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It sure is trendy, but is it worth buying the Apple Watch?
The Apple Watch Series 8 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 8 worth its price?
The flagship Apple Watch, the Series 8, comes in at $399 for the GPS variant and $449 for the LTE option. The device features 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. You’re also getting a new skin temperature sensor to improve menstrual cycle and fertility tracking. Beyond these sensors, the Apple Watch does an excellent job of gamifying health through its three activity rings system. The Series 8 also brings a stronger facade and the same price as the older Series 7.
That said, the Series 8 isn’t without its faults. Compared to other smartwatches, its battery life remains a sore point, even with watchOS 9’s new low-power mode. It’s also no great technological leap over the Series 6 or Series 7. It’s also no longer Apple’s premier smartwatch, as the Apple Watch Ultra trumps it on features, size, and price.
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 5
The Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 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. It improves on the Galaxy Watch 4 in several areas. It now has a more comfortable fit, a new (yet to be activated) skin temperature sensor, and build quality improvements.
While it’s incompatible with iPhones, it’s an excellent Apple Watch alternative for Android users starting at $279.
See also: Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 review
Garmin Venu 2 Plus
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 8. It also lacks an ECG, an addition that those considering an Apple Watch alternative might seriously need.
See also: Garmin Venu 2 review
Finally, Fitbit is also worth a shout. The Sense line, in particular packs the broadest feature set of any Fitbit smartwatch. It comes with an EDA sensor to monitor stress, a skin temperature monitor, and an ECG sensor. Sleep tracking smarts remains Fitbit’s strong point, but Apple has made notable progress in this area.
Launched at $299, it was the most expensive Fitbit on the market, but you can now find it on sale for under $200. We’d also recommend it over the Sense 2, which lacks several smart features we take for granted on modern smartwatches.
See also: Fitbit Sense review
Verdict: Is the Apple Watch Series 8 worth buying?
The short answer is yes. The Apple Watch Series 8 would provide iPhone users with an unrivaled experience, especially considering the seamless integration between watchOS and iOS. Realistically, the Apple Watch Series 7 will still serve you well if you don’t absolutely need the skin temperature sensor. 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 5. Samsung’s long-term update commitment makes it the best future-proof device available, while it’s arguably the most balanced smartwatch and health watch combo available for Android users. At $279, it’s also extremely tough to ignore, especially when considering the pricier Garmin and Fitbit options on the market.
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 5 and Watch 4 are good bets. 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 and lack of third-party watch face customizations are among its biggest issues.