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Though it initially seemed like a crazy idea — like something out of Star Trek or Inspector Gadget — the Apple Watch has really stuck around. Having gotten over my fears of everyone walking around like Buzz Lightyear reporting back to Star Command, I began to see some of the really awesome benefits of the smart watch and its potential for future technology. In my research, I noticed there were a lot of rival smart watch companies with features that seemed smarter than the Apple Watch that were not only sometimes better but cheaper than Apple’s $299 (38mm) and $349 (42mm) options. Here are some alternatives to the Apple Watch that give you the most for your money.
1. Fitbit Blaze
Right off the bat, the Fitbit Blaze smart watch is probably the best Apple Watch alternative on the market. Complete with all of the same features as the Apple Watch, the Fitbit Blaze also runs circles around Apple’s health and fitness program. Their PurePulse heart rate monitor runs continuously and includes activity summaries, suggested workout instructions, a sleep tracker, a better pedometer, and a long-lasting battery life. It also syncs up to your iPhone to receive call, text, and calendar notifications, though you can’t respond right from the watch like you can with Apple’s, or see email and social media notifications. The Fitbit Blaze also has limited GPS, so you can’t use any navigation features such as Apple Maps. Other than that, however, the Fitbit Blaze is an amazing Apple Watch rival for the fitness junkies, especially since it’s $100 cheaper.
2. LG Smartwatch Urbane
Coming in at a price slightly under the $299 (38mm) Apple Watch, the LG Watch Urbane has something appealing that most smart watches ignore: It actually looks like a watch. Unlike Apple’s huge square screen or Fitbit’s octagonal structure, the LG watch doesn’t feel like you’re wearing a bulky piece of tech on your wrist. With Google Maps navigation, the “Ok Google” response system, and call, text, and social media notifications, the LG Urbane looks like the perfect Android rival to the Apple Watch, especially since it’s also compatible with Apple iOS 8 or later. The smart watch’s main downfall is that other than a heart rate tracker, it truly lacks in fitness and workout functions. If you’re not into those capabilities, however, the LG Watch Urbane still has a lot to boast.
3. Huawei Smart Watch
Definitely the most stylish Smart Watch we’ve seen, the Huawei Watch has the most customization when it comes to wanting to add a little luxury to your smart watch design. Looking the “fanciest” out of any of the Android Wear models, the Huawei also comes with all of the standard notification features, Jawbone fitness connectivity (though I don’t know how many people work out with their luxury watches on), iOS iPhone compatibility, GPS navigation, a bright display, and an equal price tag to the Apple Watch. It doesn’t boast more than a day when it comes to battery life, but for someone who wants their smart watch to look just as good as its apps function, the Huawei Watch is a great equivalent and more affordable version of Android Wear’s Tag Heuer models. Similar to the LG Watch Urbane model, except with some fitness tech availability, the Huawei is also a great alternative to the Apple Watch.
4. Pebble Time
How much should a smart watch really cost? According to Pebble, it should be just under $100. One of the originators of the idea of a “smart watch,” Pebble became possibly the most successful and original Kickstarter campaigns, launching technology that Apple would later replicate and develop for their Apple Watch. With Pebble, they have a color e-paper screen instead of digital, making the GameBoy Color comparisons obvious upon viewing, but as long as its design isn’t one of your deal breakers, the Pebble Time covers pretty much everything else. Android and iPhone compatible, Pebble’s smart watch includes all of the call/text/email/calendar/social notifications, but lacks in the navigation and fitness departments. It includes Pebble apps for navigation and fitness, so it’s not as if it’s not capable, the UI just isn’t as easy to follow as it would be a on a larger digital display. The sleep tracker, however, very accurately monitors your sleep patterns and behavior, and it also boasts a five-day battery life, a quick re-charge time, and Pebble’s own built-in game, Pixel Miner. A friendly interface with side-facing buttons for people who might mess-up a swipe here and there, the Pebble Time seems like a great priced smart watch for people who really only need phone-free notifications and a couple other added features. Plus, you can get it now for a third of what the Apple Watch goes for.