Approximate time to read: 3 minutes
For those of us lucky enough to be sporting an Android Wear watch, there are a variety of apps available (and, I’m sure, more to come) to enhance the offering even further.
Here are those that I’m currently using and would recommend.
Wear Mini Launcher
This, I think, is an essential. It adds an extra screen to your watch that you can drag in from the left hand side. On it, your various apps will be shown – it’s a far quicker method to launch the apps that you otherwise have.
In addition, drag from the left again and you get a settings screen. This is particularly handy as it contains a number of tools that negates the needs for a number of other apps. For example, one icon will cause your phone to alarm (meaning that you don’t need any of the various apps that will allow your watch to find your phone. Although, if you do, I can recommend Find My Phone (Android Wear) which also allows your phone to find your watch!) and another shows your battery level.
Even the brightness control is handy as this gives a granularity of control that isn’t possible via the normal settings. The only problem with this is that the brightness is reset if you restart your watch.
PixtoCam for Android Wear
This isn’t free but, equally, doesn’t cost much either. It allows you to use your watch as a live viewfinder for your phone’s camera (front or back). You can adjust settings and take pictures, videos, etc. Everything is saved on your phone too. A free alternative is Wear Camera Remote but I didn’t find this anywhere near as good.
Calculator for Android Wear
It’s a calculator. But it works very well and it’s always handy to have one quickly to hand.
Calender for Android Wear
Another app that isn’t free (but pretty close to) this shows a standard calendar, allowing you to click on any date and show your calendar entries for that day. It works perfectly but scrolling to the left is hampered by having the Mini Launcher installed. It would be nice if the two developers could get together to resolve this.
This is pretty much a requirement if you want to make use of the health features of your smart phone. Google Fit runs a full fledged application on your phone for monitoring and reporting on your health statistics. There’s even a web site for it too. Installing this on your phone will then add the app to your watch to gather any further information (heart rate, for example).
If, like me, you use a Fitbit for exercise tracking already (it has its advantages over the features built into the watch – sleep tracking, for instance) then this app will show some of the information on your smartwatch. More specifically, steps, distance and calories burned. It’s relatively simple with no customisation but it does the job well enough. If only it was possible to use the hear rate monitor without installing Google Fit, I wouldn’t need that application any more.
I’ve been using Google Keep for sometime in all its other guises – it’s an excellent note keeper (although not in the organised way, such as with Evernote) and is supported both as a phone app and website. Now you can have your notes on your watch, which is particularly handy for when you’re out shopping!
Evernote for Android Wear
I’m a big fan of Evernote but, I’ll admit, the Wear app is currently lacking. It has a number of quick methods to find your lists, including with voice search, but bringing up results is slow – indeed, my phone often “times out” back to the watch face before any results appear. Hopefully this will get better but, at the very least, it’s worthwhile having.
TickTick is my go-to To Do list software. Available as a phone app and on the web, it’s a great way to stay organised. And having it on your watch too is an added bonus.
Wear Audio Recorder
A simple idea. If you want to make a quick audio recording – voice is best – then simply launch this and it will record onto your watch. Once complete it sends the recording to your phone. It’s easy to use although the phone app could do with a bit of polish.