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The best Apple Watch alternatives you can buy
Apple opened yet another chapter in its smartwatch history book with the Apple Watch Series 8, the refreshed Apple Watch SE, and the all-new Apple Watch Ultra. With these three new choices come plenty of alternatives for those running iPhones or Android devices. Below, 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 pure replacement for the Apple Watch. Apple’s wearables will naturally be your best bet if you own an iPhone. That being said, Garmin, Samsung, and Fitbit provide plenty of fitness and health tracking perks.
On that note, there are distinctions to be made within the Apple Watch ladder, too. The Apple Watch Series 8 offers several health-tracking benefits over the new Apple Watch SE, including blood oxygen monitoring, ECG smarts, a more durable build, and a new temperature sensor that informs more intuitive cycle tracking. That said, the SE is much cheaper. You should consider this pricing structure and the watches’ feature sets when shopping for either, especially alternatives.
The Apple Watch Ultra is also now in play, bringing a much larger battery, titanium shell, and plenty of additional features extreme sports enthusiasts will appreciate. It also comes with the highest price we’ve ever seen tied to an Apple Watch.
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 should provide some food for thought. All the watches listed below will work with Android phones; the Apple Watch does not work with Android phones at all.
So, what should you look for in an Apple Watch alternative? Considering how versatile the Apple Watch lineup now is, you might be considering several variables.
- If you’re considering an alternative running watch, seek 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. Most of the devices below should cover you in that regard.
- Are you looking for a fashion-first wearable? Honestly, any of the below devices would look great on your wrist.
- Finally, the Apple Watch may be your best option if you’re seeking a pure smartwatch with plenty of on-device functionality. Beyond Apple’s walled garden, a Wear OS 3 watch 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 8 and Ultra alternatives
- The Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 Pro is the best Apple Watch Series 8 and Ultra alternative. The second-generation Wear OS 3 watch improves on its predecessor with a much larger battery, a stronger face, and a new skin temperature sensor.
- Garmin’s Venu 2 Plus is the best Apple Watch Series 8 and Ultra alternative for fitness and 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 8 and Ultra. If you aren’t seeking the advanced health features of the Apple Watch line but are interested in stellar base fitness tracking support, the Versa 3 is a good shout.
Apple Watch SE (2022) alternatives
- The vanilla Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 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. Although you do have to settle for slightly worse battery life than the larger models.
- The Garmin Venu Sq 2 is the best Garmin alternative to the Watch SE. It’s a more focused wearable for active users that also packs better battery life.
- Huawei’s Band 6 is the best affordable Apple Watch SE alternative. Huawei’s surprise hit has few flaws, and those present are made negligible by its comparatively low price.
Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 Pro: The best Apple Watch Series 8 and UItra alternative
Building on the solid foundation laid down by its predecessor, the Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 Pro is the best Wear OS watch you can buy right now. Samsung seemingly focused on nips and tucks rather than open-heart surgery. This means you can expect many of the same features found on the Galaxy Watch 4.
Interestingly, its spec sheet would suggest it’s more an Apple Watch Ultra rival. However, it should also win over Series 8 buyers too.
Unlike the vanilla Galaxy Watch 5, the Pro model comes with several improvements chief of which is its bigger 590mAh battery. This gives it plenty of endurance compared to its predecessor, the Series 8, and the bigger battery Ultra. It also packs a titanium body with a stronger Sapphire-coated lens. In terms of health tracking, you get a new skin temperature sensor and outdoor-specific features like GPX map support and Track Back for lost hikers.
These buffs do come at a cost — a substantial cost. The Pro’s feature set will set you back more than the Apple Watch Series 8. And like the outgoing line, the Galaxy Watch 5 series doesn’t support iPhones. That said, it remains cheaper than the Ultra.
If you want a Samsung smartwatch compatible with an iPhone, you’ll have to settle for the Galaxy Watch 3 which remains a competent, capable smartwatch in its own right. We’d also still recommend the Galaxy Watch 4 for those who want a Wear OS smartwatch but don’t want to break the bank.
Our verdict: Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 Pro review
- Durable, premium build, and D-buckle clasp
- Improved battery life and faster charging
- New hiking and navigation features
- Reliable heart rate monitoring
- Solid GPS accuracy
- No skin temperature monitoring at launch
- No more rotating bezel
- GPX file sharing not applicable to runs
Garmin Venu 2 Plus: The best Apple Watch Series 8 and Ultra 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. It’s also much better for swimming (the Apple Watch can track swimming, but the Venu 2 is better at it).
However, the Venu 2 Plus isn’t perfect. Battery life is better than the Apple Watch Series 8, but its new features cut its endurance compared to the original Venu 2. Unlike the Galaxy Watch 5, the Venu 2 Plus plays nice with iPhones but lacks some Android-only features. Unfortunately, its extensive feature set comes at a price that’s well higher than the Series 8.
If you have Apple Watch Ultra levels of cash lying around and crave a hardier high-end watch, consider grabbing the more extreme sport and outdoor-orientated Garmin Epix Gen 2.
Our verdict: Garmin Venu 2 Plus review
- 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
Fitbit Versa 3: The best Fitbit alternative to the Apple Watch Series 8
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 8, it lacks an ECG sensor. Fitbit’s app offering is also far less impressive than Apple’s.
Notably, Fitbit has announced the Versa 4 with a thinner, lighter body and refreshed software. It’s not yet available to purchase, but pre-orders are open. Read how it compares to the Versa 3 here.
Our verdict: Fitbit Versa 3 review
- 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
Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 (40mm): The best Apple Watch SE alternative
The standard Galaxy Watch 5 is absolutely worth considering as an Apple Watch SE alternative. The 40mm model is small and affordable, the OLED screen is bright and easy to read, and Wear OS brings an abundance of apps and service support.
Again, if you own an iPhone, you will need to consider another device. The much older Galaxy Watch Active 2 might be worth a shout in this regard.
Its smaller size doesn’t come without its limitations, though. This Galaxy Watch 5 model doesn’t quite have the battery endurance to match its larger sibling, and in some reported cases, its predecessor. But if you own an Android phone and are considering buying an iPhone just for the Apple Watch, consider getting a 40mm Galaxy Watch 5 instead.
Our verdict: Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 review
- Tougher build
- Comfortable on the wrist
- Better battery life on 44mm model
- Faster charging
- Reliable fitness tracking
- Good value for money
- Very similar to its predecessor
- Skin temperature sensor not ready at launch
- Small models still have short battery life
- Awkward touch bezel
- Some features exclusive to Samsung ecosystem
Read more about the watch in our Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 buyer’s guide.
Garmin Venu Sq 2: The best Apple Watch SE alternative for fitness
The Garmin Venu Sq 2 seems purpose-built to take on the Apple Watch SE line. It packs a square AMOLED screen that’s easy to read and stands out among the many circular devices on the market. It also includes great battery life, lasting up to 11 days per charge.
Its real trump card is its health-tracking kit. The Venu Sq 2 packs an accurate built-in GPS with improved heart rate accuracy and useful sleep tracking. It also includes Garmin’s stress tracking metrics, Body Battery, and Health Snapshot.
For these benefits, you’ll have to trade several smart features. More annoyingly, if you want onboard music support, you’ll need to pay extra for the Music edition.
Our verdict: Garmin Venu Sq 2 review
- Bright, colorful AMOLED display
- Very impressive battery life
- Improved heart rate accuracy
- Accurate GPS
- Useful sleep tracking
- Handy Health Snapshot feature
- Pricier than its predecessor
- No altimeter
- Music storage costs extra
- Limited smartwatch features
- No audible alerts
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 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, and 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.
Huawei recently announced the Band 7, but it’s essentially an incremental upgrade of the Band 6. For now, we’d recommend you stick with the Band 6 and its proven quality.
Our verdict: Huawei Band 6 review
- 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
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:
- Google Pixel Watch (Amazon): Google’s first foray into the smartwatch world packs a gorgeous design, smooth performance, and plenty of Google service support. It packs its fair share of first-edition problems though and isn’t compatible with iPhones either.
- Garmin Fenix 7 (Amazon): The Fenix 7 is perhaps the best outdoor watch money can buy, making it far more expensive than the Apple Watch Series 8 and more attractive to potential Ultra buyers. While it lacks the vivid OLED screen of its rival, 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 8’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.
- Fitbit Charge 5 (Amazon): If you’re seeking the cheapest ECG solution for your wrist, look no further than the Charge 5. The band also brings a bright AMOLED screen and electrodermal stress tracking smarts to the table.
- Xiaomi Mi Band 7 (Amazon): The ever-present Mi Band lineup is tough to discount if budget is a core concern. The new Mi Band 7 brings several advancements over the outgoing model, including a new focus on serious trainers, a larger screen, and a bigger battery. These improvements also come with a slightly higher price tag, though.
Top Apple Watch alternatives questions and answers
The Apple Watch will only pair with an iPhone, but you can use Apple Fitness Plus through your iPad or Apple TV alongside your watch.
No. As it runs Wear OS 3, the Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 series does not support iPhones.
Apple announced the Apple Watch Series 8, the new Watch SE, and the Ultra in September 2022.