The Apple Watch 6 vs the Samsung Galaxy Watch 3 is undoubtedly the smartwatch battle that dominated 2020.
And with pricing for the Galaxy Watch 3 now having dropped following the launch of the newer Galaxy Watch 4, you may be even more tempted to opt for last year’s model, over the more expensive new Apple Watch.
Here to help you decide between the two we’ve created this guide to detail the two wearables features, faster software and usability, based on our time using both.
Below you can see the two watch’s official RRPs.
However, since the Galaxy Watch 4, the 3’s price has radically dropped at many retailers. If you look on eBay we’ve seen some retailers selling it for close to half it’s original price, so it actually now the cheaper option of the two in most instances.
Features & Specs
But as we well know, price isn’t everything and more often than not you get what you pay for in the world of tech.
However, despite not being the latest mode, the Galaxy Watch 3 still stacks up pretty well against at a hardware level. It has a solid amount of memory, 8GB of storage, which makes it significantly better for music and other file space than most smartwatches.
However, the Apple Watch 6 still beats it her, as it has four times that space with 32GB of storage. So when it comes to memory for music and files, the Apple Watch 6 is the clear winner.
The Apple Watch 6 runs on a watchOS operating system. The watchOS offers great app support and comes with a dedicated app store. The Galaxy Watch 3 runs the Tizen operating system and grants access to all the apps available from the Galaxy store. This opens the user to a range of many different apps. However, the app support is poor in comparison to watchOS.
You also have to factor in the fact that Samsung’s shifted its focus to Google’s Wear OS, so even if it gets security updates Tizen’s app offering is unlikely to radically improve in the future. So the Apple Watch is also much more futureproof.
Both the Apple Watch 6 and the Galaxy Watch 3 have standard GPS and need to be connected to a nearby smartphone for most operations. However, the two also have the option of a cellular chip at an additional cost that allows them to operate out of reach of the smartphone they are connected to.
The design and display of the Apple Watch 6 and the Galaxy Watch 3 are where the two watches most differ. The Galaxy Watch 3 has a circular display and it looks and feels like a traditional timepiece. The Apple Watch 6 has stuck with the same square display of the previous models, which has always given the watches a futuristic tech quality. By continuing with the same design, the Apple Watch is fast becoming the most recognizable smartwatch on the market.
The Galaxy Watch 3 has a rotating bezel to top off its traditional look. The bezel allows you to scroll through menus with a physical input as well as the touch command. This is a lovely addition that both improves the interface with the Tizen operating system and adds a touch of class and familiarity by playing on traditional designs. The watch is also available in both stainless steel and titanium, both of which render it comfortable to wear, sturdy, and visually attractive.
The Apple Watch 6 uses a digital crown for navigation. Traditionally, the crown of a watch was used to adjust the time and date on the face, but here it has a similar function to the home button on an iPhone. The watch also comes with options of red and blue base colors. The red is a bold and striking look, whereas the blue is a smarter, more subtle option.
Both the Apple and the Galaxy models have two different size options and have a wide range of straps available. The Galaxy Watch 3 comes in 41mm and 45mm, and the Apple Watch 6 has options of 40mm and 44mm. Both watches look immaculate, but the Apple watch is slightly slimmer and lighter than the Galaxy, which gives it a sleeker, less bulky feel. This, in our experience, makes it a better option for people with small wrists, or people looking for a more subtle looking wearable.
Both watches have an always-on display, which allows you to see the time without waking the device. They each also have OLED touchscreen displays that are easily viewable. OLED is an Organic LED display screen that works without a backlight. This enables you to see the screen even when if you are in very strong sunshine.
The Apple Watch 6’s screen has a higher resolution (448 x 368) than the Galaxy Watch 3 (360 x 360), so the imaging on the Apple is slightly sharper but we found the difference is hardly noticeable on screens this size during testing.
Samsung claims that the battery life of the Galaxy Watch 3 is around two days. This pips the battery life of the Apple Watch 6, which Apple claim is 18 hours.
During our tests, we found that the Galaxy Watch 3’s battery life can last up to two days. However, when we used things like GPS the battery life was more around 24 hours. The Apple Watch 6 was a bit more reliable and did last around 18 hours even when the fitness and location features were in use.
The great thing about the Apple Watch 6’s battery is its charging time. In our tests, we found that it takes a mere 1.5 hours to reach full charge from empty. This is half the three hours it took for Galaxy Watch 3 to return to a full battery from flat.
The Galaxy Watch 3 uses wireless charging which makes it very easy to charge and does not restrict its charging ports. The Apple Watch 6 on the other hand still requires a dedicated charger, so it will not be rechargeable if the battery dies and you don’t have the right cable to hand.
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The fitness and wellness features on both the Apple Watch 6 and the Galaxy Watch 3 are largely the same.
Both watches have an FDA cleared electrocardiogram (ECG) sensor. This checks your heart rhythm and rate and alerts you to any arrhythmia or irregularities it detects.
The watches also both monitor SpO2 levels, which is a measure of how much oxygen your red blood cells are carrying. Both models have fall detection, so if you take a hard fall the watch helps you to connect to the emergency services or your emergency contacts.
The Apple Watch 6 and the Galaxy Watch 3 both also have a water resistance of 5ATM which means they can be worn underwater at a depth of 50 meters for up to 10 minutes. This makes them great for swimming exercises or running and cycling through the rain.
There is no doubt that the Samsung Galaxy 3 Watch is a great, top of the range smartwatch with enviable features, even if it is last year’s model. Its wireless charging, fitness tracking systems, and traditional look stand out in particular. However, when it comes to a winner, it has to be the Apple Watch 6. The Apple Watch 6 performs better overall and has much more developed software. With a much larger memory, slim and sleek look, and a super quick charge time, the Apple Watch 6 takes the crown.
If you want to check out other smartwatches that are available, you can see our picks of the best smartwatches in the attached guide.