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The best Apple Watch alternatives for 2023
Apple opened 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 round 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. Garmin, Samsung, and Fitbit provide plenty of fitness and health tracking perks.
On that note, distinctions must be made within the Apple Watch ladder. 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. When shopping for either, you should consider this pricing structure and the watches’ feature sets, especially alternatives.
The Apple Watch Ultra is also in play, bringing a much larger battery, rugged titanium shell, and plenty of additional features that more adventurous and sporty users 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 alternatives below 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. Apple Watches lack vital recovery data for those who take their training seriously.
- 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 seek 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 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 for Android phone users. The second-generation Wear OS 3 watch improves on its predecessor with a much larger battery, a more robust face, and a new skin temperature sensor.
- Garmin’s Venu 2 Plus is the best Apple Watch Series 8 and Ultra alternative for fitness-minded 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 6 is also the best Apple Watch SE alternative for Android users. The new 40mm model features a slightly larger screen than its predecessor.
- The Garmin Venu Sq 2 is the best Garmin alternative to the Watch SE and the best alternative for iPhone users. It’s a more fitness-focused wearable for active users that packs better battery life.
- HUAWEI’s Band 6 is the best affordable Apple Watch SE alternative. HUAWEI’s surprise hit isn’t as fresh as it used to be and has few flaws, but those present are made negligible by its comparatively low price.
Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 Pro: The best Apple Watch Series 8 and UItra alternative for Android users
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, the Pro’s 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 has several improvements, including its bigger 590mAh battery. This gives it much endurance compared to its predecessor, the Series 8, and the bigger battery Ultra. It also packs a titanium body with a more robust Sapphire-coated lens. Regarding health tracking, you get a new skin temperature sensor to improve menstrual health tracking 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 recommend the Galaxy Watch 4 for those who want a Wear OS smartwatch but don’t want to break the bank.
- 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 more rotating bezel
- GPX file sharing not applicable to runs
Garmin Venu 2 Plus: The best Apple Watch Series 8 and Ultra alternative for iPhone users
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 model’s new smartwatch additions. Overall, it features excellent GPS accuracy, 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, quicker charging, and a newly-activated ECG feature to keep tabs on your heart’s health. It’s also much better at tracking swimming than the Apple Watch, while recovery features also make it a much better training watch.
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’s Ultra levels of cash and crave a hardier high-end watch, consider grabbing the more extreme sport and outdoor-orientated Garmin Fenix 7 Pro.
- 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
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 and Sense 2 — but it covers all the necessary bases. It packs Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa support, music streaming support, 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 duo and Series 8, it lacks an ECG sensor. Fitbit’s companion app is far less impressive than Apple’s.
Notably, the Fitbit Versa 4 has a thinner, lighter body and refreshed software, but we don’t recommend it over its predecessor due to its stripping of key smart features.
- 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 6 (40mm): The best Apple Watch SE alternative for Android users
The standard Galaxy Watch 6 is a little pricier this time, but it has a slightly larger battery and screen than its predecessor. The 40mm model is the best Apple Watch SE alternative for Android users, offering a great all-round feature kit. It’s the better fitness watch, and battery life is on par with Apple’s smaller wearable.
The Galaxy Watch 6 lacks significant upgrades over its predecessor, so the Galaxy Watch 5 40mm model is a much cheaper alternative if you’re budget-strapped.
- Elegant design and build materials
- Ships with Wear OS 4
- Bright, vibrant AMOLED display
- Robust, snappy software experience
- Only minor upgrades over Watch 5
- Imperfect heart rate data
- Disappointing battery life
- Some features only work with Samsung phones
Garmin Venu Sq 2: The best Apple Watch SE alternative for iPhone users
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 excellent battery life, lasting up to 11 days per charge.
Its actual 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, reliable Body Battery measurements, and useful Health Snapshot feature.
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.
- 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, which means lugging your smartphone along on runs. Its heart rate sensor also leaves plenty to be desired during workouts. HUAWEI’s companion app is also highly restrictive for those who enjoy exporting fitness data to other sources. Overall, it’s a worthwhile alternative if your budget is limited.
Notably, the HUAWEI Band 7 is newer, but it’s essentially an incremental upgrade of the Band 6. We still feel that the latter is the better value option.
- Comfortable, roomy form factor
- Great value
- Solid battery life
- Lots of workout modes
- All-day SpO2 monitoring
- Limited smartwatch features and apps
- 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 ($329 at 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 and isn’t compatible with iPhones.
- Garmin Forerunner 255 ($304.99 at Amazon): As a pure running watch, the Forerunner 255 strikes the perfect balance between features and price. It’s slightly cheaper than the Series 8 and will provide a much better training experience than all Apple Watch models. If you want a bright and beautiful OLED screen on your running watch, consider the Forerunner 265. You will need $100 on hand, though.
- Garmin vivoactive 4 ($234.75 at Amazon): If you don’t need the AMOLED screens of the Venu series, the vivoactive 4 provides many of the base fitness features at a much lower price with better battery life.
- Withings ScanWatch ($299 at Amazon): The ScanWatch punches well above its weight in the heart health tracking scene. It packs an ECG, a near-month-long battery life, and excellent sleep tracking. However, its small digital screen hidden behind analog trappings does limit its smartwatch potential.
- Fitbit Charge 5 ($134 at 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.
- Xiaomi Mi Band 7 ($46 at 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 questions and answers
No. The Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 series does not support iPhones. If you are considering a Wear OS watch that does work with an iPhone, consider the Fossil Gen 6 series.
Apple announced the Apple Watch Series 8, the new Watch SE, and the Ultra in September 2022.
The Apple Watch Series 9 is a good few months away yet. If you need a smartwatch this instant, you should purchase a Series 8. However, if you’re considering an upgrade from an older Apple Watch and can wait, we recommend a more measured approach.