Five Cheaper Alternatives to Apple Watch Which Do The Same Things

Pebble Steel
Pebble Steel

The Apple Watch has hit headlines around the world - but it's by no means the first smartwatch.

It's also very, very expensive, at £300 for the cheapest Sport model, and going up rapidly if you add extras such as a metal bracelet.

Can you get the same for less? We've rounded up the best of the Watch's cheaper rivals.

Microsoft Band
£169

The Microsoft Band
The Microsoft Band



On the sliding scale between smartwatches and fitness trackers, Microsoft’s Band definitely clocks in at the ‘tracker’ end - but it offers a great range of features for health fiends.

The LCD display frankly looks pretty horrible, and its ‘smart’ functions are distinctly limited - it offers alerts for emails and texts - but with fitness, it shines.

For runners in particular, the Band offers sensors rivals can’t match - with an accelerometer, gyroscope and GPS for tracking runs, and others such as a UV sensor to warn when you have been too long in the sun.

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As if that wasn’t enough, a galvanic skin sensor tracks how much you are sweating (and, Microsoft claims, stress) plus a thermometer warns if you are oveerheating.

 

Pebble Steel
£180
Firebox.com

Pebble Steel is a Smarter Smartwatch
Pebble Steel is a Smarter Smartwatch



The Pebble Steel looks fairly like a normal, human watch - it’s even the right size - and offers battery life lasting up to a week.

Stripped-down, simple apps bring text notifications of emails and SMS to your wrist from your phone (either Android or iPhone), via Bluetooth

The screen isn’t a touchscreen - all controls are done via two buttons on the side.

The side buttons are a shade less elegant than Apple’s rotating crown, but they just work, in a solid dependable way. It feels like a digital watch with extras, not a computer teetering on your wrist.

 

Moto 360
£200

Moto 360
Moto 360



Google recently slashed the price of this smartwatch in the U.S.  - so further cuts could be incoming in the UK.

Motorola’s Android Wear watch is among the most glamorous of Apple Watch’s rivals, with a time display that remains on even in power-saving mode.

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It offers a pedometer and heart-rate monitor similar to Apple Watch, and some genuinely gorgeous circular watch faces.

It’s let down by less-than-stellar battery life, and a slow processor means that hopping betwen apps isn’t as fast as it should be.

 

Samsung Gear Live
£170

Samsung Gear Live
Samsung Gear Live



Samsung’s stab at a new Android watch has a big 1.63 inch screen with displays such as a watch face with weather overlaid, and can be woken up by saying ‘OK Google’.

It offers the usual email, text and Facebook alerts, plus a heart-rate monitor in the wrist for fitness apps - but it’s a bit skittish, tending to inform you you’re an Olympian one second, and technically dead the next.

 

LG G Watch
£170

LG G Watch
LG G Watch


This ambitious smartwatch relies heavily on voice control - it works well, but you do spend an awful lot of time muttering to your wrist.

To try and limit this, Google’s new predictive search (Now), does slightly eerie things like flashing up suggestions of  people you might want to call.

There aren’t even any buttons. The voice-recognition’s great - a genuine leap forward for portable devices, although it’s hard to delete anything, so if you’re replying on the move, it’s best to stick with polite placeholder texts such as, “Great thanks.”

 

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