If you thought the perpetual movement found in a Rolex Watch made it a Smart Watch, think again. The best smartwatch today relies on recent technologies to allow wearers to do more than tell the time and date. Most smart watches sync with the users’ smartphone so they can read and respond to messages, check the score of the baseball game, or track their latest workout. Because most smartwatches vary in price, there are obviously differences in the functionality of the watch. Some of these differences are aesthetic, while others are based on functionality. This article compares different features of the Apple Smart Watch, Samsung Smart Watch, Android Smart Watch, and Fossil Smart Watch.
Apple Smart Watch
By far the prettiest of the bunch, the Apple Smart Watch has primarily advertised itself as a fashion statement, offering a variety of bands and watch faces. The screen comes in a size 38mm or 42 mm, and the Series 3 (latest model) is bright enough to see clearly in daylight. As with most smart watches, the battery life is subpar, particularly when using GPS. Even with light use and minimizing the GPS, the watch will only last a couple days before needing to be charged. App functionality on the device is good, particularly because most content is automatically synced to the user’s iPhone. This allows users to have more apps on their phone, including workout and productivity apps. The newest model of the smart watch is also waterproof to 50m, and has improved its ability to track workouts.
There are a few drawbacks to the Apple Smart Watch. While being able to speak to Siri (Apple’s virtual assistant) is largely helpful for completing tasks, Siri’s functionality has been questionable compared to other assistants like Google Assistant. Apple is also limited in that it cannot connect with any other phone besides the iPhone. Finally, the watch comes with a fairly large price tag. The cheapest Series 3 model starts at $329, with the most expensive running upwards of $1,399. Needless to say, depending on price point, the Apple Watch is far and away the best smart watch.
Samsung Smart Watch
While Apple has provided a singular product with multiple updates, Samsung has put in numerous entries for the best smart watch. The Samsung Gear Sport and the Samsung Gear S3 are among some of the Samsung models. The Samsung Gear Sport is waterproof to 50m and is designed first and foremost as a workout watch. The Samsung Gear S3 works with iPhones (unlike the other models), and can handle more apps than the Samsung Gear Sport. Unfortunately, the model is only water resistant not waterproof.
The Samsung Smart Watches rely on the S Voice, Samsung’s virtual assistant. The assistant doesn’t have high ratings and is often said to be slower than others like Siri, Cortana, and Google Assistant. Some reviewers have commented that the watch is fairly bulky, which may deter some women from wanting to wear the watch. Regarding pricing, the Samsung smartwatches vary. The Samsung Gear Sport starts at $300 and the Samsung Gear S3 starts at $350. Older models will be cheaper, but will come with less functionality than the newer models.
Android Smart Watch
For owners of Android phones wanting to find an Android Smart Watch, it might be confusing searching for an Android developed watch. What a quick search of the Internet will show is that there actually aren’t any phones developed by Android. Instead, Android has developed an operating system (like WatchOS by Apple) to allow other developers to create the best smartwatch that could be compatible with Android devices. There are over a dozen companies that have developed roughly 40 smart watches. These vary greatly in functionality, style, and cost, but this may be where the best smart watch of the future emerges. Many of these are also compatible with iPhones.
Fossil Smart Watch
Some of the smart watches that use the Android operating system are those developed by Fossil. There are numerous smart watches by Fossil, including the Q Venture and Q Explorist. As the company is a fashion brand, it’s no surprise the watches are quite stylish but are not necessarily designed for sportwear. In terms of wear, the watch screens are fairly large (42mm to 44mm), but they are thin in design. The company has also considered women when designing the watches, and offer smaller designs.
Previous versions (pre gen 3) suffered from the “flat tire” issue of having a small black bar on the bottom of the watch screen, but luckily this has been corrected. It looks like a regular mechanical watch, meaning the watch is designed to be used mainly for communication, planning, and productivity. The watches cost between $255 – $275, but depend on band style and add-ons. In summary, Fossil has good style, but has a way to go before laying claim to being the best smart watch.
(For further options, read this review of the Sony Smartwatch.)