Smartwatches are far from mainstream, though with Apple entering the race last year, they are certainly on the up and up.
Like in the smartphone space, Android and Apple are the major players in smartwatches (not including things like fitness trackers and bands). Android Wear is simple, works with any smartphone, and comes in a variety of styles and designs. Apple Watch, on the hand, has better app support, a fantastic build quality, and some more versatile software.
There are still some interesting other competitors that offer alternatives to the big players that provide fresh takes that set it apart from the crowd. So here it is—as of February 2016—our ranking of the 10 best smartwatches you can buy right now.
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10. LG Watch Urbane - $349: The Watch Urbane is the most premium of LG's Android Wear smartwatches, made of premium materials and finished in either silver or gold. For those who prefer bigger watches, the LG Watch Urbane really is a pretty good choice. It's got decent battery life, a high-quality build, and pretty classy look.
Personally, I could never really get over the bulkiness of the watch, which has both a large watch face and is really thick. You'll pay more for the device too—but if you're looking for something more business-class than casual, the Watch Urbane is one of your best options.—Luke Larsen
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9. Vector Luna Smartwatch - $335: Unlike every other smartwatch on this list, the Vector Watch is made by a watch manufacturer, not a tech company. That alone gives this device a couple of advantages over the others—most notably, the real wristwatch look and feel. The best part is that the Vector Watch has great battery life, always stays on so you can actually use it as a watch, and has just enough "smart" features to make it useful in day-to-day life.—LL
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8. Tag Heuer Connected - $1500: Though there are better contenders in the Android Wear camp that deliver more features for significantly less cost, the Connected is still a solid first attempt at serious a luxury smartwatch. More than any other, the Tag Heuer Connected can actually pass as a serious watch that a professional might be spring for (and has the pricetag to back it up). My biggest gripes with the Connected are that the screen looks a bit low resolution, the battery life is only average, and the titanium case scratches a bit too easily. Other than that, performance is speedy, the screen is highly readable under the sun, and the look is pretty undeniable.—Chuong Nguyen
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7. Asus ZenWatch 2 - $199: Not only does the ZenWatch come in at an incredibly affordable price, it's also one of the most attractive Android Wear devices out there. When it comes to Android Wear devices, your aesthetic taste is going to play a large part in helping you decide which is best for you.
Personally, I prefer the circular designs of other Android Wear smartwatches on this list, but most of them all have the same software and very similar hardware powering it—so if the ZenWatch is your style, it's a pretty good buy.—LL
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6. Pebble Time - $199: The thing I like most about the Pebble Time is that it know exactly it wants to be and sets to be it in the most practical way possible. Pebble has always prided itself on making smartwatches that have simple functions and incredibly long battery. The new Pebble Time continues that legacy and even updates the display from monochrome to color.
Add in the completely redesigned software and you've got a smartwatch that acts as a very significant alternative to the Apple Watch and Android Wear. If you shell out the extra money for the Steel version, even better.—LL
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5. Huawei Watch - $349: Huawei built a great device, one that is beautiful and luxurious. It's also very expensive, and until the operating system matches the hardware, it's hard to recommend anyone lay down hundreds of dollars for something that will, at best, save them the half-second it would take to pull out their phone.
If you are itching for a gadget on your wrist and have the money, you cannot go wrong with the Huawei Watch. If not, a smarter investment would be with a cheaper option like the Moto 360 or, even better, to wait until the software has something legitimate to offer.—Eric Walters
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4. Samsung Gear S2 - $299: The Gear S2 was one of the biggest smartwatch surprises of 2015, most notably do to its unique bezel control interface. With all the smartwatch failures Samsung has put out there, it was surprising to see that it had come up with such a genuinely great way of navigating UI elements on a smartwatch. It works similar to the Apple Watch's Digital Crown, except that it goes around the whole of the watchface, which turns out to be a really natural way of interacting with the watch.
The Gear S2 runs its own proprietary Samsung software, not Android Wear, though it acts as a pretty good alternative to it and really shows what the company can do in the space given enough time to experiment.—LL
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3. Pebble Time Round - $249: We knew about the Pebble Time, but the newer Pebble Time Round was a complete surprise when it was announced. It's the first smartwatch the company has released without using Kickstarter—and it just might be the best one it's ever made.
The round shape is an obvious plus, but the Pebble Time Round is also the thinnest smartwatch we've ever seen. Add in the new revamped software and two-day battery life and you've got a very complete smartwatch package that will make you forget that Android and Apple even exist.—LL
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2. Apple Watch - $349: The iPhone wasn't the first smartphone and the iPad wasn't the first tablet—Apple's never been about being first. But it's also safe to say that a competitor like Android wasn't around when those products first hit the market. Winning the smartwatch wars won't be nearly as easy, and though neither watchOS or Android Wear are as developed as they need to be, the ambitious nature of the Apple Watch is certainly promising.
Despite not being round, it's still an incredibly well-built and attractive watch. Rumors are pointing toward a forthcoming price cut, so you may want to wait for that. The sequel to the Apple Watch probably won't be due for at least a few more months, so the original is a still a good buy, especially with the price cut.—LL
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1. Moto 360 - $299: Despite everything the original Moto 360 got right, it had it also had its fair share of problems—and not just quibbles either. It had terrible battery life, disappointing performance, and pretty limited functionality.
The 2015 version of the Moto 360 might not attempt to do as much as the similar offerings from Apple or Samsung due to the limitations of Android Wear, but it does just as many things well. Motorola has nailed the look and feel of the kind of smartwatch I want to have on my wrist, largely thanks to the amount of customization the company is giving its customers. Because of that, it's my favorite smartwatch to actually have on my wrist so far that I've used.—LL