Wearables have opened new doors to the way that we get information. Technology has enabled us to accomplish more, but a result of that is that we’re busier than ever. Therefore, efficiency becomes the key if we’re going to keep our sanity.
The great thing about Android is the possibilities that developers grab a hold of, and Android Wear is no exception. Your smartwatch can do more than you might suspect. Many folks probably just use whatever software comes with the watch, but it’s important to know that there are a multitude of apps in the Play Store to enhance the experience. What I’m talking about is watch faces.
Developers are able to tinker and tune the watch’s home screen as they see fit. Some have taken onto themselves to pack the screen with as many features as possible, turning the watch face into a valuable tool instead of just an aesthetic. We’ve compiled a list our top functional watch faces that can significantly improve your smartwatch’s efficiency.
WatchMaker isn’t just one watch face, it’s actually 1000’s of them. The app has access to a full-on library of original watch faces (which are being expanded on every day).
But as implied in the name, you can build your own to your heart’s desire. It feels like the sky’s the limit as far as layout. You can even manually drag elements in the face around to your preferred arrangement.
The toolset in WatchMaker lets you add tons of functionality to your own custom-made face. Some of these include:
Interactive Clock (Specify tap-able areas about the clock for actions, such as launching an app)
Clickable widgets (i.e. Battery or Wi-Fi)
Tasker actions (automated tasks that trigger based on conditions, such as time of day, location, or an event)
The Pujie watch face tries to nail functionality in a refined way. Rather than pack everything in one screen, the features are separated by different panels. For instance, tap the Calendar icon and you’ll be taken to your list of events.
And of course, you can customize what features are shown on the watch face and their actions.
One of Pujie’s signature panels holds six customizable buttons (when you tap on the center of the face). There are a range of assignable actions, from launching apps to shortcuts for smartwatch controls.
Other panels/features that are just a touch away are:
The Ultra watch face does a fantastic job at neatly organizing the extra options about the screen, instead of piling everything in a convoluted mess. The features have a grid separation on the screen (top, bottom, left, and right).
Information that you set (i.e. weather) is not just static. You can tap on it to pull up more information (weather forecast). This can also make for a quick way to view your recent text messages or missed calls.
Along the bottom of the face, you can choose up to four shortcuts. The face will also show the battery level of both the smartwatch and connected phone.
As the name of the app implies, the Minimal & Elegant watch face is a simplistic display. But that doesn’t mean it’s not capable. There’s a multitude of options at the user’s disposable for narrowing down the most cared about features. And it supports differing smartwatch shapes.
Some of the information you can tack onto the watch face is:
Weather details (with controls for the weather source, update interval, units, and display icon)
Google Fit support (step counter)
Watch and phone battery levels
Tasker support (automated tasks)
On many of the options, Minimal & Elegant generously lets you decide if you want specified information to show when the watch’s screen is dimmed or turn on. Also, like the other watch faces, you can assign actions to tap-able spots on the screen. Minimal & Elegant goes one step further and lets you assign different functions to multiple taps.
If weather is more your thing, you must check out the InstaWeather watch face. There are tons of options and different ways to display weather details. What’s more, the baseline panels are configurable, for tuning of the information to your liking.
InstaWeather is essentially many watch faces in one package. You can choose from the following presets:
Detailed weather metrics
Forecast (hourly or bar chart)
Current weather map or radar
The developer also sprinkled interactions all over the place, meaning that you can tap on different spots for extra information or functions/shortcuts.
It’s great that Android Wear provides tons of features and looks for tuning your smartwatch’s home screen into something you adore. Whether you like it simple or involved, developers have you covered. You wouldn’t think that a small screen could be capable of so much.
We’d like to hear which watch face(s) you use? Is there a functional one that we should have included in our list? Also, if you haven’t already, don’t miss out Google’s “hand-picked” collection of watch faces on the Play Store.