15 best smartwatches for iPhone and Apple Watch alternatives

Because the Apple Watch isn't right for everyone
15 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 the natural choice.

But there are downsides. The Apple Watch is more expensive than rivals – and the $199 Series 3 is now dated and hard to recommend.

Then there's the single day battery life, which is a big turn-off for lots of people.

Add to that reservations around the square design that many consider too techy, and there are plenty of reasons for iPhone users to look for an Apple Watch alternative.

We've tested them all so read on for our guide to the best smartwatches for iPhone users.

Apple Watch Series 7

Price when reviewed: From $399 (40mm GPS)

Apple Watch Series 7

The Apple Watch Series 7 is certainly interim update, with no headline new features or wellness sensors added from the Apple Watch Series 6.

But Apple has overhauled the screen tech and tweaked the design, which make a big difference to the feel and usability of the smartwatch.

The Series 7 grows to 41mm and 45mm sizes, to accommodate a display that's 20% larger than the Series 6, and 50% bigger than Series 3.

The screen appears to me almost edge-to-edge, with just 1.7mm of black around the edge. It's a big improvement, and an aesthetic upgrade over the Apple Watch SE.

The larger screen size means you get 50% more text on screen, making it easier and more pleasing to use and interact with. Apple has also boosted the size of buttons in watchOS, and there's a new selection of watch faces, too.

Sadly there’s no boost in battery life. It’s still single day, although Apple has improved fast charging on the Series 7. 45 minutes on charge gets you 85% battery, and 8 minutes will get you through a night’s sleep tracking.

And that's another improvement over the Series 6. It helps you get by without finding charging a pain point – although let's face it, single day battery life is pretty poor by the standard of rivals.

In short, we found living with the Series 7 better than the Series 6 – and it solved a few of our gripes. It's now, clearly, the easiest Apple Watch to recommend once again. But if the battery life or price are still stick in the throat, then read on for alternatives.

Apple Watch SE

Price when reviewed: $279 (40mm GPS)

Apple Watch SE

It's not the best Apple Watch, but it offers the core features for significantly less cash than the Series 7.

But don’t think of it as a cheap Apple Watch. It still costs $279.99 for the 40mm version, which makes it on the pricey side given the competition out there from Huawei and Amazfit.

But with the launch of the Series 7, the SE's inferiorities now mount up.

The Series 7's larger, brighter, edge-to-edge screen is much superior – and the design of the SE is a little more boxy.

You also don’t get the always-on display, so you still have to raise your wrist to see the time.

And there's no ECG and SpO2 sensors, so it doesn't have the in-depth health monitoring features.

But you get GPS, sports and fitness tracking, a swim-proof design, optional LTE versions and Apple Pay. So, all the stuff that makes the Apple Watch our favorite smartwatch is here on the SE.

It also gets the always-on altimeter from the Series 6, all the new watchOS 8 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 serious health features, then the Apple Watch SE comes very highly recommended.

Read our full Apple Watch SE 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 $399 for the Series 7.

But things have changed with the Apple Watch SE. Yes the Series 3 is $79 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 now may not be good 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 8 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.

With payments, Apple Music on the wrist and LTE support, it still out-strips many current devices despite starting to feel a little old compared to newer Apple Watch models.

Check out our full Apple Watch Series 3 review.

Best Apple Watch alternatives

Incoming: Amazfit GTR 3 Pro/GT 3 series

Amazfit GTR 3 Pro

The GTR Pro 3 was one of a trio of new smartwatches launched by Zepp Health under the Amazfit brand – joined by the GTS 3 and GTR 3.

The Amazfit GTR 3 Pro is the new addition to the range, and crams a 1.44-inch AMOLED, "Ultra HD" 480 x 480 display, into a 46mm case – which is certainly good enough to rival the Series 7.

The new generation BioTracker 3.0 is responsible for heart rate, blood oxygen, breathing rate and stress level detection.

There's also a blood pressure monitor which feels like quite big news, but it needs to be calibrated to a cuff.

And you can do a one-tap measure of key biometric data, which will record your heart rate, breathing rate and SpO2 in one scan.

And the Pro version adds a speaker, Wi-Fi, music storage and Bluetooth calls for the first time – and these features aren’t available on the GTR 3 or GTS 3.

15 best smartwatches for iPhone and Apple Watch alternatives

The GTS 3 Pro will cost $229 – a significant increase from Amazfit’s usual pricing., but undercuts the Apple Watch SE and Series 7 considerably. And the 12 day battery life also offers a huge reason to opt for it over the Apple Watch.

If you want to save some money, the GTS 3 features a 1.75-inch AMOLED display, with a 72% screen/case ratio and whopping 341ppi. It’s also the lightest at 24g.

The round-faced GTR 3 offers the same 450mAh battery as the Pro version, but can last 24 days between charges, according to Amazfit. It’s smaller at 1.39-inch, and has lower display-case ratio, so there's more bezel and a smaller display.

Look out for our full testing.

Garmin Venu 2

Price when reviewed: $399.99

Garmin Venu 2

The Venu 2 is Garmin's most smartwatch-like watch in its extensive collection of connected watches. The follow-up to the original Venu offers an improved screen, new workout modes and is giving you better battery life with always-on display mode in use compared to the Apple Watch.

You'll get a 416 x 416 resolution screen AMOLED screen on the 45mm version or a 360 x 360 resolution on on the smaller, 42mm Venu 2S. It's water resistant up to 50 metres making it safe for swimming and includes Garmin's latest generation Elevate heart rate sensor technology and can monitor blood oxygen levels all day and during sleep.

Unsurprisingly, there's sports aplenty including Garmin staples for running, cycling, golf and indoor workouts like rowing. There's also a new dedicated HIIT mode that covers dedicated modes for EMOM and AMRAP sessions. There's no ECG or temperature sensors here, but you do get health features like stress tracking and improve sleep monitoring.

As a smartwatch, you're getting notifications, a music player, Garmin Pay and access to Garmin's Connect IQ store, which does pale in comparison to Apple's App Store for big name apps.

Battery life on the Venu 2 can go as far as 10 days and multiple days when the always-on display mode is enabled. Garmin also includes a rapid charging feature to give you a day's play from a 20 minute charge.

It might not be as slick as an Apple Watch, but you get a good mix of sport and smartwatch features and battery life that surpasses Apple with the screen on 24/7 or not.

Read our full Garmin Venu 2 review.

Amazfit Bip U Pro

Price when reviewed: $69.99

Amazfit Bip U Pro

If you're looking for a cheaper option than the Apple Watch without compromising on features then the Bip U Pro is worth your attention.

It's the follow-up to the Amazfit Bip S and improves on its predecessor with more smarts and a robust list of fitness features too.

The square design made from plastic, but it does find room for a 1.43-inch HD color screen and makes room for an optical sensor that delivers heart rate and blood oxygen measurements.

There's built-in GPS like the Bip S and the 5ATM water resistance rating brings swim tracking support again too. Outdoor tracking was pretty solid for us, though supreme heart rate accuracy for exercise is something that is lacking. It's much better suited for continuously monitoring heart rate instead.

It largely keeps smartwatch features to the basics, but it does include Amazon Alexa that works when paired to your phone. It misses out on the offline voice assistant you will find on pricier Amazfit watches. What's here though does work well.

To top things off, you've got the promise of up to 9 days battery life, which you can get if you're not hammering out outdoor runs and ride everyday.

For the money, you'd be hard pressed to find a watch that delivers as much. You do make compromises but there's certainly more good than bad here.

Read our full Amazfit Bip U Pro review.

Amazfit GTS 2 Mini

Price when reviewed $99.99

Amazfit GTS 2 Mini

There are three different watches in the Amazfit GTS 2 range and while the GTS 2 mini is the cheapest of that 'fashion watch' range, we think it's the one that offers the best value for money.

It still offers that square look with watch crown-style button and houses an impressively bright 1.55-inch 354 x 306 AMOLED screen. It misses out on the more high grade materials of the pricier GTS 2 watches, but still a nice-looking smartwatch overall.

On the smartwatch front, you're getting basic notification support, music controls, a rich collection of watch faces and the new handy Pomodoro face to aid productivity.

When it's time to turn to fitness and sports tracking, there's plenty here with GPS, 70 sports modes, a heart rate monitor an 24/7 fitness tracking and sleep monitoring. Performance-wise, it's a really solid performer and it's a nice bonus that you can fire workout data to Strava as well.

You can expect a week's worth of battery life and while the other GTS 2 models offer more on paper, we'd say they all offer around the same with all features in use.

It's great value and crucially, holds up well for those smartwatch staples and as a workout companion too. If you want a bit more in the way of a nicer look and additional smartwatch features like a music player, Amazon Alexa and an offline voice assistant, you can spend more to pick up the Amazfit GTS 2. If you can live without those extras, you'll be well served here.

Check out our full Amazfit GTS 2 mini review.

Fitbit Sense

Price when reviewed $299.99

Fitbit Sense

A powerful health watch (but an average smartwatch), the Fitbit Sense is one of the only smartwatches that beats the Apple Watch Series 7 as a medical device.

It excels as a sleep tracker and heart rate monitor, and it boasts ECG for detection of Afib, SpO2 which is linked to sleep tracking for 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.

There are few devices that put you in control of this much data about your body, and it’s perhaps the perfect device for these pandemic times – but there are caveats.

The Fitbit Sense isn't an amazing smartwatch. Fitbit Pay support is patchy, while the watch face gallery is clunky and full of paid-for apps with a bizarre payment process.

But you do get around six days of battery life, and a seriously rapid fast charge. And Fitbit Pay is on board if your bank supports it.

If you're looking to get the maximum amount of health data from your smartwatch, the Fitbit Sense is a great choice.

Read our in-depth Fitbit Sense review.

Fitbit Versa 3

Price when reviewed: $229

Fitbit Versa 3

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 compared to the single day promised on all Apple Watch models.

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 and offer additional insights through Fitbit's Premium subscription service.

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.

Oppo Watch

Price when reviewed: $279 and currency usd="484" gbp="369"]

Oppo Watch

Oppo's first smartwatch runs on Wear OS, but the combination with its own ColorOS makes it an Apple Watch-look-alike worth considering. An Oppo Watch 2 does now exist though it's one that doesn't have a global release just yet. So we'll stick to recommending the original for now.

It comes in 41mm and 46mm sizes, with the larger offering a higher resolution display, fast charging support and LTE support.

Both versions feature aluminium cases with the larger model offering a nicer-looking dual curved display. Both screens are high quality even if you get more of a resolution bump on the 46mm version.

Wear OS runs the show so you get all the usual suspects here like Google Pay, notifications and native Google apps. But it's Oppo's software presence that elevates it with great activity tracking support and an improved app menu screen. It runs on Qualcomm's older Snapdragon 3100 processor, which might scupper its ability to be updated to Google's big new Wear OS 3 update, so that's something to strongly keep in mind here.

There's built-in GPS and support for swim tracking too, which on the whole is best suited for casual fitness folk.

Like the Apple Watch, it struggles on the battery front giving you a day, even when using the LTE connectivity.

If you prefer a square smartwatch with a bigger display and there's elements of Wear OS you do like, then this is one to consider. As we said though, be mindful that it may possibly not get that exciting new Wear upgrade.

Read our Oppo Watch 41mm review and Oppo Watch 46mm LTE review.

Huawei Watch 3

Price when reviewed: $432

14 best smartwatches for iPhone and Apple Watch alternatives

The Huawei Watch 3 is a smartwatch with a price range that puts it up there with Apple's top end Watch but does still contain a lot of the software features included on Huawei's more affordable Watch GT 2 series (more on that below).

The big deal here is that Huawei's new Harmony OS runs the software show instead of the Lite OS featured on the Watch GT 2 series. That brings an app store to the watch, Huawei's Celia voice assistant and the option of LTE for an untethered experience. There's music player features here too, though for iPhone users, that feature is off limits.

It goes big on sports tracking with GPS, a heart rate monitor with fatigue and training load insights for serious trainers. On the health front, there's temperature, stress and SpO2 tracking and 24/7 activity tracking is covered here too.

Battery life is anywhere from 2 and 4 days battery life with a ultra power mode that actually keeps a lot of features still in play and still gets you around 10-14 days depending on usage.

That's all wrapped up in high grade stainless steel with the option of leather and metal link bands. While Harmony OS still needs some work, what's there right now impresses and with Huawei's solid sports tracking skills on board, the Watch 3 is good-looking, solid performer to consider.

Read our full Huawei Watch 3 review.

Garmin Vivoactive 4

Price when reviewed: $269.99

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. That functionality is reserved for Android users only.

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.

Huawei Watch GT2e

Price when reviewed: $169

Huawei Watch GT2e

We spoke about the newer Huawei Watch 3 further up and while the Watch GT2e is older, it offers a lot of the same features for considerably less.

With its more sporty look, it makes a great Apple Watch alternative because of its 14-day battery life, which is the main gripe about Apple's smartwatch.

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 big downside was the lack of third-party support, but Huawei has decided to open things up to developers and there's already been one fitness-focused app that plays nice with it. Hopefully we see the likes of Strava and LifeSum jump onboard, but there's no guarantees.

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

And after some initial delays getting the GT2e to the US, it's now available through mainstream retailers for around $169.99 – and regularly on sale for even less.

If you want a more high grade look as well, you can look at the Huawei Watch GT 2 or the Huawei Watch GT 2 Pro instead.

Read our Huawei Watch GT2e review.

Skagen Falster 3

Price when reviewed: $299

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 an older Snapdragon Wear 3100 processor, but does have upgraded memory, water resistance and a heart rate monitor. Battery life is still only 24 hours.

It features a 42mm sized case, so directly between the two latest 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. Fossil Group who owns Skagen has already said current Wear OS watches won't receive the new Wear OS 3 update, so it's going to miss out on some big new software features.

If you can live without that future support and want a good-looking smartwatch, then that Skagen Falster 3 might do the job for you for now.

Read our full Skagen Falster 3 review.

Garmin Vivomove 3

Price when reviewed: $219.99

Garmin Vivomove 3

Like the Steel HR below, the Vivomove 3 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 Luxe and Style versions, which pushes the price up to $319.99

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 its an okay too, offering 5 days in watch mode where it had previously been weeks for earlier Vivomove models. Overall though, it's a pleasing watch to live with that offers a good halfway house between full smartwatch and something that feels like a nice sporty smartwatch.

Have a read of our full Garmin Vivomove 3 review.

Withings Steel HR Sport

Price when reviewed: $199.95

Withings Steel HR

The Withings 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 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 as well.

Check out our Withings Steel HR Sport review.