We compare Samsung Galaxy Watch vs Apple Watch Series 4: Best doesn't always win

Apple just announced its latest Apple Watch about a month after Samsung revealed the Galaxy Watch. Both are excellent smartwatches with a focus on health and fitness, and while one is a better value, the other is likely to sell millions more.
Written by Matthew Miller, Contributing Writer

Usage statistics reveal that one of the primary uses of a smartwatch is health and fitness tracking. As a result, Samsung's Galaxy Watch (see our full review) and the Apple Watch Series 4 enhance and promote these features. Neither can provide as much as a focused GPS sports watch, but they are both adequate for the masses.

Samsung and Apple each have a different approach to the smartwatch, with Samsung going the more traditional route, as its Galaxy Watch has a round design with a slick rotating bezel to help you quickly navigate. Apple continues to release its square Apple Watch with touch gestures and a small spinning digital crown used for navigation. Both are optimized for ease-of-use now that Apple and Samsung have released several generations of smartwatches.

Also: Apple Watch Series 4 doubles down on digital health: Features, specs, prices

Taking a closer look at the tale of the tape and comparing specs of these two new smartwatches, we have the following:

Watch Galaxy Watch Apple Watch 4
Display (large size) 1.3 inch, 360x360 res Super AMOLED 1.78 inch, 368 x 448 pixels OLED Retina
Dimensions 46x49x13 mm, 63 grams 44x38x10.7mm, 48 grams
Water resistance 50m 50m
Materials Stainless steel Aluminum and stainless steel
Storage 4GB 16GB
Battery life 4 to 6 days Up to 18 hours
Price $349.99 $399 to $799

Some key differences to note in the specifications is that the Samsung Galaxy Watch has one material (stainless steel), while the lower price Apple Watch is aluminum and the higher price model is stainless steel. The Galaxy Watch is priced less than the Apple Watch and in some models is half the price of an Apple Watch Series 4.

Battery life is interesting, with Apple advertising one full day (up to 18 hours), and Samsung advertising four to six days. In my experience, the Samsung Galaxy Watch can realistically go about three days with regular usage and the always-on display disabled, but it will last longer than the Apple Watch.

Also: Apple Watch Series 4 starts at $399, packs larger displays and EKG sensor CNET

One function that Samsung supports, thanks to this long battery life, is sleep tracking. The newest version of Tizen, Samsung's wearable OS, and the Galaxy Watch support advanced sleep tracking with REM, light, and deep sleep modes identified when you wear the watch at night. Sleep is a very important health statistic and is one major function lacking in the Apple Watch Series 4.

Health and wellness is a focus of both watches, with Apple focusing on the heart rate tracking capabilities, as the new model will function as a single-lead electrocardiogram to help indicate if you have a heart rhythm irregularity. The last-generation heart rate monitoring capability even helped ZDNet's Jason Perlow discover a heart irregularity that may have saved his life. Apple also provides fall detection on the Apple Watch, which may make it a very compelling product for older generations where falls can be very dangerous.

Also: Photos: 15 essential Apple Watch apps for busy professionals TechRepublic

Both watches support automatic workout detection, so they can track and record data even if you forget to press start for your exercise. Samsung Health is used to gather data on the Galaxy Watch, while Apple Health is used on the Apple Watch.

The Apple Watch Series 4 can only be used with an iPhone, while the Galaxy Watch works with iOS and Android, so you can use the Galaxy Watch no matter which smartphone you own. Both smartwatches support a plethora of band options so both support fully customizing your wearable experience.

The Samsung Galaxy Watch offers more for less and is a very compelling smartwatch, but millions of people love their Apple Watch, and we will see Apple sell millions more next week. Stay tuned for more on the new Apple Watch Series 4 as we put it through its paces.

iPhone 2018 first look: Apple's launch event scene by scene (pictures)


Apple can win electronic medical record game with Health Records in iOS 11.3: Here's 7 reasons why

Apple's enterprise footprint, approach to privacy and partnerships will give it an edge with Health Records, a feature in iOS 11.3 to position the company in medical health records.

Samsung inadvertently admits Apple got some things right

At its Unpacked event, Samsung insisted it wants everything to work together now. Does that remind you of anyone?

Apple watchOS 5 adds new activity, communication features

The new communication features come in the form of a new Walkie-Talkie mode that works over cellular and WiFi, along with more interactive notifications.

Apple stays top of slowing wearables market

The global wearables market grew by 1.2 percent for Q1 2018, lower than the 18 percent year-on-year growth registered a year ago, as consumers opt for smarter wearable devices.

Could your Apple Watch save your life? How smartwatch sensors could help tackle a dangerous heart condition

A collaboration between Cupertino and Stanford University's medical school is aiming to conduct what could be the biggest research study into atrial fibrillation.

Apple's healthcare plans under the microscope: From iPhone apps to Apple Watch and what comes next

The way healthcare data is gathered, shared, and understood could all be set for a sea-change if Apple becomes consumers' and providers' med-tech supplier of choice.

Apple Watch accurately detects hypertension and sleep apnea, study finds

The study was conducted by health startup Cardiogram and UCSF and followed more than 6,000 subjects

Apple Watch 4 vs Samsung Galaxy Watch vs Polar Vantage: Comparing their heart monitoring capabilities

Today's newest watches employ advanced heart rate monitoring and analysis to help us better understand our hearts and obtain early warnings of possible serious health issues.

Editorial standards