Sick Of Apple? Check Out The Best Apple Watch Alternatives 2017
Apple burst onto the smartwatch scene in 2015 with the much acclaimed Apple Watch. By the end of the year, Apple Watch had scooped 63% of market share though this fell to 52.4% in 2016. With Apple Watch 2 expected toward the end of 2016, Apple’s foray into the smartwatch market has been a fair success. This is not to say that everyone is satisfied with the Apple Watch. If you feel that its style is not for you or its too pricey for what it offers, there are several great iOS-compatible alternatives available. Google’s decision to make Android Wear iOS compatible means even more options for Apple Watch replacements. So if you are looking for another brand name to adorn your wrist with, here are the best Apple Watch alternatives. They will not have the deep integration of an Apple Watch but they make up for it in style and unique features.
1. Moto 360 Second Generation
The Moto 360 2 is Motorola’s follow up to the much hyped Moto 360 launched in 2014. Seen as the poster boy for Android Wear, Moto 360 2 bring with it a wide variety of styles. Through Moto Maker, you can combine various colors and styles to create a unique wearable. This freedom of style is perhaps one of the best features of the Moto 360 second gen.
Like an increasing number of Smartwatches nowadays, the Moto 360 2 comes with a round display though users will be quick to point out that the flat tire design (the ambient light sensor at the bottom) mars the roundness of it.
As expected, it runs Android Wear and is fitted with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 processor. With Android Wear, it means that you can pair up your Moto 360 2 with an iPhone. For the moment however, and this applies to all Android Wear watches we will mention in this article, do not expect the best Android Wear-iOS integration. But with the release of Android Wear 2.0 expected this year, compatibility with the iPhone will get better.
The black strip at the bottom, which is actually the ambient light sensor, is one of the most annoying features though it has its benefits. Using the sensor, the watch is able to adjust brightness of the display depending on the surrounding light conditions. Other specs include 512MB of RAM, 4GB of internal memory, Wi=Fi compatibility and an optical heart rate sensor.
2. Fossil Q Founder
Fossil is a traditional luxury watchmaker that decided to step into the smartwatch market with the Fossil Q Founder. To be honest, they did not do a good job of it; the watch has too many limitations and imperfections. But it’s good for the looks, managing to look stylish for such a big watch.
The watch runs Android wear, meaning a fair level of integration with your iPhone. While it runs the latest version of Android Wear, it feels a bit slow and buggy. Certainly not the best Android Wear watch you can get.
The design is one of the best features of the Fossil Q Founder with a stylish round display and steel casing. But like the Moto 360 (and its second generation successor), the display is not perfectly round. A black strip representing an ambient light sensor mars the round display. With a diameter of 46mm the watch is really big; it will only appeal to you if you like big watches. It has a beautiful traditional crown on the side, which looks like it should spin but doesn’t; it is just a button.
Unlike the Qualcomm processor chips found in most Smartwatches, Q Founder is fitted with an Intel Atom Processor. It seems like the processor is not the best because the watch experiences noticeable lags. It comes with 4GB of internal memory for your apps and music, Wi-Fi capability for independent function and a gyroscope and accelerometer for activity tracking. Surprisingly, it does not include a heart rate sensor somewhere in its bulky shape.
If you feel that Apple Watch is not up to the mark when it comes to style, the Fossil Q Founder is one alternative to consider.
3. Huawei Watch
The Huawei Watch is a luxury timepiece for those who prefer a bit of style along with technology. It is perfectly round without an ambient light sensor to mar the design. The trade off is a lack of automatic brightness adjustment. It runs Android Wear, meaning integration with iOS. But Google still has a lot of work to do on Android Wear; it still feels a bit clunky and unintuitive.
Once you unbox it, the design is the first thing to catch your eye. It feels more like a piece of jewelry you wouldn’t mind walking around with. The stainless steel build further reinforces the “luxury” look and feel. It does not look or feel cheap. In a unique move among Smartwatches, the display is protected by Sapphire Crystal glass, which helps in preventing scuffs and scratches.
Once you power on the watch, the stunning display is even more impressive. The circular 1.4-inch AMOLED display is really amazing, performing better than most Smartwatches. In fact, it has one of the highest screen resolutions (286 pixels per inch) among Android Wear Smartwatches. A minor inconvenience is that you have to adjust the screen brightness yourself.
Other specs include a Snapdragon 400 processor (1.2GHz), 512MB of RAM, 4GB of internal memory for your apps and music, Wi-Fi capability, an IP67 water resistant rating and an optical heart rate sensor. It lacks GPS and round the clock heart rate monitoring, making it a no-no for people seeking a sport-oriented Apple Watch alternative.
4. Fitbit Blaze
Fitbit Blaze is one of the newest releases from Fitbit. Known traditionally for its fitness-oriented wearables, Blaze was Fitbit’s attempt at creating an all round smartwatch that can be worn at the gym, on the track or in the office. Traditional fitness tracking features were complemented with several smartwatch capabilities.
We wouldn’t give the Blaze points either for design or features. It comes with a dull grayscale style with none of the finesse of Apple Watch or luxury of Huawei. Even more annoying is the sharp-sided face, which resembles a STOP sign. The only reason you might consider Fitbit Blaze as an Apple Watch alternative is if you wanted a smartwatch with more sports and fitness tracking features.
Blaze comes with a heart rate monitor, access to FitStar workouts, Multi-sport tracking and SmartTrack to detect which activity you are engaged in. Unfortunately, it lacks GPS connectivity though it offers the option of connecting to your phone’s GPS. One of the biggest advantages of Fitbit Blaze is the price. It starts at $200 while the cheapest Apple Watch starts at $349. If you are looking for a low cost fitness tracking watch, the Fitbit Blaze is not too bad.
5. Tag Heuer Connected
If the Apple Watch is not luxurious (or pricey) enough for you, may we suggest the Tag Heuer Connected watch. It is the very epitome of luxury and its $1,500 price tag proves it. The watch is so finely designed that it does not look like a smartwatch at first glance. This makes it perfect for people who love the art and finesse of traditional mechanical timepieces but would love some technology along with them. The body itself is made from titanium, underscoring just how high-end this time piece is.
But for all that money and style, the watch offers virtually nothing different from other Android Wear watches. The functions and features are almost similar to other Smartwatches such as the Moto 360. It can connect to both Android and iPhone and is compatible with the thousands of apps available for Android Wear.
When you pay $1,500 for the Tag Heuer Connected watch, you are just paying for the high-end build and luxury style. If you are looking for an Apple Watch alternatives based on features and functionality, you are better of spending your money on a Huawei Watch or Moto 360. With the Tag Heuer Connected, you are essentially paying for a basic Android Wear Watch in a very expensive casing.
6. LG Watch Urbane
After two “not so great” tries with its first two Smartwatches, LG finally created something decent with the LG Watch Urbane. In its third attempt, LG manages to fit a posh look and great features in it Watch Urbane. The display is round like so many Smartwatches today but thankfully without that black strip at the bottom loved by Motorola. But the display is not as crisp as the one in Huawei Watch. To be fair, not many Smartwatches can best Huawei Smartwatch when it comes to clarity of display.
The design itself is a bit bulky, with lots of metal, so those with slim wrists should approach with caution. You can swap out the bands with others and choose from a variety of watch faces. Beyond the styling, the watch comes with a number of nice features. It can work with hands free gestures, has a battery-saving mode which shows you a partial display and comes with Wi-Fi support.
Generally, the LG Watch Urbane is not too shabby. It has 1GB of RAM (outpacing most Smartwatches) and 4GB of internal memory. You can store some music and a decent number of apps. It has a heart rate monitor but unfortunately, no GPS. Starting at around $200, it is one of the best alternatives to Apple Watch.
7. Pebble Time Steel
The Pebble time steel is the result of a well-funded Kickstarter campaign. It is an upgrade, though not a big one, to Pebble Time. One of the best features of this timepiece is the battery life. On a single charge, the watch can last 10 days. There aren’t many Smartwatches that can stay on for more than two days without requiring a recharge.
As the name suggests, the watch has an all-steel body with an Apple Watch-like rectangular display. While the design is not eye catching, it does not look too bad on your wrist. You can get the watch in black, silver or gold.
Another great feature is the water resistance. The Pebble Time Steel watch is waterproof up to a depth of 30 meters. This means it will withstand rain, your shower or a swim in the pool. But you need to swap out the leather band before you dunk it in water.
In a unique move, the watch has a non-touch screen. It relies on buttons on the sides to swipe through menus and confirm actions. This can feel a bit clunky and inconvenient especially when you are not used to it.
It comes with basic activity tracking features including monitoring steps and tracking sleep. Unfortunately, there is no heart rate monitor.
If you are going to buy the Pebble Time Steel watch over an Apple Watch let it be because you are seeking a simpler, cheaper and longer lasting (in terms of battery life) smartwatch.
8. Asus ZenWatch 2
Like Apple Watch, the Asus ZenWatch 2 puts style before function. The stainless steel body to a luxury-looking crown button on the side, this watch is perhaps the best alternative to Apple Watch when it comes to style.
Like so many Android Wear Smartwatches, it is powered by a Snapdragon 400 with 512MB in RAM and 4GB in internal storage. There is nothing surprising here since these specs are now standard in Smartwatches.
Starting at $149, pricing is a big appeal of the second generation ZenWatch. It comes in two size variations; 18mm aimed at women and 22mm designed for men. The company has opted out of several features to keep prices down. So no GPS and some sensors from the first ZenWatch have been axed.
Like all Android Wear watches, the Asus ZenWatch 2 can work with your iPhone but in a watered down experience, at least for now.
Best Apple Watch Alternatives
So there you have it; the many options available the Apple Watch just does not feel like your kind of thing. As you may have noticed, the best Apple Watch alternatives we have mentioned above do not really differ much in regards to features. So your choice of an Apple Watch alternative should mostly be based on design, style and extra features such as GPS.
Which is your top choice, whether mentioned above or not? Feel free to leave your comments below.