The Best Cheap (Wear OS) Smartwatches of 2019

Smartwatches are designed to pair with your phone's operating system. 

This allows the watch to display notifications, load apps, make and take calls, send and receive texts, and to sync with other Bluetooth accessories (like a pair of wireless earbuds).

Before you buy a smartwatch, make sure it's compatible with your phone. 

The Apple Watch only works with iPhones. However, Wear OS watches are compatible with Android phones and iPhones. 

Many Wear OS watches (formerly called Android Wear) are true Apple Watch alternatives. They include scientific instruments like a pedometer, GPS, a blood pressure sensor and a heart rate monitor. Some are even waterproof. But, like the Apple Watch, many Wear OS watches must be charged nightly.

If you're willing to forego a touchscreen and apps for longer battery life and a traditional watch face, consider a "hybrid watch." These analog watches have some smart features (like vibrating notifications).

As a final word of caution, even the best Wear OS watches have sharply mixed reviews.

Here are the best-reviewed Wear OS watches that have sold for $200 or less in the last 12 months:

Good Price: $75 | Great Deal: $60

The Amazfit Bip has excellent battery life (lasting for a week or more on a charge), according to several Amazon customers who also praised the smartwatch’s fit and capabilities. The Bip doesn't come with a manual and several Amazon reviewers has a frustrating time looking for setup instructions online. Some customers found the Bip's fitness tracking features to be inaccurate.

Good Price: $200 | Great Deal: $173

This is a comfortable, good-looking watch that doubles as a fitness tracker, according to several Amazon customers. Many reviewers have two complaints: The battery-life is less than 24 hours; and the watch doesn't support some popular Android apps.

Good Price: $200 | Great Deal: $150

Fossil's Q smartwatch looks great and is easy to use, according to several Amazon customers. Some reviewers were disappointed that the watch's blue accents were darker in real life than in product photos and many customers wished that this watch came with NFC and a heart rate monitor. The Fossil Q needs to be charged nightly.

Sorry for the slim pickings, but most cheap smartwatches have horrible reviews. The discontinued Moto 360 smartwatch is well regarded and sometimes sells for as little as $80, but it is a 2015-era watch.


John DeFeo