Android Police

Wearable Reviews

98

Fossil's fifth-gen smartwatches showcase Wear OS at its best

Google's Wear OS platform is in a bit of a weird place. The operating system itself is still being periodically updated with new features and improvements, like the Tiles function that was released in May, but the third-party app library is still minimal, and Qualcomm has been slow to improve the underlying hardware. Still, Wear OS isn't going anywhere, and the closest thing to a flagship watch is the new fifth-generation Fossil Q lineup.

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86

Xiaomi Mi Band 4 review: Cheap and decent activity tracking, but not for swimmers

In the world of activity trackers, nothing comes close to the Mi Band's value. Cheaper than any Garmin or Fitbit tracker, even the most basic vivofit4 and Inspire, but still packing enough functionality, it also benefits from Xiaomi's name recognition and is considered a serious choice, not a cheap knock-off no-name tracker.

The most recent Mi Band 4 pushes the value-for-money envelop even further thanks to a colored AMOLED screen, swim tracking, and music controls, which get added on top of the previous generation's all-day activity, sleep, and heart rate tracking. Overall, the package is very attractive, but cracks are inevitably hiding below the surface, especially if you like spending your time in a pool.

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6

Aipower Wearbuds review: Halfway to a good product

True wireless Bluetooth earbuds were introduced in 2014 by the likes of the Bragi Dash and later popularized by the Apple Airpods. Since then, we've seen incremental developments like fitness tracking on the Jabra Elite Active 65T and wireless charging on the Samsung Galaxy Buds, but the form factor has essentially remained the same — a pair of earbuds stored inside a charging case that goes in your pocket. Aipower, a sub-brand of Aukey, is looking to shake things up with the Aipower Wearbuds (that recently went live on Kickstarter) by combining true wireless earbuds with a wrist-based fitness tracker.

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55

Samsung's Galaxy Watch Active is a great smartwatch, especially for $200

Samsung unveiled its latest mainstream smartwatch, the simply-named Galaxy Watch, late last year. It was a decent wearable, but fairly pricey at the time ($300), and it lacked MST support in Samsung Pay.

The newer health-focused Galaxy Watch Active was announced alongside the Galaxy S10, and it's definitely a more attractive wearable for most people. It's less expensive and physically smaller, while retaining excellent battery life.

The Galaxy Watch Active is one of the best smartwatches you can buy right now, but Samsung definitely cut a few corners — including dropping one of Tizen's best features.

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19

LG Watch W7 review: A smartwatch that shouldn't be ignored

If we're to listen to complaints about Wear OS, the one thing everybody agrees on is that OEMs should try new things. That's why it's interesting to see that LG's announcement of the Watch W7 instantly became the most criticized smartwatch of 2018 — possibly ever. It had an old chipset, a small-ish battery, and hands that obscured the screen. The watch was mocked so relentlessly, we had our doubts that it would ever come out.

But does it really deserve so much hate? There are certainly some compromises and problems, but when you start to consider that the W7 also comes with solutions for some of the common complaints about smartwatches, it might have some potential. I've been using the Watch W7 for a little while and I think there's actually a lot to like about this thing.

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105

Fossil Sport review: The best Wear OS has to offer

I have been a user of Android Wear/Wear OS practically since it was released. I bought a Samsung Gear Live a few months after it became available, followed by a Moto 360 and an original LG G Watch. When those models became unusable for one reason or another, I purchased a refurbished Huawei Watch that I use to this day.

I've wanted to upgrade for a while now, but once rumors of a Pixel Watch subsided, I decided to get the first affordable watch with the fancy new Wear 3100 processor. That turned out to be the Fossil Sport, which dropped to $180 this past Black Friday.

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52

Samsung Galaxy Watch review: A competent smartwatch you probably shouldn't buy right now

Samsung was among the first large tech companies to launch a smartwatch, and it ran Android before Android Wear existed. Samsung's interest in Android-powered wearables had waned since then. Now, it's all about Tizen despite recent rumors to the contrary. The Galaxy Watch drops the "Gear" branding, but it keeps Tizen. It looks like a real watch, like all of Samsung's recent models. Samsung is really embracing the watch aesthetic this time around, going so far as to make the device tick when you look at the watch face.

In the end, it's still not a real watch—you have to charge it every few days, and it's a bit bulky compared to a mechanical watch.

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67

BEAM review: Strap a funny GIF on your jacket for $85

A lot of the stuff we review here at Android Police has genuine utility behind it. Things like phones, Chromebooks, and wearables can enhance your life and your productivity. The BEAM will do none of those things, but it will let you stick a funny meme on your chest for $85, and I call that a win.

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58

TicWatch Pro review: A good Wear watch at a bad time [Update: 28-day battery life]


Chinese firm Mobvoi — founded by ex-Googlers — has a history of making connected watches that stretches back to its original TicWatch and TicWatch 2 running the proprietary TicWear OS. Around this time last year, the TicWatch S and E were launched with Wear OS (then Android Wear) on board, and they were praised for their quality and excellent value proposition.

Now, Mobvoi is back with a premium Wear OS smartwatch, the TicWatch Pro. It offers better build quality and adds NFC, but the real star of the show is a transparent second display for more efficient always-on functionality with the promise of excellent battery life.

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35

Fitbit Ionic long-term review: Fitbit may be on track for a wearable win

I reviewed the Fitbit Ionic when it launched late last year, and at the time I didn't much care for it. I was not into the design, and there were multiple software issues. I've continued to wear the watch on and off since then, and I spent about a week with the Fitbit Versa just recently. The Ionic has gotten several updates since my original review, including the recent bump to FitbitOS 2.0 that matches what ships on the Versa. With Google's Wear OS still on a downward trajectory, I'm giving Fitbit's flagship smartwatch another shot.

With the software improvements, I find myself liking the Ionic much more than I did when it launched.

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