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 Galaxy and 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.
There were a BUNCH of new smartwatches that have launched recently, but there are still some on the way before the end of the year. Most of those are running Google's Wear OS and most are launching courtesy of the Fossil Group.
Cons: Battery life not improved | Siri integration Feature check: GPS, swimming friendly, Apple Pay, 2 day battery, heart rate monitor. Cons: Lack of apps | Computer-only music transfer Feature check: Works with iOS and Android, GPS/GLONASS, heart rate monitor, dedicated sports modes including swimming, Garmin Pay, music storage, Deezer/iHeartRadio playlist syncing.
We've got the new DieselOn Full Guard 2.5, Emporio Armani Connected 2018, Misfit Vapor 2 and the feature-packed Skagen Falster 2 on the way. The good news is that all of these watches feature a swimproof design, built-in GPS, heart rate monitoring and NFC for Google Pay. Mobvoi is also on the attack with the stylish new TicWatch C2. 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.
Google Cardboard Was a Side Project. The Google Cardboard platform was developed by David Coz and Damien Henry. The two engineers developed the project as part of Google’s”innovation time off” program in which engineers are encouraged to spend 20 percent of their time working on projects that interest them. Thankfully, Google backed the project, and Google Cardboard is now one of the cornerstones of scalable virtual reality.
Samsung Galaxy Watch
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.
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.
Garmin Vivomove HR
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.
The VFX-1. We can’t do a list about the history of Virtual Reality and not include the VFX-1. Released in the middle of the 1990s, the VFX-1 system was one of the most capable virtual reality headsets released on the market at the time. With stereoscopic 3D, multi-axis head movement detection and rotation, and the ability to play games that were not truly supported by the system, the VFX-1 was the true Virtual Reality deal at the time. Furthermore, their price tag was relatively cheap compared to other products on the market, coming at a mere $600. However, the VFX-1 was too advanced of a technology and it didn’t really take off. Later on, the company Vuzix that made the glasses was bought by Forte Technologies, which released a more expensive VFX 3D version, but it also didn’t manage to achieve huge success.
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 our full Garmin Vivomove HR review.
Withings Steel HR Sport
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 a classic Swiss 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 - arguable 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 utilizing during workouts.
While it's an analogue watch, it's not without a screen. There's a small OLED panel that displays notifications and some relevant health stats. And while the older watch didn't sport GPS, the Sport does, matching up better with Apple Watch for outdoor runs, cycling and workouts.
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.
Check out our Withings Steel HR Sport review.
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 Royals Are Also Using It. You know that virtual reality is big when highly prominent people are also getting in on it. In March 2018, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle honored International Women's Day by encouraging young women to study science and technology. In the process, they attended a school and tested out a virtual reality set. The couple had a positive experience with virtual reality. They both appeared to enjoy learning about the technology and how the headset works.
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.
LG Watch Sport
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.
Garmin Vivoactive 3 Music
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.
Tag Heuer Connected Modular 45
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.
Apple Watch Series 4 review
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.
Michael Kors Access Runway
If you want a great looking Wear OS smartwatch, Fossil serves up some of the best options right now. The Michael Kors Access collection is one of sub brands that stand out above the rest.
The Access Runway is aimed toward a fashion-loving female audience, but we won't hesitate to also classify it as unisex for those who want a smaller smartwatch on their wrist.
The Biggest Concerns. Despite the positives, there are some concerns about virtual reality. For example, some critics point out health and safety issues. If the technology is not used properly, users might suffer from health issues like seizures and other major discomfort. Some people could also trip and fall. There are also major privacy concerns with virtual reality. Some people fear that the headsets could lead to government surveillance, although there is no proof of that as of yet.
It's a little more subdued than other Michael Kors smartwatches, but it also has an undeniable high-end look that works as a statement wearable. While previous Fossil smartwatches lacked high end smart features in favor of style, that isn't the case with the Access Runway.
NFC for Google Pay, GPS, a heart rate sensor and water resistance is all present, which means you can take your fitness more seriously here. You can even divorce yourself from your smartwatch for a bit, and there's even 4GB of storage for music should you want to.
Kate Spade New York Scallop
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.