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. Read More
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. Read More
Fitbit has become a household name in fitness tracking, and it's not shy about its desire to get into smarter wearables. It acquired bits of Pebble's carcass a while back and then launched the Fitbit Ionic. That first smartwatch was somewhat lacking in features, and it didn't offer enough to justify the $300 asking price. Now, Fitbit is back with a cheaper smartwatch sporting almost as many features and a less "retro-future" design. In fact, the Versa looks quite a lot like another famous smartwatch. Read More
Over the last year, we've seen a tangible shift in Android Wear's — now Wear OS — direction. Previously geared toward the demanding techie crowd that was tough to win over, Google's smartwatch platform found a sort of reprieve in more niche markets. We've seen Wear watches made for extreme sports, outdoors, running, and a slew of fashion-forward models from recognized brands like Michael Kors, Diesel, GUESS, Fossil, Kate Spade, Emporio Armani, Tommy Hilfiger, and more. The latter all come from the Fossil group, a company that I think should be credited for Wear's second lease of life — and likely its rebrand to Wear OS to attract iPhone users. Read More
At this point, Fossil is probably pushing Android Wear more than any other company. It's continuing to release smartwatches under many of its brands, including Skagen, Misfit, Kate Spade, Michael Kors, and others. The third-generation Fossil Q watches first went on sale in September of last year, with the most notable improvement being the fully round screens (as opposed to the 'flat tire' displays that older watches used).
Another third-generation Fossil Q watch arrived in November of last year - the Q Control. It's the first sports-oriented smartwatch under the Fossil brand, and its design stands out from the company's other watches. Read More
Fitbit started out making simple step counters that clipped on your pocket, but over time it added displays, exercise tracking, heart rate monitors, and more. Many of its rivals have changed their focus or simply gone out of business, but Fitbit is fast becoming a household name. The last few wrist-based Fitbit devices have been vaguely smartwatch-like, but the true Fitbit smartwatch has been elusive—until now. After acquiring some bits from the now-defunct Pebble, Fitbit has its very own smartwatch called the Ionic.
This device has a definite "Fitbit" aesthetic. It's thick, and the screen is rectangular and rather small. You want corners? Read More
Smartwatches were supposed to be the Next Big ThingTM a few years ago when Samsung launched the original Android-powered Galaxy Gear. That device came with a laundry list of problems, but the company quickly reassessed and got on board with Android Wear while also dabbling with the Tizen wearable OS. When Samsung quietly stepped back from Android Wear, many of us thought it was a mistake. With the release of the Gear Sport, it's looking like Samsung made the right call.
The Gear Sport is a followup to last year's Gear S3. Like that watch, the Sport has a round Super AMOLED display, a rotating bezel, and the Tizen wearable OS. Read More
I'll admit it here: I may work at Android Police, but I think Android Wear is terrible.
I'm not the type to poke away at a wrist-mounted touchscreen, and the last thing I want is yet another device to charge. So, I've been interested in hybrid smartwatches like the Skagen Connected line for some time. Although I went into this with plenty of optimism, I found the experience to be a bit lacking. The Signatur is an attractive timepiece, but a poor smartwatch. Read More
It's getting increasingly hard to justify a smartwatch purchase when so many of them are launching with such high price tags. Paying $400 or $500 for a watch that works the same as one that costs half as much is a tough sell, not that a cheaper watch is an easy sell either. That's what makes the ZTE Quartz intriguing. This is an Android Wear device that costs less than $200 and has a dedicated cellular connection on T-Mobile.
The Quartz is a bit large and clunky, and it's missing some of the features you get with more expensive watches. However, the design is solid considering the price, and it runs Android Wear just as well as more expensive watches. Read More
Smartwatches haven't exactly taken off. In fact, a number of electronics companies have pulled back on plans for Android Wear including Motorola, Sony, and Asus. That's left fewer smartphone makers in the fray, but there are also fashion designers and traditional watch designers dabbling in Wear. We will see a lot more of these smartwatches in 2017, and one of them is the extremely spendy Tag Heuer Connected Modular 45. Read More