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The best Apple Watch Series 9 alternatives: 5 other smartwatches to consider

Before you fall for Apple's latest, shop these alternative from Samsung, Garmin, Google, and more.
By

Published onDecember 11, 2023

Samsung Galaxy Watch 6 Classic
MSRP: $399.99
Positives
The rotating bezel is back
Elegant design and build materials
Ships with Wear OS 4
Bright, vibrant AMOLED display
Robust, snappy software experience
Negatives
Only minor upgrades over Watch 5
Imperfect heart rate data
Disappointing battery life
Some features only work with Samsung phones
Garmin Venu 3
MSRP: $449.99
Positives
Highly accurate GPS and heart rate sensors
Automatic nap detection and sleep coaching
On-device phone call and voice assistant support
Up to 14-day battery life
Larger display
Negatives
No ECG app
Pricey compared to competitors
No LTE model
Google Pixel Watch 2
MSRP: $349.99
Positives
Runs a snappy Wear OS 4
Added and upgraded advanced health sensors
New training features and automatic workout detection
Fast charging alleviates battery woes
Safety Check and other safety features
Negatives
Only available in one size
Some health features feel underbaked
Fitbit app redesign oversimplifies
Flaky GPS recording
Setup isn't seamless
Mobvoi TicWatch Pro 5
MSRP: $349.99
Positives
Qualcomm's Snapdragon W5+ Gen 1 is snappy and efficient
Digital crown streamlines navigation
Dual display adds even more functionality
Negatives
Sleep tracking still inconsistent
Band design is cheap and attracts dust
No wireless charging
Withings ScanWatch 2
MSRP: $349.95
Positives
Water-resistant
Health-focused
Hybrid smartwatch
Negatives
Small, grey-scale display
Software subscription

Apple’s watches always send waves through the wearables market as others compete to keep up with the latest and the leading. However, while Apple’s devices are iconic, they’re not the only smartwatches in the game. Whether your phone is incompatible or you simply don’t want an Apple wearable, you can find plenty of other powerful devices up for grabs. We round up the best Apple Watch Series 9 alternatives to help you shop around.

Buying the right Apple Watch Series 9 alternative for your needs

An Apple Watch Series 9 rests alongside competitive devices in the wearables market.

Before we lead anyone astray, we wholeheartedly believe that an Apple Watch is the best iPhone companion available. The company’s seamless integration and unmatched app support make its in-house devices hard to beat. The Series 9 is Apple’s newest traditional model, and it’s loaded with useful health and fitness features. The Apple Watch Ultra or Ultra 2 offers a more rugged experience and niche features for outdoor adventuring. Apple also offers the pared-down Apple Watch SE 2 for those on a budget.

But what if you don’t want an Apple Watch? Devices from Garmin, Fitbit, and Google also have much to offer. Determine which features you’d like your Apple Watch alternative to emulate so you know what to look for while shopping. For example, we highly recommend Garmin’s stable for accurate fitness stats and reliable GPS. For a well-rounded smartwatch experience compatible with Android phones, we suggest the Galaxy Watch 6 series.

The best Apple Watch Series 9 alternatives

  • Samsung Galaxy Watch 6 ClassicThe best Wear OS devices available, Samsung’s Galaxy Watch 6 series consists of the two top choices for Android phone users. We recommend the Classic model with its rotating bezel and elevated look.
  • Garmin Venu 3: Garmin’s newest smartwatch is the company’s most powerful yet, building on the successful Venu 2 Plus with automatic sleep detection and more.
  • Google Pixel Watch 2: Google’s top smartwatch, the Pixel Watch 2, is the best smartwatch for anyone committed to the Fitbit ecosystem.
  • Mobvoi TicWatch Pro 5: Another loaded Wear OS device, the Mobvoi TicWatch Pro 5, packs impressive specs and a unique dual-display, plus a rotating crown similar to that of the Apple Watch.
  • Withings ScanWatch 2: The Withings ScanWatch 2 is the best medically approved hybrid device with a dedicated health focus and an attractive build.

Samsung Galaxy Watch 6 Classic: The best Wear OS Apple Watch Series 9 alternative

A Samsung Galaxy Watch 6 Classic display its App Library.

The Galaxy Watch 6 Series may only feature iterative improvements compared to last year’s lineup, but that doesn’t make the devices anything less than powerful smartwatches with much to offer. For the most refined, elevated aesthetic, we recommend the Galaxy Watch 6 Classic. It features the company’s fan-favorite rotating bezel for easier on-device navigation.

Beyond the bezel, the watch boasts a crisp AMOLED display for large onscreen stats and colorful graphics. Below the glass, it packs the top-tier Wear OS featuring a bevy of useful smartwatch features, snappy performance, updated Google apps, and much more. It also offers a robust fitness tracking and health tracking suite, including the same temperature sensor the company debuted last year for deeper sleep insights and women’s health tracking. We also found the devices provide accurate GPS and heart rate data during workouts. Meanwhile, they’re comfortable on the wrist for all-day wear, as well as for sporting overnight to track your Zs.

Samsung Galaxy Watch 6 ClassicSamsung Galaxy Watch 6 Classic
AA Recommended
Samsung Galaxy Watch 6 Classic
The rotating bezel is back • Elegant design and build materials • Ships with Wear OS 4
MSRP: $399.99
The rotating crown is back
The Samsung Galaxy Watch 6 Classic rocks a rotating bezel! Better equipped than the base Galaxy Watch 6, the Classic model is a powerful watch with updated activity tracking, improved health features, and the full Samsung Wallet app for your mobile payments.

Samsung Galaxy Watch 6Samsung Galaxy Watch 6
AA Recommended
Samsung Galaxy Watch 6
Bigger, brighter AMOLED display • Snappy Wear OS 4 software experience • Sporty yet tasteful aesthetic
MSRP: $299.99
Bigger and better.
The Samsung Galaxy Watch 6 brings the best of Wear OS 4 and Samsung's smartwatch features to the table. A large display and full Samsung Wallet app make the Watch 6 a powerful standalone device, while integration with Samsung phones makes the Watch 6 a valuable part of your Galaxy ecosystem.

Pros

  • The rotating bezel is back
  • Elegant design and build materials
  • Ships with Wear OS 4
  • Bright, vibrant AMOLED display
  • Robust, snappy software experience

Cons

  • Only minor upgrades over Galaxy Watch 5
  • Imperfect heart rate data
  • Disappointing battery life
  • Some features only work with Samsung phones

Garmin Venu 3: The best Garmin Apple Watch Series 9 alternative

A Garmin Venu 3 displays a users' Recents menu including the Sleep Coaching widget.

Compared to Apple, Garmin devices don’t offer as many smartwatch features, but an Apple vs Garmin guide shows the devices still have plenty in common. Garmin’s Venu 3 is its most feature-packed smartwatch to date and the best device for anyone looking for rich fitness tracking. On top of the impressive features found in its predecessor, the Venu 3 adds new tools for more advanced training, including Recovery Time, Workout Benefit, and Perceived Exertion. During our review period, we found the watch’s GPS sensor and Elevate V5 optical heart rate sensor incredibly accurate. Garmin also added tracking for wheelchair pushes as well as wheelchair-specific activity.

Between workouts, the Venu 3 offers automatic nap detection, which is a first for Garmin’s watches. This is in addition to the device’s complete overnight sleep tracking package, including sleep coaching. Additionally, the device is FDA-approved to provide ECG readings. It also still provides phone call support and voice assistant compatibility when a paired phone is nearby and features onboard music storage for soundtracking your longest runs.

To ensure users have plenty of battery for stats day and night, the Venu 3 offers nearly 50% longer battery life. The 45mm model improves battery life to 14 days from 9, while the Venu 3S offers up to 10 days.

Garmin Venu 3Garmin Venu 3
AA Editors Choice
Garmin Venu 3
Highly accurate GPS and heart rate sensors • Automatic nap detection and sleep coaching • Up to 14-day battery life
MSRP: $449.99
Accuracy and smarts.
The Garmin Venu 3 and Venu 3S focus on providing personalized data about your health and wellness with some of Garmin's most advanced body tracking features. The Body Battery function informs you of your activity levels, and new sleep tracking includes nap detection.

Pros

  • Highly accurate GPS and heart rate sensors
  • Automatic nap detection and sleep coaching
  • On-device phone call and voice assistant support
  • Up to 14-day battery life
  • Larger display

Cons

  • Pricey compared to competitors
  • No LTE model

Google Pixel Watch 2: The best Apple Watch Series 9 alternative for Fitbit loyalists

A Google Pixel Watch 2 displays the Utility watch face.

Google’s second go at an in-house smartwatch, the Pixel Watch 2, delivers many of the successful features of the original model. Fortunately, it also refines some of the first-generation’s shortcomings. First and foremost, it offers 24-hour battery life and a fast charging cable, alleviating the biggest headache of 2022’s Pixel Watch. The Pixel Watch 2 also boasts Google’s newest software, Wear OS 4, which runs flawlessly and offers users many useful tools, including built-in Google Assistant, Google Play Store, Calendar, Gmail, Maps, and more.

Meanwhile, Fitbit still stars prominently on the Pixel Watch 2 with thorough integration. The watch offers the best of Fitbit’s toolkit for basic health and activity tracking with added health monitoring tools, including an EDA sensor, a new temperature sensor, and an upgraded multi-path heart rate sensor. From its robust sleep platform to stress tracking to useful training tools like heart rate zones during workouts, the Pixel Watch 2 offers the best experience for anyone interested in a Fitbit smartwatch. It’s also just a fantastic-looking wearable.

During our review, we found much to like about the upgraded Google watch, but it’s still imperfect. GPS tracking was flukey, and setup can be a headache. We’ll continue testing the watch in the months to come to see how Google manages users’ experiences via software tweaks.

Google Pixel Watch 2Google Pixel Watch 2
Google Pixel Watch 2
Runs a snappy Wear OS 4 • Added and upgraded advanced health sensors • Fast charging alleviates battery woes
MSRP: $349.99
Wear OS 4, advanced health sensors, and upgraded training features elevate the Pixel Watch 2
The Google Pixel Watch 2 retains the first model's successful features and refines several of the original's shortcomings. Added sensors, upgraded training tools, and a few key changes suggest a more finished product. Google's Wear OS 4 runs flawlessly, while advanced health tools from Fitbit join the lineup.

Pros

  • Runs a snappy Wear OS 4
  • Added and upgraded advanced health sensors
  • New training features and automatic workout detection
  • Fast charging alleviates battery woes
  • Safety Check and other safety features

Cons

  • Only available in one size
  • Some health features feel underbaked
  • Fitbit app redesign oversimplifies
  • GPS recording flukey
  • Setup isn’t seamless

Mobvoi TicWatch Pro 5: Another great Wear OS Apple Watch alternative

A Mobvoi TicWatch Pro 5 displays the Wear OS start screen.

Another solid Wear OS pick despite currently running a slightly older Wear OS, Mobvoi’s TicWatch Pro 5 boasts a powerful package that will only continue to improve as Google’s Wear OS 4 update reaches the device. With Qualcomm’s Snapdragon W5 Plus Gen 1 chipset, the device offers snappy performance, impressive battery specs, and tons of features. Plus, the watch now features a useful digital crown (similar to the one found on Apple’s watches), so navigating tools and tiles is easier than ever.

On the smartwatch front, users will find staples like Google Maps, Google Wallet, Google Pay, and the Google Play Store for access to even more tools. For fitness tracking, the watch features 100 workout modes and records everything from basic activity to VO2 max. It also tracks overnight stats, including sleep stages. Our favorite new feature is the device’s ability to show color-coded heart rate zones during workouts on its unique dual display.

We were also impressed with Mobvoi’s improvements to the line’s battery life. During our review period, the device typically lasted about three days, including workout tracking.

Mobvoi TicWatch Pro 5Mobvoi TicWatch Pro 5
AA Recommended
Mobvoi TicWatch Pro 5
Snapdragon W5+ Gen 1 is snappy and efficient • Digital crown • Dual display
MSRP: $349.99
The latest Wear OS meets Qualcomm's top chipset on this powerful device
Running Wear OS 3.5 out of the box, Mobvoi's durable TicWatch Pro 5 elevates the brand's lineup to the ranks of the Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 series or Google Pixel Watch. The device also features a powerful processing chip for a smooth and seamless user experience, plus plenty of health and fitness tools. While Mobvoi's unique power-saving dual display makes a welcome return, the company also adopts a digital crow for easier navigation of the watch has to offer.

Pros

  • Runs on the latest Wear OS
  • Snapdragon W5 Plus Gen 1 is snappy and efficient
  • Digital crown streamlines navigation
  • Dual display adds even more functionality

Cons

  • Pricier than its predecessor
  • Inconsistent sleep tracking
  • Band design is cheap and attracts dust
  • No wireless charging

Withings ScanWatch 2: The best health-focused Apple Watch Series 9 alternative

Withings Scanwatch 2 with brown leather strap in hand

Stylish enough for daily wear and smart enough to keep users health-aware, the Withings ScanWatch 2 is a unique wearable within the crowded market. The hybrid smartwatch offers a more subtle experience that tracks key health stats. Below its mostly analog face, the watch packs sensors for SpO2, ECG, and round-the-clock temperature tracking. It also provides continuous heart rate monitoring and on-device cycle tracking. The device will soon add irregular heartbeat notifications, overnight heart rate variability (HRV) for sleep tracking, and respiratory rate data.

Meanwhile, because it doesn’t feature a flashy touchscreen, the ScanWatch offers fantastic battery life. The device offers up to 30 days of use between charges, an incredible time frame compared to AMOLED-touting watches. Of course, the device is also lacking in smart features compared to the alternatives as well. Users won’t find conveniences like NFC support on the ScanWatch 2. However, the latest from Withings is a beautiful choice if you’re after a pared-down smartwatch experience and a medical-grade health companion.

Withings ScanWatch 2Withings ScanWatch 2
Withings ScanWatch 2
Water-resistant • Health-focused • Hybrid smartwatch
MSRP: $349.95
Health-first elegantly simple hybrid smartwatch
The Withings ScanWatch 2 is a pleasantly simple smartwatch, combining mechanical timing with a small grey-scale display. Focused on your health, the watch has heart-rate sensors, temperature tracking, sleep tracking, activity tracking and more.

FAQs

The Apple Watch Series 9 requires an iPhone for set up.

No, it is not possible to sync the Apple Watch Series 9 with an Android smartphone.

If you do not already own an Apple Watch, the Series 9 is a great device. If you already own a Series 7 or 8, it may not have enough newness to warrant an upgrade.