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It sure is trendy, but is it worth buying the Apple Watch?

Is the Apple Watch worth its salt when compared to Samsung, Garmin, and Fitbit alternatives?
By
July 20, 2022

The Apple Watch Series 7 is by no means the cheapest smartwatch you can buy. Compared to its contemporaries, it’ll cost iPhone users a good few hundred dollars more than several smartwatches today. But it is among the most feature-packed devices you can place on your wrist. So, when considering its strengths, weaknesses, and rivals, is the Apple Watch worth buying?

See also: The best Apple Watch alternatives


Is the Apple Watch Series 7 worth its price?

The flagship Apple Watch, the Series 7, comes in at $399 for the GPS variant and $449 for the LTE option. Both watches feature a wealth of health and fitness tracking smarts, from an ECG to monitor heart health to an SpO2 sensor to keep tabs on blood oxygen. Beyond these two sensors, the Apple Watch does an excellent job of gamifying health through its three activity rings system. The Series 7 also brings faster charging, a larger watch face, and the same price as the older Series 6.

That said, the Series 7 isn’t without its faults. Compared to other smartwatches, its battery life remains a sore point, coming in at just over a day per charge. It’s also no great technological leap over the Series 6, packing mere aesthetic improvements rather than sweeping hardware upgrades. We also found some facets of its health-tracking bouquet unreliable, from its heart rate sensor to its half-baked sleep tracking.

apple watch series 7 press render green leather strap
Apple Watch Series 7 (45mm, GPS & Cellular)
Bigger display, faster-charging battery
The Apple Watch Series 7 boasts a larger edge-to-edge display, tougher durability, faster charging, and more color options than before. If you want the best of what Apple has to offer, the Series 7 is it.

The Apple Watch vs other smartwatches

How does it compare to other smartwatches? Well, it’s tough to compare apples with oranges. The Apple Watch is easily the best smartwatch to buy for iPhone users, too, thanks to its seamless integration with iOS. This alone makes the Apple Watch worth buying. But which other smartwatches come close to troubling the Apple Watch?

Samsung Galaxy Watch 4

A Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 on a leather surface displays the watch face Active.
Kaitlyn Cimino / Android Authority

The Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 series mirrors the Apple Watch’s fitness features, offering an ECG, heart rate monitor, and a SpO2 sensor. It also packs a body composition sensor, which calculates a wearer’s body makeup, from muscle to skeletal mass. While it now runs on Wear OS 3, giving it a new lick of paint and better app support, it’s incompatible with iPhones.

However, starting at $249, it’s an excellent Apple Watch alternative for Android users.

See also: Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 review

Garmin Venu 2 Plus

An image of the Garmin Venu 2 Plus on the wrist showing the watch face and display
Jimmy Westenberg / Android Authority

Meanwhile, the Garmin Venu 2 Plus is compatible with an iPhone. It’s arguably the most feature-packed and health-focused smartwatch available on the market. It includes Garmin features we’ve grown to love, including Body Battery and solid and reliable fitness tracking. Garmin has also introduced voice assistant smarts, and on-wrist call support to the Plus’s already stellar Venu 2 package.

However, at $449, it’s more expensive than the Series 7. It also lacks an ECG, an addition that those considering an Apple Watch alternative might seriously need.

See also: Garmin Venu 2 review

Fitbit Sense

fitbit sense
Jimmy Westenberg / Android Authority
Fitbit Sense

Finally, Fitbit is also worth a shout. The Sense in particular packs the broadest feature set of any Fitbit smartwatch. It comes with an EDA sensor to monitor stress and an ECG sensor. Its sleep tracking smarts trump the Apple Watch and, arguably, its rivals from Samsung and Garmin.

However, at $299, it is the most expensive Fitbit on the market and barely offers more than the ~$70 cheaper Fitbit Versa 3. You’d also have to settle for lackluster app support and limited smartwatch features.

See also: Fitbit Sense review


Verdict: Is the Apple Watch Series 7 worth buying?

The short answer is yes. The Apple Watch Series 7 would provide iPhone users an unrivaled experience, especially considering the seamless integration between watchOS and iOS. Of course, you will need to be an iPhone user to take advantage of these features. If you’re not an iPhone user, the answer to this question gets a little more complicated.

In our opinion, the best Apple Watch alternative for Android users is the Galaxy Watch 4. Samsung’s four-year update commitment makes it the best future-proof device available, while Wear OS 3 gives the device a solid base on which to build. At $249, it’s also extremely tough to ignore, especially when considering the pricier Garmin and Fitbit options on the market.

samsung galaxy watch 4 44mm green
Samsung Galaxy Watch 4
Samsung's best smartwatch, now with Wear OS
Samsung and Google combined forces to improve the software situation with smartwatches on Android. The result is the new Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 and Galaxy Watch 4 Classic, running the new, co-developed Wear OS. The standard Galaxy Watch 4 is for the sportier crowd, while the Watch 4 Classic is for those who'd like a watch they can wear to the office.

FAQs

If you’re using an iPhone, the Garmin Venu 2 Plus is tough to beat. If you’re an Android user, going with the Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 is a good bet. Alternatively, the Fitbit Versa 3 and Sense are dark horses if you value deeper sleep insights on a slightly lower budget.

No, you can’t pair an Apple Watch with an Android smartphone. You’ll need an iPhone for this. However, if you have both an iPhone and an Android device, there’s no reason why you can’t use the three simultaneously.

The Apple Watch’s brief battery life, shallow sleep tracking data, and lack of third-party watch face customizations are among its biggest issues. We also experienced unreliable heart rate tracking during our Series 7 review.