Once relegated to the realm of science fiction, smartwatches are all the rage these days, and they’re designed to be the perfect companion for your smartphone, delivering notifications, fitness data, and more right to your wrist. They’re just enough of a luxury to make them the perfect holiday gift. Though it may pain some to admit it, there’s simply no better smartwatch on the market than the Apple Watch Series 8 ($399+). But for those who remain proud Samsung Galaxy users, the Galaxy Watch5 ($64.99+) is a close contender.
The Apple Watch Series 8 comes with an array of features to help you stay on top of your health. It tracks your activities and can even alert you when it detects something unusual. It also monitors your heart rate, blood oxygen levels, and sleep cycles. And it’s compatible with Apple’s Health app, so you can easily keep track of your daily activity and goals.
Meanwhile, the Galaxy Watch5 includes all the same features and syncs to Samsung Health, where you can also get personalized fitness coaching. It runs on a custom version of Google’s Wear OS platform, but with the almost comical stack of extra features Samsung is known for. Both watches take phone calls, have messaging capabilities, and run a range of apps from music services like Spotify to fitness apps like Strava.
Importantly, be aware while shopping that both watches are restricted by ecosystem. Someone with an iPhone won’t get much use out of the Galaxy Watch, nor an Android user the Apple Watch. An excellent alternative, if your gift’s recipient owns neither a Samsung or Apple phone, is the Pixel Watch ($349.99+), Google’s own watch hardware designed to work across all Android devices.