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.
If you're not sure you need a full smartwatch, be sure to check out our guide to the best fitness trackers that work with Apple Health instead.
Huawei Watch 2
Huawei's second-generation smartwatch has a strong focus on sport and fitness - though that's by no means all it offers. It features a built-in heart rate monitor, along with an accelerometer, three-axis gyroscope, barometer, compass and a capacitive sensor, and offers in-depth stat-tracking and workout advice.
In terms of the normal smart stuff, there's Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and optional 4G, and the Watch 2 comes loaded with Android Wear 2, a hugely improved version of the smartwatch OS, along with Google Assistant support.
Finally, it boasts a 1.2in circular AMOLED display with a 390 x 390 resolution, 4GB of storage for music and apps, and is IP68 dust and water resistant.
Find out more in our colleagues at Tech Advisor's review of the Huawei Watch 2.
Fossil Q Founder
- Buy from Fossil
Fossil is one of the few traditional watchmakers that is daring to get into the smartwatch market. The stainless steel bracelet design gives away 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, 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 Tech Advisor wrote a review, which you can find here.
Motorola Moto 360 Sport
The Motorola Moto 360 Sport is one of the best smartwatches for fitness. You get the some of the regular 360 style in a design which is practical for activities like running.
The GPS tracking is accurate but it's a shame the same can't be said of the heart rate monitor. A solid effort but hard-ore fitness fans might need something which is more in-depth.
One small niggle is that there’s a black section right at the bottom of the watch face 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 watch face.
Our colleagues at Tech Advisor review it here.
The Huawei Watch 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 Tech Advisor review it here
Samsung Gear S3 Frontier
- Buy from Samsung
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 with an iPhone.
The smartwatch has 4G LTE connectivity in some regions but sadly the UK version is Bluetooth-only. 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, the only drawback of which 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 Tech Advisor.
Withings Steel HR
- Buy from Withings
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.
Samsung Gear S2
This is an excellent smartwatch that we loved from day one thanks to its unique rotating bezel. You can use either 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 Tech Advisor.
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 Tech Advisor reviewed it here.
Garmin Vivoactive HR
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.
- Buy from Misfit
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.