Apple finally unveiled their answer to Google’s Android Wear platform, officially called the Apple Watch – not the “iWatch” as so many tech pundits believed. It’s not a secret either that Apple has a lot of competition. In light of that, we’ve decided to pit the two platforms in a head-to-head matchup: Apple Watch vs Android Wear.
Apple Watch vs Android Wear
The smartwatch market is more than just a little saturated at the moment, with a ton of options already available and even more on the way. By the time the Apple Watch drops in early 2015, Android Wear will have been around for over a half a year. That’s plenty of time to mature, and plenty of time for Google to work out the kinks and add new software features. That said, Apple is no pushover – they will certainly be bringing a formidable product to the table.
We’re going to be looking at the Moto 360, LG G Watch and Samsung Gear Live for Android Wear since they were the first available, and of course the Apple Watch on Apple’s side of the playing field. Keep in mind, this is meant to be more of a comparison between the two platforms as opposed to a review.
The LG G Watch and Samsung Gear Live both have square shaped displays, while the Moto 360 has a rather uncommon round display. The LG G includes a 1.65″ LCD IPS, the Samsung Gear Live includes a 1.63″ Super AMOLED, while the Moto 360 includes a 1.56″ LCD IPS. All three watch displays are protected by Corning Gorilla Glass 3, which is scratch-resistant.
It’s difficult to say who wins in this category especially since we don’t yet have an Apple Watch in-hand to make a true comparison. In terms of design the Moto 360 wins, because the round display looks fantastic. That said, the Moto 360 also suffers because a small sliver of the screen is unusable – it houses the ambient light sensor among others. In addition, Samsung’s Super AMOLEDs look great right along with Apple’s Retina displays. We’re going to say it’s a tie across both platforms.
This is another area that’s going to be difficult to compare, because Apple hasn’t officially stated the resolution of their Watch screen. Popular speculation points to it being 320×400.
If that is indeed the case, it’s definitely better than the Gear Live’s 320×320, LG G’s 280×280 and Moto 360’s 320×320.
Apple wins this category – if all the speculation turns out to be true.
Storage and Memory
Some folks believe that Apple is going to push the envelope in terms of storage capacity by offering 8GB, 16GB, and maybe even 32GB options for their Watch. If they follow other manufacturers in the industry – which is more likely – we’ll see 4GB and 8GB models.
For memory, the Apple Watch is probably packing 512MB of RAM which is also standard in the industry. The Moto 360, LG G, and Samsung Gear Live all include 4GB of storage and 512MB of RAM. Therefore, we have another tie.
The only watch in the group that does not include a heart-rate sensor is the LG G Watch. The Moto 360, Samsung Gear Live and Apple Watch all include one, as well as an accelerometer, digital compass, gyroscope and more.
We’d say this category is pretty even, as well. That said, it does not mean one of the platforms cannot excel when it comes to tracking related data software-wise. For instance, the Apple Watch will likely be stock tailored (native apps) to track a wide variety of health and fitness data more so than some of the Android Wear devices.
Surprisingly, all of the aforementioned watches support custom bands. Of course, Apple Watch users are going to have to purchase proprietary bands. On the other hand, the Moto 360, LG G Watch and Samsung Gear Live all support 22mm bands.
We’re going with another tie for this category.
Apple Watch vs Android Wear
So far, it looks like the Apple Watch vs Android Wear mashup is pretty even. If this were a sports game it would be damn interesting. Unfortunately for us, it’s not.
Let’s keep going.
All of the aforementioned smartwatches require a connected smartphone via Bluetooth in order to use most features. The only exception is the Samsung Gear S which is a standalone device and includes support for SIM cards and 3G networks. It was not one of the original launch devices for Android Wear, however.
Instead of factoring this in as a tie we’re just going to say it’s irrelevant for now. Both Android Wear and Apple Watch platforms require a compatible and connected smartphone to take full advantage of.
The Apple Watch is rumored to last a full day, requiring a proper juicing every night. The same pattern is true of the LG G Watch, Samsung Gear Live and Moto 360. To be honest, under heavy use, you’d be lucky if any of those devices lasted a full day. We’re going to mark this one down as another tie. If Apple decides to launch their Watch with a bigger and longer-lasting battery we’ll revisit this category later.
Apple has already said that when their Watch debuts in 2015, it will start at $349. There may – or may not – be more expensive models offered too.
Android Wear devices are much cheaper. The LG G is $179, the Samsung Gear Live is $199 and the Moto 360 is $249. As you can clearly see, even the most expensive Android Wear watch is still cheaper than the Apple Watch. That’s not even including the fact that for both platforms you need a newer smartphone; Android requires 4.3 and up while Apple requires generation 5 and up.
Android Wear is the obvious winner when it comes to price.
Apple Watch vs Android Wear: And the Winner Is…
It’s almost a complete tie. Even though Apple will most likely win in the resolution category, Android Wear wins in the price category – while every other category is a tie.
One thing becomes rather obvious while you’re looking at all of these different features; it doesn’t matter whether you’re a hardcore Android fan, or a hardcore Apple fan you’re getting the same experience on both platforms when it comes to hardware. It goes without saying, the software running on each platform is going to be different.
As we’ve said before, the real power and success that will – hopefully – come along with the Apple Watch will be due to Apple’s software and user experience. They may be onto something with the digital crown that offers a rather unique control scheme when compared to other wrist-worn devices. It will also be interesting to see how Siri and their voice controls work. On the Android Wear front, Google Now works fantastic – especially on the Moto 360 thanks to the dual-mic support.
You can get your hands on one of the three Android Wear devices talked about here, right now. In addition, there are plenty of other options on the way and already available too. The Apple Watch won’t be available until sometime in 2015, and it’s going to carry a much higher premium.
How many of you are going to wait for the Apple Watch?