The best Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 alternatives you can buy


Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 in silver color with metal bracelet in hand showing app picker

Kris Carlon / Android Authority

The Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 series is now official. The series adds an outdoor-orientated Pro model, bigger batteries, and a new skin temperature sensor, among other tweaks. While early signs suggest Samsung’s smartwatch department has another winner on its hands, not everyone fancies a Wear OS watch and its limitations or its higher price. So, what are the alternatives? Thankfully, the smartwatch industry is laden with capable devices. Here are the best Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 alternatives you can buy right now.

Buying the right Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 alternative

The Galaxy Watch 5 may be the industry’s best example of a seamless marriage between smart and health features. It really is a jack of most, if not all, trades. This generation’s focus on improving minute details that matter makes it a tough device not to recommend. However, better devices may be out there if you’re seeking a particular feature.

Samsung may have brought more training and outdoor features to the Galaxy Watch 5 Pro, but you should look for a longer-lasting, more rugged device with reliable GPS features if you’re a true trail enthusiast. There are gym-ready alternatives aplenty, but if you’re looking for a device with more multisport coverage, consider purchasing a watch with more sports modes and recovery features. In terms of smart features, you’ll have to look beyond the Galaxy Watch 5 series for iPhone support, and that’s where our recommendation for the Apple Watch remains untroubled.

For more a granular explanation of our recommendations, see our summary below.

The best Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 alternatives

  • Garmin Venu 2 Plus: Garmin’s best smartwatch is also the best Galaxy Watch 5 alternative. It serves a hard-to-beat combination of smart and reliable health tracking features behind a bright OLED display.
  • Apple Watch Series 7: If you’re already invested in the Apple ecosystem, recommending any device other than the Apple Watch is a challenging task. However, the Series 7 earns its place with seamless smart integration with iPhones and a hardier but timeless design.
  • Fitbit Sense: Fitbit’s flagship smartwatch is due an upgrade, but it’s a viable Galaxy Watch 5 alternative for its plethora of sensors, reliable sleep tracking, and more affordable price point.
  • Garmin Fenix 7: Look no further than Garmin’s Fenix 7 series for an outdoor smartwatch with a deep toolkit. It provides more than enough multisport and training features to give the Galaxy Watch 5 Pro a challenge, albeit at a much higher price.
  • Garmin Forerunner 255: The best Galaxy Watch 5 alternative for runners, the Garmin Forerunner 255 also undercuts the former in price and overcuts on workout features.
  • Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 Classic: Samsung stripped the Galaxy Watch 5 of the rotating bezel, but you can still have that feature on the Galaxy Watch 4 Classic. Even as the outgoing model, it remains a viable alternative for its lower price and lengthy software support promise.
  • Fossil Gen 6: The best alternative Wear OS smartwatch is due for a software upgrade later this year which should bring further improvements to the watch’s upgraded health tracking kit and new chipset.

Garmin Venu 2 Plus: The best Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 alternative

Garmin Venu 2 Plus

Excellent design and build quality • Features rapid charging technology • Accurate fitness and health tracking • Excellent phone call support

Garmin is trudging into true smartwatch territory with the Venu 2 Plus.

The Garmin Venu 2 was nearly crowned our favorite wearable of 2021. Its accurate fitness- and health-tracking features, as well as the company’s revamped software, made for an overall compelling package. But Garmin watches tend to fall far behind the competition when it comes to “smart” features. You can install third-party apps and watch faces, but there’s traditionally been no support for voice assistants, phone calls, or other smartwatch staples.

Garmin has spent more time improving its premier smartwatch series, and the Venu 2 Plus is the culmination of these efforts. It’s ripe with fitness tracking features, from trademark Body Battery smarts to more familiar tools like heart rate monitoring, blood oxygen sampling, and heart rate variability details. Garmin also brings stellar stress and sleep tracking to the Venu 2 Plus, with the Health Snapshot another valuable addition in recent months.

We recommend the Garmin Venu 2 Plus over the original Venu 2 specifically for its ability to place and receive calls from the wrist via Bluetooth and its built-in voice assistant smarts. Finally, onboard music storage/playback and a five-day battery life sweeten the deal.

That’s not to say Garmin falls short of Samsung’s best watch in some areas. Give the Venu 2 Plus a miss if you seek LTE connectivity or a built-in ECG. You also won’t gain the breadth of apps and Google services you’ll find on Samsung’s Wear OS smartwatch.

An image of the Garmin Venu 2 Plus on a chair showing the display and watch face

Jimmy Westenberg / Android Authority

Pros

  • Excellent design and build quality
  • Rapid charging helps make up for battery woes
  • Clear call quality on the wrist
  • Slow, but useful voice assistant support
  • Accurate fitness and health tracking

Cons

  • High price tag
  • Battery life shorter than Garmin’s claims
  • Heart rate sensor still has issues

Apple Watch Series 7: The best Galaxy Watch 5 alternative for iPhone users

Apple Watch Series 7

Bigger Retina display • Durable, premium design • Accurate GPS tracking • Great software and app support

The new Retina display is the Apple Watch Series 7’s biggest strength.

The Apple Watch Series 7 boasts a larger edge-to-edge display, tougher durability, faster charging, and more color options than before. If you want the best of what Apple has to offer, the Series 7 is it.

We’ve said it before, and it’s worth saying again: if you own an iPhone or are entrenched in the Apple ecosystem, this is the smartwatch you should buy. Apple hasn’t made massive strides with the Series 7 compared to the Series 6 but does improve in the areas that matter. It has a larger, more resistant display and faster charging. The stalwart Apple Watch features return, too, including accurate GPS tracking and seamless integration with other Apple products.

Of course, there are caveats. The Apple Watch is simply out of the question for Android smartphone users. Users used to customizing their devices will also lament the lack of third-party watch faces. As far as battery life is concerned, you’re arguably better off with any other device on this list.

That said, you can overlook these shortcomings if you want a premium smartwatch with few compromises on the “smart” side.

The Apple Watch Series 7 on a wrist showing the Modular Duo watch face

Jimmy Westenberg / Android Authority

Modular Duo

Pros

  • Bigger Retina display
  • Durable, premium design
  • Accurate GPS tracking
  • Great software and app support

Cons

  • Battery life isn’t great
  • No third-party watch faces
  • Finicky heart rate tracking

Fitbit Sense: The best Galaxy Watch 5 alternative from Fitbit

Fitbit Sense

High-end, premium design • Improved quick-release straps • Accurate GPS and heart rate sensors • Detailed sleep tracking • ~6-day battery life

The Fitbit Sense delivers on the basics, but it’s clear some features need more work.

The Fitbit Sense is Fitbit’s flagship health-focused smartwatch. It has built-in ECG, GPS, and heart rate sensors, plus a new EDA Scan app that measures your body’s stress levels. This is by far Fitbit’s most advanced health watch so far.

The Fitbit Sense is nearly two years old, but it’s still your best bet from Fitbit. Packed with sensors, you’ll get an EDA monitor for more accurate stress tracking, an ECG for heart health, and a skin temperature sensor — a feature the Galaxy Watch 5 only just gained. Reliable sleep tracking and adequate fitness features also make the Sense a great companion for active users.

Fitbit still trails well behind Wear OS and watchOS devices in terms of smart features and app availability, but you get baked-in assistant support and around a week’s worth of use between charges. Its SpO2 monitoring system requiring a dedicated watch face is particularly daft, while many helpful health tracking features are locked behind Fitbit Premium, adding to the device’s longer-term base cost.

A Fitbit Sense sequel could be just around the corner, but until it lands, keep an eye out for price drops on the current model.

fitbit sense review design display watch face 4

Jimmy Westenberg / Android Authority

Sense

Pros

  • High-end, premium design
  • Improved quick-release straps
  • (Mostly) accurate GPS and heart rate sensors
  • Skin temp sensor provides useful data
  • Detailed sleep tracking
  • ~6-day battery life

Cons

  • Bad inductive button
  • SpO2 tracking requires a dedicated watch face
  • EDA and ECG sensors need refining
  • Fitbit OS still needs work

Garmin Fenix 7: The best Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 Pro alternative

Garmin Fenix 7

Incredible battery life • Touchscreen display makes it easier to use • Accurate GPS tracking + multi-band GNSS

Garmin’s solar-powered Fenix 7 is a nice upgrade over the Fenix 6.

The much-anticipated Garmin Fenix 7 series is here, and spoiler alert: it’s good. Very good. But greatness comes at a price, and there are a few factors with this year’s lineup that might make you buy one device over another, or hold on to your previous-gen Fenix device.

Samsung’s pushing its new Galaxy Watch 5 Pro as an outdoor companion fit for trail warriors, but it comes up against some established players in this space. The best example of this is the Garmin Fenix 7 series.

Garmin’s premier outdoor smartwatch packs a rugged build and the company’s trademark health features, from Body Battery to real-time stamina monitoring. Specialized options, like solar charging, multi-band GNSS support, and compatibility with external heart rate straps and accessories make it an adventure-ready powerhouse.

Of course, Garmin foregoes plenty of smart features. There’s no LTE option, nor will you receive a bright OLED display that’s become a trademark of the Galaxy Watch series. It’s also massively expensive compared to Samsung’s new player. But, if you’re looking for a genuine outdoor watch, the Fenix 7 is worth the investment. Consider the Garmin Epix (gen 2) if you crave an OLED screen.

A Garmin Fenix 7 Sapphire Solar displays a clock face on a users wrist.

Jimmy Westenberg / Android Authority

Pros

  • Incredible battery life
  • Touchscreen display makes it easier to use
  • Accurate GPS tracking + multi-band GNSS
  • All-around accurate fitness tracking
  • Plenty of onboard storage for music
  • Tons of sizes and colors available

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Heart rate sensor can struggle
  • Some of the best features only available on the largest model

Garmin Forerunner 255: The best Galaxy Watch 5 alternative for runners

Garmin Forerunner 255

Light weight • Feature rich • 14-day battery life

Made for runners, the Forerunner 255 is a lightweight and feature rich fitness tracking smartwatch.

Made for runners, the Garmin Forerunner 255 is packed with great smartwatch features, and solid fitness tracking tools. Long battery life will keep you on the move for weeks, and the plethora of runner-centric trackers and modes will help you beat your previous records!

Keen runners should look no further than the Garmin Forerunner 255. It trumps the Galaxy Watch 5 in several areas, from its near two-week battery life to features like PacePro in-race guidance and Morning Report, which provides a brief health overview and training suggestions when you wake up. The Forerunner 255 also gains some creature comforts, from Garmin Pay support thanks to NFC integration, and a new heart rate sensor which is pretty great.

Garmin’s yet to integrate an ECG in any of its watches, while the 255 also misses out on LTE connectivity and an OLED touchscreen. Instead, you navigate menus using its buttons. Still, if running is an integral part of your life, the Garmin Forerunner 255 is the best goldilocks option you can buy. Of course, if you want all of the Forerunner 225’s features plus a touchscreen, onboard mapping, and optional solar charging, the Forerunner 955 is Garmin’s top running watch; just expect to pay a premium for it.

Garmin Forerunner 255 recommended training

Ryan Haines / Android Authority

Pros

  • Multiple sizes to fit more wrists
  • Supports NFC and Garmin Pay
  • Excellent Garmin Connect app integration
  • Improved heart rate sensor
  • Gyroscope and barometric altimeter
  • Updated triathlon mode

Cons

  • Five-button navigation can be tricky
  • More expensive than the Forerunner 245
  • Proprietary charging setup

Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 Classic: The best alternative with a rotating bezel

Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 Classic

Classy, durable designs • Multiple size options • Wear OS 3 is all-around good

Even if you aren’t a huge Samsung fan, you’ll find a lot to like.

If you’re looking for a high-end follow-up to Samsung’s Galaxy Watch 3, look no further. Now with Wear OS on board, the Galaxy Watch 4 Classic will be perfect for your trip to the office or a night out.

Samsung ditched the Classic model and the physical rotating bezel from the Galaxy Watch 5 series. So if you want that particular feature in your life, you’ll have to consider buying the Galaxy Watch 4 Classic.

It might seem counterintuitive to purchase an old watch when the new model just arrived, but the Galaxy Watch 4 series still has plenty going for it. It doesn’t lag too far behind the Galaxy Watch 5 in terms of features, missing out only on a skin temperature sensor. For those who appreciate an analog watch aesthetic, the Classic is the more attractive of the two.

Nevertheless, by opting for the Classic you will give up a larger battery, a more resistant lens, and useful mapping features provided by the Pro.

The Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 Classic lying flat on a brick.

Jimmy Westenberg / Android Authority

Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 Classic

Pros

  • Classy design in multiple size options
  • Fantastic AMOLED screen
  • Promising future for Wear OS 3
  • Useful body composition metrics
  • Large app library and access to Google staples

Cons

  • Poor GPS performance
  • Sleep tracking could be stronger
  • Battery life is good, but not great (best on bigger sizes)
  • Some features limited to Samsung phone users
  • No software update commitments from Google

Fossil Gen 6: Another pure Wear OS alternative

Fossil Gen 6

Bright, colorful display • Solid performance • Nice design

Fossil released its next-gen wearable with last-gen software. Was that the right move?

The new Fossil Gen 6 smartwatches are the first devices to run on Qualcomm’s Snapdragon Wear 4100 Plus platform. They also boast new heart rate and SpO2 sensors and faster-charging batteries. While they ship with Wear OS 2, all Gen 6 devices are slated to get Wear OS 3 in 2022.

Fossil is one of the other major brands invested in the Wear OS ecosystem. The Gen 6 is its latest offering, bringing with it a continuous SpO2 sensor, the sprightly Snapdragon Wear 4100 Plus SoC, and a timeless design that should appeal to most buyers.

Realistically, the Fossil Gen 6 can’t hold a candle to the Galaxy Watch 5’s health tracking kit. It doesn’t even run the latest version of Wear OS, although an update is due before year-end. This should give the Gen 6 some much-needed smart feature buffs.

However, if you’re looking for a pure Wear OS alternative, the Fossil Gen 6 is arguably the best of the shallow pool available at present.

A Fossil Gen 6 is perched on a picnic table.

Eric Zeman / Android Authority

Pros

  • Respectable design
  • Bright, colorful display
  • Accurate heart rate monitor
  • Accurate SpO2 monitor
  • Plenty of color options
  • Solid performance

Cons

  • Only 24-hour battery life
  • Inaccurate GPS
  • Inaccurate sleep tracking
  • Not for swim workouts
  • Limited fitness apps
  • A long wait until Wear OS 3

Honorable mentions

That’s it for our list of the best Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 alternatives but there are plenty of other devices out there. We also want to mention the smartwatches below:

  • Mobvoi Ticwatch Pro 3 Ultra ($299): If you’re looking for another Wear OS watch with a big battery, the Ticwatch Pro 3 Ultra is a good alternative. It has yet to receive its Wear OS 3 update, but its potential 45-day battery life could pique your interest.
  • Withings Scanwatch ($279): If you don’t mind sacrificing a large OLED screen and plenty of smart features, the Scanwatch provides its users with medical-grade ECG, AFib monitoring, and a blood oxygen sensor.