Alternatives to the Apple Watch compared

Apple Watch is amazing, but you might be after an alternative. Here we run down the best rivals to the Watch that work with your iPhone or Android smartphone.

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Alternatives to the Apple Watch

When the Apple Watch launched back in 2015, it made quite a splash in the smartwatch market - and its successor, the Apple Watch Series 2, which added GPS, improved water-resistance and a boosted battery life, has helped consolidate the company's hold on wearables.

However, whether you're an iOS or Android (or Windows!) user, you’re probably here because you want to know what else is available to connect to your phone and slap on your wrist. The Apple Watch is far from the only option and the might be an alternative that will suit your needs better and maybe even save you hundreds of pounds.

Here we take a look at the best alternatives to the Apple Watch – be sure to check the details to see what’s compatible with your smartphone.

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When the Apple Watch launched back in 2015, it made quite a splash in the smartwatch market - and its successor, the Apple Watch Series 2, which added GPS, improved water-resistance and a boosted battery life, has helped consolidate the company's hold on wearables.

However, whether you're an iOS or Android (or Windows!) user, you’re probably here because you want to know what else is available to connect to your phone and slap on your wrist. The Apple Watch is far from the only option and the might be an alternative that will suit your needs better and maybe even save you hundreds of pounds.

Here we take a look at the best alternatives to the Apple Watch – be sure to check the details to see what’s compatible with your smartphone.

 

Samsung Gear S3 Frontier

  • RRP: £349, US$349
  • Buy from Samsung

iOS: Yes
Android: Yes

If you’re here because you have an Android smartphone, then a top choice is the Samsung Gear S3. It’s now compatible with iOS too. Here's how to set it up in our guide.

The smartwatch has 4G LTE connectivity in some regions but most people will find themselves with Bluetooth-only in the UK. There's NFC, a built-in speaker, GPS, a heart rate sensor and it's IP68 dust and water-resistant up to 1.5m. Its display is a scratch free Gorilla Glass SR+ which is on a 360x360 round 1.3in AMOLED display.

It runs on Samsung's own Tizen operating system, which its only drawback is the lack of apps to Android. On the plus side the S3 has 4GB of internal storage, allowing you to store music on it for your runs.

For a full run-down, check out the Galaxy S3 review by our colleagues at PC Advisor.

 

Samsung Gear S2

  • RRP: £249

iOS: Yes
Android: Yes

If you’re here because you have an Android smartphone, then a top choice is the Samsung Gear S2. It’s now finally compatible with iOS too. Here's how to set it up in our guide.

This is an excellent smartwatch that we loved from day one thanks to its unique rotating bezel. You use it or the touchscreen to navigate, but the bezel is a great, intuitive way to use the device. It's also available for a higher price in a Classic version with a leather strap.

It runs on Samsung’s own Tizen operating system, so the one drawback is the lack of major apps in comparison to Android. However, this doesn’t detract from the day to day use of the device, which has a heart rate monitor and can store music for running with Bluetooth headphones without having to take your phone.

For a full run down, check out the review by our colleagues at PC Advisor.

 

Fossil Q Founder

iOS: Yes
Android: Yes 

Fossil is one of the few traditional watchmakers that is daring to get into the smartwatch market. The stainless steel bracelet design belies this heritage, and its quite chunky, but some will like this – there is a leather strap version available though.

It runs Android Wear, and works with Android and iPhone devices. Its 1GB of RAM is double most of its rivals and helps it zip through the operating system nicely. However, like the Moto 360, it has an annoying ‘flat tyre’ effect at the bottom of the screen where the light sensor is.

If you can put up with that small sliver of black, then the Q Founder is a great choice for those that don’t want to be wearing something obviously technological.

Our colleagues at PC advisor wrote a review, which you can find here.

 

Huawei Watch

  • RRP: £289

iOS: Yes
Android: Yes

The Huawei Watch was announced at Mobile World Congress 2015. It comes packing Android Wear, and thanks to the roll out of Android Wear for iOS it'll work with your iPhone too, although some features won't be available.

Similar to the Apple Watch, the Huawei Watch boasts a Sapphire Crystal display and stainless steel case making it look and feel like premium. Huawei decided to opt for the more traditional circular display for their watch – and while it looks beautiful, circular screens can throw up issues, especially with text cropping.

The Huawei Watch will track your steps, activities and your heart rate. It’s described on the Huawei website as an “intelligent data center,” giving you an insight into your health and enabling you to change the way you exercise.

Our colleagues at PC Advisor review it here

 

Pebble Time

  • RRP: £149.99, US$149

iOS: Yes
Android: Yes

There were three Pebble smartwatches in our rundown, but Pebble has recently been acquired by Fitbit and has ceased operation. You can still buy most of Pebble's watches but they won't be supported and will not get any further updates.

However, they'll still alert you to notifications and provide fitness data, and they offer great battery life too. If you're still considering a Pebble, we'd suggest opting for the Pebble Time as it's the cheapest available right now.

Our colleagues at PC Advisor reviewed it here.

 

Garmin Vivoactive HR

  • RRP: £239.99, US$249.99

iOS: Yes
Android: Yes

The Garmin Vivoactive HR is a GPS-enabled smartwatch aimed at fitness enthusiasts.

It has a squared design, and is available in black with two strap size options. It doesn't run Android Wear, but rather Garmin's own software that allows it to work with both Android or iOS devices.

It's waterproof up to 50m so ideal for swimmers, and also takes advantage of Garmin's map database to provide really helpful information for golfers, including the distance to the hole and what the par is for that particular hole. 

It is very reasonably priced for a watch with built-in GPS and a heart rate monitor too.

Our colleagues at PC Advisor review it Garmin Vivoactive HR review.

 

Motorola Moto 360 2

  • RRP: From £229

iOS: Yes
Android: Yes 

An update on the original Moto 360 but marketed with the same name, the second generation of this smartwatch is a real treat. Motorola offers an online bespoke service where you can build your watch with the materials that you prefer, which is cool. 

It’s available in three sizes – two mens in 42mm and 46mm case, and a womens size in a 42mm case but thinner strap than the mens version. Be sure to check which version you’re purchasing if you go for it.

There’s no GPS, so this isn’t a watch for avid fitness enthusiasts, but it runs the latest Android Wear and is one of the best looking smartwatches available. One small niggle is that there’s a black section right at the bottom of the watchface where the screen stops, to allow for a light sensor. As has been proven by other circular designs, this annoyance isn’t necessary, and stands out when you set a white watchface.

Our colleagues at PC Advisor review it here

 

Sony SmartWatch 3

  • RRP: £189

iOS: No
Android: Yes

Now available for under £100 in some places, the Smartwatch 3 is excellent value considering it comes with built in GPS, meaning it’ll record your run or walk without you needing to take your phone along.

It’s the first Sony watch to use Android Wear, and has a plain but attractive design. You can remove the main unit from the strap to switch between designs, and you can connect via micro USB to charge it. There’s no heart rate monitor and at times the screen can be hard to see from certain angles, but it syncs well over Bluetooth with Apple and Android phones.

You can also store music directly onto the 4GB of on-board memory and pair it with a pair of Bluetooth headphones for songs on the go.

Our colleagues at PC Advisor review it here

 

Withings Steel HR

  • RRP: £179.99, US$179.95

iOS: Yes
Android: Yes

If you're not fussed about a full-on touchscreen smartwatch, the Withings Steel HR is stylish, well-made and offers excellent battery life.

It has a heart rate monitor too, and there's a small display that'll show you some basic smart features.

 

Misfit Phase

  • RRP: £165, US$175
  • Buy from Misfit

iOS: Yes
Android: Yes

Like the Withings Steel HR, the Misfit Phase is not quite a full smartwatch in that it doesn't have a digital watch face or touchscreen. Instead, it connects to your phone via Bluetooth to track your activity and deliver notification alerts directly to your wrist.

It's a good-looking watch and we love the Misfit app, too.

Read a full review of the Misfit Phase over at PC Advisor.

 

Conclusion

The list of alternatives does go on, but this is the best of the best currently. You could also check the run down of the best 20 smartwatches by our colleagues at PC Advisor. 

You might also prefer a Bluetooth-connected activity tracker, if you’re not after a full-blown smartwatch, in which case you should check out the best fitness bands that work with Apple’s Health app.  

There’s competition from watches and trackers from every direction, but Apple is managing to stay afloat with what is still the first generation of the Watch. Keep an eye out – a new one might be just around the corner.

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