4. Mission by Nixon
With its roguish blend of classic good looks and chunky styling, this durable (and heavy) smartwatch is a style piece built to last. It’s the only model I tested that uses Android Wear software. It will happily provide up-to-the-minute surf and snow conditions courtesy of Surfline and Snocountry, the Trace app can track your sessions once you arrive at the beach. The 48mm watch face comes with a Gorilla Glass lens for extra durability, its burly stainless steel “roll cage” bezel keeps the full-color touchscreen safe from bumps and spills.
The Mission is also compatible with Google voice search that you can activate by saying “OK, Google” into the mic, but still maintains its 10-atmosphere water resistance rating with special MicLock. Other features mostly center around the Google raft of apps: Google Fit for tracking activity, Play for downloading and listening to music though Bluetooth, Now for alerts and reminders, and Maps for directions.
Bottom line: While a little bit too bulky for comfortable everyday use, the Nixon Mission is a great entry into the rugged smartwatch lineup, and especially nice for dedicated surfers and snow sport enthusiasts. ($400, nixon.com)
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