Smartwatch round-up: 13 Apple Watch rivals compared

We compare the Samsung Gear S2, Fossil Q Founder, Pebble Steel, Pebble Time, Pebble Time Steel, Huawei Watch, LG Watch Urbane, Alcatel OneTouch, Garmin Vivoactive, Microsoft Band 2, Asus ZenWatch 2, Motorola Moto 360 and Sony Smartwatch 3 to discover what the Apple Watch is up against.

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  • Apple Watch rivals
  • Samsung Gear S2
  • Fossil Q Founder
  • Pebble Steel
  • Pebble Time
  • Pebble Time Steel
  • Huawei Watch
  • LG Watch Urbane
  • Alcatel OneTouch
  • Garmin Vivoactive
  • Microsoft Band 2
  • Asus ZenWatch 2
  • Motorola Moto 360
  • Sony Smartwatch 3
  • Conclusion
  • More stories
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Alternatives to the Apple Watch

Now that it has been on the market for the best part of a year, the Apple Watch has a relatively strong foothold in the smartwatch market.

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.

Here we take a look at 13 of 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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Now that it has been on the market for the best part of a year, the Apple Watch has a relatively strong foothold in the smartwatch market.

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.

Here we take a look at 13 of the best alternatives to the Apple Watch – be sure to check the details to see what’s compatible with your smartphone.

 

Apple Watch alternatives: Samsung Gear S2

RRP £249.99
Get it from Currys

iOS: No
Android: Yes

If you’re here because you have an Android smartphone, then a top choice is the Samsung Gear S2. It’s not yet compatible with Apple’s iOS but rumour has it that it will be very soon.

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 heartrate 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.

 

Apple Watch alternatives: Fossil Q Founder

RRP £279
Get it from Fossil

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.

 

Apple Watch alternatives: Pebble Steel

RRP £119.99
Get it from Amazon

iOS: Yes
Android: Yes 

There’s three Pebble smartwatches in our rundown, and they are confusingly named, so be sure to read up on the differences. This, the Pebble Steel, is the most basic in terms of screen as it’s black and white. It comes packaged with both a leather and steel band, giving it a premium feel and it’s great to see two bands for the price.

It does everything you want a smartwatch to do, which is deliver all your notifications to your wrist. You can also control your music, and Pebble claims seven days battery life, which is much better than the Apple Watch, for example.

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

 

Apple Watch alternatives: Pebble Time

RRP £149.99
Get it from Amazon

iOS: Yes
Android: Yes

The Pebble Time is Pebble’s third smartwatch offering, following on from the success of the original Pebble that exceeded its Kickstarter target back in May 2012 and the Pebble Steel that was launched in February 2014.

It has a colour e-paper display, which is an update from the Pebble Steel but the same that can be found on the Pebble Time Steel. Confused? If the product has the word ‘Time’ in it, it’s colour. The Pebble Time has a silicone strap, but you can actually fit any 22mm watchstrap to it, which is great. It can now be picked up for under £100, which makes it even more attractive.

Our colleagues at PC Advisor reviewed it here.

 

Apple Watch alternatives: Pebble Time Steel

RRP £189.99
Get it from Amazon

iOS: Yes
Android: Yes

The Pebble Time Steel melds the design of the Steel with the screen of the Time, hence the name. It’s the most expensive Pebble Watch currently available, but with good reason as it’s the closest in look and feel to a premium product. 

Pebble claims it has upped the battery life for the Pebble Time Steel, clocking a whopping 10 days of battery life on a single charge. It’s available in three finishes; silver with a stone leather band, Gunmetal black with a black leather band or gold with a red leather band with the latter being suspiciously similar to the £13,500 Apple Watch Edition.

 

Apple Watch alternatives: Huawei Watch

RRP £289 (leather strap version)
Get it from Amazon

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

 

Apple Watch alternatives: LG Watch Urbane

RRP £299.99
Get it from Argos

iOS: Yes
Android: Yes

The LG Watch Urbane is an update of the G Watch R, but with newer casing and new features. It has a circular OLED display and is set in either polished gold or silver body. You can swap out the straps for any 22mm watchstraps, which is good to see, and it runs Android Wear.

Its relatively high price gets you a heat rate monitor, barometer and 4GB of on-board storage. It lacks GPS, so you’ll need your phone with you for tracking running distances.

It is compatible with iOS, but as with most Android Wear watches, they work best with Android smartphones.

Our colleagues at PC Advisor review it here

 

Apple Watch alternatives: Alcatel OneTouch

RRP £99.99
Get it from Amazon

iOS: Yes
Android: Yes

Introduced at CES 2015, the Alcatel OneTouch Watch attracted lots of attention thanks to its stylish design and good features in a package that comes with a small price tag.

The Alcatel OneTouch Watch looks a lot like the Motorola Moto 360, with a round screen that comes in different styles like the Apple Watch. It comes in chrome, steel or plastic and is available in a range of colours. 

Alcatel has gone for its own software rather than opting for Android Wear, which means the Alcatel OneTouch Watch works with iOS and Android smartphones via Bluetooth.

In addition to all of the normal sensors for counting steps etc, the OneTouch Watch also boasts an optical heart rate sensor, despite its small price tag, and it provides the usual notifications for messages, calls and social media applications.

Our colleagues at PC Advisor review it here.

 

Apple Watch alternatives: Garmin Vivoactive

RRP £199
Get it from Amazon

iOS: Yes
Android: Yes

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

It has a squared design like the Apple Watch, and is available in black or white with a range of swappable straps. Like the Alcatel OneTouch Watch, 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.

Our colleagues at PC Advisor review it here.

 

Apple Watch alternatives: Microsoft Band 2

RRP £199.99
Get it from Microsoft

iOS: Yes
Android: Yes
Windows: Yes!

The first Microsoft Band divided opinion – filled with cool sensors and uses but not the most attractive package. Band 2 goes some way to righting this wrong and is a sleeker product. It starts with the curved screen and gets better from there. 

It packs 11 sensors including GPS, UV monitor, heat rate monitor and barometer. It tracks a plethora of sporting activities; this is one for the fitness enthusiasts. Yet it also manages to do everything a smartwatch does for work too, with call alerts, calendar, email and message alerts alongside the fitness features.

Also, this is a Microsoft product, so probably the only time we can actually say that this works best on a Windows smartphone. It comes in 3 three sizes, be sure to check here which one is for you. 

Our colleagues at PC Advisor review it here

 

Apple Watch alternatives: Asus ZenWatch 2

RRP £149.99
Get it from Amazon 
Get it from PC World

iOS: Yes
Android: Yes 

This is a welcome update from the original ZenWatch, with a better design and updated features. It’s available in a range of colours and with different strap options.

An AMOLED display means the colours pop out, but when not in use the always-on grayscale screen displays the time, which is a nice touch. Fast charging means you can charge for about half an hour for a day’s use. It runs Android Wear, and is controlled via a smartphone on an Asus app, where you can even design your own watch faces.

Our colleagues at PC Advisor review it here.

 

Apple Watch alternatives: Motorola Moto 360 (2nd generation)

RRP £229
Get it from Amazon (Mens large)
Get it from Motorola

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

 

Apple Watch alternatives: Sony Smartwatch 3

RRP £189.99
Get it from Amazon

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

 

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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