14 best smartwatches for iPhone and Apple Watch alternatives

Because the Apple Watch isn't right for everyone
14 Apple Watch alternatives for iOS
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If you're an iPhone owner and you're hunting for a smartwatch the Apple Watch is naturally the perfect choice – and it's now more affordable than ever.

But there are downsides other than price, and the single day battery life and square design are common reasons for iPhone users to look for an Apple Watch alternative.

There's a whole host of iPhone-compatible smartwatches on the market with features that Apple's devices have yet to include.

Read on for our guide to the best smartwatches for iPhone users – and find out our list of the best smartwatches 2020.

Black Friday discount top picks

Fitbit Charge 4
Fitbit Charge 4
$50 saving
£99.99
Amazfit Band 5
Amazfit Band 5
40% saving
£29.99
Garmin Vivoactive 4S
Garmin Vivoactive 4S
$101 discount
£259
Fitbit Versa 2
Fitbit Versa 2
28% off
£169

Apple Watch SE

Price when reviewed: £269 (40mm GPS)

Apple Watch SE

It's not the best Apple Watch, but it's probably the easiest to recommend, with all the core features for significantly less cash than the Series 6.

But don’t think of it as a cheap Apple Watch. It still costs £269.99 for the 40mm version, which makes it on the pricey side given the competition out there from Huawei and Amazfit.

But the Apple Watch SE only makes a few compromises over the Series 6. You don’t get an always-on display so you still have to tilt your wrist to see the time. And there's no ECG and SpO2 sensors, so it doesn't have those in-depth health monitoring features.

But you get the larger screen sizes over the boxy Series 3, plus GPS, sports and fitness tracking, swim-proof design, LTE options, Apple Pay… all the stuff that makes the Apple Watch our favorite smartwatch.

It also gets the always-on altimeter from the Series 6, all the new watchOS 7 features, and the S5 chip should mean plenty of software updates for years to come.

However, the single day battery life (we got up to around 36 hours) is the major downside compared to rivals.

If you’re not bothered about the high-end medical features, then the Apple Watch SE comes very highly recommended.

Read our full Apple Watch SE review.

Apple Watch Series 6

Price when reviewed: £379 (40mm GPS)

11 best smartwatches for iPhone users: Perfect Apple Watch alternatives

The Series 6 is absolutely the best Apple Watch, with the most features and high-end health tech, if things like ECG and blood oxygen monitoring are a big factor in your decision.

It debuts a SpO2 sensor for the first time on Apple Watch to keep an eye on blood oxygen saturation, and retains the ECG detecting Afib.

Away from advanced health features, the always-on display is a key reason to invest over the Apple Watch SE – as are the materials. The Series 6 is the only version to offer stainless steel, which is a cut above in terms of design (and price). And there are gold, blue and red case colors, in addition to the usual silver, rose gold and gray, if you're looking for something that stands out.

Elsewhere, it’s the same story and it’s a minor upgrade from the Series 5. There’s GPS, sports tracking, 5ATM water resistance and all the key Apple Watch features. There’s also an always-on altimeter for you climbers and hikers.

Sadly, it’s also the same Apple Watch battery life story.

Apple promises 18 hours, but we found around 36 hours. Of course that heavily depends on use. But using the Apple Watch for sleep tracking means you need to think about when to charge, and that’s now a problematic side to the Apple Watch.

Read our in-depth Apple Watch Series 6 review.


Apple Watch Series 3

Price when reviewed: £199.99 (38mm GPS)

Apple Watch Series 3

The Apple Watch Series 3 seemed great value at £199 compared to £379 for the Series 6.

But things have changed with the Apple Watch SE. Yes the Series 3 is £70 cheaper, but you're sacrificing the newer shape and you're buying a smartwatch running a significantly dated processor and platform. The Series 3 will soon be so under-powered it won't receive watchOS updates, so the money saved may not offer value down the line.

But we've seen deals as low as £169.99 for the Series 3 – and there's plenty to like if you are tempted.

The base price gets you the 38mm GPS model and there's a 42mm version too, sizes which have been changed for more usable 40mm and 44mm versions on the newer Watch SE and Series 6.

The Apple Watch Series 3 does run the latest watchOS 7 software, so you're essentially getting all the latest features, watch faces and apps.

However, features that rely on hardware such as ECG, always-on display or fall detection obviously aren't supported. You still get GPS for location tracking, 4G/LTE for cellular support, Apple Pay, swim tracking and heart rate monitoring.

Check out our full Apple Watch Series 3 review.

Best Apple Watch alternatives

Samsung Galaxy Watch 3

Price when reviewed: From £419 41mm | £449.99 45mm

Samsung Galaxy Watch 3

If you're looking for the purest Apple Watch alternative, the Samsung Galaxy Watch 3 is the device that comes closest.

It matches the Apple Watch Series 6 on price, and like Apple's smartwatch it comes in two sizes: 41mm and 45mm.

However, in terms of design they are nothing alike. The Galaxy Watch 3 has a round face with a design that apes classic, premium wrist watches.

It will be of serious interest to those put off by the Apple Watch's iconic yet divisive square design.

The 360x360 AMOLED screen is a highlight, as is the mechanical slick of the rotating bezel, which is used to physically control menus on screen, just as the Digital Crown does on the Apple Watch. Of course, you can still use touchscreen.

In other places the two are much more comparable. Samsung has added fall detection and ECG, plus blood pressure and SpO2 detection of blood oxygen levels.

However, there's no news when ECG or blood pressure monitoring will land outside of Korea. Anyone buying the Galaxy Watch 3 will have to accept there could be a wait to use these key features.

Read our full review of the Galaxy Watch 3.


Huawei Watch GT2e

Price when reviewed: £179

Huawei Watch GT2e

The Huawei Watch GT2e doesn’t offer that much over its predecessor the GT2, bar a visual redesign that’s a little more sporty.

But it makes a great Apple Watch alternative because of its 14-day battery life, which is the main gripe about the the market leader.

It boasts a rich 1.39-inch AMOLED display, and many people find round-faced smartwatches much more attractive on the wrist than square devices.

It doesn't scrimp on features either. Sports fans are especially looked after with a bunch of sport profiles including swimming (thanks to 5ATM water resistance), cycling and an excellent running experience. That's thanks to a ton of metrics and Firstbeat’s VO2 Max and recovery stats.

The only downside is that due to a lack of third-party plugs ins, you can’t boot data out to Strava, and there are no other apps to use.

Sleep tracking was also excellent, and while not quite as informative and deep as Fitbit, the data was in the same ball park.

If you’re in Europe the Huawei Watch GT2e is great value for money, but with the restrictions in the US, you’ll be made to pay through the nose, and the value just isn’t there.

Read our Huawei Watch GT2e review

Fitbit Versa 3

Price when reviewed: £199

11 best smartwatches for iPhone users: Perfect Apple Watch alternatives

The Versa 3 now plays second fiddle to the Fitbit Sense health watch, but it's still a very capable smartwatch and an equivalent to the Apple Watch SE.

You don't get the ECG and Afib, stress sensors or body temperature you'll find on the Fitbit Sense.

But the Versa 3 has GPS added for the accurate tracking of outdoor workouts. It also gets the excellent fast charging, which can add a day’s worth of battery life in just 10 minutes.

And battery life is one of the biggest success stories, with six days on offer, which is truly excellent.

Of course, a Fitbit smartwatch is always going to be a fitness tracking powerhouse.

That means top-notch sleep monitoring with a single sleep score, workout detection and heaps of sport profiles. That’s on top of the standard step, elevation and Active Zone Minutes.

And there’s still an SpO2 sensor on board that will keep tabs on blood oxygen as you sleep.

As a smartwatch it delivers notifications with aplomb, but you’re not getting the breadth of apps you’ll find on Apple Watch. And the general smartwatch experience is definitely inferior.

But there is Fitbit Pay and you can choose between Alexa and Google Assistant voice controls from the wrist. We didn’t find the experience that useful, but if you’re a regular with smart home control then it might appeal.

Check out our full Fitbit Versa 3 review.


Amazfit Bip S

Price when reviewed: £63.99

amazfit bip s

If you're looking for a cheaper Apple Watch alternative then things don't come much better value than the Amazfit Bip S.

The design and build is certainly not high grade with a basic transflective screen and plasticky body, but it doesn't scrimp on features.

It brings GPS, 5ATM water resistance with swim tracking and 10 sport profiles, as well as basic notifications, 24/7 heart rate and sleep data.

And the key thing is that the Bip S works well. It's an incredibly likeable smartwatch for the money and while you're not getting anywhere near the same insights or experience as Fitbit or Apple, there’s plenty of data to check on.

Step data stacks up in terms of accuracy and the only thing that suffers is heart rate tech, which faltered at moderate intensity.

However, sports and fitness tracking features in general do impress and the presence of GPS means it’s a decent performer when out for a run.

You'd be hard pressed to find a watch at this price than can offer what the Bip S does. It's not perfect, but it's a truly budget smartwatch we can recommend.

Read our full Amazfit Bip S review.

Amazfit GTS

Price when reviewed £110.99

Amazfit GTS

It’s an unashamed Apple Watch clone, but Amazfit has got so much right on the Amazfit GTS – and it's not just the $149 price tag that's worthy of attention.

There's an always-on display and you’re looking at around a week of battery life with all the advanced features turned on, which is certainly more than the Apple Watch's single-day offering.

The built-in GPS is accurate, as is the heart rate unless you’re doing HIIT. As a fitness tracker it truly excels, and the use of Mio’s PAI score really works. It’s a single number derived from all your weekly health and fitness activity – we have a lot of respect for that technology and are glad it’s seen the light of day here.

The sleep monitoring is also excellent, with accurate graphs, wakeups properly recorded, and a sleep score feature.

It's not much of a fashion statement. But from a usability perspective it comes recommended. Check out our full Amazfit GTS review.

Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2

Price when reviewed: £229

Galaxy Watch Active 2

The Samsung Galaxy Watch 3 may steal the limelight but the Galaxy Watch Active 2 is still a feature-rich smartwatch that offers plenty of decent fitness and wellness features at a good price.

The sporty, sleek wearable offers similar battery life to the Apple Watch, but makes up for it with all of what you'll need if you're looking to get properly active, as the name suggests. It's got GPS, swim tracking and a reliably good heart rate monitor.

It runs on Samsung's Tizen OS, with an expanding range of downloadable apps available, although admittedly nowhere near the amount you'll find on the Apple Watch.

You get Samsung Pay for contactless payments, and it does have Bixby, although Samsung's smart assistant is still a bit of a sorry sort – you're unlikely to use it much.

For the price, which is impressively low, you won't find many better smartwatches than the Galaxy Watch Active 2.


Garmin Vivoactive 4

Price when reviewed: £239.99

Garmin Vivoactive 4

The Vivoactive 4 is Garmin's sport focused smartwatch, designed to offer the benefits of notifications and smart features with a jack-of-all-trades sports tracking which supports up to 20 activities.

It rivals the Apple Watch with its laser focus on sports tracking, so includes running (indoor, outdoor, treadmill), cycling (indoor and outdoor), swimming (pool only), golf, strength, cardio, elliptical, indoor rowing, yoga and more. That enough for you? And, yes, you guessed it, 5ATM water resistance is on board.

You can track all that on an Apple Watch, but Garmin watches – and Garmin Connect – put much more focus on training. If you love to dig into workout data, this is a clear choice.

None are tracked with the insane level of detail used by the specialist Forerunner or Fenix devices, so you'll miss out on stuff like recovery, training load, training status, VO2 Max and the like. It's more of a jack-of-all-trades device, which makes it a great smartwatch.

Notification support is great, although you can't reply from the watch itself or take calls, like you can on the Apple Watch.

You will get decent fitness tracking, and sleep is aided by the pulse ox sensor that will deliver advanced sleep stages and information on your respiration as you sleep. Hardcore stuff.

And when you think that the Apple Watch Series 5 will only last a single day and won't get you through a marathon unless you turn off the heart rate monitor, the seven days battery life as a smartwatch and 13 hours of GPS on the Vivoactive 4 seem even more impressive.

Full test: Garmin Vivoactive 4 review

Skagen Falster 3

Price when reviewed: £279

Falster 3

The Falster 3 can't really compete technically with the Apple Watch on any level, but it's undeniably a great looking smartwatch. And if you care more about what your smartwatch looks like than the features, performance, apps or biometrics then this is a worthy Apple Watch alternative.

It runs on Fossil Group's Gen 5 platform, with Google's Wear OS in the background. That means it's powered by the latest Snapdragon Wear 3100 processor, has upgraded memory, water resistance and heart rate monitor. Battery life is still only 24 hours.

It's 42mm, so directly between the two Apple Watch sizes, and boasts a case with great looking (if fiddly) straps. The 1.3-inch AMOLED display is really punchy, with good colors for some well-designed Skagen watch faces.

The beauty of the Falster 3 is still its thinness, and at 11mm there are few devices that look and feel so sleek on the wrist.

Performance of the watch itself is great, although the accuracy of the heart rate sensor isn't anywhere near good enough when working out. However, the design and strap are hardly suited to sweaty workouts – so this is one for general day-to-day wear.

The only real bugbear here is Wear OS. The platform is stagnating, with poor health and wellness features in particular, and it's not an ecosystem we'd heartily recommend. But we love the Falster 3 design, so it gets the nod for those who care about style more than features.

Read our full Skagen Falster 3 review.

Garmin Venu

Price when reviewed: £299.99

Garmin Venu

With dedicated modes for running (indoor, outdoor, treadmill), cycling (indoor/outdoor), swimming (pool only thanks to 5ATM water resistance), golf, strength, cardio, elliptical, indoor rowing, yoga and more, the Garmin Venu is more than just a smartwatch.

The glossy 390 x 390, AMOLED touchscreen display rivals the Apple Watch, but under the hood it features Garmin's sports tracking tech – and is a great choice for serious runners.

Everything hooks into Garmin Connect, for everything from deep workout analysis to metrics like Stress Score and Body Battery. There's also a Pulse Ox sensor to add even more data.

You sacrifice some battery life for the AMOLED screen, but you should still get five days of wear as a smartwatch, with one or two short runs or workouts thrown in. GPS battery life is 8 hours – so significantly less than the Vivoactive – but this is no doubt the better looking watch.

Garmin Vivomove HR

Price when reviewed: £169

The 10 best smartwatches for iPhone users

Like the Steel HR below, the Vivomove HR is a sporty hybrid that packs in a lot of features. Garmin's hybrid is available in designs for men and women and is available in a bunch of new luxury looks too.

Its killer feature is the sleek and 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 and 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 Sport

Price when reviewed: £189.95

The 10 best smartwatches for iPhone users

Withings 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.