When it comes to smartwatches, Apple Watch has been on the top of the list for many years until recently Samsung launched the all new and upgraded version of its smartwatch series, the Galaxy Watch. The Galaxy Watch has pushed the limits this time. Be it the vibrant OLED display, a battery that lasts at least two days or multiple functions packed inside the little machine, the Galaxy Watch is in equal competition with its rival, Apple Watch. And with its compatibility with iPhone as well, the Galaxy Watch creates a big confusion for the buyers. So here we are with a sharp comparison between the two master pieces.
Apple Watch Vs Galaxy Watch
Both Apple Watch and Galaxy Watch have calling features while they are connected to your phone via Bluetooth. While the Apple Watch ‘Phone’ app is quite similar to that on your iPhone which shows all tabs like Favorites, Recent, Contacts, Keypad and Voicemail, the ‘Phone’ app on the Galaxy Watch has only two tabs, Dialer, and Contacts with the recent calls already showing on the apps main screen.
Both the watches can initiate a phone call from the Phone app on the watch itself, Galaxy Watch has an upper hand when it comes to swapping calls between your watch and phone. While a call can be easily transferred from your watch to your phone and the other way around by a simple click on your Galaxy Watch itself, to transfer a call from Apple Watch to your iPhone you’ll have to tap on the iPhone screen.
Just like the calling feature both Apple watch and Galaxy Watch have inbuilt message apps as well. Both the watches are capable of sending a full-length message to any specified contact. For both Apple Watch and Galaxy Watch, a message can be sent as a reply to a received message from any contact or as a new message from the app itself. In fact, a message could also be sent to a phone number that’s not in your contact list.
The only point of difference in both the watches is the text input method. On Apple Watch you can use speech-to-text, scribble, presets & emoticons and Apple’s very own digital touch gesture mode, on the Galaxy Watch there’s speech-to-text, various doodles to choose from and a digital keypad that’s not very convenient to use on such a small screen.
There’s a down side for those of you who want to use Galaxy Watch with iPhone, the message app is non-functional in this combination but you will still receive messages as notifications.
The Email application on Apple Watch and Galaxy Watch is something of a great use and it really comes in handy while you are away from your office desk and phone.
The Mail application on your Apple Watch will appear similar to that on your iPhone. It shows you all the accounts that are configured on the Mail application on the iPhone. You can read e-mails, reply to received mails and even draft a new email by pressing and holding the screen while the Mail app is open.
On the other hand, the Galaxy Watch functioning with regards to Email is quite different. If you setup the Email app on Galaxy Watch and also allow the email notifications of your Gmail app from the notification settings on your Wearable app, you’ll start receiving two notifications for every new email on your Galaxy Watch. You can reply to these emails or to any previous mail that’s shown on your Email application but you cannot draft a new email on the Galaxy Watch which is another downside when compared to Apple watch.
4. Third party messaging apps
Third party messaging applications like WhatsApp are not available on your Apple watch and Galaxy Watch, are partially usable on both the smartwatches.
If the notifications settings allow WhatsApp to send notifications on your smartwatch you can very well see a text message on your Apple Watch and Galaxy Watch and reply to a WhatsApp text with the available input methods on the respective smartwatches.
The Apple Watch shows text, emoticons and image previews (if the auto download is turned on) while the Galaxy Watch is restricted to showing a text and emoticons. The experience of replying to a WhatsApp text from both the watches is not so different and one tends to use the presets mostly.
Galaxy watch do not show image preview on WhatsApp Notifications.
A deciding factor before purchasing any wearable device is the notification feature. While both Apple Watch and Galaxy Watch have the very best of this feature, they still have a slight difference in usage and experience.
The Apple Watch has the subtlest notification feature. It gives you a smooth haptic feedback for message, calls and other app notifications which turn up on the screen when your raise your watch to look at it. You can tap to reply or delete notifications. To manage notification settings you need to see the Watch app on your iPhone. Apple Watch notifications only work when you are wearing it and your phone is not in active use.
On the Galaxy Watch, the very first difference is the vibration feedback which is not as smooth as the haptic feedback on Apple Watch. The second point of difference is its feature that allows notifications even when the Galaxy Watch is not on your wrist but kept on a table or inside your bag or on charging which could be annoying in some cases because of the sound that the vibration makes. Notifications can be tapped on to see various options like reply or delete same as Apple Watch and notification settings can be changed from the Galaxy Watch wearable app on your phone.
6. Sleep tracking
Although a very important feature, unfortunately, the Apple Watch doesn’t have an inbuilt sleep tracking system. Rather Apple decided to pay a lot more attention to this very need and came up with a new device altogether for the purpose which could be bought for $150, the Beddit Sleep Monitor. The release of this product confirms that Apple watch users might not see an inbuilt sleep tracker anytime soon. Apple Watch does support some third party apps to do the job which is covered in our article here.
Galaxy Watch has an upper hand on this feature with an inbuilt ‘Sleep’ app that automatically tracks your sleep record meaning you don’t have to set up a bedtime, the watch does it all for you. The inbuilt app recognizes both REM (Rapid Eye Movement) sleep and deep sleep. It was pretty much up to the mark in our case, give or take 15 minutes.
7. Voice Assistant (Siri v/s Bixby)
You all have known Siri for a long time now since the launch of iPhone 4S back in 2011 and the personal assistant has only grown better and better over all these years. Available across all Apple devices, Siri is as good as it can get on Apple Watch as well and with the latest Watch OS update its just a raise away. To speak with Siri on your Apple Watch all you have to do is raise your wrist towards your mouth and start speaking, the watch automatically starts Siri.
Samsung released its own personal assistant in 2017, released alongside S8 series. The voice assistant is named ‘Bixby’ and is now a part of most of the Samsung devices including the Galaxy Watch. A simple ‘hey Bixby’ or ‘hi Bixby’ command does activate it on your watch when connected to a phone but we won’t vouch for its reliability. Comparatively, it does need a lot more work to bring it up to the mark with its competitors.
Bixby isn’t ready for prime time
Another extremely decisive point of research if you are headed to buy a smart watch is its battery life under various usage conditions like normal wear, workout tracking, health tracking, sleep tracking etc.
Both Apple Watch and Galaxy Watch have approximately similar results when it comes to regular usage of the smart watches. Both the watches give a day’s back up with a regular use of say a few calls, an hour or two of music streaming, an hour of workout tracking and a few other things.
On the other hand, if you use your Apple Watch or Galaxy Watch only for notification purposes but hardly any actual use it’ll give you a backup of around 48 to 72 hours proved in our personal experience.
Then comes the stand-by mode where the Galaxy Watch again proved better with a backup of more than a week when sitting idle on a desk compared to 72 hours approx. of the Apple Watch under the same circumstances.
And then, of course, comes to the ‘watch only’ or ‘battery saver’ mode which in both cases might last for a month.
9. Heart rate monitor
Heart Rate monitor is something very useful and something very much used by people of all ages, not only in smart watches but in all wearables, and until the Apple Watch Series 4 there was not much of a difference in the Heart rate monitor of Apple Watch and Galaxy Watch.
With the introduction of ECG in Apple Watch series 4, the heart rate monitor has been taken up to the next level whereby you can not only calculate your live heart rate and previous records for the day but also actually record and print an ECG report.
The Galaxy Watch, however, is still on the normal version of the Heart Rate monitor which can keep a record of your heart rate regularly. As an additional feature, the Galaxy Watch does come with an inbuilt Stress calculator which also uses the heart rate sensor and is somewhat correct in our personal experience.
With plenty of music streaming apps in the market, our phones have become our primary source of music library which comes with a drawback of draining your battery before time. Well, your smart watches solve the issue to an extent.
Apple Watch is just another iPod when it comes to music streaming. You can directly stream music from Apple Watch onto your Bluetooth headphones or the Airpods if you are in an Apple ecosystem. The best part is that the Apple Watch allows music playback in stand-alone mode as well when you add music to the local library of the Watch.
Galaxy Watch does the same with a paired Bluetooth headphone and in addition, has a self playback feature as well, which in all practicality is a waste given the size of the speaker on the watch.
11. App Store Access
While both Apple Watch and Galaxy Watch work with a supporting software on your respective phones which is also used to browse and install the application on your watches, the Galaxy Watch lets you browse through the Galaxy Apps Store on the watch as well. Although not a very useful approach considering the size of the screen but can come in handy when you need to quickly download a new watch face. Apple watch has no such option to browse the App Store on the watch.
12. Find my device
A feature, I’m sure very widely used every day across the world. Both Apple Watch and Galaxy Watch offer this feature but with a slight difference.
Apple Watch has a very simple mechanism when it comes to finding your phone. All you have to do it swipe up from the bottom and click on the ringing phone icon and your connected iPhone will beep prominently a couple of times even if kept on silent mode. On the contrary, if you need to find your Apple Watch from your phone you’ll have to check the location of your watch in the ‘Find My iPhone’ app on your iPhone wherein all your Apple devices are listed.
Galaxy Watch has a similar app ‘Find phone’ which when connected to your phone will ring it but unlike Apple Watch, the Galaxy Watch wearable app on your phone allows you to ring your watch in a similar manner which makes it really easy to locate your watch in a messed-up room or a bag.
13. Workout/fitness tracking
Workout and Fitness tracking is another hot topic when it comes to smartwatches and most of them indeed have a very close competition.
Apple Watch and Galaxy Watch have very intense and detailed options to choose from when it comes to workout tracking. While Apple Watch has over 15 different modes to choose from which includes indoor/outdoor workouts, swimming, weight workouts etc., Galaxy Watch offers a lot more than that by further going into the details like exercise type etc.
The results of the workouts are more or less the same as both the watches ultimately count your calories burnt during the workout details of which are saved in the health app.
14. PPT controller remote control options
Remote controlling is something that would generally not be expected in a smartwatch but crossing all barriers the Galaxy Watch has a very unique feature to offer, the PPT controller.
Originally designed to assist as a PPT controller remote during a presentation this application can also be a mouse pad when used in touchpad mode which could come in handy when you need to open a different file altogether.
Apple Watch does not offer any such feature, other than the option to control Apple TV playback from your Apple watch. So that’s a +1 for Galaxy Watch then.
15. Camera access
Forget selfie stick and camera timers, Apple Watch has an inbuilt camera app that can remotely open the camera on your iPhone and click pictures as well. The only downside is that it opens only the last used camera and there is no way to switch cameras.
Galaxy Watch does not offer any such inbuilt app but a paid version of Camera Remote Control is available in the app store which lets you switch between the camera’s as well in addition to other functions. So if you’re willing to pay $2, you can more than the Apple Watch users.
Read: 19 Best Galaxy Watch Apps (free and paid)
15. Watch Modes
For them to be really smart, the watches come with a couple of modes that can be used for different circumstances.
Apple Watch has a battery saver mode, silent mode, airplane mode, do not disturb mode, an under-water mode which locks the touch screen of the watch and a theatre mode that deactivates automatic screen on when the wrist is raised.
While the Galaxy Watch offers only the basic modes like airplane mode, silent mode, battery saver mode and a do not disturb mode.
Apple Watch Vs Galaxy Watch – Comparision Table
||Samsung Galaxy Watch||Apple Watch|
||42mm, 46mm||40mm, 42mm|
||Circular Super AMOLED (360 x 360)||Square OLED Retina|
||Tizen OS 4.0||watchOS 5|
|Heart Rate Monitor
||Yes||Yes (ECG support in Apple Watch 4)|
||Samsung Pay||Apple Pay|
||Android and iOS||iOS only|
Which is better?
These are a few points that we think are necessary to make a decisive comparison between the Apple Watch and Galaxy Watch. From our perspective, both the smartwatches are a good fit in their own ecosystem and each of them has more or less similar functions with and without third-party apps.
While Galaxy watch looks more like a watch it’s not comfortable to wear to sleep, one the other hand Apple watch is useless when it comes to using it with Android ecosystem.
That being our opinion, we would love to hear your experience and suggestions in the comments below.