Have we got a good one for you today - the Sony SmartWatch 3 (SW3) up against the Samsung Gear S. It is Android Wear versus Samsung's Tizen, it is conservative looking smartwatch versus the big and beautiful and it is an anchored device versus a standalone phone within a smartwatch...yes, we have it all here in this one comparison.
Despite their differences, they do have several things in common. The processors stack up pretty well with each other, they both have 512MB of RAM and both enjoy 4GB of internal storage. Neither smartwatch has room to expand the internal storage nor do either have a camera. They both have the usual Bluetooth (SW3 uses 4.0 and the Gear S has 4.1), both are Wi-Fi ready, both have a Gyro, Accelerometer, Compass, GPS and a microphone. Both are dust and water resistant, although the SW3 has an IP68 rating and the Gear S has an IP67 rating.
That is where the similarities end and they take on their own personalities. Check out the detailed Specification sheet below and you can see exactly how they stack up against one another. After that, we will take a look at each individual smartwatch, point out some pros and cons, and then try to determine the winner of this comparison.
Sony SmartWatch 3
Sony has been making some sort of smartwatch for a number of years...long before 'wearables' became an everyday word, and this year we saw them take a huge step from the SW2 to the SW3. We are happy that they embraced the Android Wear operating system, making it a legitimate contender in the new line of smartwatches. In contrast to its predecessor, the SW3 is a more utilitarian sort of design - gone is the square face, glass and metal design for a fully coated rubberized material, more in the shape of a rectangle. It should attract a younger crowd and look right at home at a pool party or in a high school/college setting rather than at a dinner party.
It comes with a 1.60-inch TFT LCD display with a resolution of 320 x 320 pixels and 278 pixels-per-inch (PPI) - not as big or beautiful as the Gear S display, but easier to see outdoors. It has a Quad ARM 7 clocked a 1.2GHz which is about equivalent to the Snapdragon 400 dual-core found in the Gear S. They both have the same 512MB of RAM and 4GB of internal storage. The watch 'head' itself can be snapped out and in of different colored bands - this could even lend Sony or a third party manufacturer designing a pocket watch holder or even a necklace/pendant option.
Besides the 'usual' features we listed in the introduction, the SW3 also has an ambient light sensor, is NFC ready, and it can work with ANY Android smartphone running Android 4.3 or higher. It is also running the Android Wear O/S so it can take advantage of the Google Now features and the "Ok, Google" commands. It has a larger 420mAh battery, although the Gear S's 300mAh battery will easily make it through one or two days, depending on usage. The SW3 with its own GPS, works with Sony's LifeLog platform app to track your lifestyle. The SW3 charges via a normal microUSB port with no extra charging cradle needed. The Sony SmartWatch 3 can be purchased in the Google Play Store for $249.99.
Samsung Gear S
The Samsung Gear S is a real showstopper in looks...mainly because it is so big. It has the largest display of any smartwatch set at a size of 2-inches, but Samsung wisely curved it so it does not look like you have a mini smartphone strapped to your wrist. It is definitely a premium looking device, but at the same time, it is definitely a techno magnetic for those around you - wear this to the office party and expect a lot of questions and requests for demonstrations. Samsung tried to keep its form under control, while giving you the most in functionality.
The Gear S comes with a huge 2-inch, curved Super AMOLED display with a resolution of 360 x 480 pixels and 300 PPI - it is a brilliant and beautiful display, hampered only by outdoor sunlight. Its Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 dual-core processor clocked at 1.0GHz is certainly up for any tasks that Tizen can throw its way. Just like the SW3, the Gear S comes with 512MB of RAM and 4GB of internal memory.
Besides the usual features that we mentioned in the introduction, the Gear S does add one important feature that no other smartwatch has - 3G connectivity with its own SIM card and monthly carrier fee to cover the device. This means you can actually receive and make phone calls using your Gear S without the help of your smartphone...pretty cool stuff. It also packs a Barometer, Heart Rate Monitor, UV Light Sensor, microphone and loudspeaker and comes in either Black or White.
It runs on Samsung's own Tizen software and comes with a 300mAh battery that will get you through 2 days with light - normal usage, although it does use Samsung's clunky charging cradle that snaps on the back of the Gear S. Unlike the SW3 that will run with ANY Android smartphone running Android 4.3 or higher, you must use a Samsung smartphone with the Gear S, to at least set it up. The Gears S can be purchased at Best Buy, Verizon or AT&T on a two-year contract for $199 or off contract can range from $300 - $399.
...And The Winner Is...
This was really a tough one and you know how I despise ties, so I am picking the Samsung Gear S as the winner in this comparison - the only two big caveats are the Tizen O/S and the fact that you need a Samsung smartphone. I hate being tied into one brand for everything and it upsets me that Samsung does not allow the use of ANY Android device, but that Gear S is such a beautiful looking device, I had to go with it.
I realize that the Sony SmartWatch 3 will allow you to take a run without your smartphone to track your distance/direction with its own built-in GPS and that you can use a Bluetooth headset to list to downloaded songs on the SW3 as you run, walk or sit. However, the Gear S will do that and a whole lot more - you can answer a phone call, make a phone call, receive and answer emails, send/receive text messages, browse the internet and so on.
Cost wise, they are both expensive, but with the Gear S you can buy it on a two-year contract for $199, and yes, you will have to pay $10 - $20 a month for the device to run on your carrier...after all, you can make phone calls, send and receive messages and browse the internet without going through your smartphone.
So it comes down to your circumstances - if you already own a Samsung smartphone, it is no big deal, but if not, then is having the Gear S worth switching phones to purchase...probably not. Please hook up with us on our Google+ Page and let us know which device you like better and WHY...as always, we would love to hear from you.