Tech for your connected self

The 10 best smartwatches for iPhone users

Because the Apple Watch isn't right for everyone

If you're an iPhone owner and you want a new smartwatch, the new Apple Watch Series 4 isn't your only choice. Yes, it's a fantastic wearable and our current smartwatch fave, but it's not for everyone's taste and hardly the most wallet-friendly.

Luckily, there's a whole host of iOS-compatible smartwatches on the market with features that Cupertino's device has yet to include.

Hands on: Apple Watch Series 4 review

Plus, of course, Wear OS is compatible with iOS and so are Samsung's latest Gear smartwatches. So iPhone users have plenty of options to choose from.

So, if you find the new Apple Watch a little too pricey or just not to your taste, we've rounded up a selection of the best alternatives to pick from, any of which will sync with your iPhone.

Plus, we've outlined some incoming Apple Watch alternatives to look out for too.

Incoming...

The 10 best smartwatches for iPhone users

There are a BUNCH of new smartwatches launching imminently and before the end of the year. Most of those are running Google's Wear OS and most are launching courtesy of the Fossil Group.

We've got the Fossil Q Venture and Explorist HR, Michael Kors Access Runway the new DieselOn Full Guard 2.5, Emporio Armani Connected 2018 and the feature-packed Skagen Falster 2. The good news is that all of these watches feature a swimproof design, built-in GPS, heart rate monitoring and NFC for Google Pay. There's also a new watch incoming from Casio with the Casio Pro Trek WSD-F30 set to launch by the end of 2018.

So there's plenty to look forward to, and you can bet there'll be plenty more announcements before the end of the year.

Hot smartwatch deals

Apple Watch Series 1
Apple Watch Series 1
Amazon
$211
Samsung Gear S3 - save $30
Samsung Gear S3 - save $30
Amazon
$268.95
Fitbit Ionic - $50 off
Fitbit Ionic - $50 off
Amazon
$249.95
Michael Kors Access Sofie - save $155
Michael Kors Access Sofie - save $155
Amazon
$206.68

Wareable may get a commission


Samsung Galaxy Watch

The 10 best smartwatches for iPhone users

The Samsung Galaxy Watch is the successor to the Gear S3. And now it comes in both 42mm and 46mm models. you can consider it a replacement for the Gear Sport too.

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. It's still of course packing that great rotating bezel for navigating the OS 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 42mm or 46mm sizes, they'll offer more battery life than Apple's smartwatch.

For a full verdict, take a read of our Samsung Galaxy Watch review.

From $329.99, samsung.com | Amazon (42mm) Amazon (46mm)

Fitbit Versa

The 10 best smartwatches for iPhone users

If Samsung or Wear OS don't do it for you, then there's always Fitbit's latest smartwatch to consider. And, if we're honest, this is easily the watch that people mistake most for the Apple Watch when we have it on our wrists.

And 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 5 days battery life you don'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.

Read our Fitbit Versa review.

$199.95, fitbit.com | Amazon

Garmin Vivomove HR

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. Unlike the Vivomove, Garmin's new hybrid is available in designs for men and women and includes a sleek discreet display that appears on the watch face when you give it a tap.

On that display you can see a whole raft of information including fitness tracking data, resting heart rate, smartphone notifications and will even let you check in on your stress levels.

If you care about battery life, it's a fine performer offering two weeks in watch mode and around five days when you tapping into all of those smartwatch features on a regular basis.

Have a read of ourfull Garmin Vivomove HR review.

Starting at $199.99, garmin.com | Amazon

Nokia Steel HR

10 of the best Apple Watch alternatives for iPhone users

Offering the Apple Watch a run for its money in terms of wellness tech, the Nokia Steel HR is a serious fitness tracker disguised as a classic Swiss watch. The optical heart rate sensor offers decent analysis of your daily heart rate and tracks resting heart rate over time – arguably doing better than the Apple Watch in this department.

And despite being an analogue watch, it's not without a screen. A discreet OLED panel displays relevant health stats, and some notifications, so you won't miss a call.

Of course, without GPS the Steel HR is no watch for Apple's smartwatch for outdoor runs, cycling and workouts, but it does offer 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. Just be aware that Nokia has now sold its digital health arm back to Withings, so a rebrand is in the works.

Check out our Nokia Steel HR review.

$179.95, nokia.com | Amazon

Ticwatch E

10 of the best Apple Watch alternatives for iPhone users

With the demise of Pebble, the Ticwatch E is now our plucky smartwatch start-up of choice. We previously recommended the feature-packed Ticwatch 2 with its independent Ticwear OS, plus GPS, heart rate and more. That's still work a look for those seeking something leftfield, but we're now switching our official backing to the new Ticwatch E.

It runs Wear OS, and strips back features to a minimum, but at the tantalising price of $159.99, it's a solid Apple Watch alternative. It has a 1.4-inch OLED display with a solid 400 x 400 resolution, which matches up well it 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. If you don't mind waiting a few months, you can also explore the upcoming Ticwatch Pro, which debuts some fancy screen smarts.

Check out our review of the Ticwatch E.

$159, ticwear.com | Amazon

LG Watch Sport

10 of the best Apple Watch alternatives for iPhone users

The next stop on your tour of Apple Watch alternatives should be our recommended Wear OS all-rounder, the LG Watch Sport. It's the flagship device for the revamped Wear 2.0 with solid fitness chops and built-in GPS, a full and untethered experience away from your phone via LTE, not to mention NFC for payments. If you want a do-it-all smartwatch then you could do much worse than the good-looking and clever flagship LG smartwatch.

Read our full LG Watch Sport review.

$349, lg.com | Amazon

Garmin Vivoactive 3 Music

The 10 best smartwatches for iPhone users

The Apple Watch offers a solid sports tracking experience, but with the Vivoactive 3 Music, it's designed for those who dabble in a lot of sports. It'll cover running, cycling, golf and more via its 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 that now lets you respond to your messages. It now offers built-in music player and the ability to download offline playlists from 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.

$269.99, garmin.com | Amazon

Tag Heuer Connected Modular 45

10 of the best Apple Watch alternatives for iPhone users

Yes, 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 now shave off 4mm with the Tag Heuer Connected Modular 41 instead.

$1,650, tagheuerconnected.com

Michael Kors Access Sofie

The 10 best smartwatches for iPhone users

If you want a good looking Wear OS smartwatch, Fossil is currently serving up some of the best options right now. And its Michael Kors Access collection is definitely the models that stand out above the rest.

Available in versions for men (Grayson) and women (Sofie), both feature 1.39-inch, 454 x 454 pixel AMOLED touchscreen displays and run in the latest version of Google's smartwatch operating system. That means you'll be able to enjoy features like the ability to download apps, more customisable watch faces and accessing Google Assistant.

There's no sports tracking features and unfortunately NFC is lacking as well, which means you can't buy stuff with this smartwatch. But it gives you the basic Wear OS experience wrapped up in a design that you'd actually want around your wrist.

As we've already mentioned, the next gen Michael Kors Access Wear watches are on the way too and add in a bunch of big features. So it might be worth holding out for the new collection.

If Sofie is the one for you though, you can read our Michael Kors Access Sofie review to find out more about one of our Fossil faves.

From $350 michaelkors.com | Amazon

Kate Spade New York Scallop

The 10 best smartwatches for iPhone users

The best sign yet that smartwatches for women are getting better, the Kate Spade New York Scallop is as gorgeous as it gets. The 1.19-inch AMOLED display is contained in a 42mm case, making it the same size as the larger Apple Watch, but the Scallop has a much prettier design.

What you won't get is as many features - it's particularly lacking in the fitness department, if that's important to you - but what it does, it does well. You have Wear OS and all of its standard features and apps at your disposal, along with 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 - not confined to the luxury price bracket like the aforementioned Tag Heuer watches - and keeps it competitive to the Apple Watch.

Check out our full Kate Spade New York Scallop review.

From $300, katespade.com | Amazon


32 comments

  • REGNURS2 says:

    awesome! Never knew there were Apple watch alternatives 

  • nalimer says:

    I miss here Alcatel onetouch SM02. This smartwatch are in the middle between Pebble and fitness smart watch. You can masure your fitness activity and also you can see missed calls, calendar or social media activity. 

  • Janice1619 says:

    I love my apple watch it does everything I want it to do I'm looking forward to the new update :-)

    • Diabl0 says:

      stop showing off yo...who give a ??

      • Yoyo says:

        learn to speak yo

      • dfdfdf says:

        Yo?  Are you an idiot?

    • PJ_Bear says:

      I'd love one too..but it's too overpriced for what it does so I refuse to buy it. =/

      • Descyite says:

        I traded an iPad mini for one and the other for my wife I got for repairing a computer. There are so many apple watches on Craigslist. My buddy for his for an 80$ vape machine. Think outside the box!!

    • Drsarah says:

      I like my Apple Watch but honestly it is an expensive remote for my phone.  Between my fitbit and wireless headset I got the same basic functions and other more powerful ones for less cost. 

  • vchapan says:

    check out garmin vivosmart have had it for 2 months now and love it, best fitness/smart band in my opinion

    • gasg5000 says:

      Even with the Iphone 6s plus? i heard a lot of complain of it not being able to sync

    • cesarmcmillan says:

      Works great for about 6 weeks, then the display craps out.  Nearly 100% of them do this; check amazon reviews or similar.  Store replacement aside, they'll replace them if you are persistent, but it takes a little doing.  

    • Bleather says:

      Love my Vivosmart too, but am on my 2nd which is dying. The screen started fading around the edges on the first and was replaced under warranty. Although the replacement was brand new, they only warranty it for three months. I've had it six months and the screen is beginning to disappear around the edges. 

  • ja3857 says:

    how much are the watch

  • PJ_Bear says:

    I'm hoping a year from now someone will put one out that does everything the Apple watch does..but at a reasonable price. The Apple watch is way overpriced for what you get. 

  • nalbuquerque says:

    Legal conhecer as alternativas - uma tecnologia emergente, mas que logo logo nos pega pelo "indispensável" (na mídia é a tecnologia "wearable" - "vestível" numa tradução (muito) mais livre para esse tipo de coisa).

    -

    Good to see so many alternatives to the Apple Watch (nothing against it, by the way).

  • ddwindsurf says:

    One that has been missed off this lot is the Suunto Traverse - new to the market, but in terms of phone to watch notifications is brilliant. I have an Apple watch arriving this week so look forward to comparing the two of them.

  • Maggie26 says:

    Pebble should've made the cut here. Fantastic watch. Fraction of the cost. Long battery life.

  • MattFromPhilly says:

    Picked up a refurbished zenwatch (first version) on Amazon for $80 and I have been pretty happy with it. All I wanted was text/email notifications on my watch as well as the normal time and date you expect from a watch. This works well with the iPhone Android Wear app. Haven't had it lose the connection or anything. It doesn't do much more than notifications and show me a weather card each morning. I have not been able to get the voice search with "OK Google" to work yet. It shows an icon that it could not get to the internet. Maybe there is a setting somewhere I missed on the phone to allow the Android Wear app access or something. Just haven't spent time looking into it. So, if you are looking for an iPhone paired watch to do lots of stuff, you really need to just save up for an Apple Watch. Or maybe a Pebble - I haven't used one but they are supposed to have the best iOS integration outside of Apple's official watch. Anyway, for $80 this is a fun watch.

    • MattFromPhilly says:

      Update. My watch OS updated this morning (3.18.2016) and the issues with OK Google has been fixed. Voice command work just fine with my first gen. Zenwatch and my iPhone 6.

      • Camykatt says:

        I just purchased zenwatch 2 to pair with my iPhone 6s and the watch keeps disconnecting. I can't seem to reconnect without unpairing the 2 every time which is frustrating to say the least. Did you experience this at all?

  • RobertShowell says:

    I personally like the GT08 Smartwatch, even looks a lot like the apple watch

  • RobertShowell says:

    I personally like the GT08 Smartwatch, even looks a lot like the Apple Watch

  • Dreyeah says:

    I'm thinking of getting a smart watch but I am by no means tech savvy, I see a lot of different smart watches on eBay, and they say android iOS compatible, but that doesn't necessarily mean I can sync it to my iPhone 5s? Heeeeeelp please before I make a mistake haha. I'm a bit of a cheapie but I don't need real fancy, I just want the call/text and sleep/pedometer, wouldn't mind other features too though. (:

  • cm1973 says:

    We are a 3 Pebble family.  We participated in the original Kickstarter campaign and enjoyed the first Pebble UNTIL the trouble started.  It stopped holding a charge for very long, each update that it had made it more and more unreliable.  It now sits in a drawer.  As a graduation present, I received a Pebble Steel.  Loved it at first, but then, it stopped charging, it became unreliable, it now sits in a drawer.  At the same time I received my watch, my 15 year old son saved up enough money to buy a Pebble Time.  Within the first week, the crystal(plastic) cracked.  Then came the update issues, each update made it less and less reliable and it is only because he saved his money and is too stubborn that it is not in a drawer.  We contacted Pebble support and were given the run around at every turn.  "Not in warranty", "You never returned our messages", "We don't cover wear and tear", "All we can do is give you a discount on a new Pebble".  Needless to say, unless Pebble is willing to come up with a reasonable solution to our issues, we are DONE with Pebble.  In the first Kickstarter it was nice to feel part of something.  Helping this little company get off the ground.  After their abysmal failure with customer support and less than stellar products, I will continue to look for a reasonable alternative. 

  • Level9000 says:

    That Casio watch is NOT a good alternative for the iPhone. I bought it and almost none of the app worked with the iPhone so I returned it. What a piece of garbage. Plus it's huge and bulky. The only person who can wear it is a man who is 6 feet tall or more. 

    • KevinX3 says:

      Like 99% of the watches around, they are Android and you need the middleware app (Android Wear for Android watch OS and Gear S for Tizen (Samsung) watch OS). They will always be feature deficient using iOS. As for size, the rugged, bulky, feature full watch is what Casio is aiming at. They have also just released the next version the F20. 

      So from a nerdy, small, rectangular, iPhone purpose designed Apple watch, you somehow thing an Android watch built like the proverbial is an alternative?

      Look if you want the best watch experience using iOS get an Apple watch 2. I'm getting a Samsung Gear S3 Frontier. It may not have all the features on iOS, but it has the ones I want. And it doesn't look like a nerdy piece of crap (I said 'look' like). It looks like a man's watch, job done.

  • Savannahmooney says:

    less cheap than Apple iPhone 6.

  • KevinX3 says:

    You have the Misfit Vapor at the top of your list. It isn't released yet and there is no release date.

  • joboypmi says:

    Hi. I want to buy a smartwatch for my boyfriends birthday but it has to be waterproof not just resistant. It also needs to notify calls, text and whatsapp. The Apple one is too price and the vivo one gets bad reviews for the screen breaking.
    Any suggestions please,
    Thanks in advance

  • JasonW says:

    Hello,

    Anyone know how well or not the new Michael Kors Sofie watch works with iOS?

    I'm considering it as a b-day gift for my wife as I know she'll love how stylish it is, but since it's pricey I'd like to make sure it'll work with her iPhone well enough.

    Thanks!

  • SDCinVan says:

    Dear Wareable,

    Chances are that if you own an Apple phone, then Apple Health data is important. Therefore, many of these watches are not fully compatible with Apple. For instance, I just recently tested the Ticwatch and despite its beautiful looks, the health/fitness data that it records doesn't sync with the iPhone and currently there are no apps available to transfer data from the Ticwatch app to Apple Health. 

    So claiming iOS compatibility doesn't necessarily mean that it is truly compatible.  :(

What do you think?

Connect with Facebook, Twitter, or just enter your email to sign in and comment.