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Samsung Galaxy Watch 2 vs Apple Watch 5 (2021): Can Samsung’s New Wearable Beat Apple’s?

Samsung and Apple are bitter rivals not just in the smartphone market, but in the smartwatch niche as well. Already, rumors and leaks have pointed to the Korean tech giant releasing the new Samsung Galaxy Watch 2 very soon this year. Here’s a look at the revealed specs and features so far and how they compare against the current smartwatch to beat, the Apple Watch Series 5.

Samsung Galaxy Watch 2 vs Apple Watch 5 Smartwatch Comparison Chart

ModelSamsung Galaxy Watch 2Apple Watch Series 5
Samsung Galaxy WatchApple Watch Series 5 - Gold Aluminum Case
PriceComing SoonCheck Price
Sizes40mm, 44mm40mm, 44mm
DisplaySuper AMOLED*Retina
Always-onYesYes
Screen Sizen/a1.78″
Dimensionsn/a1.73″ x 1.5″ x 0.42″
Weightn/a1.29 oz
Colorsn/a3
Call & Text AlertsYesYes
Water ResistanceUp to 50 metersUp to 50 meters
Heart Rate MonitorYesYes
ECG MonitorYesYes
PedometerYesYes
AltimeterYesYes
Calorie Burn TrackerYesYes
Sleep TrackingYesNo
Swim TrackingYesYes
Female Health TrackingYesYes
CompassNoYes
GPSBuilt-inBuilt-in
CellularAvailable*Available
Wi-FiYesYes
BluetoothYesYes
NFCYesYes
Storage8GB*32GB
CompatibilityiOS, AndroidiOS
Battery Lifen/a18 hours

Design

The Samsung Galaxy Watch 2 will match the sleek form of the Apple Watch Series 5.

Samsung Galaxy Watch 2 vs Apple Watch 5 Design
We’re betting that the Galaxy Watch 2 will follow the design of the Galaxy Watch Active2 (left) to more favorably match the Apple Watch Series 5 (right).

Despite the abundance of tech tipsters and leakers these days, none of them seem to have managed to get their hands so far on the upcoming Samsung Galaxy Watch 2. There are no images yet of what it looks like, or even whether it’s going to be called the Galaxy Watch 2 or the Galaxy Watch Active3. However, it’s been reported that Samsung has received a certification from China that clears several products for release, with model numbers SM-R840, SM-R845, SM-R850, and SM-R855.

With the recently released Galaxy Watch Active2 bearing the model number SM-R830, it’s near certain that Samsung’s newest smartwatches is set to arrive soon. Like previous releases, it will come in two sizes, likely in 40mm and 44mm models like the Active2. Moreover, the model numbering indicates variants for Wi-Fi only and Wi-Fi + LTE connectivity.

As to its design, we can only infer that the Galaxy Watch 2 will heavily favor the modern yet classy look of the Galaxy Watch Active2. It’s a coin toss as to whether Samsung will include the physical rotating bezel of the original Galaxy Watch or if the slicker digital version of the Active2 will stay. Either way, its round face offers a significantly different look from the Apple Watch Series 5.

Activity Tracking

The Galaxy Watch 2 will feature an ECG monitor like the Apple Watch Series 5.

Samsung Galaxy Watch 2 vs Apple Watch 5 Activity Tracking
Apple has been pushing the fitness and health tracking capabilities of the Apple Watch, but Samsung is catching up.

So far, the Apple Watch Series 5 has kept its lead in the health tracking department with its built-in ECG app in addition to its enhanced heart rate monitor. Moreover, it has a fall detection feature which can sense when you’ve taken a hard fall, prompting an emergency SOS function that lets you call health services or your emergency contact. It also has Cycle Tracking so you can record information about your menstrual cycles easily.

Samsung aims to finally catch up with the Galaxy Watch 2. If you recall, the Galaxy Watch Active2 already had an electrocardiogram (ECG) that can monitor heart rhythm and send you an alert of possible danger. However, they weren’t able to receive official clearance to activate the feature for actual use. But now that the Ministry of Food and Drug Safety in South Korea have approved the Samsung Health Monitor app, the Galaxy Watch 2 could be the first of its line to offer this key health tracker.

In addition, you can expect the Galaxy Watch 2 to keep all of the fitness tracking capabilities of the Active2. It should compare favorably with the Apple Watch 5 in terms of tracking your workouts and calculating calorie burn. One area that Apple still hasn’t nailed down yet on its smartwatch is sleep tracking, but it’s likely due to battery life. The Galaxy Watch 2 should be able to help you track sleep quality just like its predecessors.

Smart Features

The Apple Watch 5 has a larger app library and music storage than the Galaxy Watch 2.

Samsung Galaxy Watch 2 vs Apple Watch 5 Smart Features
With the immense WatchOS library of the Apple Watch 5, you’ll find it easier to get the app you need.

Apple’s WatchOS library is much bigger and deeper than the Galaxy Store, and that’s not going to change anytime soon. So in terms of app diversity and availability, you’re much likelier to find the perfect app with the Apple Watch Series 5. Call and text notifications are a standard feature on both, as are a mic and speaker, so you’ll be able to reply to SMS by speaking into either smartwatch.

As mentioned, the Galaxy Watch 2 will have Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and NFC connectivity, matching the Apple Watch 5 easily. A Wi-Fi + LTE variant is also available, allowing Galaxy Watch 2 users to get cellular reception so they can leave their phones at home. Both this and the GPS+Cellular option of the Apple Watch 5 does cost roughly $100 more though and require their own network subscription plans.

Both smartwatches let you control music playback via different apps but they also let you store songs on the devices themselves. There’s a lot more music storage on the Apple Watch 5 than the Galaxy Watch 2, even if the rumors about an 8GB storage are true, since there’s 32GB available on the Apple model.

With built-in GPS and NFC, you can go fully mobile just wearing the Galaxy Watch 2 or Apple Watch 5 for outdoor workouts. GPS accuracy on the Apple Watch 5 is pretty impressive, as is that of the original Galaxy Watch. You can make contactless payments via Samsung Pay or Apple Pay, but finding checkouts that accept them will be the bigger challenge.

Battery Life and Other Features

The Galaxy Watch 2 will have a longer battery life than the Apple Watch 5.

Samsung Galaxy Watch 2 vs Apple Watch 5 Battery Life
Samsung is increasing the battery size of the Galaxy Watch 2 so it can last for days.

One of the few weaknesses of the Apple Watch Series 5 is its battery life. Fully charged, it’s listed to only provide up to 18 hours of power to the device, which can get reduced even further if you switch the display to Always On mode or turn the GPS on. If you want to use it everyday, you’ll likely need to take it off at some point during the day to recharge it.

Well, the original Galaxy Watch or the Galaxy Watch Active 2 aren’t too impressive either in this regard, especially compared to other smartwatches from Fitbit, Garmin, etc. However, they can outlast the Apple Watch 5 with a battery life of 18 to 24 hours, and longer on the larger sizes. Moreover, the Galaxy Watch 2 is rumored to have a larger 330 mAh battery compared to the 270 mAh of the first one.

Finally, it’s very important to discuss compatibility, since smartwatches require having a supported smartphone for many things. As you can safely assume, the Apple Watch Series 5 only pairs with iOS devices, so you better have an iPhone or iPad to get the most out of it. The Samsung Galaxy Watch 2, however, will work with both Android and iOS devices, though they’re best paired with Galaxy smartphones of course.

Verdict

The Galaxy Watch 2 might just outperform the Apple Watch Series 5.

Samsung Galaxy Watch 2

Samsung Galaxy Watch

Apple Watch Series 5

Apple Watch Series 5 - Gold Aluminum Case

We’ll have to wait for the actual reveal to fully compare Samsung’s latest smartwatch with the current standard, but so far we’re pretty optimistic about the Galaxy Watch 2. With a longer battery life, full connectivity, and a comprehensive suite of fitness and health tracking features, it looks to be a more attractive option than the Apple Watch Series 5 especially if it’s launched at a lower price point.

Check back here later as we update this post with more information about the Samsung Galaxy Watch 2 in the coming weeks.

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Derick Bondoc

Managing Editor at Compare Before Buying. Writer and researcher passionate about gadgets, gaming and snacks.