Best Apple Watch Alternatives: Top 5 Smartwatches Most Recommended By Techies

Apple Watches are all the rage, but there are many people who can’t pony up the money for them. It can frustrate consumers with how expensive they can be, but there are plenty of other smartwatches with similar functionality on the market. And these options can work just as well as the pricey Apple Watch. StudyFinds has delved deep into the best Apple Watch alternatives that will leave you just as satisfied with what’s on your wrist.

Not only can smartwatches track how healthy you are, they could soon detect COVID-19 and other ailments. A new wrist-worn device identifies patients at the highest risk of dying — through their sweat. It picks up signs of a potentially deadly over-reaction by the immune system. SWEATSENSER Dx was unveiled at a virtual meeting of the American Chemical Society and would alert doctors and patients to an impending attack. It opens the door to faster and more effective therapy.

Moove over humans — smartwatches just aren’t for people. A smartwatch for cows has been developed that could help future farmers better keep track of and care for their livestock. The bovine version of a Fitbit monitors the health of cattle, potentially lowering the use of drugs which could lead to antibiotic resistance. It could become commonplace in ranches of the future, boosting reproduction, food safety, and supply chain efficiency. Researchers in China say the smartwatch could also improve environmental conditions for cattle, capturing the kinetic energy created by even their smallest movements.

With the ever-growing landscape of advancements in smartwatch technology, we decided to take a look into which models perform just as well as Apple’s leading device. StudyFinds has cobbled together a list of the top five best Apple Watch alternatives that can save you a few extra bucks without compromising on quality. Did we miss your favorite? Let us know in the comments below!

Apple Watch: Smartwatch wearable technology measuring heart rhythm via ECG
Apple Watch (© CDPiC – stock.adobe.com)

The List: Best Apple Watch Alternatives, According to Experts

 

1. Samsung Galaxy Watch

The experts’ top pick is the Samsung Galaxy Watch, which there are many versions to choose from. Consumers not looking to track their fitness would be best to look at the Samsung Galaxy Watch 3. “If you’re not interested in fitness and just want a generic smartwatch, Samsung Galaxy Watches have a lot of appeal,” writes Creative Bloq. “However, the brand’s latest model, the Samsung Galaxy 4, is not compatible with iOS. So if you want one that will work with your iPhone, your best option will be the slightly older Samsung Galaxy Watch 3.”

Samsung Galaxy Watch 6
Samsung Galaxy Watch 6

If you’re looking for one of the more recent versions, the Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 could be the top one for you. “The Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 is the best Android smartwatch — thanks to its circular design, comfort and stylish fit; wide range of sensors, such as sleep tracking, heart rate monitoring, ECG (electrocardiogram), and more. It can be used for fitness, notifications, smartphone controls, and of course, keeping time with up to 50 hours of battery life per charge. That’s more than two days of use before you have to put it back on the charger,” notes IGN. “Unlike the Apple Watch, which needs to be paired with an Apple iPhone to function, the Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 is compatible with just about any Android smartphone via Bluetooth and the Samsung Galaxy Wearable app. It’s also highly customizable with various color options, 40mm and 44mm sizes, and swappable watch bands and watch faces.”

Wired says the Samsung Galaxy Watch 6 is the best smartwatch for Android owners. “The Galaxy Watch6 and Watch6 Classic (7/10, WIRED Recommends) don’t reinvent the wheel, but these round smartwatches are a great option for anyone with an Android smartphone (they don’t work with iPhones). Each model has two sizes you can choose from, with the option to spend more on an LTE version for constant connectivity even if your phone isn’t nearby. Some health functions, like the electrocardiogram and irregular heart rate alerts, only work when paired with Samsung phones.”

2. FitBit

FitBit has two favorite models techies like — the Versa 4 and the Sense 2. “A powerful health watch (but an average smartwatch), the Fitbit Sense 2 is one of the only devices that can match up with the Apple Watch Series 8 as a medical device,” writes Wareable. “It excels as a sleep tracker and heart rate monitor, and it boasts ECG for the detection of Afib, and SpO2, which is linked to sleep tracking for the detection of sleep disorders. Add in an electrodermal activity sensor (EDA) for stress detection, and even a temperature sensor to put you in tune with your body and health, and there’s a lot to like. And it’s no slouch when it comes to fitness either, with GPS and support for Strava.”

FitBit Versa 4
FitBit Versa 4

Popular Science calls the FitBit Sense 2 the best dedicated fitness tracker. “The Fitbit Sense 2 is the company’s best and brightest smartwatch. It packs plenty of sensors, including onboard GPS to track your runs and bike rides. It also features a skin temperature sensor and Fitbit’s cEDA (continuous ElectroDermal Activity) sensor to help track stress. And it promises a six-day battery life (depending on usage), which is very strong. At less than an ounce, this is one of the lightest smartwatches available, especially for one with such a robust set of sensors. It’s sleek and minimal, fitting nicely even on small wrists. And you can choose between three colorways. In addition, the Sense 2 gets an added physical button compared to the first version, making navigation easier.”

Not to be outdone, Creative Bloq says the FitBit Versa 4 is the top Apple Watch alternative overall. “Shocked by the price of an Apple Watch? The Fitbit Versa 4 is considerably cheaper and yet offers a quite similar experience. Yes, it’s mostly targeted at those with an active lifestyle, and doesn’t have quite as many high-tech features as the latest Apple Watches. That said, it comes pretty close in most areas. Like the Apple Watch, it offers an always-on display, Wi-Fi connectivity, built-in GPS and water resistance. There are lots of great health and fitness features, including swim tracking, sleep tracking, and 40 exercise modes. You can play, stream and store music, use Google Assistant and Alexa, and there’s a generous range of sensors, including an accelerometer, pulse oximeter, and thermometer.”

3. Garmin

Garmin’s Venu 2 Plus is recommended as the best Apple Watch Series 8 and Ultra alternative for iPhone users. “The Venu 2 Plus is a smartwatch better attuned to the health-conscious crowd. Buyers get the same features baked into the original Venu 2 but benefit from the Plus model’s new smartwatch additions,” writes Android Authority. “Overall, it features excellent GPS accuracy, more music storage for those who prefer offline listening, and excellent background health and sleep tracking. Garmin’s legacy features, like Body Battery, are also included. The Plus also gains voice assistant support, on-wrist calling smarts, quicker charging, and a newly-activated ECG feature to keep tabs on your heart’s health. It’s also much better at tracking swimming than the Apple Watch, while recovery features also make it a much better training watch.”

Garmin's Venu 2 Plus
Garmin’s Venu 2 Plus

“The Garmin Venu 2 is the best alternative to the Apple Watch, especially if you choose the version with the premium features,” says Productivity Spot. “Garmin’s always been a name in the fitness tracking game, but they’ve now also made a name in the smartwatch sector. This watch includes countless features, including a pulse ox sensor, stress tracking, hydration tracking, women’s health tracking, heart rate tracking, advanced sleep monitoring, and more.”

Another popular Garmin smartwatch version is the Forerunner 255. “Without a doubt, the Garmin Forerunner 255 is designed as a runner’s watch first, and a smartwatch second,” notes Android Central. “This is largely the case for many of the best Garmin smartwatches, but that doesn’t mean it’s not a a worthy alternative to the Apple Watch. In fact, an argument could be made that the Forerunner 255, or even the Forerunner 955, is the best Apple Watch alternative overall.”

4. Amazfit

Are you looking for the best bang for your buck? Look no further than the Amazfit and its GTS 4 model. “Amazfit is a well-established maker of budget smartwatches, and the GTS 4 is a great one. It provides an eight-day battery life (depending on usage), which is surprising for a watch of this price. That can even be extended to 16 days in battery saver mode. It also has lots of sensors to measure your heart rate, steps, blood oxygen levels, stress, sleep, location, and more,” writes Popular Science. “As a smartwatch, the GTS 4 pairs with your phone and delivers notifications right to your wrist. And it can sync with apps like Strava and Google Fit. It features a built-in mic and speaker, so you can receive and make calls from the watch if your phone is near. It has a strikingly Apple Watch-like design, which is sleek and minimal.”

Amazfit GTS 4 model
Amazfit GTS 4 model

“There’s no hiding the fact that the GTS4 takes, ahem inspiration, from the Apple Watch. Its rectangular body, rounded edges and circular right scroll wheel make this the closest competitor for design, but it really shines for its week-plus battery life,” notes Digital Spy. “Sure, its software and features aren’t on the same level as Apple, but this gives you all the basic wearable abilities you’ll need for daily use. You can track your sleep, heart rate, blood oxygen and step counts, plus you get built-in GPS. It’s not as powerful and the build quality feels more budget-conscious than the Apple Watch, but if you’re sick of having to charge your watch every night before bed, this is the model for you. Seriously, we power it up on a Sunday evening, and it lasts the full week of use before needing a top-up.”

Another popular Amazfit version that’s on the cheaper side is the Bip 3. “If cost is the reason preventing you from going for an Apple Watch, there are few better budget options than the Bip 3,” states Wareable. “Visually, it’s in a league below, thanks to a low-power, low-resolution LCD display that pales in comparison to any Apple Watch model. And again, there are no apps, contactless payments, or music playback features. But it covers the basics. Fitness tracking, sports modes, GPS, and it syncs with Strava. It’s an accomplished smartwatch, and plays nicely with iOS to deliver notifications, too.”

5. Google Pixel Watch

Rounding out the top five is the Google Pixel Watch, which comes across as the best casual Apple Watch Alternative, according to IGN. “The Google Pixel Watch is a sleek and sexy Android smartwatch. Its minimal look and polish makes it versatile for casual and formal use, alike, especially with its stainless steel finish and circular design. Since Google owns Fitbit, the Pixel Watch has fitness features ​​for top-of-the-line tracking of your heart rate, health, sleep, and workouts. Meanwhile, the Pixel Watch has access to all things Google, such as Google Maps, Google Wallet, YouTube Music, and more, while it also features crash detection, ECG, GPS, and other apps and sensors. It’s ideal for Google Pixel smartphone users with quick pairing and lost and found settings, but the smartwatch also works well with just about any other Android phone.”

Google Pixel Watch
Google Pixel Watch

“Google’s first smartwatch gets a lot of things right: performance is smooth, the screen is responsive and bright, and it’s comfortable to wear. Best of all, it’s gosh-darn pretty,” notes Wired. “Seriously, I think it’s the best-looking smartwatch right now. It has NFC for making contactless payments, a speaker to answer phone calls, and there’s electrocardiogram measurements plus sleep tracking if you need it. It initially lacked a slew of important features but they have since been added via over-the-air updates, including SpO2 tracking, alerts for high and low heart rate measurements, and auto-pause and resume for walking, running, and biking workouts. It’s now able to detect falls too.”

Digital Spy states that the Google Pixel Watch is the best Apple Watch alternative for design. “It’s minimalist and very easy to use, with access to lots of Google apps such as Maps, Wallet and YouTube Music. We love that it has detailed integration with Fitbit for tracking your health metrics, sleeping patterns and workouts. You get six months of the premium tier for free, but remember to look out for the email warning you that the service is coming to an end.”

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Note: This article was not paid for nor sponsored. StudyFinds is not connected to nor partnered with any of the brands mentioned and receives no compensation for its recommendations.

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About the Author

Matt Higgins

Matt Higgins worked in national and local news for 15 years. He started out as an overnight production assistant at Fox News Radio in 2007 and ended in 2021 as the Digital Managing Editor at CBS Philadelphia. Following his news career, he spent one year in the automotive industry as a Digital Platforms Content Specialist contractor with Subaru of America and is currently a freelance writer and editor for StudyFinds. Matt believes in facts, science and Philadelphia sports teams crushing his soul.

The contents of this website do not constitute advice and are provided for informational purposes only. See our full disclaimer

Comments

  1. 3 if these companies made watches before Apple, so how/why would you label them as “dupes”. Dupes are imitation of the original.

    Do better please

  2. First off, calling all smartwatches “knock offs” of Apple, is a misnomer. That’s like saying all cars are knock offs of a Ford. I’m not a fan of Apple products and the “gotta have it” mentality. That being said, I’m the proud owner of a Galaxy Smartwatch 5 Pro. It does everything that I need (especially having an ECG function) at a third of the cost. I realize this isn’t a poll, but the Samsung gets my vote.

  3. Having been an dual smart device family for years, with my wife being Apple and I Android, I switched to Apple phone, watch, and tablet two years ago. I also have experience with Garmin, having an integrated G-1000 system in my aircraft as well as many smaller Garmin devices.

    Setting aside the emotional commitments to one brand or another, it seems to me that the comparisons to Apple miss the mark. In this case, there was no detailed feature-by-feature comparison and more broadly, the comparisons miss a key difference between Apple and other brands. Apple focuses on three things. Tight and, if they can achieve it, seamless integration across products and product generations, and extreme depth in thoughtfulness about how things work for the end-user in mind. Yes, it can be annoying at times when you see that Apple has made a decision that you might have made differently. On the other hand, no person who has broad experience with these watch platforms would claim that any other brand is as tightly integrated as is Apple. You may prefer a specific feature of an Android platform but it will not be maintained as aggressively and with as much attention as will Apple’s. Last, there is no comparison in customer service between Apple and other brands. I have at least 10 year’s experience with the service of Apple (via my wife for eight of those years), Samsung, and Garmin. Samsung service is terrible. If you can speak to someone, they don’t know much and are there more to explain than help. Garmin is poor but better than Samsung in responsiveness but, again, they are more there to explain. Apple is in a different world. Appointments can be set up online and they will call you, usually in less than 30 seconds and the person you speak with is a great human being who really knows what he or she is doing (you picked your expert in setting up the call). The few times we have been on the phone with Apple Geniuses, the conversation naturally evolved into the news, where we live, etc. and sometimes a joke or two — real people. All of this coast money. This is what you pay for when you buy a very expensive Apple watch which does so much. The health App for example monitors a couple dozen important health metrics, provided alerts and trends, and much more.

    My bottom line is that these brands are targeting very different markets. Few people who own Apple will return to other brands but many people who own other brands may never migrate to Apple. I’m not sure I would have were it not for my wife’s experiences. Oh yes, if it matters to you, no brand has security comparable to Apple. Ask the US government about that.

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