10 best smartwatches for iPhone – and Apple Watch alternatives

Because the Apple Watch isn't right for everyone
Best 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 cheaper Series 3 is now dated and too hard to recommend – and it’s been dropped from this list of recommended devices.

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 is not watch-like enough, 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.

Our top smartwatch for iOS picks

Best smartwatch for iOS: Apple Watch Series 7 – (From $399/£379)

The undisputed champion for Apple Watch users, it offers the best experience, huge app collection, wrist-based payments and a killer screen. For iOS users, it’s an easy choice. But the single day battery life and cost will put off many.

Best Apple Watch alternative: Garmin Venu 2 – ($399/£349)

A fantastic option for iOS users, the Venu 2 brings Garmin’s prowess for fitness tracking, with GPS and tons of sports profiles. There’s a lot of detailed health tracking too, with a week of battery life, AMOLED display and Garmin Pay.

Apple Watch alternative for runners: Huawei Watch GT3 – (£209 - 42mm)

The Huawei Watch GT3 is a superb smartwatch, especially for runners – and at a great price too. However, the closed ecosystem and lack of apps is frustrating. Also note, there's no official US availability.

3 key considerations when buying a smartwatch for iPhone:

1. Battery life

The Apple Watch’s Achilles heel is battery life, and Apple only promises 18 hours between charges (although we usually get 36). But you might be surprised to know that it’s a relative outlier. Most smartwatches now offer a week or more away from the charger, which is a huge draw away from Apple's smartwatch.

2. Price

Discounting the elderly Series 3, the Apple Watch starts at $269/£279 for the SE and $399/£379 for the Series 7. Alternatives are available for less than $99/£99 albeit with serious sacrifices in terms of features and screen tech. However, quality options are available for under $200/£200, should you want to keep costs down.

3. Apps and iOS

The Apple Watch is one of the few smartwatches with a burgeoning App Store, and there’s not a single alternative that can rival this aspect. So by opting for an Apple Watch alternative you might miss out on your favorite 3rd party services, such as Spotify, Google Maps or your favorite workout tracking app. That also extends to features like Apple Pay or LTE, which Apple does better than its rivals.

Best smartwatches for iPhone users

Apple Watch Series 7

From $399/£379 (41mm GPS) | amazon, bestbuy, apple

Apple Watch Series 7

Key considerations:

  • 18 hours of battery life
  • Starts at $399/£379 for the 41mm and $429/£399 for 45mm
  • Full App Store, Apple Pay, offline syncing of Spotify/Apple Music

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

But Apple 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 be almost bezel-less, with just 1.7mm of black around the edges. 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.

A 45-minute charge gets you 85% battery, and 8 minutes will get you through a night’s sleep tracking or a run, which we found a game-changer in terms of keeping it on our wrists. 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 an issue, then read on for alternatives.

Read our full Apple Watch Series 7 review.

Pros:

  • Great design and screen
  • So many features – and loaded App Store

Cons:

  • Single day battery
  • Expensive

Apple Watch SE

From $279/£249 (40mm GPS) | Amazon, Best Buy, Apple

Apple Watch SE

Key considerations:

  • 18 hours of battery life
  • Starts at $279/£249 for the 40mm and $310/£299 for 44mm
  • Full App Store, Apple Pay, offline syncing of Spotify/Apple Music

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/£249 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 a few years yet.

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 of the Series 7, then the Apple Watch SE comes very highly recommended.

Read our full Apple Watch SE review.

Pros:

  • Best Apple Watch features for less
  • Great smartwatch

Cons:

  • No always on display
  • Still more expensive than rivals

Best Apple Watch alternatives

Garmin Venu 2

Price $399/£349 | Amazon, Garmin

Garmin Venu 2

Key considerations:

  • 10 days battery life
  • Starts at $399
  • Limited App Store on Connect IQ, Garmin Pay (check if your bank supports)

The Venu 2 is Garmin's most smartwatch-like device in its extensive collection of wearables. The follow-up to the original Venu offers an improved screen, new workout modes and better battery life 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 improved sleep monitoring.

As a smartwatch, it handles notifications with aplomb, there's a music player with Spotify compatibility, Garmin Pay and access to Garmin's Connect IQ store, although this pales in comparison to Apple's App Store for big name apps.

Battery life on the Venu 2 will go to 10 days with normal use (based on our testing) and you'll still get around 3-4 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.

If you want more in the way of smartwatch features, there is now the Garmin Venu 2 Plus, which adds in a speaker and microphone letting you access your phone's voice assistant and make calls via Bluetooth. It reduces the case down to 43mm and swaps a plastic back for metal – although we questioned the value of these additions for the extra cost.

The Venu 2 certainly isn't as slick as an Apple Watch to use, 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

Pros:

  • Great sports tracking
  • Plenty of health metrics

Cons

  • Expensive
  • No-where near as slick as Apple Watch

Fitbit Sense

Price when reviewed: $299/£279 | Amazon, Fitbit

Fitbit Sense

Key considerations

  • 6 days battery life
  • Now usually on sale at $199/£199
  • Extremely basic apps, Fitbit Pay (check if your bank supports)

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 options with a bizarre payment process. There's not that many on watch features, and there's apps to speak of – it's a very basic smartwatch to use outside of activity tracking features.

But you do get around six days of battery life, and a seriously rapid fast charge.

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.

Pros

  • A great health watch
  • Fitbit app is superb for fitness and wellness tracking
  • Week of battery life

Cons

  • Clunky and basic smartwatch to use

Fitbit Versa 3

Price when reviewed: $229/£199 | Amazon, Fitbit

Fitbit Versa 3

Key considerations:

  • 6 days battery life
  • Now usually found at $179/£149
  • Extremely basic apps, Fitbit Pay (check if your bank supports)

The Versa 3 now plays second fiddle to the Fitbit Sense health watch (above), but it's still a very capable smartwatch and an alternative 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.

Pros:

  • Good battery life
  • Fitbit app is superb for fitness and wellness tracking

Cons:

  • Clunky and basic smartwatch to use

Check out our full Fitbit Versa 3 review.

Huawei Watch GT 3

Price when reviewed: $288/£229 | Amazon, Huawei

Huawei Watch GT 3

Key considerations:

  • 10 days battery life
  • £229 (46mm) - no official US launch
  • No apps of note, no payment

The Huawei Watch GT3 sits around the price of the Apple Watch SE, and shares many of the features found on the more expensive Huawei Watch 3.

There's 46mm and 42mm round design options, with crisp AMOLED screens, always-on modes, and it inherits the crown dial from the Huawei Watch 3.

Features-wise, there's an improved heart rate monitor compared to the Huawei Watch 3, and it's grabbed the dual-band five-system GNSS technology from the Huawei Watch 3 Pro to improve outdoor tracking accuracy.

If GPS is your bag then the running-focused training and coaching modes are worth a look – and the 2 weeks of battery life is two fingers up to the Apple Watch.

It runs on Harmony OS and there is an app store, although there's slim pickings to download.

As a smartwatch, you can view notifications (but not respond to them), there's access to a healthy watch face library, and handle calls via Bluetooth. iOS users miss out on the ability to sync over music and download paid watch faces. So you're not getting the same smartwatch experience as you would with an Android phone.

Putting that aside, the GT 3 is an attractive smartwatch for the price, with solid sports tracking, good core smartwatch features and weeks as opposed to days of battery life.

If you can live without the apps and the music player, the Watch GT 3 is a solid option.

Read our full Huawei Watch GT3 review.

Pros:

  • 10 days real world battery life
  • Great running and fitness features

Cons:

  • Almost no access to third party platforms

Amazfit GTR 3 Pro

Price when reviewed: $229/£199 | Amazon, Best Buy

Amazfit GTR 3 Pro

Key considerations:

  • 24 days quoted battery life (10 days under testing)
  • $229/£199 is pricey for an Amazfit watch
  • No apps, some integrations including Apple Health/Strava, no payments

The GTR Pro 3 was one of a trio of new smartwatches launched in 2021 by Zepp Health under the Amazfit brand – joined by the GTS 3 and GTR 3.

It 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. You can also perform a one-tap measure of key biometric data, which will record your heart rate, breathing rate and SpO2 in one scan.

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. It also introduces an app store, though it's nowhere near the level of Apple's App Store and currently lacks big third party apps.

At $229/£199, it's an 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 (the square version) 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.

We found it a sleek smartwatch performer that's easy to use and comes feature packed. That far from brimming app store though along with some software bugginess and accuracy gripes on the tracking front are the key weaknesses here. It offers good value for money, and you'll find a better smartwatch elsewhere around this price, but there's still a fair amount to like here.

Read our full Amazfit GTR 3 Pro review.

Pros:

  • 10 days real world battery life

Cons:

  • Price has escalated - and that makes it harder to recommend

Amazfit GTS 2 Mini

Price when reviewed: $99/£79 | Amazon, Best Buy

Amazfit GTS 2 Mini

Key considerations:

  • 9 day battery life
  • Cheap price tag
  • No apps, no payments, integrations with Apple Health/Strava

While the Amazfit GTS 3 Pro (above) is now available, the newer range never expanded to include a Mini – our favorite member of the GTS 2 range thanks to its great value and feature set. And given the GTS 2 Mini is still widely available, it gets the mod here as a Apple Watch alternative.

For a sub $100/£100 smartwatch you get a bright 1.55-inch 354 x 306 AMOLED screen, although it misses out on the more high grade materials of the pricier GTS 2 watches.

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, the GTS 2 Mini still impresses. There's plenty here with GPS, 70 sports modes, a heart rate monitor an 24/7 fitness tracking and sleep monitoring. 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, so it beats the Apple Watch Series 7 and SE hands both on longevity and price – which should give smartwatch shoppers pause for thought.

Read our Amazfit GTS 2 Mini review.

Pros:

  • Good battery life
  • Lots of features including GPS

Cons:

  • Some winky sleep tracking
  • Cheap strap

Garmin Epix Gen 2 / Fenix 7

Price when reviewed: $999/£899 | Amazon | Garmin

Garmin Epix

Key considerations:

  • 9 day battery life
  • Cheap price tag
  • No apps, no payments, integrations with Apple Health/Strava

The Garmin Epix burst into the sports watch range in 2022 – as a Fenix 7 without compromises. The headline feature is that touchscreen 1.3-inch, 416 x 416 pixel resolution AMOLED display, offering the best of Garmin’s sports watch range, with a more pleasing, high end experience.

We’re also bigging up the Fenix 7 here too, although its transflective display pales (literally) in comparison to full AMOLED rivals such as the Apple Watch.

The 47mm case will be too big for some, and there’s no Epix S 42mm size yet – so it’s not really a unisex device. If you have thin wrists, it’s a bit of bulk to carry, with a 22mm strap and tipping the scales at 78g. It’s a totally different prospect to the Apple Watch.

But with that compromise comes serious pay-offs. There’s an insane array of sports tracking modes, top notch analytics, mapping on the wrist, Firstbeat VO2 Max and training insights, and the new Stamina tracking. However, in testing we found that improvements could be made to sleep tracking and the usefulness of elements such as stress tracking and Body Battery.

The Fenix has shunned an AMOLED display because of the impact on battery life – but the Epix still musters a surprisingly long period away from the charger. Especially compared to the Apple Watch. Garmin says you should get up to 16 days battery life in smartwatch mode with 6 days if you use the screen in always-on mode.

You get to 42 hours in GPS mode (30 hours in always-on mode) and 21 days in battery saver mode. So it’s in a different league compared to the Apple Watch,.

In short, the Garmin Epix is the closest we’ve seen to a no-compromise Garmin sports watch – but with a price tag that eclipses most rivals.

Check out our Garmin Epix Gen 2 review

Pros:

  • Huge battery life
  • Sports tracking powerhouse

Cons:

  • So expensive
  • Massive on the wrist

Withings ScanWatch

Price when reviewed: $329/£279 |Amazon, Best Buy

Withings ScanWatch

Key considerations:

  • 30 days battery life
  • $329/£279
  • No apps, no payments, ECG

If you’re looking for a true Apple Watch alternative, the ScanWatch ticks all the boxes.

You still get excellent fitness tracking, 24/7 heart rate, analysis of core heart and health metrics, 50m water resistance and even ECG – but within an analogue watch.

There’s a small OLED screen that will display metrics such as steps and heart rate, as well as ping for messages, notifications and alert you to calls – and you can set alarms and timers.

Obviously, the design means the ScanWatch can’t extend to things like rich apps, and there’s no wrist-based payments or GPS – although you can track runs with connected GPS. However, there’s zero feedback on the watch as you run, so you might as well just use a smartphone app.

But for those irked by the Apple Watch battery life, the ScanWatch offers 30 days of battery life with all the sensors and tracking turned on – making it an excellent alternative.

Read our full ScanWatch review.

Pros:

  • 30 days battery life
  • ECG
  • Sleek design

Cons:

  • Very few smart features