• The Perfect Smartwatch for Android Doesn't Exist

    If you're interested in pairing a fancy wearable to your Android phone, here's some good news: there is a host of available options, almost all of which will reliably pass on notifications from your phone (sorry, Fitbit).

    The bad news—according to this smartwatch enthusiast, at least—is that wearing any of them involves some sort of compromise. Battery life? Comfort? Readable display outdoors? Sure, pick any two... And if you don't believe me, spin the wheel of imperfect smartwatches below—that is, start on any model and cycle through. The fun never stops!

    Fossil Gen 5 / Sport

    As the flag-bearer for Wear OS, Fossil watches offer up every feature that a smartwatch user could ask for: media controls, actionable notifications, wrist-based payments, it's all here. The price to be paid is in battery life, particularly if you're interested in third-party watch faces. I installed this simple analog face on my Fossil Sport and suddenly my battery couldn't even make it to the end of the day.

    Casio WSD-F21HR / F30

    Casio's ruggedized smartwatches have, in my usage, demonstrated about twice the stamina of lesser Wear OS watches. Part of this is likely due to their unique two-layer displays; whereas Fossil cranks up the brightness for better readability outdoors, Casios have a transflective layer so that their displays don't have to light up at all. But while these things are durable, they're also very heavy—and downright uncomfortable after a few hours on my wrist.

    Xiaomi Mi Band 4

    I bought this unassuming fitness band on a whim at New Zealand's only Xiaomi Store last summer. What you get for around $50 CAD is downright astonishing—a wearable so light that I actually forget that I'm wearing it, yet with a battery that lasts up to three weeks and still manages to power a full-colour AMOLED display. Unfortunately that display is all but unreadable in bright sunlight.

    Amazfit Bip

    And here we are, back to the first replacement for my beloved Pebble. The Bip's transflective display is just as readable under the hot sun as the Pebble e-ink screens of yore. Battery life is even better—on par with the Mi Band and similarly light on the wrist. Unfortunately there are no available on-board music controls. For the summer I can use the buttons on my earbuds, but when it gets colder and the buds get buried beneath hats and hoods I might have to go back to Wear OS. You've reached the end now start again.

    Seriously, is anyone 100% happy with their smartwatch? Be honest...

    Andrew Currie has been blogging about mobile phones since 2001, smartphones (depending on how you define them) since 2002 and smartwatches since 2014.
    This article was originally published in forum thread: The Perfect Smartwatch for Android Doesn't Exist started by acurrie View original post
    Comments 4 Comments
    1. rustybob's Avatar
      rustybob -
      If you're basically happy with the Bip, other than the lack of music controls, than the new Bip S might be of interest: https://en.amazfit.com/bip-s.html.

      New updates include music controls, a 64-color screen instead of the 8-color on the standard Bip, better water resistance, and customizable watch faces. Looks like a solid upgrade to me.
    1. acurrie's Avatar
      acurrie -
      Hi, and thanks for the comment. That is indeed an excellent suggestion!

      I'm currently debating on upgrading to the Bip S or holding out for the new Ares: https://cn.amazfit.com/ares.html

      It's similarly small and light but also ruggedized. I'm just not 100% clear on whether it also has a transflective display.
    1. kevlevrone's Avatar
      kevlevrone -
      Hi there. I dont think that other brands have the perfect smartwatches. There are always advantages and disadvantages.
    1. gotg6's Avatar
      gotg6 -
      Try the Galaxy Watch Active 2. Might be the best smartwatch if you have an Android phone.