At its Galaxy Unpacked event on August 11th, Samsung announced the Galaxy Watch 4 at a starting price of $249.99. This smartwatch packs a whole new array of sensors, a 5nm SoC, and a new operating system made in collaboration with Google. With the capability of this device in mind, and its ability to work with Android-based devices, knowing how it stacks up against Apple’s wearable is a must. So, in this article, we pit the Galaxy Watch against the Apple Watch Series 6 to see how they’re different to help you gain a better understanding of the devices.
The wearable on your wrist is not only a device you depend upon for time but is now also considered a fashion piece. The Galaxy Watch 4 is more akin to a normal watch with a circular dial but it still has an air of sportiness to its design. The Apple Watch Series 6, on the other hand, has sported a squircle body since the first version.
For consumers interested in Galaxy Watch 4, there are two available case sizes, 40mm and 44mm, both of which are made with aluminum. As for interaction with the interface, Samsung once again is shipping an active bezel that can navigate through the menu options and has included two buttons for other actions.
With the Apple Watch, users can choose between two sizes, a 40mm or a 44mm case, but the sheer popularity of the wearable means there’s no shortage of variety in bands and other accessories. On one side of the Apple Watch’s case is a rotating knob, which Apple calls the Digital Crown — a side button that sits flush with the body and a microphone. Opposite to this is the speaker grille responsible for any audio output. The back of the watch is made with ceramic material and houses the sensors for monitoring heart rate and blood oxygen levels.
Technical Specifications and Battery
To handle the barrage of notifications and applications your phone passes over to your smartwatch, the Apple Watch features the S6 SiP, while the Galaxy Watch 4 has a new 5nm SoC. In terms of storage, Apple packs in 32GB, out of which approximately 25GB is available for users. For the Galaxy Watch 4, Samsung has made available a 16GB variant. We would presume users will have access to at least 10GB after the all-new OS is installed and bundled with system applications.
To ensure you can make use of the devices at all times, Apple has a battery capable of running for 18 to 24 hours between charges, whereas Samsung has a claimed 40 hour battery life. To charge the iPhone-exclusive wearable, you’ll need Apple’s custom pad at all times, while Galaxy Watch 4 can be charged with any Qi-enabled charger. You can even use the back of a phone that supports reverse wireless charging.
Having been using a Series 6 myself, Apple does seem to have the performance down, and its battery estimates are fairly accurate. But with Samsung’s history in making wearables, we believe they’ll match their claims and have made a device worth considering for Android phone owners.
Let’s now give you a deeper insight into what you can expect in terms of health. Samsung this year is leaning heavily on its all-new BioActive Sensor, which can measure three metrics — optical heart rate with a PPG Sensor, electrical heart rate via ECG, and a bioelectrical impedance analysis — with a single component. It also introduced the ability to measure body composition, which will give you a deeper understanding of fitness levels. This means factors like skeletal muscle, fat mass, BMI, body water levels, and basal metabolic rates will now be present for users who want more detailed metrics for better monitoring their physical health. Samsung has said the sensors on the device will capture 2,400 data points to give results with up to 98 percent accuracy.
With the Apple Watch, the sensors on its back can only provide information relating to your heart rate and blood oxygen levels. But it’s not that simple, as it can also provide notifications for when your heartbeat is irregular and run an ECG to give medical grade readings, approved for use in several countries. But these features were also available on the Galaxy Watch 3 and are improved on the newer version, so for health-based advances with Apple, we’ll have to wait until the rumored Series 7 comes out.
Should you pick the Apple Watch or Galaxy Watch 4?
So now we come to the question of which device you should buy. Well, the straightforward answer to this is if you have an iPhone, get an Apple Watch because of how well it ties into the ecosystem. Unfortunately considering the Galaxy Watch isn’t a possibility this year because it no longer supports users with an iPhone.
But if you’re on the Android side, with the all-new WearOS powered by Samsung and its better app and service support finally available, the Galaxy Watch 4 might be the competing device that users have been waiting for all this time.
Also, if you plan on getting the Galaxy Watch 4 and are in the market for a new phone to go along with it, make sure to check out our report on the brand new foldable devices from Samsung — the Z Fold 3 and Z Flip 3 — the latter of which is available at a starting price of $999. If you’re worried about protecting your investment, we also have a list of case options available for you to consider buying.