It’s still early in the race to build the ultimate wearable mobile companion for your smartphone, but it appears the smart watch trend is one that isn’t fading away (yet). The technology is still developing, but the two early leaders in the game (outside of the Pebble) are Samsung and it’s Galaxy Gear and Sony with it’s Smartwatch 2. Which device will look best and provide you with a reason to spend a couple hundred dollars on a device that requires you to own an expensive smartphone just to use it? We take a look at both of the offerings from these tech giants to see which smart watch would be a smart buy for you.
Samsung Galaxy Gear
Sony Smartwatch 2
|Size||36.8 x 56.6 x 11.1 (mm)||41.1 x 41.6 x 8.9 (mm)|
|Weight||74g||48g (silicon strap)/123g (metal)|
|Screen||1.63-inch Super AMOLED||1.6-inch LCD|
|Resolution||320 x 320 pixels||176 × 220 pixels|
|Processor||800MHz Exynos processor||180MHz ARM Cortex-M4 processor|
|Connectivity||Galaxy Note 3, Note 10.1||Android 4.0+|
|Bluetooth||Version 4.0 + BLE||Version 3.0|
|Battery||25 hours (315mAh)||About 3 days|
|Charger||Micro USB||Micro USB|
|Marketplace||Galaxy Gear Manager||Sony Smart Connect|
|Compatibility||Galaxy Note 3, Galaxy Note 10.1 (2014)||Any Android 4.0+ device|
|Availability||AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, T-Mobile||Sony|
|DT Review||2.5 out of 5||3 out of 5|
Processor and Memory
Looking at the internals of these devices, the Galaxy Gear trumps the SmartWatch 2 in pretty much every category. It has a faster, more powerful processor to handle a heavier work load and power a bigger, more demanding screen. Sony has not disclosed the amount of memory or storage in its SmartWatch 2, but we know what the Galaxy Gear is equipped with: 1GB of RAM and 4GB of storage, capable of housing and running many apps. Despite not detailing the RAM or internal storage on its phone, Sony does have plenty of apps to choose from and install on its marketplace. So we guess you just keep installing them until you run out of space?
If you’re a person who likes a lot of choice when it comes to your accessories, the Galaxy Gear is the better option for you. While the Sony SmartWatch 2 comes with two different styles of bands, both are pretty much the same shade of black. The Galaxy Gear lets you get a little more creative with the colors, offering six choices. That said, the SmartWatch 2’s band is interchangeable, so you can get a different look, even if it stays the same color. The Galaxy Gear, because it comes with a camera built into it, doesn’t allow you to swap out bands for a new style.
One of the most limiting parts of the Galaxy Gear is the fact that it only connects with a couple devices (right now, only the Galaxy Note 3 and Galaxy Note 10.1 2014 Edition). Samsung says that other Samsung phones will be compatible, but they are not as of this writing. Still, though it can only connect to one phone, its functionality with the Note 3 exceeds what the SmartWatch 2 is capable of doing with any Android 4.0+ phone. The SmartWatch cannot answer phone calls or take photos, both of which the Galaxy Gear can do. That said, the Smartwatch 2 does have some advantages. Notifications are handled better on Sony’s watch than Galaxy Gear and it has more apps to choose from.
The Winner: Smartwatch 2
The Smartwatch 2 is less capable than the Galaxy Gear, but it does the basics better and it’s battery lasts about 3 days on standard usage, instead of 1-2. It is also able to connect with considerably more phones since it’s not limited to the latest Samsung phones. But again, it cannot make and receive calls or take pictures, so you’re missing out on the coolest parts of the Galaxy Gear. The SmartWatch 2 is lower powered and better at the basics, while the Galaxy Gear is pricier and more ambitious. Did we mention that it’s $100 cheaper?
You’ll likely make your decision here depending on the type of phone you have and what you’re looking to do with your watch. Honestly though, we are still waiting for the smartwatch that’s a ‘must-have’ item. Neither of these devices inspire us.