These connected smartwatches are just as capable and as good-looking as "the other" watch you see on everyone's wrist.
The Problem with the Apple Watch
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It's no secret we're fans of the Apple Watch and its many workout features. In addition to its perks in the gym, the Watch has been so successful because it not only keeps you connected in ways you didn't even know you wanted to be, but it also looks good with just about any outfit. The problem: the Watch comes with a steep price tag and leaves non-iPhone users high and dry.
Luckily, other watch and fitness tracker brands have finally caught on to this simple formula and are now making super-functional smartwatches in a pretty package—ones with more universal prices and compatibility, too.
Here, we've rounded up some of the best smartwatch rivals for the Apple Watch that'll deliver smart notifications to your wrist, track your calories burned, and look just as good at a work event as on a dinner date. (We skipped top-tier fitness trackers that fall short on notifications or gym-to-office aesthetics; if you're looking for that, check out The Best Fitness Tracker for Your Personality).
Michael Kors Access Runway
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Finally, a smartwatch version of the classic Michael Kors silhouette, powered by WearOS by Google. Swap out the stainless steel band for silicone styles to easily transition the look of the watch and take advantage of all the workout features, including heart-rate tracking, swim-proof functionality, and untethered GPS. ($295-$450; michaelkors.com)
Photo: Michael Kors
Fossil Q Venture HR
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This newly launched smartwatch has the look down—feminine and sleek, it comes in a zillion strap options so you can customize how profesh or athleisure you'd like to look. (You can even set your fave Instagram as the watch face!) But it's also powered by WearOS by Google so it offers text notifications, Google Maps directions, Google Pay options, even Google Assistant control all on your wrist. What we love most: The fashion brand didn't skimp on fitness features—the watch also offers heart-rate tracking, untethered GPS, and waterproof functionality. (Starting at $255; fossil.com)
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This smartwatch has it all—heart-rate monitoring, workout tracking, smart notifications, Bluetooth compatibility, even a full on-wrist keyboard to reply to texts and emails. It also boasts 4GB of storage so you can access music without your device around. And to top it all off, this is one good-looking watch that'll easily blend from dance class to the dance floor. (Starting at $200; misfit.com)
Kate Spade Touchscreen
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Leave it to Kate Spade to make the most adorable smartwatch available. The scalloped touchscreen offers calls, messages, and app alerts; Bluetooth connectivity; music control; and the most fun customizable watch faces out there. Its fitness functions are pretty limited with just step, calorie, and sleep tracking, but this dainty design is for sure the best-looking way to make sure you're meeting your minimum movement—and not running late for any meetings. ($275; katespade.com)
Photo: Kate Spade
Suunto 3 Fitness
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This watch is definitely more fitness tracker than smartwatch—it'll alert you to calls, texts and calendar reminders on your wrist, but doesn't do music control, smartwatch pay, or any other big bells and whistles. The real selling point is the 80 sport modes, adaptive training guidance, accurate heart-rate monitoring, recovery suggestions, and long battery life. It even prompts a post-workout review that records how you felt about that training session to track your feelz. So if you're an athlete who wants to train hard, stay low-key connected, and not have to shed your accessories for a girl's night out, the Suunto is a pretty solid option. (Starting at $200; suunto.com)
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If you're less into the traditional, round-face watch aesthetic, the Versa's your best bet. Launched earlier this year, this watch offers all the things for both living (smartphone notifications, access to tons of different apps, built-in payments) and sweating (heart rate-tracking, connected GPS, auto-record on exercises, even guided on-screen workouts). It even boasts a few special wellness features, like guided breathing sessions and a symptom recorder for your menstrual cycle. Plus, every colorway and strap option is reeaal pretty. ($230; fitbit.com)
Nokia Steel HR
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This model is not about the frills—the watch face will alert you to calls, texts, emails, heart rate, and step count, while the on-phone app offers more detailed info, like sleep cycle trends and workout history. But the real money here is the super-discreet design that looks more traditional than digital—sharp enough to keep you connected even if your outfit is otherwise business profesh. ($180; health.nokia.com)
Garmin Vívoactive 3
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One of the more well-connected legit fitness watches on this list, this model offers the fitness features Garmin is known for—quality heart-rate tracking, 15+ built-in sport modes, waterproof—alongside your smartwatch faves, including text and calendar notifications, phone call reject, music control, and Garmin Pay, all on the watch face directly. The only strap options are silicone so it may not fly in the boardroom, but if your day-to-day style is more sporty-casual, the Vívoactive 3 is a great option. ($270; garmin.com)