- The Apple Watch is one of the more expensive smartwatches, but there are cheaper alternatives available.
- The best cheap Apple Watch alternative for iPhone users is the Apple Watch SE, which is more affordable and has improved performance.
- For Android users, the Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 is a great option with a full range of health-tracking sensors and a variety of styles and sizes.
- The Garmin Venu Sq is a budget-friendly fitness tracker with amazing battery life and preloaded routines for various activities.
- The Amazfit Bip 5 is a cheap alternative for consumers interested in an affordable new brand, with a large display and excellent battery life.
The Apple Watch is a fantastic device, but it’s also one of the more expensive smartwatches. If your budget is tight or you’ve never owned a smartwatch, there are better alternatives. That includes smartwatches that work with Android devices, fitness-based wearables, and a cheaper version of Apple’s flagship device. After reviewing the options, our top picks for the best cheap Apple Watch alternative are:
- Best Overall: Apple Watch SE 2nd Gen
- Best for Android: Samsung Galaxy Watch 4
- Best Fitness Tracker: Garmin Venu Sq
- Best Budget Pick: Amazefit Bip 5 Smart Watch
Best Overall: Apple Watch SE
- Retina display up to 1000 nits brightness
- Features enhanced workout metrics
- Crash detection, fall detection, and emergency SOS
- Heart rate monitor and sleep tracker
- Requires iPhone 8 or newer with the latest version of iOS
- Water-resistant up to 50 meters
If you own an iPhone, the best cheap Apple Watch alternative is the Apple Watch SE. The 2nd generation of this popular wearable is more nimble, and while the design hasn’t changed, it’s considerably cheaper than the Apple Watch Series 9.
The Apple Watch SE has a familiar design and a bright Retina display that keeps you in the loop while you’re on the go. This second-generation wearable has an optical heart-rate sensor and the company’s new altimeter. It can track your heart rate or tell if you’ve been in an accident with Crash and Fall detection.
Battery life on the Watch SE is fantastic, although it doesn’t have fast charging. Health and fitness tracking is also solid despite the lack of sensors. That’s due in part to the Workout app and Apple’s deep integration with the top fitness apps. While not as rugged as the Watch Ultra, you can swim in the SE as it’s waterproof to depths of 50 meters.
The latest version of the Watch SE is the perfect choice if you want to experience one of Apple’s wearables at a discount. It’s a minor upgrade over the previous model, but the new S8 SiP improves performance, and Bluetooth has also been upgraded. The Apple Watch SE is available in two sizes and several color combinations. Check out the Apple Watch SE on Amazon.
|It’s cheaper than any of the regular Apple Watches.
|It’s a minor upgrade over the original SE.
|The heart-rate sensor and Crash detection.
|It’s not an Android-friendly wearable.
|It has a vivid display that’s easy to read outdoors.
|You get cheap access to Apple’s ecosystem.
Best for Android: Samsung Galaxy Watch 4
- Get readings for BMR, body water, MBI, skeletal muscle and more
- Monitor your heat and oxygen levels at night
- Advanced workout tracking for six activities
- Better your run with coaching technology
- Call, text, and stream music from your wrist
The Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 is the best cheap Apple Watch alternative for Android owners who prefer a premium experience. This wearable is a few generations behind Sammy’s latest smartwatch but provides a lot of bang for the buck.
The Watch 4 is packed with tech, including a full array of health-tracking sensors. It has a SpO2 meter, heart rate monitor, ECG, and can even give you an idea of your body mass index. Samsung’s sensor array is impressive, and there are a slew of extra like VO2 max and advanced workout tracking.
While the Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 excels with fitness tracking, it’s also an amazing smartwatch. It’s powered by Wear OS, not Tizen, so there’s a better selection of apps across the board. Another thing we love about this smartwatch is its design. It’s available in four sizes, two styles, and a variety of finishes.
The Galaxy Watch 4 has been replaced by the Galaxy Watch6, but is half the price and just as capable today as it was in 2021. It won’t work with an iPhone, although it’s cheaper than the Apple Watch in every configuration, including LTE. Check out the Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 on Amazon.
|It has a full range of health-tracking sensors.
|The battery life could be better.
|The watch uses the Wear OS operating system.
|It doesn’t work with iPhones.
|There is a variety of styles and sizes.
|It’s MIL-STD-810G compliant.
Best Fitness Tracker: Garmin Venu Sq
- Battery life in GPS mode with music up to 6 hours
- Bright, color display with Always On mode
- Monitor energy levels, respiration, hydration, sleep, heart rate, and more
- 20 preloaded sports apps, including walking, running, cycling, and others
- Preloaded workouts include cardio, yoga, strength training and Pilates
When you like the fitness tracking capabilities of an Apple Watch but not the distractions, consider the Garmin Venu Sq. This affordable wearable has amazing battery life and comes with preloaded routines for various activities.
If you don’t want a smartwatch that keeps you tethered to a charger, you’ll love the Garmin Venu Sq. It can last up to six days per charge, although the number drops considerably with GPS and certain modes activated. It has a bright, vivid 1.3-inch color display and more sensors than most watches in this price range.
The Venu Sq can keep up with your heart rate and blood oxygen levels while sleeping or during a workout. The Body Battery feature is a nice touch, along with the preloaded sports apps for activities like swimming, yoga, and cycling. The watch can also keep you in the loop with notifications whether you prefer Android or iOS.
Garmin’s wearable doesn’t have the same sense of style as the Apple Watch, but it’s a fraction of the price and has better battery life. It’s a solid alternative for both smartphone operating systems and is available in three styles and more than a half-dozen color combinations. Check out the Garmin Venu Sq on Amazon.
|It has a battery that can last up to 6 days.
|There’s no altimeter.
|There are preloaded activities and sports.
|The UI isn’t the smoothest.
|The watch has heart rate and SpO2 sensors.
|It’s compatible with Android and iOS devices.
Best Budget Pick: Amazfit Bip 5
The best cheap alternative to the Apple Watch for consumers interested in an affordable new brand is the Amazfit Bip 5. The company has gained a lot of fans in a short amount of time, and the Bip 5 is the best option for under $100.
The Bip 5 has a massive 1.91-inch color touchscreen display. You can dive into data from the panel or use apps through their Home Connect app. The selection is limited, although the watch is compatible with several leading third-party apps. It also has built-in GPS to go along with heart rate and blood oxygen monitoring.
Like most wearables in this class, the Bip 5 can provide data on sleep or menstrual cycles. It can alert you of irregular heartbeats and has over 100 sports modes. You can make or take calls via Bluetooth thanks to a built-in speaker and mic or ask Alexa for directions. The battery life is excellent at up to 10 days, depending on your usage and settings.
It can be difficult to choose a device from an unknown brand compared to companies like Apple and Samsung – especially ones this cheap. The Amazfit Bip 5 is a rare device that’s been well-received by consumers and reviewers alike. It’s hard to argue with features for the price, although watch faces and apps are sparse due to the OS. Check out the Amazfit Bip 5 Smart Watch on Amazon.
|It has a budget-friendly price tag.
|There is a small selection of apps and watch faces.
|It offers health and fitness tracking features.
|Tracking isn’t as accurate as competing devices.
|The battery life is fantastic.
|There is a large 1.91-inch display.
How to Pick Cheap Apple Watch Alternatives: Step by Step
You know you will have to make some exceptions when shopping for a cheap Apple Watch alternative. How much depends on your budget and greatly impacts the types of features and specifications you can expect from these wearables.
Let’s look at each of these in more detail.
Are you purchasing an Apple Watch alternative for fitness or casual use? That’s a good starting point for determining what type of wearable is best suited for your needs. While most smartwatches have health monitoring features, accuracy can vary considerably if the watch isn’t designed for fitness.
If you plan to use the watch to track data during workouts, buy a device geared towards that. You’ll get better sensors than you’ll find on most hybrid wearables, the Apple Watch excluded. Style will probably be the biggest deciding factor for casual use, followed by features. The selection of cheap devices in this range is impressive, although the build quality can be lacking.
When something is “cheap,” you’re generally not getting top-tier components. One way to combat this is through older devices from well-known brands. An Apple Watch 6 or older Galaxy Watch will often outlast cheaper models in the same price range.
Smartwatches are smart, but most still need some assistance from a smartphone. Even LTE models still rely on these devices to a degree. What works with one platform may not work on another. The Android vs. iPhone debate has never been more important than when you’re looking for a smartwatch.
If you have an iPhone, you’ll want a smartwatch that’s compatible with Apple’s platform. The Apple Watch is an obvious choice, but Fitbits and other wearables also work with an iPhone. The selection of Android-based wearables is massive compared to Apple’s arsenal, but quality is hit or miss with smaller brands.
Watches from Samsung and Google also won’t work with an iPhone compared to wearables from a company like Garmin. Make sure the watch you have your eye on is compatible with your smartphone, or you’ll end up with an expensive paperweight.
One of the more exciting things to do with an Apple Watch is load it down with cool apps and watch faces. You can also do the same thing on the Pixel Watch and wearables from Samsung. Those companies all have established ecosystems, something that’s an issue with many cheap Apple Watch alternatives.
The selection of apps for the Apple Watch can be overwhelming, and the same goes for Wear OS, Android’s most popular operating system. Garmin has a solid selection of apps, but they pale in comparison to Apple and Google’s app stores. Amazfit’s app store is another example; it is very light with content.
Not being able to find a watch face you like isn’t the end of the world, but if you can’t use your favorite app, that’s a deal-breaker. If you’re interested in a certain watch app, check to see if it’s available for a watch beforehand.
What to Know Before Buying Cheap Apple Watch Alternatives
All smartwatches have a common set of features, but some extras could be hidden behind paywalls. This is particularly true with fitness-based wearables, which can lock specific content until you purchase a subscription.
It’s also important to keep usage in mind when considering battery life. Manufacturers love to toss around large numbers and tout devices that can do a week between charges. While that can be true, those numbers dip if you flip on GPS or start browsing social media.
Using Cheap Apple Watch Alternatives: What It’s Like
If you switch to an Android-based wearable or smartwatch outside Apple’s ecosystem, the experience may be a shock. Apple is known for its smooth UI and familiar icons. Smartwatches from established brands like Samsung and Garmin will provide the easiest transition for Apple users.
The biggest issue you’ll likely face is app selection and learning how to control a wearable with a completely new operating system. Some apps you may be familiar with may not be available outside of the App Store, so your overall experience will vary.
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