This story was originally published and last updated .
These days, there are two primary options for Android-compatible smartwatches. You can use a watch powered by Google's own Wear OS software, or pick up a Galaxy Watch from Samsung. Both platforms get most of the basics right, but depending on which features you care about the most, one might be better than the other for you.
In this guide, we'll go over the key differences between both platforms, so you can make an informed smartwatch purchase.
It's fair to say that Wear OS has been stagnating lately. Google announced a few updates for its smartwatch operating system last week, but they're more like minor improvements than the major overhaul many feel the platform needs. Fossil and its subsidiaries make a lot of Wear OS watches, and now the company is taking matters into its own hands with an exclusive update that adds new health-tracking capabilities, a Phone app tile, and more.
Google's Wear OS platform has been in a holding pattern for much of the past year, while the company waits for its acquisition of Fitbit to go through (or be shut down over antitrust lawsuits). Thankfully, Google hasn't completely forgotten about its existing wearable platform, as a new update is coming in the fall with some much-needed improvements.
Google Play Music is being phased out in favor of YouTube Music starting next month. That change already exacerbates the need for the latter to achieve a desirable feature parity with its predecessor, but it also now presents a challenging chasm for Wear OS users who will lose access to Play Music without a robust YouTube Music experience.
The Misfit Vapor X was released last year by Fossil Group, and has most of the bells and whistles you would expect in a modern Wear OS smartwatch. It started off at $280, but right now you can get it for as low as $15. No, you didn't read that wrong.
Back in March, Chinese manufacturer Oppo announced its first smartwatch, sporting a design similar to the one of an Apple Watch. The device, called the Oppo Watch, was exclusively meant to be sold on the Chinese Market and ran an in-house Android-based OS. However, a new promotional video seems to point the company is about to release a refreshed version of the product that will ship with Wear OS.
Mobvoi is one of the few companies still taking the future of Wear OS seriously and releasing new hardware. But today Mobvoi has a deal reaching into the past. The company's 2018 flagship smartwatch, the TicWatch Pro, is available on Amazon for just $139.99, a savings of $60 off recent prices.
The Fossil Gen 5 is one of the best Wear OS smartwatches you can buy, thanks to a stylish design and solid hardware let down only by Qualcomm's lackluster support for the platform and the inherent bugginess of Wear OS. The Garrett styling of the Gen 5 has the same hardware as the regular model, only wrapped up in a fancy new exterior. The usual $295 price tag is quite high, but if you grab it at Amazon now you can get it for the much more palatable $179 ($116 off).
The TicWatch C2 was announced all the way back in December 2018, but it remains the most attractive smartwatch Mobvoi has produced (if you ask me). An updated C2+ has just been launched with the same design and almost identical specs, except for the memory which has been doubled to a whole 1GB. It also comes with a pair of straps in the box, this time around — one silicone and one leather.