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The Apple Watch has become an impressive smart watch and fitness tracker, but it has one significant drawback: You need to have an iPhone to use it. If you have an Android phone, or want to set it up using an iPad, you’re out of luck.
Luckily, the Apple Watch has begun to receive some steep competition from well-established companies like Samsung and Fitbit. All of these Apple Watch alternatives will work whether you have an iPhone or Android phone, and share many of the same features, like receiving notifications from your phone, tracking your health, and, critically, showing you the time.
If you’ve been eyeing the Apple Watch, but don’t want to feel tied down to one smartphone platform, you’ll find what you’re looking for below.
What Are The Best Apple Watch Alternatives?
There are many factors to consider when choosing the right Apple Watch alternative for you; below are the most important ones, which we considered while we were researching this list.
Compatibility: As we mentioned earlier, the smart watches we’re recommending work with both iPhone and Android devices, so you can switch back and forth without having to replace it.
Smart Features: All of these watches are smart, but their features vary pretty widely. Some have access to full app stores, support wireless payments, and integrate with smart assistants. All of our smart watch recommendations can display your notifications, so you don’t have to look at your phone’s screen each time you hear it buzz.
Health Features: Modern smartwatches have sensors that allow them to pull double duty as fitness trackers. These features range from basic (counting calories) to very advanced (tracking your sleep, heart rate, and blood oxygen level). None of these devices are designed to detect or prevent chronic health conditions, but they may give you the information you need to seek help if it’s necessary.
Battery Life: Nobody wants another gadget they have to charge, so we made sure our picks are designed to last at least two days, if not more.
1. BEST OVERALL: Fitbit Versa 2
The Versa 2 is Fitbit’s current-generation smart watch, and it carries over all of the health-focused features from the company’s fitness bands.
It can track your steps, distance, calories burned, floors climbed, heart rate, and sleep. The Versa 2 is sophisticated enough to measure your heart rate and track your movement to give you a “sleep” score based on how much light, deep, and REM sleep you got that night. If you have trouble getting up in the morning, you can ask the Versa 2 to measure your sleep cycles, and wake you up at the best possible time. All of this health data gets synced to the Fitbit app on your phone (iOS or Android), where you can view it to see trends over time.
These health features are solid, but they’re paired with an equally impressive set of smart ones. The Versa 2 has Amazon’s Alexa built into it, which allows you to ask the smart assistant about current events, get quick answers to questions like “will it rain today,” and control compatible smart-home accessories. You can even use it to send messages in certain applications.
The Versa 2 can receive all of the notifications from apps on your phone, like texts, calls, news alerts, and social media updates. You can quickly glance down at its always-on display to see if they’re worth dealing with or not. If you set your credit or debit card up to work with Fitbit Pay, the company’s contact-less payment system, you can pay for items with the watch. Fitbit says the Versa 2 can get up to six days of use per charge, but that figure will vary based on which features you use.
The Fitbit Versa 2 is a well-rounded smartwatch that matches the Apple Watch nearly feature for feature.
2. ENTRY LEVEL: Amazfit Bip S
If you’re looking for a great entry point into the smart watch world, consider the Amazfit Bip S.
It can track basic health data, like your heart beat, how many steps you’ve taken, and your activity throughout the day. The watch has 10 different fitness settings, so you can select the exercise you’re about to do to get a more accurate assessment of how many calories you’ve burned. All of this data can be viewed on Amazfit’s phone app (iOS and Android)
The Bip S can display your notifications on its always-on color display, but you won’t be able to respond to any of them. Amazfit says the Bip S can get up to 40 days of use per charge, which is great if you’re annoyed at the thought of having to plug another gadget each night.
If you don’t mind its limitations, the Amazfit Bip S is a great streamlined smart watch.
3. PREMIUM PICK: Samsung Galaxy Watch3
Samsung just released the Galaxy Watch3, and it surpasses the Apple Watch in a couple of key areas.
The watch’s “wellness” features track key metrics like steps, calories burned, heart rate, and sleep to give you a clearer picture of your health. The Watch3 can automatically detect when you’ve started doing common workouts like running, swimming, or bicycling to get an accurate calorie count. Like the Apple Watch, the Watch3 can track your movement to detect when you’ve tripped, and automatically send a notification to a specified contact (you need the internet for this to work).
The Watch3’s most advanced wellness feature is a sensor that can track how much oxygen is being carried in your blood. Samsung explicitly states the Watch3 is not intended to detect or prevent illnesses, but having this data on hand can be helpful if you go to the doctor. Despite tracking all of this information, Samsung says the Watch3 can get up to 56 hours of use per charge.
While its wellness features are great, the watch’s smart features are a mixed bag. The Watch3 can receive all of the notifications from your phone, allow you to take calls, and send messages using its built-in microphone. You can also write letters on the watch’s face to type out your messages. It works with Samsung Pay, the company’s contactless payment system, but not on iOS (this is a restriction on Apple’s side).
If you’re looking for a lux smart watch to pair with your Android phone, or want a high-end Apple Watch alternative for your iPhone, the Samsung Galaxy Watch3 is the right choice.