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Android Headliner: What Makes the Apple Watch Better than Android Wear?

March 14, 2015 - Written By Alexander Maxham

Nothing.

Okay, that’s not exactly true, there are a few cool features that the Apple Watch has over Android Wear, but they aren’t something that Google couldn’t add in an OTA update. This week, Apple reminded us about the Apple Watch and also let us know when we can pre-order one as well as the price. The prices weren’t pretty at all. Ranging from $349, all the way up to $17,000. Yes, that’s three zeros behind that 17. Pretty insane right? And we thought that the Moto 360, LG G Watch R and a few other Android Wear smartwatches were expensive. But hey we’re not here to focus on the price.

Android Wear is almost a year old now. It’s come a long way in its short lifetime. Gaining more apps, more watch faces, more features with even more to come in a future update. The Apple Watch is on generation one. Which means the software will be far from perfect, and so will the hardware. But Apple enthusiasts are going to buy them, why? Because Apple made it, and it works with their iPhone. I do use Apple products, I’m not one of those Android users that hates Apple, I enjoy their products but do prefer Android over iOS. And I can say that I wouldn’t be buying an Apple Watch even if I had an iPhone.

So what does the Apple Watch have that Android Wear doesn’t? Well, the most interesting feature to me is the Apple Pay. Being able to pay for a cup of coffee with your smartwatch is pretty darn cool. We can’t do that yet with Android Wear, but I’m sure that’s not far off. Especially with Google really getting serious about mobile payments with their upcoming Android Pay framework. The fitness aspect of the Apple Watch is pretty sweet, and ties into their whole Health Kit initiative they announced last year. But it’s not perfect. For one, the Apple Watch isn’t completely waterproof, meaning you can’t take it swimming or in the shower. But it’s fine for washing your hands and sweat from working out.

I’m going to play devils advocate here. While the Apple Watch has a few cool features that most of us might use, there’s also the battery life issue. I’ve heard all kinds of complaints about Android Wear battery life, which will get you through a full day, usually. However, Apple is promising just 18 hours of battery out of the Apple Watch. What? Just 18 hours? Yeah, not even a full 24 hours, and if you’re a heavy user of your watch (for instance, when I’m traveling I use my Moto 360 a whole lot more than I would when I’m at home), then you may not even make it through your full work day. That’s just sad and a bit of a bummer for a lot of people.

The Apple Watch is a good start for Apple, but it’s no real competitor for Android Wear, yet. I am a huge Android fan and have been using Android for almost 6 years now. But I love competition. Competition is a win/win for the consumer, meaning me and you. If Apple can really compete with Android Wear and even Pebble, then we might see some really cool things coming out of wearables. But for now, it’s just overpriced tech.