Samsung's latest competitor to the Apple Watch is here: the Galaxy Watch, a R5,500 (and up) fitness-focused smartwatch.
Samsung introduced the new smartwatch on stage at its Unpacked event last week. The Galaxy Watch isn't Samsung's first wearable, but it's the first with the Galaxy brand name — in the past, Samsung's smartwatches have been under the "Gear" branding.
The Galaxy Watch also sets itself apart with two key features: battery life (the watch can last up to four days on a single charge, Samsung says) and a rotating crown that lets you control the watch like a dial. Plus, it looks more like a standard watch than most other smartwatches on the market, Apple Watch included.
Still, Apple Watch is the best-selling smartwatch in the world, and Samsung faces an uphill battle if it wants to unseat Apple as the queen of smartwatches.
So as the Apple Watch and the Galaxy Watch prepare to go head-to-head — the Galaxy Watch will be available in South Africa in September — here's how the two watches are similar and different.
The Galaxy Watch will start at R5,500 in South Africa. (Samsung hasn't said if there's a price increase for the cellular version of the Galaxy Watch, which is coming later this year.) That is the same price as the 38 mm Apple Watch Series 3 with GPS.
The Apple Watch can track workouts like running, cycling, lap swimming, and high-intensity interval training. It also has guided meditation built in, and activity rings that track how much you move, exercise, and stand.
The Galaxy Watch has 39 built-in workouts, and can automatically track six of them. Like the Apple Watch, the Galaxy Watch also has guided meditation and breathing exercises, but it can also track your sleep cycle and calorie count.
Both the Galaxy Watch and Apple Watch are waterproof and can be worn while swimming.
Note that you'll only be able to stream music if you have the cellular version of both watches.
The Galaxy Watch has Samsung Pay, while the Apple Watch has Apple Pay.
The Galaxy Watch has Samsung's Bixby, while the Apple Watch has Siri.
You're not restricted to the bands that both companies make for their watches, either — it's easy to find third-party bands what will work with both the Apple Watch and the Galaxy Watch.
The 42 mm Galaxy Watch weighs 49 g, while the 38 mm GPS Apple Watch weighs 26.7 g. Even the biggest Apple Watch Series 3 — the 42 mm watch with GPS and cellular — weighs significantly less than the Galaxy Watch: 34.9 g compared to 63 g.
The Apple Watch Series 3 is compatible with an iPhone 5s or newer that's running iOS 11 or later. The Galaxy Watch, on the other hand, is compatible with both iPhone 5 or newer running iOS 9 or later, and smartphones running Android 5 or later (you can find a full list of compatible smartphones on Samsung's website).
Samsung says that the 42 mm Galaxy Watch can get 2-3 days of battery life, while the 46 mm watch can get 3-4 days. Those battery life estimates are with GPS and cellular use factored in. The Apple Watch Series 3 gets up to 18 hours of battery life, but that varies considerably based on how you're using the watch (you can read more about the Apple Watch's battery life on Apple's website).
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