When you write about tech for a living people often ask you for buying advice. Until now my answer to the question, "which is the best smartwatch?" has been the Apple Watch, or the Galaxy Watch if you're a big Android fan.
But in 2022 I'm not so sure what smartwatch to recommend. I still think the Apple Watch Series 8 will be the best watch for most Apple people, although I'm not sure whether the new and more expensive version – most likely the Apple Watch Series 8 Pro – is going to be significantly better than the standard model.
But in Android land, things are much more interesting. Wear OS is back in the game again, powering the imminent Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 and the Google Pixel Watch. But it's also running on other firms' watches, and we could see some serious competition for the best watch crown.
Tic tok, it's competition o'clock
Smartwatch maker Mobvoi doesn't have a fraction of the brand recognition of its Wear OS rivals, but its TicWatch Pro 3 is really rather good: in our TicWatch Pro 3 Ultra GPS review we said it is "a rugged Wear OS smartwatch that goes the extra mile." And according to 9to5Google (opens in new tab), the firm has been emailing customers looking to test a brand new flagship.
The details are sketchy at this stage but the apparently-imminent device launch will feature a very long life battery, Google Pay-compatible NFC payments, IP68 waterproofing, heart rate monitoring and an "improved design". The Pro 3 shown above is quite a good looking thing already, but it can be a little blocky from some angles so a more streamlined model would be a welcome update.
This isn't the only interesting new Wear OS watch. Montblanc's latest Summit looks pretty good and terrifyingly expensive, and the Wear OS range also includes nice models from the likes of Fossil, Michael Kors, Citizen and Casio as well as Armani, Hublot and TAG Heuer. That means in 2022 there will be more choice of Wear OS models than ever before, with watches coming in every conceivable shape, size and price. And that's brilliant: rather than everybody doing very slightly different versions of the same thing, there's a wealth of choice for would-be Wear OS buyers this year.