I Want an Apple Watch but Not an Apple Watch

Hi all

I'm looking for my first smartwatch (budget of around $200-$300) and my wish list is:

-Ability to use Nike app or sync data with Nike
-Bluetooth headphones with offline music (preferably Spotify when offline listening becomes available)
-Preferably more than 1-2 days of battery life

Apple Watch makes the most sense but I'm not a fan of the rectangular screen (although it makes the most sense for maximising the screen real estate).

Apart from Apple Watch, I guess the other contenders would be a Wear OS watch from Fossil, Huawei, Misfit, or TicWatch or others with their own OS such as Amazfit, Huawei GT, Samsung or of course, Garmin.

Any personal experiences or thoughts that would help with my decision?



  • Personally, I think smart watches are still a bit of a gimmick. There's the fitness side of it that some people use, but the "phone" bit is pretty much just the ability to read messages that get delivered to your phone anyway. Chances are, you still need to pull out your handset if you want to reply.

    • +6

      The cellular versions beg to differ.

      • I had one and yes, it's good for fitness activities so you can use basic sms and call functions without carrying your phone, but what else does the 4G do? I was pretty unimpressed with how the phone and watch were linked.

        I should add that I had to pay extra each month on top of my phone plan to have the watch linked to my account.

        • I guess it depends on the use case. For someone like me who doesn't go for long runs or into the surf much, the cellular version is overkill.

          The smartwatch has a way to go to be the device we really want it to be - almost a tiny full-fledged phone.

          • @andresampras:

            I guess it depends on the use case.

            Definitely. Some of my mates love it because they exercise heaps. But then it's not really different to the fitness watches or bands that are much cheaper.

            I was hoping at least whatsapp would function as normal on the watch on 4G, but it seems to require the bluetooth connection to the phone.

            • @bobbified: Yes! This is what stopped me buying the apple watch 5. I wonder what the reason is for no official Whatsapp on Apple Watch.

              • @andresampras: The watch itself seems to only install a whatsapp plugin and still requires the link to the full version. I just assumed the 4G watch was like a phone. I didn't realise until after I bought it. Not sure why though. It seems like the processor can handle the app.

                • +1

                  @bobbified: I think it's because of how encryption works on whatsapp, it's designed so that only the receiving phone can read the message. Whereas something like facebook messenger can be accessed from any device. So if you try a different messaging app it may work

    • Somewhat agree. I don't want to be bothered by notifications all the time (will most probably turn them off) so mainly looking for a watch on the fitness side. I've previously used a Nike GPS watch that would sync with a PC via USB, but that watch disintegrated so currently using an iPhone with Nike app/Spotify for running. I'd like to get back to using a GPS watch for running with offline music and bluetooth headphones.

  • What phone do you have?

    • iPhone

      • +3

        I'd say you'd get the best smartwatch experience from the Apple Watch, then.

        Which is not to say that it's perfect by any means, just that for an iPhone user it'd be the best currently available bet IMO.

  • +2

    I like Garmin.

    I believe they can sync with Nike. Definitely has all the other stuff you want, designed for running so it has all the workout planning stuff built in. Solid build quality too, I wish my old one would break so I can justify upgrading ;)

    • I would also recommend Garmin. I have one and am extremely happy with it. Although it lacks a lot of gimmicks it performs it's main functions really well.

      • good battery life
      • screen very readable in sunlight (Samsung galaxy is hopeless here!)
      • solid fitness capabilities
      • well made and water proof (another Samsung failing)
  • Samsung galaxy watch active is the only thing that comes close to that budget.

  • For your price point, you can check this out: https://www.amazon.com.au/dp/B07HBP9BVD

  • Garmin 935 should be in your price range now….I would have thought…
    Comfortable, Battery lasts at least a week and still sends notifications from the phone if you want them.
    Integrates with Nike, ANT+ for HR strap or Schoche arm band and the watch looks great.
    Downside is, it doesnt have stand alone NFC payments on the watch and it doesnt have spotify.
    If thats not a great concern then +1 for the 935.

  • +2

    I’ve bought an Apple Watch 5 and the XS phone to give me the IOS I need. I don’t get a lot of calls but I barely take the phone out of my bag now. The health apps get me off my backside and keep exercising. I can send messages from my watch, using the “writing” app, which works quite well. I can manage playing songs on my phone, from the watch. I get weather, including warnings. I can glance at my mail as it comes in. It tells me if I’m in a dangerously noisy environment. You could even set you phone up for a shot and then see the image to take the pic from your watch, e.g. if you wanted a group shot. I wouldn’t consider a watch face that isn’t square; the watch is more like a screen that a normal watch face. I wasn’t sure about buying it, to start with, but I’m glad I did. YMMV, but if you aren’t sure you could get one from Apple, or Costco, and return it if you don’t like it. My other half has the Apple Watch 3 and he is happy with his as well.

  • +1

    After purchasing non Apple Watch….. Can anyone tell me how to setup my new -insert name here- smart watch to work like an Apple Watch with mu iPhone…..

    Just buy an Apple Watch!

  • When I go out on my jetski I don't want to take my phone with me, but I wear my apple watch, if something ever happens I can still call for help.

  • just get an Apple watch. What you're asking for is a pretty tall order - plus it just works a hell of a lot easier when you already own an iPhone. Dunno how you'll go with the offline music storage thing though. I always have my phone on me, so I never bothered to sync my watch to my headphones. I got my Apple Watch a little over a year ago and I love it. I have to charge it maybe every second day, but charging is super quick.

  • Garmin Vivoactive 3 Music

    Pros: GPS, open format GPX files so you can sync to Nike+, built in optitical HR, offline Spotify, battery last 3-4 days, round bezel.
    Cons: Not really a smart watch more of a sports watch, costs $349 when on sale so a little out of your price range

  • These look interesting.

    Their other watches are of good price


    Not sure if it will meet all your requirements. My watch does but its considerably more than your budget.

  • If you havnt tried a apple watch before you can buy one from apple and return it within 14days if you dont like it. Good way to test the different versions if thats what you want to do to see what you get.

    Ive got a apple watch series 2 which at the time when they first came out were alot cheaper so I understand wanting to look at other brands but I tried a garmin and fitbit and they just dont sync as well as a apple watch does with a iphone.

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