360 degrees: the 5 best round smartwatches

360 degrees: the 5 best round smartwatches
What started as an oddity last year when Motorola launched the original Moto 360 as the first smartwatch with a rounded form factor now appears to be the hottest trend in this emerging segment of the wearable industry.

In an attempt to emulate the design of classical timepieces, multiple smartwatch manufacturers came up with rounded designs, premium metal builds, and a variety of band options. But just how close are current high-end smartwatches towards emulating the feel of analog watches?

This article attempts to take a look at the current situation in the market and find out which are the best round smartwatches.

Samsung Gear S2

After months of rumors and leaks, Samsung recently unveiled the Gear S2, its first rounded smartwatch.

The Samsung Gear S2 rocks what many consider to be the best smartwatch design to date, although no one will mistake this device for an analog watch. Note that the Gear S2 is also available in a Classic version, one that's more alike traditional watches in terms of both build and design. However, after getting our hands on both the Gear S2 and the Gear S2 Classic, we've decided to award more style points to the standard version of the Gear S2.

The Samsung Gear S2 looks like something straight from a sci-fi movie thanks to its minimalist but elegant design and stainless steel build. The rubbery bands make the Gear S2 look less premium compared to its competition, but they do complement the futuristic appearance of the wrist piece quite nicely.

The one thing that makes the Gear S2 really special is that it brilliantly uses the rounded form factor to introduce a handy method of user interaction. The rotating bezel around the display can be used to swipe through apps or navigate the menus, a trick that can be very useful on such a limited screen real estate.

It should be noted that, unlike all of the other smartwatches in this list, the Gear S2 is the only one which doesn't run Android Wear. Instead, the Gear S2 runs Tizen, just most of Samsung's previous smartwatches. However, we're very glad to see that the Gear S2 will be compatible with any Android 4.4+ phone with at least 1.5GB of RAM.

Make sure to learn more about Samsung's first rounded smartwatch by heading over to our Samsung Gear S2 hands-on

Motorola Moto 360 (2015)

After making waves with the original Moto 360, Motorola recently unveiled a second-generation device, the Motorola 360 (2015).

Right off the bat, it should be noted that the flat tire design - the little black portion at the bottom of the display - is back for a second spin. Motorola says that this is still the best way to maintain minimal bezels, and the fact that the Moto 360 (2015) is the one of the smartwatches with the highest screen-to-body ratios that we know of seems to reinforce that notion.

Just like the Apple Watch, the Motorola Moto (360) comes in two sizes, 42mm and 46mm. If the original Moto 360 felt too bulky, make sure to check out the new 42mm version.

If you can live with the flat tire design, you'll find that the Moto 360 (2015) comes with plenty of improvements compared to its predecessor. A better build quality, refined curves, as well as a band lock mechanism that makes it very easy to switch bands on the go, these are details that cannot go unnoticed to a careful observer. Speaking of bands, the leather and metal link bands really make the wrist piece look a lot like a classical analog watch, especially if you'll go for an analog watch face. On top of all this, you can also design a customized version of the Moto 360 (2015) on Motorola's Moto Maker website

Make sure to read out our Moto 360 (2015) hands-on for more impressions and the full spec rundown.

LG Watch Urbane

Although Motorola was the first maker to launch a rounded smartwatch, LG was quick to come up with a few replies of its own. The LG Watch R was already a strong response, but the more recent Watch Urbane came out as one of the best-looking smartwatches at the time of its release.

The stainless steel body of the LG Watch Urbane is available in two colors, silver or a copper-looking gold. LG offers a variety of bands, ranging from rubber to genuine leather and some various metal loops. However, if you can't find anything you like among LG's offering, you can fit in any 22mm watch band you can find. We've talked about LG's latest round watch in much more detail in our LG Watch Urbane hands-on.

Huawei Watch

Although it was announced since this past Spring at MWC 2015, the Huawei Watch was only recently made available for purchase. Despite the delay, however, the Huawei Watch is still one of the most elegant smartwatches around, although the competition in the rounded smartwatch segment certainly got more intense as the months passed. 

Huawei really did its best to emulate the design of classical timepieces with its rather generically-named Watch. The rounded wrist piece comes with a stainless steel build and is available in either gold, silver, or black. As far as the band variety is concerned, there are no complaints in this regard, with many rubber, metal, and leather bands available for purchase. 

Although we did not focus on hardware specs in this article, we'll make an exception with the Huawei Watch, as we have to note that its display runs at an uncommonly-high resolution. The 1.4-inch SAMOLED display runs at 400 by 400 pixels, which is the current record in the smartwatch industry.

Runtastic Moment

We've seen how smartwatch manufacturers try to emulate the look and feel of analog watches, but it turns out that the reverse is also possible. The Runtastic Moment watches are very interesting proposition: instead of making our smartphones look more like ordinary watches, why not make analog watches smarter?

At their core, all of the Runtastic Moment watches are actual analog watches. However, they also integrate sensors that can track fitness activities, count the number of calories you've burned, as well as your sleep patterns, and then communicate this information your smartphone through a dedicated app. The main advantage of this approach is that battery life no longer becomes a concern. Runtastic says that a simple watch battery should suffice for 6 months of usage. 

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