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The best Apple Watch alternatives you can buy
The Apple Watch Series 7 may have retained its perch atop our list of best smartwatches, but it’s not without its flaws. It’s not much of a step up over the Series 6, and several companies have done a better job offering alternatives. Speaking of which, we’ve rounded up the best Apple Watch alternatives you can buy.
Buying the right Apple Watch alternative
Right off the bat, we should highlight that there’s no genuine replacement for the Apple Watch. Apple’s wearable will naturally be your best bet if you own an iPhone. That being said, the likes of Garmin, Samsung, and Fitbit provide plenty of fitness and health tracking perks.
On that note, the Apple Watch Series 7 offers several health-tracking benefits over the Apple Watch SE, including blood oxygen monitoring, ECG smarts, and a more durable lens. That said, the SE is much cheaper. You should consider this pricing structure and the watches’ feature sets when shopping for either — and especially alternatives. Notably, if you own an Android phone but are seriously considering jumping over to Apple’s ecosystem for the Apple Watch benefits, the below alternatives are also for you.
So, what should you look for in an Apple Watch alternative? Considering how versatile the Apple Watch is, you might be considering several variables.
If you’re considering an alternative running watch, seek out a wearable with built-in GPS, accurate step tracking, and features like SpO2 monitoring and VO2 max data. Gym companions don’t necessarily need these features, but you might benefit from devices with multi-sport tracking. Finally, looking for a fashion-first wearable? Honestly, any of the below devices would look great on your wrist. As for a pure smartwatch, a device running Wear OS 3 will give you the app support you crave, but you’ll be limited to an Android smartphone. There’s plenty to consider, so let us help with a few of our choice picks below.
The best Apple Watch alternatives
Apple Watch Series 7 alternatives
- The Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 is the best Apple Watch Series 7 alternative. Running Wear OS 3, the watch brings stellar fitness tracking features, a slick design, and great software.
- Garmin’s Venu 2 Plus is the best Apple Watch Series 7 alternative for fitness and for iPhone users. It’s more health-focused than its Samsung counterpart and supports Apple’s mobiles, too.
- The Fitbit Versa 3 is the most affordable alternative to the Apple Watch Series 7. If you aren’t seeking the advanced health features of the Series 7 but are interested in stellar base fitness tracking support, the Versa 3 is a good shout.
Apple Watch SE alternatives
- The Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 is also the best Apple Watch SE alternative. Specifically, the smaller 40mm model comes in cheaper than Apple’s budget smartwatch and includes its larger sibling’s features.
- The Garmin Vivoactive 4 is the best Garmin alternative to the Watch SE. It is pricier, but it’s a more focused wearable for active users packing better battery life.
- Huawei’s Band 6 is the best affordable Apple Watch SE alternative. Huawei’s surprise hit has few flaws, and those that are present are made negligible by its comparatively low price.
Samsung Galaxy Watch 4: The best Apple Watch Series 7 alternative
Samsung’s newest smartwatch series is stellar. It’s the best Wear OS watch you can buy right now, largely because it’s the only Wear OS 3 device on sale. But even beyond this software advantage, both the standard and Classic models pack plenty of health tracking features. Leading that particular bouquet is a body composition monitor, something that no other smartwatch has at the moment. Wear OS 3, with One UI Watch running on top, also brings an intuitive user experience with the platform’s array of supported apps.
However, a few things don’t make the Galaxy Watch 4 a true Apple Watch alternative. The fact that it’s not compatible with iOS is the first big strike. GPS performance is pretty lackluster, while some features are also exclusive to Samsung smartphone owners.
If you want a Samsung smartwatch compatible with an iPhone, you’ll have to settle for the Galaxy Watch 3. That said, it remains a competent, capable smartwatch.
- Classy, durable designs
- Multiple size options
- Wear OS 3 is all-around good
- Large models have decent battery life
- Improved heart rate sensor
- Useful body composition metrics
- No solid software update commitments from Google
- No Google Assistant support
- Slow, slow charging
- Poor GPS performance
- Sleep tracking needs tweaking
- Small models have short battery life
Check out our full review to learn more about the Samsung Galaxy Watch 4.
Garmin Venu 2 Plus: The best Apple Watch Series 7 alternative for fitness
The Venu 2 Plus is a smartwatch better attuned to the health-conscious crowd. Buyers get the same features baked into the original Venu 2 but benefit from the Plus’ new smartwatch additions. Overall, it features excellent GPS accuracy, even more music storage for those who prefer offline listening, and excellent background health and sleep tracking. Garmin’s legacy features, like Body Battery, are also included. The Plus also gains voice assistant support, on-wrist calling smarts, and quicker charging.
However, the Venu 2 Plus isn’t perfect. Battery life is better than the Apple Watch Series 7, but its new features cut its endurance compared to the original Venu 2. Unlike the Galaxy Watch 4, the Venu 2 Plus does play nice with iPhones, but it lacks some Android-only features. Unfortunately, its extensive feature set comes at a price that’s well higher than the Series 7.
- Excellent design and build quality
- Rapid charging helps make up for battery woes
- Clear call quality on the wrist
- Slow, but useful voice assistant support
- Accurate fitness and health tracking
- High price tag
- Battery life shorter than Garmin’s claims
- Heart rate sensor still has issues
Check out our full review to learn more about the Garmin Venu 2 Plus.
Fitbit Versa 3: The best Fitbit alternative to the Apple Watch Series 7
Finally, Fitbit’s relatively affordable smartwatch entry is also worth a mention. Although the Versa 3 launched in 2020, it remains a viable health-focused smartwatch. In fact, its age counts in its favor, as it often finds itself on deal listings. Sure, it’s not the Fitbit with the most advanced array of sensors — that distinction belongs to the Fitbit Sense — but it covers all the necessary bases. It packs Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa support, onboard music storage, and onboard GPS. You’ll lose Apple Pay support, but you’ll gain Fitbit Pay.
The Versa 3 lacks standout tracking features and sensors as a tradeoff for its lower price. Unlike the Sense and Series 7, it lacks an ECG sensor. Fitbit’s app offering is also far less impressive than Apple’s.
- Decent battery life
- Pretty accurate health tracking
- Built-in GPS
- Google Assistant and Alexa support
- Speaker with phone call support
- Good price
- Very small app library
- Onboard music limited to two services
- The capacitive button isn’t ideal
- Proprietary charging cable
Check out our full review to learn more about the Fitbit Versa 3.
Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 (40mm): The best Apple Watch SE alternative
We’ve already covered the Galaxy Watch 4’s strengths and weaknesses above, but something we didn’t touch on is its price. While the Apple Watch SE targets buyers on a budget, it can’t quite crack the sub-$250 bracket. The smallest Galaxy Watch 4 (40mm dial) starts at $249, making it a viable alternative to both Apple Watch models.
Again, if you own an iPhone, you will need to consider another device. The older Galaxy Watch Active 2 might be worth a shout in this regard.
The smaller Galaxy Watch 4 doesn’t quite have the battery endurance to match its larger sibling, either. But if you own an Android phone and are considering buying an iPhone just for the Apple Watch, consider getting a 40mm Galaxy Watch 4 instead.
Check out our full review to learn more about the Samsung Galaxy Watch 4.
Garmin Vivoactive 4: The best Apple Watch SE alternative for fitness
The Garmin Vivoactive 4 is an excellent smartwatch if you’re putting fitness and GPS tracking performance first. Battery life is excellent, lasting a week between charges. Buyers also get a host of legacy Garmin tracking smarts, from hydration tracking and sweat-loss estimate to upgraded SpO2 sensors and excellent music playback support.
However, the Vivoactive 4 isn’t without its flaws. The transflective screen is great for efficiency but falls well short of the Apple Watch SE’s visual fidelity. The watch is by no means cheap, either. You can regularly find it for under $300, but Garmin still asks for more than Apple.
- Garmin Pay support is convenient
- Music storage is standard
- Week-long battery life
- Unique breathwork exercises
- Accurate fitness and health tracking
- Useful and accurate sleep tracking
- It can be expensive, even in 2021
- Heart rate accuracy can be off with high-intensity workouts
Check out our full review to learn more about the Garmin Vivoactive 4.
Huawei Band 6: The best cheap Apple Watch SE alternative
If the price is the primary reason you’re considering an Apple Watch SE alternative, look no further than the Huawei Band 6. It’s more of a pure fitness tracker than a smartwatch, but it does include a large display, a 10-day battery life, and a ridiculous number of workout tracking modes. Like the Apple Watch SE, it cuts down on bulk, but it still feels excellent on the wrist. Blood oxygen monitoring at this price point is another bonus.
Of course, the Huawei Band 6 does fall short of the SE in certain areas. It lacks onboard GPS smarts, while its straps are not interchangeable. Its heart rate sensor does leave plenty to be desired during workouts. Overall, it’s a worthwhile alternative if your budget is limited.
- Comfortable, roomy form factor
- Great value
- Solid battery life
- Lots of workout modes
- All-day SpO2 monitoring
- Limited smartwatch features and apps
- Non-removable straps
- Heart rate sensor struggles during workouts
Check out our full review to learn more about the Huawei Band 6.
That’s it for our list of the best Apple Watch alternatives, but it’s only a fraction of what’s out there. We also want to give an honorable mention to the following smartwatches:
- Garmin Fenix 7 (Amazon): The Fenix 7 is perhaps the best outdoor watch money can buy, but that makes it far more expensive than the Apple Watch Series 7. It lacks the vivid OLED screen of its rival, but hikers and adventurers will love its near three-week battery life with solar charging, extensive GPS options, and solid build.
- Garmin Forerunner 745 (Amazon): As a pure running watch, you can’t get much better than the Forerunner 745. It’s not outrageously expensive and will provide a much better training experience than the Apple Watch models.
- Garmin Venu 2 (Amazon): If you don’t require the additional features offered by the Garmin Venu 2 Plus and want to save $50, the original Venu 2 is a stellar option. It also mirrors the Apple Watch Series 7’s price.
- Withings ScanWatch (Amazon): The ScanWatch punches well above its weight in the heart health tracking scene. It packs an ECG, near month-long battery life, and excellent sleep tracking. However, its small screen does limit its smartwatch potential.
- Xiaomi Mi Band 6 (Amazon): The ever-present Mi Band lineup is tough to discount if budget is a core concern. It packs reliable heart rate tracking, a bright OLED display, and an SpO2 sensor. It can’t hold a candle to the Apple Watch SE on pure specs or performance, but does that matter when it costs more than $200 less?
Q: Do any of the listed Apple Watch alternatives feature LTE connectivity?
A: The Galaxy Watch 4 is the only non-Apple device listed above that features an LTE-enabled version. While Garmin is considering launching an LTE-toting Venu 2 Plus, there are no concrete plans yet.
Q: Can I use an Apple Watch with an Android phone?
A: No. You can only use the Apple Watch with an iPhone. However, the Apple Watch alternatives mentioned above are all compatible with Android phones.
Q: Can I use an Apple Watch with other Apple devices?
A: No. The Apple Watch will only pair with iPhones. You can use Apple Fitness Plus through your iPad or Apple TV in conjunction with your watch, but that’s about it.
Q: Which watches listed above do not work with an iPhone?
A: The Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 series is the only device listed above not compatible with the iPhone.