The new Apple Watch is here, and it comes just a few weeks after Samsung unveiled the Galaxy Watch. When you put the two smartwatches side by side, you’ll immediately notice that each company has approached the smartwatch concept from an entirely different direction.
But you shouldn’t base your purchasing decision solely on the first impression because there are a lot more factors to consider when deciding whether to buy the Apple Watch Series 4 or the Samsung Galaxy Watch than you might think at first.
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Build and Design
Considering that the Apple Watch is currently the most popular smartwatch on the market, it probably doesn’t come as a surprise that Apple has decided to stick with the original design, introducing only small refinements rather than large overhauls.
One such refinement is the new display, which offers a viewing area that’s over 30 percent larger compared with the previous generation of the Apple Watch. Because the large display uses a new technology called LTPO, it doesn’t compromise the battery life of the watch.
The Galaxy Watch has a circular touchscreen display with a rotating bezel that allows you to scroll through menus and apps with only the slightest movement of your finger. The Apple Watch 4 is controlled using a rotating Digital Crown with haptic feedback.
You can choose between two sizes of the display—42 mm or 46 mm—both of which have the same resolution of 360 x 360. The Apple Watch 4 is also available in two sizes—40 mm and 44 mm—which have a resolution of 324 x 394 and 368 x 448 on the respectively.
The Apple Watch 4 is much thinner than the Galaxy Watch, which is very easy to notice when wearing a shirt with long sleeves. The thickness of the Galaxy Watch may have something to do with the fact that even the base model of the watch is stainless steel, while only the GPS + Cellular model of the Apple Watch 4 can be bought in stainless steel or aluminum.
Winner: In the Apple Watch vs Samsung Watch competition, we’re going to call this one a tie. Ultimately, as far as design goes, it really comes down to a matter of preference, as it is very subjective.
The Apple Watch 4 is powered by Apple’s new S4 chip, which is a complete System in Package (SiP), with the entire system fabricated onto a single component. Samsung uses the Exynos 9110 dual-core 1.15GHz chipset, which was released just recently.
Apple doesn’t reveal how much RAM the Apple Watch 4 has, but we know that the 42 mm Galaxy Watch has 768 MB and the 46 mm model has 1.5 GB. What we do know, however, is that the internal storage capacity of the Apple Watch 4 is 16 GB, while the Galaxy Watch offers only 4 GB.
Winner: It’s clear that, on paper in the Apple Watch vs Samsung Watch competition, the Series 4 wins.
You can expect the 42 mm model of the Galaxy Watch to last fairly comfortably up to 4 days on a charge, and the 46 mm model can get up to 7 days without charging. The battery life of the Apple Watch 4 is roughly on par with the battery life of the previous Apple Watch, which is to say around 18 hours on a charge. Samsung is clearly a huge winner when it comes to battery life, and we expect that this victory will cost Apple quite a few customers.
Battery can vary pretty significantly based on the model of either watch you have — if you use cellular pretty actively, that can take a huge toll on life.
Winner: Galaxy Watch
If fitness tracking is all you care about, you can buy any of the two smartwatches knowing that it will be able to record just about every fitness-related metric you might be curious about. But smartwatches are about more than fitness tracking, which is, after all, the domain of fitness trackers.
Both the Apple Watch 4 and the Galaxy Watch have a companion app for health tracking. Apple Health is used to gather health-related data on the Apple Watch, while Samsung Health is used to data on the Galaxy Watch. The Apple Watch 4 comes with a proactive ECG heart-rate monitor, which monitors your heart rate and lets you know if it detects something of concern.
According to a recent study, the monitor can accurately identify a serious condition known as atrial fibrillation (AFib) with 98 percent accuracy. While the Apple Watch 4’s heart-rate sensor isn’t a replacement for actual ECGs, it’s definitely accurate enough to save lives. The Galaxy Watch can also measure your heart rate, but its accuracy is on par with budget fitness trackers, and it can’t detect heart-rate abnormalities.
The Apple Watch 4 also comes with something that they call fall-tracking. It’s able to detect if you take a hard fall, and can automatically alert emergency services for you. You can, of course, stop it from doing that before the call actually runs through, but it has been reported to help save multiple lives. It is a little buggy, and can trigger if you fall hard onto a couch.
Regardless of which of the two smartwatches you choose, you can always extend its functionality with countless third-party apps. A key difference here is that the Galaxy Watch works with both iOS and Android, but the Apple Watch 4 works only with iOS, leaving Android users out of the game.
We would say that the Apple Watch’s App Store is a little more built-out as well. It actually runs through the attached iPhone’s system applications, whereas the Galaxy Watch runs through the Galaxy Store, which has very few apps.
Winner: In the Apple Watch vs Samsung Watch throwdown, the Apple Watch 4 is a clear winner here.
Both the Galaxy Watch and Apple Watch 4 have their own MSRP that these have to be sold at; however, as both devices start to age, you’ll find them for much less than above prices. That said, Apple sells refurbished models, which can be had for way under current sale prices.
Winner: Galaxy Watch
The Samsung Galaxy Watch has a vastly superior battery life, working for multiple days without a charge even with its always-on display. The Apple Watch 4 has a true life-saving feature which sets it apart from all other smartwatches that are currently on the market.
For most people, the choice will likely ultimately boil down to which smartphone operating system they currently use. If Android, the Apple Watch 4 is automatically out of the question.