Apple is responsible for some of the best technology devices known to man today. It’s ease of use and simplicity has earned its cult-like following for years now, yet hardly without competition. Whether it’s the iPhone, the Apple Watch, or the Apple TV, this is a brand that usually gets it right (with the glaring exception of the Home Pod, among few others.) out of the gate. For every great Apple product, there’s about 500 alternatives, many of which aren’t worth anyone’s time. Still, there are some products out there that best Apple’s own offerings in certain ways, and below we’re going to show you the best alternatives to the iPhone, Apple Watch, and Apple TV if you don’t want to be locked into the fruit’s ecosystem.
As an alternative to iOS on a mobile device, you’ll definitely be looking at the Android operating system, but there’s so much variance within its own ecosystem, there are several different options and experiences you can get. That’s why this section is broken down into two options. One is an alternative that has virtually every high-end feature found on a smartphone, besting Apple’s iPhone with a “kitchen sink” approach. The other alternative option is an experience that gives an almost Apple-like simplicity.
The Kitchen Sink : Samsung Galaxy S10+
Since the very first Galaxy S smartphone, it was clear that Samsung was gunning to take away some of Apple’s success, and it certainly did. In the beginning the Galaxy maker seemed to unabashedly steal features and design from the iPhone and ended up paying for it in the millions after a lawsuit. Still, Sammy kept chugging along, found it’s own design language, featureset, and set out not just to dethrone the iPhone, but be the best smartphone available by cramming the best of the best features it can.
In a way, Samsung achieved what it set out to do. It’s the most successful Android manufacturer by leaps and bounds and it’s latest Galaxy S10 lineup, available in 3 sizes. If you’re in the market for a big, bold display, the S10+ is undoubtedly what you’re looking for. However, if you don’t mind waiting, the Samsung Galaxy Note 10 is expected to be announced during the first week of August.
iPhone of Android phones : Google Pixel 3
Google takes the exact opposite approach of Samsung with its Android phones, instead offering a slimmed down experience that’s lightweight and doesn’t have a ton of bells and whistles. Since Google owns the operating system, Pixel phones get updates before any other Android handset, which is a big deal, since most Android users have to wait months to get a taste of the “then” latest and greatest.
The Pixel lineup isn’t known for it’s beautiful hardware, and that shows with both the Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL. That said, you get a Pixel smartphone to get the best camera on a smartphone and timely Android updates, not it’s hardware design.
Apple TV alternative: NVIDIA Shield TV
Android doesn’t just challenge Apple for the phone in your pocket, but also in your living room with Android TV. That said, there aren’t too many dedicated TV boxes that use the operating system, and it’s mostly found preinstalled on some smart TVs. It’s intuitive, easy to use, and has a decent number of apps thanks to the Google Play integration, though it would be hard to say it’s a stellar experience.
One streaming box that is worth getting and is a worthy alternative to Apple TV is the NVIDIA Shield TV. Not only does it offer up Google’s Android TV OS, but since it’s made by NVIDIA, gaming is a big focus with it. You can grab a bundle that contains a gaming controller or buy it separately, which is something you’ll want to do if you plan on taking full advantage of the box. It’s not just Android games, either. NVIDIA’s GeForce NOW game streaming service is preinstalled, allowing you to play big titles without downloading them.
Apple Watch Alternative : Samsung Galaxy Watch
Google’s own smartwatch operating system, even after all this time, isn’t close to where it needs to be. This is mostly due to poor hardware and not the OS itself. Still, until the hardware catches up to the software, Samsung’s Tizen smartwatch OS found on the Galaxy Watch is the best alternative to the Apple Watch.
The Galaxy Watch’s standout feature comes in the form of a rotating bezel that allows you to quickly navigate through Tizen’s user interface. It ships with virtually every feature you could want in a smartwatch and then some, but does lack some of the health features found on Apple’s offering. Battery life if spectacular as well.
If you’re looking for something a little less bulky and don’t mind shedding the rotating bezel, the Galaxy Watch Active is a sleek and much cheaper option than both the regular Galaxy Watch and the Apple Watch.