This September, Apple has joined the rest of the mobile world with NFC and large screens. They’ve also joined a bandwagon their fans have been predicting and begging for seemingly forever: wearable technology.
The Apple Watch – not iWatch, as many tech pundits had anticipated – joins a crowded field of smartwatches. The category has a small but fanatical fanbase, and with Apple finally putting its entry into the ring, all vendors will likely see an influx of customers beyond early adopters.
Smartwatches made to pair with Android phones have had a number of operating systems, but are now starting to unify under Android Wear. How do they all compare to the Apple Watch?
The only solid stat Apple gave for the size of its watch was its height: 42mm for the large model and 38mm for the smaller one. That’s a touch smaller than the Moto 360 diameter of 46mm, as well as the LG G’s height of 46.5mm. And it’s way smaller than the Samsung Gear Live at 56.4mm.
Since one of the main criticisms of smartwatches has been their bulk, the Apple Watch looks like a clear leader.
Apple hasn’t disclosed the resolution of its Watch screen. Speculation abounds, but the most educated guess I’ve seen, from blogger Paul Spranger counting pixels, is 320×400. That seems like a significant yet reasonable improvement over the Gear Live’s 320×320 and LG G’s 280×280.
Again, the Apple Watch seems superior – based on speculation.
Storage & Memory
Once again, Apple released no information about this crucial metric, but the standard guess is 4GB storage with 512MB RAM – exactly the same as every Android Wear watch available now. An analyst told AppleInsider that there might be an 8GB version.
The nine-axis sensor in smartphones is also standard in smartwatches, so you get features like an accelerometer, digital compass, and gyroscope. All but the LG G include a heart rate sensor as well.
Are smartwatches all that useful without being tethered to a smartphone? Generally speaking, no. They all still tell time, of course, and include some fitness tracking functionality with the aforementioned sensors.
While fashion is subjective, the sheer number of options the Apple Watch offers in terms of bands, sizes, and finishes puts it ahead of any Android Wear smartwatch. Then again, nearly all the watches use standard 22mm bands, so replacing the included band is relatively trivial.
This is the one area in which Android Wear is indisputably far ahead. The LG G is on sale for $179 until September 23. The Samsung Gear Live is $199. The Moto 360 is $249. Apple Watch, on the other hand, will start at $349.
Which is best?
Simply put, the Apple Watch is for loyal iPhone users, while Android aficionados have several Android Wear devices to choose from. If you’re more flexible about your next smartphone, Apple Watch will offer a bit more refinement than the current Android Wear options, but at a requisite higher cost.
If you believe Apple Watch is worth paying for, is it also worth waiting for? The LG G and Samsung Gear Live can be purchased right now; the Moto 360 is currently out of stock, but more will be available in the coming weeks. More Android Wear watches from Sony and Asus are imminent, having already made it to the wrists of reviewers. The Apple Watch won’t be out until sometime in 2015, by which time it’s likely even more advanced Android Wear watches will have debuted.
Now that Apple’s laid its smartwatch cards on the table, are you ready to buy? Will it be Apple Watch or Android Wear for you?