Skip to main content

The best Apple Watch alternatives

The Apple Watch is only a couple of weeks old, but there have already been a few reported issues with the device. Its health sensors struggle when users have dark tattoos, some have criticised its long load times and the launch period did not go entirely to plan, with consumers having to wait longer than expected to received their smartwatch.

Read more: The Apple Effect: Why the Apple Watch will be Successful

However, perhaps the biggest hurdle for some consumers is the price of the Apple Watch, which ranges from £299 to more than £13,000 in the UK. Of course, that hasn’t stopped the wearable gadget from racking up impressive pre-order figures, but if you are looking for an alternative wearable, we’ve listed the best below.

Jawbone UP3

Available for half the price of the Apple Watch at £149.99, the Jawbone UP3 may not be a smartwatch, but it does offer all the fitness tracking features a health-enthusiast could need. It boasts a heart rate monitor, skin temperature sensor and is capable of tracking multiple types of activity.

You can also use the Jawbone UP3 to set yourself health targets and there’s no need to constantly worry about where to find the next plug socket as the device is capable of running for seven days on a single charge. If you are mainly interested in wearables for their health and fitness benefits, then the Jawbone UP3 represents a cheaper, but no less effective option and is one of the few third-party devices to announce compatibility with Apple's Health app and HealthKit platform.

Moto 360


(opens in new tab)

If iOS isn’t your cup-of-tea, then you could do a lot worse than the Moto 360, powered by Android Wear. Available from around £150, the Moto 360 made waves when it was released last year as one of the first smartwatches to exhibit a traditional round watchface.

Once again there’s plenty of fitness options and checking your texts, phone calls and other notifications is straightforward.

Unfortunately, the battery life only just manages to make it through a whole day and Google’s Android Wear OS is still experiencing a few teething problems. However, with Google committed to the wearable space there’s sure to be plenty of updates and improvements on the way in the near future.

Pebble Steel

Pebble was one of the early players in the wearable space and that experience really shines through in its smartwatch offerings.

The Pebble Steel is now available for £129 and works with Android and iOS handsets, providing flexibility for consumers who don’t want to be nailed down to one operating system. It also boasts more than 6,000 compatible apps, 50 metre water resistivity and up to seven days of battery life. Some consumers may have to get use to the LED display, but if its features you’re after then the Pebble Steel has all you need including music control and fitness apps.

The Pebble Steel may have been out since last year, but it still offers a great alternative to Apple’s latest release. However, if you do need the latest gadget, the Pebble Time, which offers a colour e-ink display is due for release later this month.

Samsung Gear 2 Neo

Samsung has made a concerted effort to conquer the wearable market, even risking the wrath of long-time collaborator Google by dropping its Android Wear operating system.

Instead, the Gear 2 Neo runs Samsung’s own Tizen OS, which does limit the number of apps available and means it is only compatible with Samsung handsets. That being said, the device does come with some nifty features, including an infrared pointer that lets you change your TV channel, heart rate monitors and a 1.63-inch OLED screen.

Most importantly, Samsung has made a number of improvement over the Galaxy Gear 2, including moving the camera to allow consumers to change their watchstrap and improving the battery life.

Read more: Does Apple Watch live up to the hype?

If you're team Samsung, the Gear 2 Neo offers a reliable alternative to the Apple Watch that doesn’t break the bank.

Barclay has been writing about technology for a decade, starting out as a freelancer with IT Pro Portal covering everything from London’s start-up scene to comparisons of the best cloud storage services.  After that, he spent some time as the managing editor of an online outlet focusing on cloud computing, furthering his interest in virtualization, Big Data, and the Internet of Things.