If you’re an iPhone owner and you want a new smartwatch, the Apple Watch Series 4 isn’t your only choice. Yes, it’s a fantastic wearable and our current smartwatch fave, but we know it’s not to everyone’s taste and is hardly the most affordable either.
Luckily, there’s a whole host of iPhone-compatible smartwatches on the market with features that Apple’s device has yet to include.
Today’s best smartwatch deals
Plus, of course, Wear OS is compatible with iOS and so are Samsung’s Galaxy and Gear smartwatches. So iPhone users have plenty of other options to choose from.
Read this: Best smartwatches for women to buySo, if you find the new Apple Watch a little too pricey or you just don’t like the look of it, we’ve rounded up a selection of the best Apple Watch alternatives to pick from, any of which will sync with your iPhone.
Before we get to that though, here’s a rundown of our current top picks…
Great Apple Watch alternativesThere’s a big emphasis on health and fitness with Samsung’s latest flagship smartwatch and it also happens to be a gorgeous piece of high-end tech, with a fantastic display, a superb bezel-control system and an ever-growing supply of great Tizen apps.
The Skagen Falster 2 is a Wear OS smartwatch that combines a slick design with must-have functionality, and is every bit as stylish as its predecessor. It also packs in some long-awaited tech upgrades to more than match its big rivals.
The Fitbit Versa proves that the activity tracking specialist knows how to make a great looking smartwatch – despite the eyesore that was the Ionic. As you’d expect, the fitness features are top-notch as well.
Read on for a much more in-depth guide to the best smartwatches for iOS users, if you don’t fancy an Apple Watch…
Fitbit VersaBuy Now: Amazon / fitbit.com | £199.99If Samsung or Wear OS don’t do it for you, there’s always Fitbit’s smartwatch to consider. And, if we’re honest, this is easily the watch that people mistake most often for the Apple Watch when we have it on our wrists.
Like the Watch Series 4, it’s all about fitness. So it’s got a waterproof design, along with swim tracking and an onboard heart rate monitor to measure workout intensity. What it doesn’t have, however, is built-in GPS – for that you’ll want to pay a bit more and get the Fitbit Ionic.
You can also expect the usual Fitbit fitness tracking features, including arguably the best sleep monitoring features of any wrist-worn wearable.
As far as core smartwatch features are concerned, it supports notifications for messages and from third-party apps (with replies available if you’re connected to an Android phone), and has an onboard music player with support for Deezer – and if you live in the US, Pandora, too (note that these can only be played offline). You can download apps from Fitbit’s growing app store, and there’s also contactless payment support via Fitbit Pay (another note: if you’re in the US, you’ll need to get the Special Edition to have Pay).
Unlike Apple’s smartwatch, it does work with Android, iOS and Windows smartphones and with up to five days’ battery life you won’t need to charge it every night. It’s a strong alternative, and one that’s going to improve as Fitbit builds on the strong array of sensors it’s loaded inside – with sleep apnea detection promised to be on the way.
Fitbit does also now have the Versa Lite Edition, which looks identical to the Versa, but is cheaper. You’ll have to live without features like built-in music player support and swim tracking though.
Read our Fitbit Versa review and Fitbit Versa Lite Edition review.
Samsung Galaxy Watch Buy Now: Amazon (42mm) Amazon (46mm)/samsung.com | From £268The Samsung Galaxy Watch is the successor to the Gear S3. And now it comes in both 42mm and 46mm models.
The swim-friendly smartwatch builds on the fitness and health features introduced on the S3 and the Sport, adding more workout modes, enhanced heart rate monitoring skills and better integrated sleep tracking.
Tizen OS 4.0 runs the show and in our opinion is a more well-rounded platform than Google’s Wear OS right now. Of course it’s still packing that great rotating bezel for navigating when you don’t want to get your fingers all over that super sharp touchscreen display.
The Watch will play nice with iPhones of course and whether you go for the 42mm or 46mm size, they’ll offer more battery life than Apple’s smartwatch.
If you’re after something smaller (and cheaper) with most of the same features, it’s well worth checking out the Galaxy Watch Active too. The 40mm watch offers less battery life, but does have GPS, swim tracking and all of the same fitness tracking features.
For a full verdict, take a read of our Samsung Galaxy Watch review.
Skagen Falster 2Buy Now: Amazon / skagen.com | From £230Skagen is arguably the best-looking smartwatch from the Fossil Group’s clan of Wear OS watches. It features a minimalist, classic look that will appeal to those who likes the Apple Watch’s more streamlined appearance.
It’s got a 40mm case and it’s kept things slim despite the addition of some big features. It also comes with 20mm interchangeable straps so you can swap in something more fancy for a night out and something more in tune for your workouts.
There’s built-in GPS, NFC for Google Pay contactless payments, a heart rate monitor and a waterproof design with the addition of swim tracking. It’s perhaps not best suited to working out with based on our accuracy testing. But if you care about general fitness tracking, it’s a decent fit.
Battery life is the Wear OS norm, so you can expect around a day with it and maybe a day and a half depending on how you’re using those more power-sapping features. If you want a good looking smartwatch with some nice extras, then this one fits the bill.
Check out our full Skagen Falster 2 review.
Garmin Vivoactive 3 MusicBuy Now: Amazon / garmin.com | £160The Apple Watch offers a solid sports tracking experience, but the Vivoactive 3 Music is particularly designed for those who dabble in a lot of sports. It’ll cover running, cycling, golf and more via Garmin’s Connect IQ store.
It will even cover gym workouts with the addition of rep counting. Garmin Pay has been added into the mix letting you make payments from the wrist, and improved notification support now lets you respond to your messages. It offers a built-in music player and the ability to download offline playlists from Spotify and Deezer too.
The battery life is top notch and the new circular design is a massive step up from its predecessor, the Vivoactive HR.
Get our definitive take with our Garmin Vivoactive 3 Music review.
Michael Kors Access RunwayBuy Now: Amazon / michaelkors.com | From £199If you want a great looking Wear OS smartwatch, the Fossil Group serves up some of the best options right now. The Michael Kors Access collection is one of its sub brands that stands out for the right reasons.
The Access Runway is aimed toward a fashion-loving female audience, but we won’t hesitate to also classify it as unisex for those who want a smaller smartwatch on their wrist.
It’s a little more subdued than previous Michael Kors smartwatches, but it also has an undeniable high-end look that works as a statement wearable. While previous Fossil smartwatches lacked high-end smart features in favour of style, that isn’t the case with the Access Runway.
NFC for Google Pay, GPS, a heart rate sensor and water resistance are all present, which means you can take your fitness more seriously with this stylish watch too.
Check out our full Michael Kors Access Runway review.
Ticwatch E2Buy Now: Amazon / mobvoi.com | £145.99With the demise of Pebble, Mobvoi and its Ticwatch range is now our plucky smartwatch startup of choice. And the Ticwatch E2 builds on the Ticwatch E most notably by adding a waterproof design.
It runs Wear OS, is packed with features including GPS and a heart rate monitor, and has now added swim monitoring to its sports tracking prowess. Crucially, it comes at the tantalising price of just £145.99, so it’s a more affordable Apple Watch alternative. It has a 1.4-inch OLED display with a solid 400 x 400 resolution, which matches up well to the Apple Watch’s screen.
The design is fun and quirky, and it’s a nice relief from the monotony of the same old brands – but with the certainty and stability of Wear OS under the hood.
Check out our review of the Ticwatch E2.
Garmin Vivomove HRBuy Now: Amazon / garmin.com | Starting at £149.99Like the Steel HR below, the Vivomove HR is a sporty hybrid that packs in a lot of features. Unlike the Vivomove, Garmin’s new hybrid is available in designs for men and women and is now available in a bunch of new luxury looks too.
Its killer feature is the sleek discreet display that appears on the watch face when you give it a tap. On that screen you can see a whole raft of information including fitness tracking data, resting heart rate, smartphone notifications and it will even let you check in on your stress levels.
If you care about battery life it’s a fine performer too, offering two weeks in watch mode and around five days when you’re tapping into all of those smartwatch features on a regular basis.
Have a read of ourfull Garmin Vivomove HR review.Withings Steel HR SportBuy Now: Amazon / withings.com | £174Withings is back, and its new Steel HR Sport gives the Apple Watch a run for its money in terms of wellness tech; a serious fitness tracker disguised as an analogue watch. The optical heart rate sensor is one of the best you can get on the wrist.
It offers a decent analysis of your daily heart rate and tracks resting heart rate over time – arguably doing better than the Apple Watch in this department. New for the Sport is VO2 Max, which will give you a look at how much oxygen you’re utilising during workouts.
While it’s an analogue watch, it’s not without a digital screen. There’s a small OLED panel that displays notifications and some relevant health stats. And while the older watch didn’t support GPS, the Sport does – though it’s the connected kind, which requires piggybacking off your phone’s GPS.
It offers automatic detection of exercise and will monitor your heart rate during a session and count that into your daily goal. It’s also an excellent sleep tracker, which fills a hole left wide open by the Apple Watch, and it offers 25 days of tracking on a single charge.
It’s a different proposition, but those mainly interested in the Apple Watch as a fitness tracker would do well to consider the Steel HR.
Check out our Withings Steel HR Sport review.
Tag Heuer Connected Modular 45Buy Now: tagheuerconnected.com | £1,400Yes, this is the most expensive Wear OS watch out there by some distance, but if you want a luxurious smartwatch around your wrist, it doesn’t get much better than this.Tag’s second Connected looks like a classic Tag for starters, with first-class build quality and a host of impressively detailed custom watch faces. Wear OS is there keeping things running, but it definitely takes more of a backseat than on Wear alternatives from LG, Motorola and company. With NFC and GPS onboard, you’re well looked after no matter what you need. Tag is definitely onto a winner here – check out our full Modular 45 review for more details. A bit too big? You can shave off 4mm with the Tag Heuer Connected Modular 41 instead. And if you’re into your golf, there’s now a Tag Heuer Connected 45 Golf Edition available too.
If you don’t like the look of Tag’s watches, but you do want something more lavish, we’d also recommend checking out the Montblanc Summit 2 and the Louis Vuitton Tambour Horizon 2019 edition.
Kate Spade New York Scallop 2Buy Now: Amazon / katespade.com | From £279The best sign yet that smartwatches for women are improving. We haven’t fully put the new Kate Spade New York Scallop 2 to the test, but as it’s essentially building on its predecessor with big new features, so we think it’s the model you should be going for.
The 42mm watch comes in a rose gold or a silver-and-gold case and is as gorgeous as it gets. You can expect a super sharp 1.19-inch AMOLED display, a design that’s now waterproof up to 30 metres and overall just much prettier than the Apple Watch.
With the second generation, you’re getting all the standard features Wear OS has to offer, which includes notifications, app support, accessing Google Assistant and music player features. You now also get built-in GPS for outdoor workout tracking, a heart rate monitor and Google Pay for contactless payments. There’s also an array of Kate Spade-designed watch faces to give your watch some added personality.
And for the price, the Scallop stays accessible to the everyday smartwatch user – it’s not confined to the luxury price bracket like the aforementioned Tag Heuer watches – and is competitive with the Apple Watch.
Check out our hands-on time with the Kate Spade Spade Scallop Smartwatch 2 and full review of the Kate Spade Scallop Smartwatch to find out what you should expect.