Gadget Buddies setting the time straight

Gadget Buddies setting the time straight

Gadget Buddies Imran Khan looks at the smart watches on the market and compares the Samsung Gear S3 vs Apple Watch Series 2.

Technology manufacturers are surging ahead to get their wearable devices onto your wrists. We saw the fitbit craze enter the market with vigor but while it was a hit, it soon became a device that fell prey to the tech giants. The smart watch world needed watches that the everyday person could wear and one that could fit with everyday fashion. Samsung and Apple did this with the release of their classically styles smart watches. The big question on everyone’s lips is which one should you spending your money on?

The first thing we looked at is shape; the age old debate of square versus round dials. In terms of daily use both watches feature class leading touch screens. Apple has went for a look that almost aims to replicate having a mini Smartphone on your wrist, while Samsung has gone with the safe design of a normal round dial wrist watch. If you like big watches, then the Samsung is the one for you, but if you prefer a more discreet looking watch that’s sleeker, grab the Apple.

One of the biggest challenges faced by all smart watch makers is trying to find ways to make interacting with a smaller wrist worn device with a touch screen display more intuitive. Apple’s answer was to take the traditional watch crown and put a modern twist on it, letting you do things like scroll through notifications or even select apps. Samsung took a different approach, with its rotating bezel around the watch face allowing you to scroll through the Gear S3’s menu screens, or to turn the volume down on your music.

As far as improving those smart watch interactions, the rotating bezel still does a fine job and Samsung continues to add more functionality to make it even more useful. Apple has by no means done a bad job with trying to reinvent the watch crown, but it still feels a bit fiddly to operate the many features it has been assigned to control. We applaud both for taking two very different approaches, but we’d be inclined to say that Samsung has done a better job on this front so far.

Both Apple and Samsung have made a concerted effort to make fitness and sports tracking a big part of their respective smart watches – especially in the case of Apple. The Series 2 includes built-in GPS and a waterproof design to take advantage of new pool and open swimming tracking modes. There’s also a heart rate sensor on board and it doubles as a fitness tracker to count your steps and give you a motivational push to keep you active during the day.

Samsung matches Apple by adding GPS as well so you can leave your Smartphone behind. There’s also a heart rate monitor, barometer and speedometer to track your outdoor activity. It can automatically recognize a series of activities and can even count reps, plus it also doubles as a Fitbit replacement.

If we had to recommend one of these smart watches right now, the Apple Watch Series 2 would be our pick. We are willing to overlook its shortcomings, particularly in the battery department, to say that Apple’s second generation Watch offers a better overall experience. We like the design and watch OS continues to improve, while sports tracking features are a major plus.

That is not to say that there is not plenty to like about the Gear S3, as well as reasons why people might opt for it over the Series 2. That rotating bezel offers more than Apple’s digital crown, fitness tracking features supported by S Health impress and while we continue to bemoan the Tizen app support, the operating system on the whole works very well. If you really care about battery life and you’re happy to live with that big watch body, then the Gear S3 will probably be the better fit.