Apple Watch vs. the Competition: How Does the iWatch Compare?

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With the Apple Watch at last available to consumers, it’s time to take a look at the Apple Watch vs. the competition. How well does it stack up against alternatives from Pebble, LG, Samsung, and Moto? Let’s take a look.

Apple Watch vs. Everybody Else

Price

The Apple Watch (yes, people call it the iWatch, but Apple Watch is the official name) has a particularly high retail price. The cheapest model starts at $349 and quickly rises from there, up to thousands of dollars for a more advanced model.

None of the other competitors really reach this high. The closest is the Samsung Gear S, which is available for $349 (the price was recently lowered) but as the final price, not just a starting point. Other potential models start much lower. The Pebble Time is $199, the Moto 360 is $250, and the LG G Watch R is $299. End result: If you want the Apple Watch, you’ll have to pay more for it.

Battery

Not everyone is releasing full information for smartwatch battery life, but there’s enough data out there to compare. The Apple Watch has a battery life of 18 hours, after which it needs a recharge: This is one of the lowest battery life limits in the business. The LG G Watch R has battery life that lasts around a full day, as does the Samsung Gear S’s 300mAh battery and the Moto 360’s 320mAh battery. The Pebble Time watch scores particularly well here thanks to its minimalistic design, and can last up to 7 days on a single charge.

Apps

What apps can you expect with your smartwatch? Well, that depends in part what you download, but different watches have their own limitations. Here the Apple Watch probably tops them all with its multiple unique apps designed specifically for sharing drawings, fitness data, heartbeats, alerts and updates through that iWatch screen. Other smartwatches tend to be a bit more limited. Both LG and Samsung offer watches that run on Android Wear, but for now they seem to have fewer native apps and are more closely connected to smartphone apps. The Pebble Time, interestingly, can work with iOS and Android as well as other platforms, but offers only the basic apps. The Moto 360, meanwhile, offers a few Android Wear alerts and trackers but otherwise functions as a normal watch.

Sensors

Here the Apple Watch vs. the Moto 360 vs. the LG G Watch R leads to a near-tie. They have voice command mics, accelerometers, and heart rate monitors. The Apple Watch and G Watch R both have barometers as well, and Apple adds the unique Apple Pay NFC chip to its watch. The Pebble Time has only an accelerometer to its names.

The Samsung Gear S, however, does especially well in this area with an accelerometer, compass, heart rate monitor, light sensor, UV sensor, and barometer.

Wi-Fi

The Pebble Time doesn’t offer Wi-Fi connections, using Bluetooth instead. The LG G Watch R appears to have Wi-Fi capabilities, but they aren’t active yet. All the other top competitors have Wi-Fi.

Screen Size

Apple has a choice between a 1.32 and 1.5-inch screen, with different options for screen size, too. The Pebble Time has a small 1.25-inch e-paper screen. The Moto 360 offers a 1.56-inch LCD screen, while the G Watch R has a 1.3-inch screen but upgrades it to P-OLED quality. Samsung’s Gear S has the largest screen, a curved 2-inch display.

Power

The Apple Watch vs. competitors is a tough comparison here, because Apple uses an interesting new S1 processor, which we still don’t know much about. The Gear S has a 1GHz dual-core Snapdragon 400 processor, while the G Watch R has a 1.2GHz Snapdragon 400. The Pebble Time bows out with a 100MHz ARM Cortex M4, accompanied by the Moto 360 with a TI OMAP 3.

Style

All right, but which watch has the most style? Apple does well here with its trademark colors and sleek form, plus a choice between simple straps and metal for the more expensive models. The Moto 360 looks the most like a traditional watch if you want to go for a subtle look, but the G Watch R offers a hybrid form between traditional and new looks – although the strap remains basic. Samsung has that curved screen going for it, but little else. Pebble Time is notable: The smartwatch is available with both a simple plastic strap and a metal link strap with the Pebble Time Steel that really adds some class.

Photo Credit: Shinya Suzuki

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