There’s little to zero doubt that Garmin smartwatches are some of the most advanced and reliable wearables in the market.
In terms of the number of advanced health and fitness tracking features, probably only the newest Apple and Samsung series can compete with what’s on offer with Garmin. Blood oxygen levels, 24/7 heart rate monitor, advanced sleep quality tracking, contactless payments – you name it, Garmin watches have it all.
Unlike some of Garmin’s main competitors (ie. the aforementioned Apple and Samsung), the US brand doesn’t discriminate against different smartphone operating systems.
If you’re an Android phone owner and you’ve been wondering if you can enjoy all the perks that come with Garmin products, wonder no more. In this article, we will help you pick the best Garmin smartwatch for Android devices by reviewing 5 best-selling models from 2021.
To make sure the products cater to different needs and budgets, all five Garmin Wear OS watches reviewed in the article come with different features and are listed at contrasting price points.
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At a Glance: TOP 5
- Best Value: Garmin Instinct
- Best Tactical: Garmin Tactix Delta
- Best Solar: Garmin Fenix 6X Solar
- Budget Choice: Garmin Vivosmart 4
- Luxury Choice: Garmin MARQ
Best Garmin Wear OS Watches (Top 5 Reviewed)
If you’re looking for the best dollar-for-dollar Garmin smartwatch for Android, look no further. Due to its extremely rugged build, impressive battery lifespan and a myriad features, there are not many models that offer better value than Instinct.
As you will learn by reading this article, Garmin smartwatches are jam-packed with useful features and apps that give you awesome insights into your everyday well-being and sports activities. In this aspect, the Instinct model has nothing to be ashamed of even when compared with the more pricey relatives.
Amongst others, Garmin Instinct offers:
- wrist-based heart rate tracking (includes abnormal HR alerts)
- SpO2 monitor (available with the Solar version of Instinct)
- sleep quality monitor
- 24/7 stress tracker (with relaxation reminders)
The Instinct is also one of few models that are equipped with the Body Battery Energy monitor. The feature enables you to control your own energy resources 24 hours a day, seven days a week. By integrating the impacts of physical exercise, stress, relaxation, and the restorative power of sleep in one place, you can see how activities and lifestyle choices affect your condition. You can read an in-depth article about Garmin’s BBE by clicking here.
Also, the smartwatch offers quite a few sports modes. If you’re into running, swimming, or various gym workouts, the Instinct has plenty in store.
Akin to the vast majority of Garmin watches, Instinct is supplied with multi-GNSS support. In other words, it works with three global navigation systems – GPS, GLONASS, and Galileo. The combination of all three makes route tracking much more detailed and reliable even in more challenging environments.
What also gives you a better idea of your whereabouts is the inclusion of ABC sensors. The altimeter provides you with elevation data, the barometer helps you predict weather changes and there’s also a three-axis electronic compass to support the GPS.
Perhaps the only notable absence from otherwise an amazing list of features is Garmin Pay which allows you for contactless payments with your wrist.
Many smartwatches compensate for the huge number of apps with considerably weaker durability standards or vice versa. Safe to say, that’s far from the case with Instinct.
The smartwatch can in fact take a beating as it’s built to U.S. military standard 810G for thermal, shock, and water resistance (up to 100 meters).
The all-black masculine design consists of a 45mm round case made from fiber-reinforced polymer and a silicone strap. The display glass is chemically strengthened, ensuring solid protection against cracks and scratches.
If the black design seems too dull for you, there are other color variations available: orchid, tidal blue, sunburst, and flame red.
Considering the enormous competition in the smartwatch industry, it’s quite unbelievable how big an advantage Garmin smartwatches hold over the likes of Apple or Samsung in terms of battery life.
And Garmin Instinct proves just that.
In standard smartwatch mode, Instinct’s lifespan can reach 2 weeks. In comparison to Apple Watch’s 18 hours or Samsung Galaxy Active’s 3 days, that’s a huge gap.
Garmin Tactix Delta
If you’re a fan of tactical watches – whether because you’re part of the military or simply enjoy some of the unique functions – you’re unlikely to find a better smartwatch than Tactix Delta.
Spoiler alert: it’s not a cheap toy to buy.
As far as the smartwatch apps are concerned, Tactix Delta offers as much as the Instinct – and more.
Let’s start with the list of features that make Tactix Delta a great military watch.
- Night Vision – the capability to switch between daytime and nighttime modes. The nighttime mode can be read by night-vision goggles
- Stealth Mode – stops storing and sharing the GPS position, as well as disables wireless connectivity
- Kill Switch – if you’re fearing the worst, the app clears the device of all user memory
- Jumpmaster – helps you navigate to your target after you’ve jumped by calculating high-altitude release positions according to military specifications
- Dual-Format GPS – along with built-in topographic maps, it provides unparalleled situational awareness
- Projected Waypoints – sets and saves remote geo positions to be used later
The number of health-tracking apps is equally impressive. Apart from essentials such as a heart rate monitor, pedometer, and sleep quality tracker, Tactix Delta also offers:
- Body Battery Energy monitor
- Pulse OX monitor
- Respiration tracking
Without a doubt, Tactix Delta is also an awesome multisport watch.
The smartwatch is equipped with preloaded activity profiles for more than 10 sports disciplines, including swimming, running, hiking, rowing, skiing, and surfing. In fact, if you’re a surfer, the Surfline Sessions app compatible with Tactix Delta might be an additional incentive as it allows you to create a video of every wave you ride for later viewing.
Last but not least, the model supports Garmin Pay.
Unsurprisingly for a military smartwatch, Tactix Delta is built to last.
Akin to Instinct, it’s built to 810 military standards meaning excellent protection against thermal, shock, and water-related (up to 100m) damage.
The Delta model boasts a considerably larger case with a diameter of 51mm, made from fiber-reinforced polymer. Metal rear cover and knurled buttons add to the solidity.
Perhaps one of the biggest standout features of this model is the sapphire crystal glass. The material is considered the most scratch-resistant out there and is an ever-present element of all the best watchmakers. However, it’s rarely used with smartwatches.
With Tactix Delta, you can pick from four strap types: silicone, leather, fabric and metal. What’s worth noting, the watch is also available in the Solar version.
Unsurprisingly considering the price, Tactix Delta offers an even more impressive battery performance.
In the regular smartwatch mode, the model can reach up to three weeks. There’s also the option of the Battery Saver mode that can deliver outstanding 80 days of use.
Garmin Fenix 6X Solar
If you’re on the lookout for an environmental-friendly smartwatch with a nearly-unbeatable number of apps and tough-to-beat construction, Garmin Fenix 6X Solar is probably one of the better options out there.
Outwith the military-specific applications available with Tactix Delta, Fenix 6X Solar is probably the most feature-jammed smartwatch released to date by Garmin.
Starting with the health-tracking apps, it’s equipped with:
- heart rate monitor (every second) with abnormal HR alerts
- 24/7 respiration rate
- blood oxygen monitor (either spot-check or all day and/or during sleep)
- Body Battery Energy monitor
- 24/7 stress tracker with relaxation reminders
- hydration monitor
- sleep monitor
- women’s health
Fenix 6X Pro is equipped with the same sensors as Instinct, providing you with the most detailed data on your whereabouts. The smartwatch uses navigation data from three satellites in the form of GPS, GLONASS, and Galileo. It’s also equipped with ABC sensors (altimeter, barometer, and compass).
From tactical features, Garmin Fenix 6X offers dual grid coordinates.
And what’s in store for sports enthusiasts? Quite a lot.
Apart from the essential apps such as step counter, calorie counter and distance traveled, Fenix 6X Solar comes with many preloaded fitness programs. It’s particularly rich in gym workouts with strength, cardio, pilates, and indoor rowing being available amongst others.
Those who prefer outdoor activities shouldn’t be disappointed either. The model offers separate sports apps designed for running, cycling, swimming, and golfing.
The watch also supports contactless payments thanks to Garmin Pay.
As you’d expect from a Garmin smartwatch, the model is really rugged. At the same time, it’s really easy on the eye with its all-black design and round casing with a nicely-polished bezel.
While the previous two Garmin Wear OS watches come in unified case sizes, Fenix 6X Solar allows you to pick from three: 42mm (the most popular among ladies), 47mm (the finest option for men with medium wrists), and 51mm (the most popular among men with large wrists).
The Fenix 6X wristwatch is available in three editions mostly based on the glass they use:
- Standard – the cheapest one using Corning Gorilla Glass DX
- Sapphire – utilizes what is arguably the most damage-resistant material out there, sapphire crystal
- Solar – utilizes PowerGlass that fuels the watch with solar energy
The model is even more durable because of the fiber-reinforced polymer case’s metal back cover, which helps with shock absorption. When it comes to the bezel, you have two choices: titanium or titanium with a DLC (diamond-like carbon) coating. In terms of the strap, you may choose between a silicone band and a titanium bracelet.
Fenix 6X Solar, like Instinct and Delta, is constructed to the standards of the US military. The watch is highly resistant to extreme temperatures, shock, and water (10 ATM/100m).
Garmin Fenix 6X Pro Solar is one of the leaders among feature-rich smartwatches when it comes to battery lifespan, as featured in our guide to smartwatches with the longest battery life.
In the standard mode, it can easily reach a month of stellar performance. The PowerSave mode can prolong the life up to 120 days.
If you don’t feel limited by your budget, you might want to be aware of Garmin’s luxury line of smartwatches – MARQ.
Advertised by Garmin as the “modern luxury tool watch”, the MARQ smartwatch is one of the highest-priced wearables in the market and comes with a long list of perks.
Are they worth the huge jump in pricing, though?
The type of features will largely depend on the edition of the watch you select. And there are as many as seven!
- MARQ Aviator – pilot-specific features such as moving map or flight logging
- MARQ Commander – military-specific features such as a kill switch or stealth mode
- MARQ Captain – sail-specific features such as Regatta Timer or tack assists
- MARQ Driver – race-specific features such as tachymeter and lap time repeatability
- MARQ Athlete – advanced fitness features such as performance metrics or running dynamics
- MARQ Adventurer – adventure-specific features such as orienteering
- MARQ Golfer – golf-specific features such as virtual caddie or wind speed & direction
On top of the unique apps available with different editions, Garmin MARQ also offers a lot when it comes to health-tracking features. Amongst many, it’s equipped with:
- wrist-based HR measured every second (with abnormal HR alerts)
- respiration rate
- blood oxygen saturation
- 24/7 stress tracker with relaxation reminders
- advanced sleep tracking
- Body Battery Energy monitor
Unsurprisingly, MARQ smartwatches utilize three global navigation systems – GPS, GLONASS, and Galileo, ensuring the best possible route tracking. The 3-axis sensor (altimeter, barometer, thermometer) is also on board.
Last but not least, the MARQ collection supports contactless payments with Garmin Pay.
The impressive number of apps and features designed with specific hobbies in mind plays a big role in the high price. However, the fact that MARQ smartwatches are composed of some of the most refined materials is probably just as important.
All 7 versions of the watch come with the best possible screen protection against cracks and scratches as the dial window is made from sapphire crystal. The fact that the glass is domed adds to the uniqueness and elegance of the series.
The cases of MARQ smartwatches, measuring 47mm in diameter, can also be considered “premium” as they’re made from titanium. The same can be said about the bezels which are a combination of titanium and ceramic.
Probably the only “ordinary” part of the watch is the nylon strap.
Garmin MARQ series offers solid protection against water damage with a 10ATM (100m) water resistance rating.
The MARQ line offers 12-day battery life in the regular smartwatch mode and up to 60 days of use in the Battery Saver mode.
Garmin Vivosmart 4
Closing the list of the best Garmin smartwatches for Android is the least pricey product. The Vivosmart collection is for those who value simplicity and keeping their money in the bank.
It’s one of the cheapest smartwatches available in the Garmin collection at present.
Due to the bargain-basement pricing (you can find the product online even for less than $100), the list of premium features is considerably shortened. However, the ones considered essential are on board.
Vivosmart 4’s health-monitoring apps include:
- 24/7 heart-rate monitor
- spot-check (or in sleep) Sp02 monitor
- sleep quality tracker
- stress monitor
- calorie counter
Regrettably, Vivosmart 4 isn’t supplied with GPS. However, the altimeter, accelerometer, and barometer sensors are included.
As far as sports modes are concerned, the smartband offers some basic running, cycling, and swimming features. There are also a few gym workouts to pick from, including strength training, cardio, and yoga.
Garmin Pay isn’t supported.
The difference in terms of the design is there for all to see. The Vivosmart series consists of smart bands (aka fitness trackers) which equals very simple, some might say ordinary style.
The band itself is made from silicone and includes an aluminum bezel. What puts the product in a bad light when compared to any other Garmin models on the list is the polycarbonate screen. Any form of plastic “glass” used in smartwatches or regular wristwatches poses a much bigger risk of unrepairable damage. However, at that price, it would be unwise to expect anything spectacular.
Catering to the needs of people with varying wrist types, Vivosmart is available in four sizes: small, medium, large and extra-large.
Color-wise, you can choose from black, grey, purple, and light blue.
On the waterproofing front, Vivosmart 4 can withstand a pressure of up to 50m.
When compared to the previously-discussed models, Vivosmart 4 isn’t a powerhouse as far as the battery life is concerned. At best, you can expect the smartband to reach 7 days on a full charge and that’s with the Pulse OX monitor switched off.
Best Garmin Smartwatch for Android: Conclusion
If you’ve been searching for the best Garmin smartwatch compatible with Android, we hope that today’s article has provided you with plenty of food for thought.
As you’ve already learned, all Garmin watches support Wear OS (Android) smartphones. Hence, which you consider the best smartwatch will largely depend on your own needs and budget.
In our opinion, the best value is provided by Garmin Instinct which is coincidentally also the most-sold model as of today.
For those who are not ready to spend more than $100 on a Garmin smartwatch, the Vivosmart 4 band is an excellent alternative. At the other end of the pricing table, you will find the luxury series – Garmin MARQ.
If you value environment-friendly products, consider getting a solar-powered model and there are not many better than Fenix 6X Solar.
Finally, those looking for the most tough-to-beat model with military-specific apps can’t go wrong with Tactix Delta.
Don’t forget we’d love to hear from you! After reading the article, what seems like the best Garmin smartwatch for Android to you and why? Also, if you own any of the 5 reviewed models, do share your experience as well!