daily activities 24/7, plus give you valuable data about your heart rate and sleep stages. It does all this pretty reliably since it has a four-day battery life with a single charge (though of course this varies based on how much you use it).
In total, the Versa Lite comes with over 15 exercise modes so you can record your workouts and connect to a smartphone for integration with various fitness apps. It also has pretty good GPS recording accuracy, meaning it’ll reliably track your pacing and distance. It’s a great, affordable smartwatch for runners who are more likely to be interested in a watch that works rather than a watch that turns heads.
The relatively wide screen allows you to access a multitude of apps without fumbling with the buttons – something I hate with other smartwatches. It also pairs pretty quickly to various smartphone types and can receive texts and other app alerts. If you pair the watch with an Android device, you can send quick replies to text messages or calls at the touch of a button. This is a really handy feature for those who primarily wear the watch while exercising and who don’t want to mess up their groove in the middle of a workout.
I also really like the slim and comfortable design of the watch. The watch’s body is made with lightweight and anodized aluminum. This just means that it won’t corrode very easily (something to consider if the watch rests on a sweaty wrist often). It’s also water resistant down to 50 m, meaning it’s functionally waterproof.
With all these plus sides, there are negatives to consider. As mentioned, some of the cheaper colors are pretty shockingly ugly. Furthermore, the watch does have some lag when you try to engage multiple functions at once. This can make the interface feel unintuitive or unresponsive. But it’s still a decent, affordable Android smartwatch all in all.
- Can be bought for a really reasonable asking price, especially compared to other smartwatches
- Has good GPS accuracy and a plethora of workout/exercise recording functions
- Can pair with multiple types of smartphones and offers quick replies when texting with Android phones
- Feels lightweight and comfortable Made with durable aluminum materials and is very water-resistant
- Cheaper colors are not very good for business/professional use, though they’re okay for fitness-only use
- Internal software can be laggy sometimes
4. Fossil Sport – Best Android Smartwatch for Fitness/Sports Enthusiasts
Some Android smartwatches are relatively gender-neutral, while others trend clearly toward one side of the sex spectrum. The Fossil Sport is clearly one of the latter, and I found that it fit perfectly on my more masculine wrist compared to many of the others on this list. Indeed, it’s designed for use by men (though women can still technically make it work) in terms of its aesthetic and a few of the features.
For example, many smartwatches designed to be used for women have women’s health fitness apps to track female-only health issues. This watch lacks those functionalities in exchange for more general features, like heart rate and activity tracking through Google Fit and fantastic built-in GPS tracking. This makes it a great watch for hiking or running, particularly in places where you’re a newcomer.
I mentioned Google Fit for a reason: this watch comes built with Google Assistant functionality ready to go. It’s super easy to engage this feature through voice commands alone, though be warned – the speaker isn’t super great at actually picking up your voice sometimes. But the Assistant is still a valuable feature overall, as it allows you to do things like:
- Check out at various stores using the smartwatch
- Download third-party apps with the touch of a button
- Customize the watch face
- Handle your music storage and controls
- Set various alarms and alerts
- Engage an LED flashlight
- And more
There are, as you can see, a lot of practical tools built into this watch. This Android watch for men is a great casual or sportswear accessory for this reason alone. The watch does come with a downside in that it only has around 24 hours of battery life, whereas many other smartwatches come with longer lifespans of a few days on a single charge. Still, this downside doesn’t offset the sheer value offered here.
This Android men’s watch is extremely lightweight, built with an aluminum case and a durable silicone band. The bands are interchangeable and the watch comes in multiple sizes, but they all maintain the relatively rugged and minimalist aesthetic lots of men appreciate the Fossil brand for in the first place.
Is it right for you? I enjoyed my time with the Fossil Sport. But I also think there are flatly better options within this Android smartwatch review. It’s ultimately the best Android smartwatch for men who want something decidedly masculine and functional above all else.
- This watch has tons of features to sink your teeth into, including music control, a calendar, a stopwatch, and lots of fitness tracking functions
- Works with both iPhones and Android devices
- Syncs with Google Assistant and receives some voice commands for hands-free functionality
- You can customize the watch face to your liking
- Made with a sleek but rugged men’s aesthetic – it’s also durable enough for use in inclement weather
- Smartwatch battery life could certainly be better, although it can go up to two or three days depending on what functions you use
- The speaker for Google Assistant voice commands is spotty in certain areas