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The best Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 alternatives you can buy
The Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 series is now official. The series adds an outdoor-orientated Pro model, bigger batteries, and a new skin temperature sensor, among other tweaks. While early signs suggest Samsung’s smartwatch department has another winner on its hands, not everyone fancies a Wear OS watch and its limitations or its higher price. So, what are the alternatives? Thankfully, the smartwatch industry is laden with capable devices. Here are the best Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 alternatives you can buy right now.
Buying the right Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 alternative
The Galaxy Watch 5 may be the industry’s best example of a seamless marriage between smart and health features. It really is a jack of most, if not all, trades. This generation’s focus on improving minute details that matter makes it a tough device not to recommend. However, better devices may be available if you’re seeking a particular feature.
Samsung may have brought more training and outdoor features to the Galaxy Watch 5 Pro, but you should look for a longer-lasting, more rugged device with reliable GPS features if you’re a true trail enthusiast. There are gym-ready alternatives aplenty, but if you’re looking for a device with more multisport coverage, consider purchasing a watch with more sports modes and recovery features. In terms of smart features, you’ll have to look beyond the Galaxy Watch 5 series for iPhone support, and that’s where our recommendation for the Apple Watch remains untroubled.
For more a granular explanation of our recommendations, see our summary below.
The best Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 alternatives
- Garmin Venu 2 Plus: Garmin’s best smartwatch is also the best Galaxy Watch 5 alternative. It serves a hard-to-beat combination of smart and reliable health tracking features behind a bright OLED display.
- Apple Watch Series 8: If you’re already invested in the Apple ecosystem, recommending any device other than the Apple Watch is a challenging task. However, the Series 8 earns its place with seamless smart integration with iPhones and a new skin temperature sensor.
- Fitbit Sense: The Sense now has a successor, but it remains the best Fitbit Galaxy Watch 5 alternative for its plethora of sensors, reliable sleep tracking, and more affordable price point.
- Garmin Fenix 7 Pro: Look no further than Garmin’s Fenix 7 series for an outdoor smartwatch with a deep toolkit. It provides more than enough multisport and training features to give the Galaxy Watch 5 Pro a challenge, albeit at a much higher price.
- Garmin Forerunner 265: The best Galaxy Watch 5 alternative for runners, the Garmin Forerunner 265 also undercuts the former in price and overcuts on workout features. It also now features a beautiful AMOLED screen.
- Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 Classic: Samsung stripped the Galaxy Watch 5 of the rotating bezel, but you can still have that feature on the Galaxy Watch 4 Classic. Even as the outgoing model, it remains a viable alternative for its lower price and lengthy software support promise.
- Google Pixel Watch: If you’re looking for a pure and slick Wear OS smartwatch, Google’s first smartwatch is worth considering. There are plenty of caveats, but it does feature reliable health tracking and a gorgeous design.
Garmin Venu 2 Plus: The best Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 alternative
Garmin has spent more time improving its premier smartwatch series, and the Venu 2 Plus is the culmination of these efforts. It’s ripe with fitness tracking features, from trademark Body Battery smarts to more familiar tools like heart rate monitoring, blood oxygen sampling, and heart rate variability details. Garmin also brings stellar stress and sleep tracking to the Venu 2 Plus, newly-activated ECG functionality, and the Health Snapshot feature.
We recommend the Garmin Venu 2 Plus over the original Venu 2 specifically for its ability to place and receive calls from the wrist via Bluetooth and its built-in voice assistant smarts. Finally, onboard music storage/playback and a five-day battery life sweeten the deal.
Despites its strengths, Garmin falls short of Samsung’s best watch in some areas. Give the Venu 2 Plus a miss if you seek LTE connectivity. You won’t gain the breadth of apps and Google services you’ll find on Samsung’s Wear OS smartwatch, either.
- 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
Apple Watch Series 8: The best Galaxy Watch 5 alternative for iPhone users
We’ve said it before, and it’s worth saying again: if you own an iPhone or are entrenched in the Apple ecosystem, the Apple Watch Series 8 is the smartwatch you should buy. Apple hasn’t made massive strides with the Series 8 compared to the Series 7 or Series 6 but does improve in the areas that matter. The Series 8’s new skin temperature sensor improves fertility and cycle-tracking accuracy. The stalwart Apple Watch features return, too, including accurate GPS tracking and seamless integration with other Apple products. watchOS 9 brings some welcome upgrades too, including crash detection features, improvements to sleep tracking, and additional metrics for runners.
Of course, there are caveats. The Apple Watch is simply out of the question for Android smartphone users. Users used to customizing their devices will also lament the lack of third-party watch faces. As far as battery life is concerned, you’re arguably better off with any other device on this list.
That said, you can overlook these shortcomings if you want a premium smartwatch with few compromises on the “smart” side. If you only crave the smart features without the health benefits, the more affordable Apple Watch SE 2 will suffice.
- Excellent Retina display
- Premium design and build
- Advanced health tracking sensors
- Crash detection
- Improved sleep tracking
- Plenty of watchOS 9 upgrades
- Battery life still hasn’t improved
- No third-party watch faces
Fitbit Sense: The best Galaxy Watch 5 alternative from Fitbit
The Fitbit Sense is long in the tooth, but it’s still your best bet from Fitbit. Packed with sensors, you’ll get an EDA monitor for more accurate stress tracking, an ECG for heart health, and a skin temperature sensor — a feature the Galaxy Watch 5 only just gained. Reliable sleep tracking and adequate fitness features also make the Sense a great companion for active users.
Fitbit still trails well behind Wear OS and watchOS devices in terms of smart features and app availability, but you get baked-in assistant support and around a week’s worth of use between charges. Its SpO2 monitoring system requiring a dedicated watch face is particularly daft, while many helpful health tracking features are locked behind Fitbit Premium, adding to the device’s longer-term base cost.
If you’re wondering why the Fitbit Sense 2 didn’t make this list, we weren’t much impressed by the lack of smart features its predecessor(s) have.
- High-end, premium design
- Improved quick-release straps
- (Mostly) accurate GPS and heart rate sensors
- Skin temp sensor provides useful data
- Detailed sleep tracking
- ~6-day battery life
- Bad inductive button
- SpO2 tracking requires a dedicated watch face
- EDA and ECG sensors need refining
- Fitbit OS still needs work
Garmin Fenix 7 Pro: The best Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 Pro alternative
Samsung’s pushing its new Galaxy Watch 5 Pro as an outdoor companion fit for trail warriors, but it comes up against some established players in this space. The best example of this is the Garmin Fenix 7 Pro.
The Pro edition of Garmin’s premier outdoor smartwatch retains a rugged build and packs the company’s trademark health features, from Body Battery to real-time stamina monitoring. Specialized options, like solar charging, a built-in flashlight, multi-band GNSS support, and compatibility with external heart rate straps and accessories, make it an adventure-ready powerhouse. It also packs an upgraded MIP display to help save power, and packs plenty of goodies across all three sizes.
Of course, Garmin foregoes plenty of smart features. There’s no LTE option, nor will you receive a bright OLED display that’s become a trademark of the Galaxy Watch series. It’s also massively expensive compared to Samsung’s player. But, if you’re looking for a genuine outdoor watch, the Fenix 7 Pro is worth the investment. Consider the Garmin Epix Pro if you crave an OLED screen watch of this caliber.
- Built-in flashlight on all sizes
- Solar charging multi-band GNSS across all models
- Highly accurate Gen 5 Elevate heart rate sensor
- Useful new training metrics and mapping upgrades
- No longer a cheaper base model option
- Slow charging and proprietary cable
- Potentially not enough to warrant an upgrade
Garmin Forerunner 265: The best Galaxy Watch 5 alternative for runners
Keen runners should look no further than the Garmin Forerunner 265. It trumps and matches the Galaxy Watch 5 in several areas. It now packs a gorgeous AMOLED display, and still includes PacePro in-race guidance and the Morning Report, which provides a brief health overview and training suggestions when you wake up. The Forerunner 265 also gains some creature comforts, like music storage across all model sizes.
Unlike the Galaxy Watch 5, the 265 misses out on ECG functionality and lacks LTE abilities. For users on a budget, the Forerunner 255 may still be well worth it, while the more premium Forerunner 965 is the ultimate runner’s watch for advanced users. However, the 265 offers the perfect middle ground.
- Beautiful AMOLED touchscreen display
- Multiples sizes with music storage standard
- Accurate heart tracking
- Reliable GPS with SatIQ
- Training Readiness is great
- Limited hardware upgrades
- More expensive than the Forerunner 255
Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 Classic: The best alternative with a rotating bezel
Samsung ditched the Classic model and the physical rotating bezel from the Galaxy Watch 5 series. So if you want that particular feature in your life, you’ll have to consider buying the Galaxy Watch 4 Classic.
It might seem counterintuitive to purchase an old watch when the new model just arrived, but the Galaxy Watch 4 series still has plenty going for it. It doesn’t lag too far behind the Galaxy Watch 5 in terms of features, missing out only on a skin temperature sensor. For those who appreciate an analog watch aesthetic, the Classic is the more attractive of the two.
Nevertheless, by opting for the Classic you will give up a larger battery, a more resistant lens, and useful mapping features provided by the Pro.
- Classy design in multiple size options
- Fantastic AMOLED screen
- Promising future for Wear OS 3
- Useful body composition metrics
- Large app library and access to Google staples
- Poor GPS performance
- Sleep tracking could be stronger
- Battery life is good, but not great (best on bigger sizes)
- Some features limited to Samsung phone users
- No software update commitments from Google
Google Pixel Watch: The best Wear OS alternative
The Pixel Watch isn’t as impressive as it could be, but it’s a solid first smartwatch attempt by Google. The device offers a smooth Wear OS 3 experience with surprisingly good performance for its dated chipset. It’s also a looker, with its domed glass face and pastel straps.
For some reason, Google only offers the Pixel Watch in one size that suits smaller wrists. The battery life also leaves plenty to be desired, falling well short of the Samsung Galaxy Watch 5’s two-day endurance.
We don’t think you should get it over the Samsung, but it’s there if you’re a staunch Google fan.
- Sleek, modern design
- Access to (most of) the Fitbit ecosystem
- Clean, Google-centric Wear OS experience
- Very smooth performance
- Reliable heart rate sensor
- Fairly accurate GPS
- Disappointing battery life
- Only available in one size
- Missing key health tracking features
- No automatic workout detection
- Awkward to change bands
That’s it for our list of the best Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 alternatives, but plenty of other devices are out there. We also want to mention the smartwatches below:
- Mobvoi Ticwatch Pro 5 ($349 at Amazon): If you’re looking for another Wear OS watch with a big battery, the Ticwatch Pro 5 is a good alternative. It packs Wear OS 3, a nifty dual-display design, and the pacey Snapdragion W5 Plus Gen 1 chipset.
- Withings ScanWatch ($299 at Amazon): If you don’t mind sacrificing a large OLED screen and plenty of smart features, the ScanWatch provides its users with medical-grade ECG, AFib monitoring, and a blood oxygen sensor.
- Fossil Gen 6 ($188 at Amazon): Now with Wear OS 3, the Fossil Gen 6 might lack the health tracking features of the Galaxy Watch 5, but it’s a great-looking device.
- Fitbit Versa 3 ($158 at Amazon): Not everyone needs advanced health tracking features. The Versa 3 is a cheaper Fitbit Sense with no ECG, EDA, or skin temperature sensors. This makes it a great value alternative.
- Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2 ($284 at Amazon): If the watches on our primary list are too expensive, consider the older Galaxy Watch Active 2. You won’t get the advantages of Wear OS, but you will benefit from its great battery life and beautiful screen.
- Xiaomi Smart Band 7 Pro ($89 at Amazon): Xiaomi’s new fitness band blurs the line between tracker and smartwatch. Its large display improved health tracking features, and built-in GPS should entice active users on a tight budget.
Top Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 questions and answers
Yes, the Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 is worth buying if you’re looking for a balanced health tracking and smart feature experience. You may not want to upgrade from the Galaxy Watch 4, though.
No, we don’t recommend spending additional cash to purchase the Galaxy Watch 5 if you already own a Galaxy Watch 4. However, if you can trade in the older device, you’ll enjoy the Galaxy Watch 5’s better fit, hardier design, and bigger battery.