There are now more smartwatches than ever, and if you’re thinking of getting one, you’re probably trying to find out what the differences are. We’ve spent some time with the Samsung Gear S, Motorola Moto 360 and Sony SmartWatch 3 to see how they compare.
SIZE AND COMFORT
There’s actually a fairly big difference between the size of these watches. The Sony SmartWatch 3 is the smallest and lightest and feels very much like a sports watch. Next is the Moto 360. It’s quite thick and a little larger than you’d think, and feels more like wearing a fashion watch. The Samsung Gear S is definitely the largest and heaviest. The curved body though means that it doesn’t stick out, but whether it fits snuggly will depend on your wrist size.
STYLE AND LOOKS
When it comes to style, the Moto 360 really has it nailed. The metal body and round screen make it look and feel like a luxury watch. The Samsung is quite a futuristic watch, the large screen making it look quite techy on your wrist. And the Sony is definitely more sporty.
SCREEN SIZE AND QUALITY
With a bigger body, the Gear S has the largest screen. It’s got the brightest colours and is the best quality of the three. The extra space does make it easier for looking at photos and typing. The Moto 360 and SmartWatch 3 both have similar sized screens, and to be honest, unless you struggle with your eyesight, they have enough space for notifications and everything else.
We tested all the watches for a few days, and all lasted for at least a day. With the largest battery the Sony managed to typically last for two days on a single charge under normal usage.
If you’re into wireless charging, the Moto 360 is perfect. With the special charger just rest the watch on it and leave it for a couple of hours. The Gear S needs a special cradle, which you clip the watch into. This can also hold charge, charging the watch to charge to 50% without being plugged into the mains. With the Sony, all you need is to plug it into a normal microUSB cable, and it’ll be fully charged in an hour.
WHAT THEY’RE LIKE TO USE
The Moto 360 and Sony SmartWatch 3 are actually very similar to use because they have the same software, Android Wear. Controlling them with voice commands is really what they’re designed for, but it’s also possible to do most things by swiping and tapping. They’re both excellent for showing you notifications from your phone, but it’ll take you a day or so to get used to it.
The Samsung Gears S uses very different software, and it’s much more like using a phone. Again there’s a bit of a learning curve, so you’ll need to put a few hours in to learn it properly. Once you do, it can do almost as much as a smartphone.
CALLS AND TEXTING
The Gear S can take a SIM card, so it doesn’t actually need a phone connected to it to work. It’ll take calls, has a small keyboard for replying to texts and can get online on its own.
The Moto 360 and SmartWatch 3 don’t let you take a call, although you can answer your phone from the watch, then take the call on your phone. You can also reject a call and reply with a predefined text message. Typing is done with your voice, and while the voice recognition is good, it’s not the best solution for a private reply.
FITNESS AND SPORTS
All are water resistant, with the Sony being the most durable. It’s actually waterproof, with a rating of IP68. You’ll also be able track your steps on all three, as they’ve all got pedometers. If you’re really into heart rate monitors, then the Moto 360 and Gear S are the ones to look at. If you do a lot of distance cycling or running, then the GPS inside the SmartWatch 3 and Gear S will be perfect.
SAMSUNG GEAR S
The closest thing to a phone on your wrist. It’s great for sports and doesn’t even need a phone to access all the features. It might be a little big for some, and the apps market isn’t as large as for the Android Wear watches.
It’s got a really beautiful design and feels like a premium watch. Battery life is around the one day mark though, and the lack of a GPS means it isn’t suited to thorough outdoor workouts.
SONY SMARTWATCH 3
This has the smallest and lightest body and feels like a sports watch. It’s also got the longest battery life and is the easiest to charge. No heart rate monitor might be a problem for some.