The Apple Watch is nearly here. But is it really the best watch you can buy? We don’t think so. In fact, we’ve picked 10 that outdo it in one area or other. So cut through the hype, and check out which other timepieces are worth your time.
If you're still not sure which smartwatch is for you, check out these tech stuff Android Wear timepieces and our round-up of the best smartwatches you can buy right now.
The cheaper one - Withings Activité Pop
The pop costs just £119.99. That’s almost £200 cheaper than the cheapest Apple Watch. Admittedly you don’t get a full touchscreen and third-party apps, but it does measure your activity – using the handy sub-dial – and sleep using an app. It also lasts eight months before needing a new watch battery. In comparison, the Apple Watch needs recharging every day. The Withings app is a bit basic but has all your essential fitness info, and it works with Google Fit too. This is where the smart money is.
£119.99 | Withings
The sportier one - Fitbit Surge
Cupertino’s finest is all well and good, but it’s a jack of all trades. Serious athletes need a proper sporty one, like the Surge. Dubbed a ‘super watch’ by maker Fitbit, it’s designed purely for sport, with GPS tracking so you can map your runs, a battery life of more than a week, heart rate monitor, and the ability to record your running, cross training and cardio workouts. And now, thanks to an update, it can track your cycling too. It still pings you notifications and lets you control your music, but it’s first and foremost a fitness watch.
£199.99 | Fitbit
The one with more street cred - Nixon Kingpin
Let’s face it, as personalisable as the Apple Watch is, it’s still going to be the same old watch that every other early adopter is wearing. The Nixon Kingpin, however, has a younger, more aggressive look and feel. As the name suggests, it knows what’s going down on the street. There’s a diamond at the six o’clock position, a solid stainless steel case, and that’s about it – there are no frills, all business. It doesn’t even have numbers, that’s how street it is. Mess with it, and you’ll regret it.
£210 | Nixon
The one you make yourself - Motorola Moto 360
The Moto 360 uses the same Moto Maker program as the Moto X, which means you can mix and match materials and finishes to make your perfect smartwatch. Choose from three finishes, nine bands and 11 watch faces, and you’ll have a timepiece that’s specific to you. Some flourishes cost extra: a metal band will set you back £30 on top of the price of the watch, while the Light Gold housing is £50 extra. But what price can you put on personalisation? And let’s be honest, making it is half the fun.
£199 | Motorola
The one that’s also a phone - Samsung Gear S
The Apple Watch might connect over Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, but the Gear S goes a step further and actually makes calls straight from the watch, no phone required. It connects over 3G, so you can go all Dick Tracy and make calls and send texts like you’re living in the future. It has all the usual fitness tracking skills thanks to Samsung’s S Health app, and it runs Tizen instead of Android Wear. The 2-inch screen is curved, helping it stand out from the rather blocky smartwatch crowd. One day all smartwatches will work like this.
£285 | Samsung
The one with a better battery - Cookoo 2
Admittedly any number of smartwatches could have filled this spot, but most of the mammoth eight-month models are limited to activity tracking, and don’t give you notifications. This one keeps you up to speed with what’s happening. It shows caller ID when someone calls, has icons to show emails, text messages, and calendar alerts, and lets you control your music and take photos with your camera. Add to that the ability to find your phone and an alert for when the battery is low, and you’ve got the best of both worlds: analogue style with digital skills.
£175 | Cookoo
The more impressive one - Tissot T-Touch Classic
The Apple Watch might have thousands of third-party apps, but it can’t do the T-Touch’s most impressive trick. Press the button on the side and it’ll switch mode depending on which section of the screen you press. Press the Compass section – at six o’clock – and the hands turn into those of a compass, with one pointing north and the other south. They move as you move. Show it off at a social gathering, it’s guaranteed to impress. It also shows high and low tide, a timer, two alarms, and timer functions. The original smartwatch.
£440 | Tissot
The more compatible one - Microsoft Band
The one with more bling - Piaget Altiplano
You think an 18-carat Apple Watch is flashy? Get a load of this. It takes the 18-carat-ness of the Apple Watch and raises it with diamonds. A shedload of diamonds. The case houses 313 brilliant-cut ones and 48 baguette-cut; the dial has 155 brilliant-cut and 36 baguette-cut; the crown is set with one brilliant-cut; while the buckle has 24 brilliant-cut. Phew. The case is 18-carat white gold, it contains the thinnest self-winding mechanism in the world, and it comes with a black alligator strap. Makes the Apple Watch look like it should be free with a Happy Meal.
£38,300 | Piaget
The smarter one - Pebble Time
The Pebble Time has an awesome skill over the Apple Watch – Timeline. This is an entirely new way of interacting with the watch. It shows your notifications, news, reminders and events in chronological order instead of shutting them away in separate apps. In other words, you’ll see what’s happening next, be it an appointment, reminder, TV show you want to watch, or something else. You can also scroll back and see your step count for the day, text messages, the score from the match last night etc. No wonder it set the record for the highest-funded Kickstarter project ever.
$199 (£134) | Pebble