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The best Samsung Galaxy Watch 6 alternatives
Time never stands still, and that’s especially true for the best smartwatches. Since moving to Wear OS, Samsung has been at the forefront of the wearable drive for Android smartphone owners, and the Galaxy Watch 6 is here to set a new benchmark. But what if you don’t like Samsung’s iterative update approach or are an iPhone user? Read on for our list of the best Galaxy Watch 6 alternatives.
The best Samsung Galaxy Watch 6 alternatives
Looking to make a quick decision? Here are our top alternatives to the best Samsung smartwatch on offer and a brief breakdown of who these devices will suit:
- The Garmin Venu 3 is the best overall alternative. Although it's pricier than the Galaxy Watch 6, it presents a balanced health monitoring feature set with a smattering of essential smartwatch features. It also pairs with iPhones — something you won't find with the Galaxy Watch 6.
- The Apple Watch Series 9 is the best alternative for iPhone users. Apple's wearable prowess is well documented, and the new Series 9 cements this. Once again, you'll find minimal changes over its predecessor, but it now features some nifty neural chip-powered tricks. This is the best smartwatch to buy if you're an Apple aficionado.
- The Google Pixel Watch 2 is the best Wear OS alternative. The new model fixes most of the original's shortcomings but remains an aesthetically striking device with a clean software experience. You'll also benefit from Fitbit's health tracking kit, sensors borrowed from the Sense 2, and the wealth of third- and first-party apps from the Play Store. The Pixel Watch 2 is the best option if you crave a unique wearable or already own Pixel products.
- The Garmin Venu Sq 2 is the best value alternative. Garmin has given its premier square smartwatch upgraded health sensors, a new display, and a battery life buff to compete against much pricier devices. You won't get the wealth of apps available with Wear OS or deep integration with Android, but iOS users can also join in on the fun. If you want a Venu 2 Plus but can't afford one, the Venu Sq 2 will fill the gap.
- The Fitbit Versa 3 is the best cheap alternative. Fitbit still has a horse in this race, and it's the cheap and cheerful Versa 3. It packs all the essential health and fitness tracking features with a minimal list of smart additions. It's now showing its age, but time has also been kind to its price. Get the Versa 3 if you need a Galaxy Watch 6 alternative for under $200.
Garmin Venu 3
We have long regarded the Venu 2 Plus as Garmin’s best smartwatch, but that’s no longer true. The Garmin Venu 3 takes that particular crown, and as a result, it’s also the best Galaxy Watch 6 alternative you can buy. It takes all the best features of the Venu 2 and the Plus model, adds a few more features, and broadens its appeal with two dial sizes.
It’s not as aesthetically exciting as Samsung’s smartwatches, but it’s solidly built and should look right at home in all scenarios. It’s comfortable to wear, too, thanks to its sleek and surprisingly lightweight build.
The Venu 3 still includes all the fan-favorite Garmin features, from Body Battery to its excellent GPS performance. It also includes the Venu 2 Plus’ voice assistant and on-wrist call support smarts. Additionally, the Venu 3 brings automatic nap detection and a new Daily Summary feature to bolster its fitness and wellness tracking kit further.
Notably, the Venu 3 is by no means affordable. It’s pricier than the Apple Watch Series 9 and the Galaxy Watch 6 Classic — two already pricey smartwatches. Nevertheless, few smartwatches come close to what the Venu 3 offers.
Garmin Venu 3 vs Galaxy Watch 6: Advantages
- The Garmin Venu 3 is platform agnostic, pairing with iOS and Android devices.
- It has a more acute focus on fitness, training, and recovery than the Galaxy Watch 6.
- Body Battery, Daily Summary, and Health Snapshot are excellent Garmin-exclusive features.
Garmin Venu 3 vs Galaxy Watch 6: Disadvantages
- The Galaxy Watch 6 has a broader array of apps with closer Android integration.
- The Galaxy Watch 6 also has an LTE variant; the Garmin does not.
- The Venu 3 is much pricier than the Galaxy Watch 6 and the Classic.
Apple Watch Series 9
The Apple Watch is the best smartwatch for those in Apple’s ecosystem. If you own an iPhone, the Galaxy Watch 6 is not an option. The Apple Watch Series 9 may not be the most exciting or adventurous choice — especially since the Apple Watch Ultra 2 exists — but the new base model brings worthwhile new features.
On the surface, the Series 9 borrows plenty of the Series 8’s traits, from a durable body and face and a built-in temperature sensor to improve fertility tracking to the same launch price as its predecessors. You’ll still find a built-in ECG and a reliable heart rate monitor. However, its new chipset now packs a neural chip, which powers on-device Siri computations, a nifty double tap shortcut feature, and the ability to use Siri to query health info or log similar details. The screen is also slightly brighter, making it easier to peek stats outdoors.
We have our qualms about the new model. For one, you’ll get no upgrades to its health tracking kit, making it less useful as a wellness monitor than the Galaxy Watch 6. You might also find that using it alongside an Android phone is ineffectual. The device’s SpO2 sensor is now also disabled due to an ongoing legal dispute. Those who explicitly rely on blood oxygen saturation tracking should look elsewhere or at the older Series 8.
At $399, the Series 9 is $100 pricier than the Galaxy Watch 6 but on par with the Classic model. However, the price shouldn’t perturb you if you’re already a member of Apple’s walled garden club.
Apple Watch Series 9 vs Galaxy Watch 6: Advantages
- The Apple Watch Series 8 can pair with iPhones, something the Samsung cannot do.
- It has a more mature array of apps than the Galaxy Watch 6.
- The Apple Watch Series 9 is a more powerful companion without a smartphone tether.
Apple Watch Series 8 vs Galaxy Watch 6: Disadvantages
- The Apple Watch Series 9’s battery life is shorter than the Galaxy Watch 6.
- Only iPhone users can use the Series 9 with their devices.
- The Apple Watch Series 9 is $100 pricier than the Galaxy Watch 6.
Google Pixel Watch 2
Learning plenty from its first smartwatch, Google’s Pixel Watch 2 is now the best Galaxy Watch 6 alternative for Pixel smartphone owners. It comes with the benefit of Google’s backing, a clean software experience, Fitbit fitness tracking and new sensors, and unique aesthetic traits.
Speaking of that aesthetic, the Pixel Watch 2 keeps the good looks of its predecessor but does present further refinements to the design. Yes, it still uses a proprietary band system, but it comes in many lovely pastel shades. Google offers the Pixel Watch 2 in a single dial size of 41mm, which will be too small for many potential users.
Beneath its exterior, the Pixel Watch 2 packs a more modern chipset with 2GB of RAM and a 306mAh battery, suitable for around a day of use. For fitness fiends, Google has further improved the device’s wellness kit. EDA stress monitoring and a temperature sensor join heart rate monitoring, blood oxygen monitoring, and sleep tracking. While not marketed as a serious workout watch, you should find it useful in the gym or the road.
Google Pixel Watch 2 vs Galaxy Watch 6: Advantages
- The Pixel Watch 2 runs the cleanest Wear OS experience around.
- It features a more striking aesthetic than the Galaxy Watch 6.
- The Pixel Watch 2’s crown makes navigating Wear OS a breeze.
Google Pixel Watch 2 vs Galaxy Watch 6: Disadvantages
- Google offers a single 41mm size option that’s awkward on larger wrists.
- The Pixel Watch has a marginally worse battery life than the Galaxy Watch 6.
- Only proprietary bands are supported by the Pixel Watch 2.
Garmin Venu Sq 2
Garmin’s square smartwatch offers excellent value to those looking for a cheaper companion. While the Venu Sq 2 targets the Apple Watch SE 2, it also makes a great Galaxy Watch 6 alternative.
The sequel builds on what was an already solid platform. It packs a bright, square AMOLED screen that’s highly legible in all conditions. Despite this change, we also see a nice battery bump. As noted in our Venu Sq 2 review, the watch can go over a week between charges, even with heavy use. And you’ll want to use it frequently — an accurate GPS and an upgraded heart rate sensor make the Venu Sq 2 a surprisingly good gym companion. All the famous Garmin features are present, too, including Body Battery and Health Snapshot. As far as smart features go, you’ll find a modest selection. The essentials are all here, including text responses, Garmin’s LiveTrack and incident detection features, and a modest array of apps. However, don’t expect deep integration with Android here. As a positive, iPhone users can also grab a Venu Sq 2.
There are some silly omissions from Garmin, though. If you value onboard music storage, you must pay an extra $50 for that privilege. Fitness-minded folk will be disappointed by the lack of an altimeter, which instantly makes this watch less appealing to weekend hikers or high-rise dwellers.
At $249, the Garmin Venu 2 Sq is pricier than its predecessor but still undercuts the Galaxy Watch 6 by $50. If you don’t need all the trappings provided by Samsung or the Venu 2 Plus, you’ll be well looked after by this modest understudy.
Garmin Venu Sq 2 vs Galaxy Watch 6: Advantages
- Battery life on the Venu Sq 2 trumps the Galaxy Watch 6.
- The Venu Sq 2 comes with Body Battery and Health Snapshot, two useful health features.
- The Venu Sq 2 is more affordable than the Galaxy Watch 6.
Garmin Venu Sq 2 vs Galaxy Watch 6: Disadvantages
- Music storage is a paid-for extra on the Venu Sq 2.
- It lacks some of the advanced health features on the Galaxy Watch 6.
- The Venu Sq 2 is less durable than the Galaxy Watch 6.
Fitbit Versa 3
The Fitbit Versa 3 may be getting long in the tooth, but we billed it as one of the best Fitbit smartwatches when it launched. In 2024, it’s still an excellent option for budget buyers.
There’s a lot to love about the Versa 3. It’s a compact smartwatch that’s comfortable and easy to wear. Although we’re not huge fans of the inductive home button, we like how the AMOLED screen pops in all lighting conditions and is particularly useful during outdoor workouts. Speaking of breaking a sweat, the Versa 3 covers all the essential health-tracking metrics, from heart rate tracking to blood oxygen monitoring. Premium subscribers also benefit from a Daily Readiness score, which advises how hard to train on a given day. As for smart features, the Versa 3 bests its successor, with support for third-party apps, the option to use Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant companions, and the ability to take calls over Bluetooth. All this is backed by a stellar battery that can ensure up to four days between charges.
Not all is gold, though. As mentioned, Fitbit Premium users get a more detailed history of metrics and a few unique features. These are unavailable to general users, diminishing the Versa 3’s budget appeal. The third-party app library is also nothing to write home about. Additionally, now that Google has the Pixel Watch in its purview, we’re unlikely to see any active development of the existing Fitbit OS platform.
You can now regularly snag a Versa 3 for well under $200, making it a much cheaper alternative to the Galaxy Watch 6. Shedding those digits also sheds smart features, but if fitness tracking on a budget is your core use case, you can’t go wrong with the Versa 3.
Fitbit Versa 3 vs Galaxy Watch 6: Advantages
- The Versa 3 is much cheaper than the Galaxy Watch 6.
- Fitbit OS is much simpler to use than Wear OS.
- The Versa weighs slightly less than the Galaxy Watch 6.
Fitbit Versa 3 vs Galaxy Watch 6: Disadvantages
- The Versa 3 lacks the advanced fitness features of the Galaxy Watch 6.
- Fitbit OS isn’t under active development; Wear OS certainly is.
- The Versa 3 lacks several smart features you’ll find on the Galaxy Watch 6.