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Samsung Galaxy Watch 3 vs Apple Watch 5 (2021): Which Smartwatch Is For You?

Samsung’s Galaxy Watch 3 is the long awaited original Galaxy Watch, is coming out soon. With new watch faces, enhanced smart features, and the reported addition of an ECG sensor, it’s one of the most anticipated wearables of the year. But how does this feature-packed smartwatch compare with the best-selling Apple Watch 5? Here, we look into the rumors surrounding the newest Galaxy Watch and how it stacks up against Apple’s best.

Galaxy Watch 3 vs Apple Watch 5 Comparison Chart

ModelSamsung Galaxy Watch 3Apple Watch 5
SAMSUNG Galaxy Watch 3 (41mm, GPS, Bluetooth) Smart Watch with Advanced Health Monitoring, Fitness...Apple Watch Series 5 (GPS, 40mm) - Space Gray Aluminum Case with Black Sport Band
PriceCheck PriceCheck Price
Sizes41mm, 45mm40 mm, 44mm
Dimensionsn/a40 x 34 x 10.7 mm, 44 x 38 x 10.7 mm
Display TypeHOP OLED (LTPO) screensLTPO OLED capacitive touchscreen
Display Size1.2″ (41mm), 1.4″ (45mm)1.57″ (40mm), 1.73″ (44mm)
PlatformTizen OS 5.5watchOS 6.0, upgradable to the upcoming watchOS 7
Water ResistanceUp to 50 metersUp to 50 meters
Call and Text AlertsYesYes
SensorsHRM, accelerometer, gyroscope, barometer, ambient light sensor, electrocardiogramAccelerometer, gyro, heart rate (2nd generation), barometer, compass
BluetoothYesYes
GPSYesYes
NFCYesYes
ECG CertifiedYesYes
Battery Life2 to 3 days18 hours
ColorsSilver, Black, Bronze/Gold*Silver, Space Gray, Space Black, Gold, White
AnnouncedJuly or August 2020September 2019
Release DateJuly or August 2020September 2019

Design

Both the Samsung Galaxy Watch 3 and Apple Watch 5 stick to the design and build that has become their trademark. 

On the left, leaks of the Galaxy Watch 3 from Evan Blass (@evleaks); on the right, the Apple Watch 5. 
Unlike what was initially speculated, the leaked renders of the Samsung Galaxy Watch 3 suggests a design that isn’t a radical departure from its predecessor. While early rumors suggested a bezel-less device, the pictures show otherwise. Just like the Apple Watch’s digital crown and rectangular screen, the grooved, rotating bezel on the Galaxy is slowly becoming its trademark. Plus, it’s keeping the round display, an aesthetic element that has largely appealed to consumers who want a wearable that closely resembles analog watches. So expect these two design features to be refined in the Galaxy Watch 3. In terms of size, Samsung’s wearable will be slightly bigger than Apple’s. The latest updates indicate 41 mm and 45mm models for the South Korean tech giant’s latest wearables. These are smaller than the original watches, which came in 42mm and 46mm variants. Interestingly, despite the Galaxy’s larger form, the Apple Watch will still have a larger display size. If the reports are correct, however, both watches will sport LTPO OLED displays. This should help with battery life, especially with the always-on display feature.

Materials and Build

Hardware-wise, Samsung is rumored to be opting for different finishes, including steel and titanium. Apple has done something similar, with the Watch 5 available in aluminum, stainless steel, titanium, and ceramic. Outside of the frames however, there are differences in build. The upcoming Samsung Galaxy Watch 3, for instance, will have Corning’s Gorilla Glass DX for protection. On the other hand, the Apple Watch 5 uses sapphire crystal, which is more scratch resistant than the ion-strengthened glass in earlier models. Nonetheless, both Samsung and Apple’s wearables are water-resistant for up to 50 meters.

Health and Fitness Tracking

The Galaxy Watch 3 is rumored to come with health features similar to those in the Galaxy Watch Active line, and the Apple Watch series.

Samsung Health and Apple Health are equipped with a range of apps to track your health and fitness.
More than just telling the time, today’s smartwatches double as health and fitness trackers. Apple has been leading the way, especially with the introduction of ECG sensors in the Watch 4. There’s a lot of expectation the Galaxy Watch 3 will include the same feature. After all, its sportier sibling—the Galaxy Watch Active2—came equipped with an electrocardiogram sensor. However, it was only enabled for use in South Korea. Hopefully, the Galaxy Watch 3’s ECG sensor will be cleared for other countries as well. In the meantime, Apple has the advantage in this area. The Cupertino-based tech giant has also made strides in terms of blood pressure monitoring. Nonetheless, the Apple Watch itself cannot make these readings, and would need to be connected with a device like the QardioArm. The Galaxy Watch 3 is expected to support a similar feature and even take readings on its own, thanks to pulse wave analysis technology. But the initial setup will still require calibration using a traditional cuff, much like in the Galaxy Watch Active2. Across other activity tracking features, the Apple Watch 5 and the upcoming Galaxy Watch 3 seem to be on equal footing. Standard inclusions are the optical heart sensor, automatic workout detection, and menstrual cycle tracking for women. With the Samsung Health App, however, you can track your sleep patterns. All this might change with the equally anticipated Apple Watch 6 that’s rumored to come with a native sleep tracking app.

Features

Taking its cue from the watchOS, the Galaxy Watch 3 will come with smart integrations as well as highly-customizable watch faces and complications.

On the left, new watch faces of the Galaxy Watch 3 (courtesy of Max Winebach). On the right, the rich and customizable interface of the Apple Watch. 
The latest updates on the Galaxy Watch 3 indicate standard features like Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and NFC, much like the Apple Watch. For both wearables, cellular connectivity will also be available in its GPS + Cellular models, allowing users to leave their smartphones at home and use the watches to get notifications, answer SMS, and take calls. Contactless payments are also possible on both devices, thanks to Apple Pay and Samsung Pay. Apple will still have an advantage in terms of integration, thanks to its expansive watchOS platform. The diversity and accessibility of the apps in their library is still unrivaled. Plus, it’s simply easy to connect with the rest of the devices in the ecosystem. And with the watchOS 7 being released soon, expect rich complications and all new watch faces coming to the Apple Watch 5. However, the Galaxy Watch 3 isn’t too far behind. Samsung’s upcoming smartwatch is expected to run on a much improved Tizen OS 5.5. Firmware leaks show new watch faces and complications, with edges that can be customized to display the information you want. Images of this improved interface also indicate a dynamic weather watch face which changes according to your location’s weather. Lastly, Samsung is ditching Samsung Email for the watch. Instead, you’ll be getting Outlook, which is more line with the company’s continuing partnership with Microsoft.

Battery Life

Even with a smaller battery, the Galaxy Watch 3 is expected to outlast the battery life of the Apple Watch.

When using its health tracking features and enabling the always-on display, your Apple Watch’s battery life is bound not to last a whole day.
As great as the Apple Watch 5 is, battery life has always been its issue. While it’s advertised to operate up to 18 hours with moderate usage, the reality is it doesn’t last the day. Factor in the introduction of the always-on display, and you’ll have even less juice. Suffice to say, this is a watch you’ll be charging everyday. Curiously, the Galaxy Watch 3 is rumored to have smaller battery than its predecessor. This update could be a bit disconcerting for fans of the Galaxy Watch, which bragged 4 days of battery life even with moderate use. However, the batteries on the upcoming Watch 3 is the same as those on the Galaxy Watch Active2 released early this year. And based on reviews of the latter, you still get up to 2 days of battery life. While it might be a downgrade from the original Galaxy Watch, it’s still much better than having to juice up your wearable in the middle of the day.

Verdict

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Based on reports, Samsung’s upcoming Galaxy Watch 3 looks like a step in the right direction. While the design isn’t a complete overhaul from its predecessor, the upgrades should revive interest in the smartwatch line that has waited two years for a successor. This is especially true with the upgraded health and fitness features that take a cue either from the Active series, or from the Apple Watch itself. But even though there are many similarities with its rival, there are plenty of trademark features to make it standout, including a reliably intuitive Tizen platform, and the watch’s always-handy rotating bezel. However, if the rumors are true, it’s doubtful the Galaxy Watch 3 will win over Apple fans. Despite Samsung’s devices being compatible with iOS, the Apple Watch 5 is simply better integrated with the rest of the company’s ecosystem. But if you do have an Android phone, then the Galaxy Watch 3 is probably going to be the best smartwatch you can get.

FAQs

📌 What is the difference between the Samsung Galaxy Watch 2 and the Galaxy Watch 3?

The Galaxy Watch 3 is the same device as the Galaxy Watch 2. Samsung is skipping a number in the series to avoid the company’s flagship smartwatch from being confused with the Galaxy Watch Active2.

📌 What’s the main difference between an Apple Watch from a Samsung Galaxy Watch?

The most noticeable difference between the Apple Watch from the Galaxy Watch is in their form. Apple’s line of smartwatches come in a rectangular display and body, with rounded edges. On the other hand, Samsung’s Galaxy Watch, including those in the Active series, sports a round screen that looks more like your traditional, analog watch.

📌 Can you take a call on a Galaxy Watch?

Yes, you can use your Galaxy watch to make and take calls.

📌 Can I track my sleep with the Apple Watch 5?

Yes, you can track your sleep using the Apple Watch 5 but only through a third-party app. Currently, watchOS doesn’t have a native sleep-tracking app.

Last update on 2021-07-19 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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Mari Bassig

Senior Editor, writer and researcher passionate about gadgets, social media, and music.