Which smartwatch is best for you will likely depend on your operating system of choice: iOS or Android. But while the Apple Watch will only work with iPhones, the Galaxy Watch is capable of working with both Android smartphones and iPhones. With that being said, let's take a look at what both smartwatches have to offer.
The Galaxy Watch takes the traditional timepiece approach with a circular display, and this will likely be favorable to many people coming from mechanical watches. It comes in two cases sizes: 42mm and 46mm. The 42mm Galaxy Watch has a 1.2-inch display, while the 46mm variant measures 1.3 inches. With either choice, the display's resolution checks in at 360x360 and uses Super AMOLED technology.
The Apple Watch Series 4 takes the non-traditional approach (still) and uses a rectangular display. Like the Galaxy Watch, the Apple Watch Series 4 is available in two case sizes, 40mm and 44mm, both of which are 30 percentage larger than their Series 3 predecessors. The smaller of the two features a 1.57-inch display with a resolution of 394x324. The larger watch pushes the screen to 1.78 inches with a resolution of 448x368. Both use AMOLED technology and support 3D Touch.
The Galaxy Watch is constructed out of polished stainless steel, and covers its display in Corning Gorilla Glass DX+ (which is said to improve scratch resistance by 85 percent compared to the Gear S3). It is IP68 rated for water/dust resistance and is also MIL-STD-810G rated for durability and water resistance up to 5 atmospheres.
The Apple Watch Series 4 is available in two finishes. The entry-level models feature an aluminum body and have an Ion-X Glass display covering. This is somewhat similar to the Gorilla Glass that Apple uses on its iPhones, and while it is more scratch resistant than previous iterations, it isn't invincible. More expensive variants are available with a stainless steel body and sapphire display glass which is highly resilient to scratching. You'd have to try really hard to wreck one of these displays. The back of the watch is now covered by ceramic on all Series 4 models, making it easier for Wi-Fi and LTE signals to penetrate.
Performance and Battery Life
The Galaxy Watch is powered by Samsung's own dual-core Exynos 9110 processor that operates at 1.15GHz. It is paired with 768MB of RAM and 4GB of internal storage for Bluetooth+Wi-Fi models, while the LTE models double the RAM and keeps the same amount of internal storage.
The Galaxy Watch comes with either a 472 mAh or 270 mAh battery depending on which size you select, and Samsung claims 4 days of battery life with the former. In our testing we found that the watch lasted over 5 days with regular use (even after enduring a boatload of nonfictions and workouts).
The Apple Watch Series 4 uses a new 64-bit S4 processor which Apple says is twice as fast as what you'll find in the Series 3. Internal storage stands at 16GB. Apple hasn't disclosed battery sizes for the Apple Watch Series 4 (that will likely have to wait for the inevitable teardown), but it does say that endurance will be the same as the Series 3: around 18 hours. However, in our own testing, this figure is closer to two days with regular use (with the Series 2 and Series 3). In either instance, it's still far less than what Samsung can achieve with the Galaxy Watch.
Sensors, Communications, and Health Features
The Galaxy Watch features an accelerometer, gyroscope, barometer and a heart rate monitor. The standard model comes with Bluetooth+Wi-Fi, but you can also opt for model with LTE (which will come at a later date). It can serve as a highly effective fitness tracker, as it is able to auto-detect various activities like walking, running, and even swimming. It can also help you through your day with breathing exercises and can serve as a sleep tracker at night. And as an added bonus, the Galaxy Watch can be used to control your SmartThings deices and with Samsung Pay.
The Apple Watch Series 4 contains all of the sensors that you'd find in the Galaxy Watch (save for SmartThings and Samsung Pay integration for obvious reasons), but also adds in a few twists. The new accelerometer has "fall detection", so it can tell if you have taken an accidental spill (be it by slipping on a banana peel or tripping over a curb). It can even automatically call 911 if you are inactive up to a minute after the initial tumble.
The Series 4 ups the ante, however, with an electrocardiogram (ECG) -- the first such over-the-counter device available to U.S. consumers. It's been certified by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and will give you your heart rhythm classification after placing a finger onto the flat surface of the digital crown for 30 seconds. The Apple Watch Series 4, like the Galaxy Watch, is also available with optional LTE for on-the-go connectivity and call-making without a smartphone.
The Galaxy Watch has an MSRP of $329 for the 42mm model and $349 for the 44mm model. Pricing for the LTE models is not yet available.
The Apple Watch Series 4 covers a wide range of price points. The entry-level aluminum models are priced from $399 and $429 respectively for the 40mm and 44mm case sizes, while LTE adds another $100 to the total for each. Stainless steel models start at $699 for the 40mm and $749 for the 44mm -- both come standard with LTE connectivity.
As you can see, both the Galaxy Watch and Apple Watch Series 4 are compelling smartwatches that offer a number of features for your connected lifestyle and fitness regimen. For the best experience, iPhone users have no choice but to go with the Apple Watch while Android users will get the most out of the Galaxy Watch. However, for iPhone users that would prefer a round display, the Galaxy Watch is a workable solution with Samsung’s iOS companion app.