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Apple Watch vs Samsung Gear S comparison: the battle for your wrist begins

AndroidPIT Apple Watch samsung gear s smartwatch 2
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Samsung fans, to the battlements! The Apple Watch has finally entered the fray and it's ready to fight the Samsung Gear S for a place on millions of wrists around the world. With the Apple Watch, the company has seemingly moved away from its philosophy until now of offering consumers little choice when it comes to customization and personalization. It appears to come good on Tim Cook's statement that it's the "most personal device Apple's ever created" (though that's not saying much coming from Apple, right Android fans?).

The Samsung Gear S is the Korean company's flagship smartwatch, and one of the best Android smartwatches available. But how does it stand up to the smartwatch of its arch-nemesis? Read on to find out. 

AndroidPIT Apple Watch samsung gear s smartwatch 2
The tech giants collide as the Apple Watch goes head-to-head with the Samsung Gear S. / © ANDROIDPIT

Release date and price

The 38mm Apple Watch with a Sports Band costs $349, with the 42mm version costing $399. The price goes up from there depending on how bling you want to go with your watch. The 'standard' versions with metal or leather buckles range between $549 and $1,049, while the 18-carat gold Apple Watch Edition will set you back $10,000 (yikes). The Samsung Gear S comes in at $349, and also comes with a humble sports band.

The Apple Watch will be available to pre-order and preview from April 10, before it's released on April 24. The Samsung Gear S was released in November 2014, and is widely available to buy now.


The Samsung Gear S has a 2-inch 360 x 480 display using Samsung's trademark Super AMOLED technology. The display is vivid and great to look at in a technical sense, but this is undermined somewhat by the lack of interesting watch faces.

androidpit samsung gear s 2
The Gear S screen is vivid, but the default UI isn't too exciting. / © ANDROIDPIT

The Apple Watch comes in 38mm (1.5-inch, 272 x 340) and 42mm (1.6-inch, 312 x 390) sizes, and packs Apple's famous Retina display. Unsurprisingly, it packs less pixels than the Gear S due to its smaller size, but whether you get more clarity for screen size remains to be seen until we get our hands on it. What's certain is that the Apple Watch has a more appealing selection of watch faces, letting you customize the main screen to your heart's content.

Design and build quality

The Samsung Gear S is a big boy for a smartwatch. With its thick, plastic straps, the Gear S may lack the prettiness of the more fashion-oriented versions of the Apple Watch, but its design makes it effective as a fitness device. It has a big display too, of course, so it'll generally look better on those people who are more thick of wrist. In our review of the Samsung Gear S, we found that it was a bit uncomfortable to wear at first, but we got used to it within 48 hours.

samsung gear s round closeup
The thick plastic strap on the Gear S looks neat, if not particularly stylish. / © ANDROIDPIT

The Apple Watch comes in 38mm and 42mm, forged of steel and aluminum. The face has a soft-edged shape evocative of the iPhone 3. It's a good look, and enhanced further by something we thought we'd never see from Apple - choice. The Apple Watch has a good choice of buckles which, combined with the two different face sizes, indeed makes this the most personalizable Apple device to date. Sports band, steel buckle, several colors of leather strap - the Apple Watch is a visually versatile device, and at first glance we're impressed.

AndroidPIT Apple Watch looks
Apple have given up on their ethos of 'same device for all' with the Apple Watch - take your pick / © Apple


Ever the non-conformists, Samsung decided to go with Tizen rather than the more popular Android Wear for the Gear S. It's really not so different to Android Wear though - in that it's intuitive and simply to swipe through. Notifications, 'Do not disturb' mode and the app drawer are all a mere swipe away. The popular S Health app is also included, taking advantage of the step counter, heart rate monitor and GPS features of the Gear S.

androidpit samsung gear s 8
The Tizen UI on the Gear S feels smooth and intuitive. / © ANDROIDPIT

The Apple Watch interface looks intuitive, and offers some interesting features. The side-button on the watch (which you'd use to change the time on a normal watch) brings up your friends list, letting you call them, send them messages, drawings that you sketch right on your watch, or even a digital rendering of your heartbeat.

As expected, there are already thousands of developers working on Apple Watch apps - which include WeChat, Apple Pay, and popular apps including Instagram, Facebook, Uber. Siri is also present, letting you issue voice commands to make calls, send messages and set reminders.

apple watch 2
The button on the side of the Apple Watch brings up your friends list. This, by the way, is the $10,000 18-carat gold 'Watch' edition you're looking at here. / © Apple

Special Features

The Samsung Gear S has the expected step counter and heart-rate monitor, but a couple of welcome bonuses here are the brightness and UV sensors. Yes, the Gear S can tell you how dangerous the sunlight levels you're exposed to are. You can also use a SIM card in the Gear S, so if it's paired with a Samsung phone, you can leave your phone at home and use the Gear S for calls, messaging and internet when you're out and about.

The Apple Watch has been designed to work together with an iPhone, and has limited functionality when not with your phone. It can still track your movements and fitness, sync playlists and so on, but as yet we don't know of any other things it can do independently of an iPhone. Without a SIM card, it's certainly more limited than the Samsung Gear S


The battery in the Gear S is a 300mAh one, and in our tests we managed to use it (lightly) for the best part of three days. That's a good show by smartwatch standards. If we carried out more calls, then it'd definitely have lasted less time, but seeing as most people are yet to get comfortable with the idea of a smartwatch, let alone speaking through one, we think our tests was enough to suggest that the Gear S has great battery life.

We don't know about the power of the Apple Watch battery yet, but understand that you'll be able to get well over a day's medium use out of it. It will also be chargeable wirelessly using a dock. We'll be sure to give it a rigorous test when we get our hands on it though.

AndroidPIT Apple Watch back
You'll be able to charge the Apple Watch wirelessly using this sensor and a charging dock. / © Apple

Tech Specs

  Samsung Gear S Apple Watch
Display 2 inch, Super AMOLED 38mm / 42mm (1.5 / 1.6 inches), Retina display

1GHz Dual-core

Apple S1
Internal storage 4GB TBA
Battery 300mAh TBA
System Tizen Watch OS
Extras WiFi 802.11b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.1, UV sensor, brightness sensor, NFC Wi-Fi 802.11b/g, Bluetooth 4.0, NFC

Early Verdict

The Apple Watch certainly looks the part, and there'll be many who say that it outshines the Samsung Gear S in this respect, but its official unveiling didn't suggest to us it blows the competition out of the water on a technical level. It lacks the GPS and 4G connectivity of the Samsung Gear S, which at face value suggests it's much less functional.

But a watch is much more a fashion statement than a smartphone, and you'd be perfectly justified in opting for the Apple Watch due to its large selection of buckles and customizable interfaces. When we get our hands on the Apple Watch, we'll be able to tell you which smartwatch is most worthy of that prized place on your wrist.

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Go to comment (8)
Robert Zak

Robert Zak
UK Editor

A tech aficionado since he first picked up a NES controller, Robert has written about technology, videogames, and film across a range of sites and magazines, including Den of Geek, Gamasutra, and Computeractive. At AndroidPIT, he'll be bringing you the latest Android news and reviews from the front line in the UK.

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  • 1
    Doug Hall Aug 24, 2015 Link to comment

    Gear S doesn't have 4G either

    • 1
      dave davis Feb 18, 2016 Link to comment

      Yes it does have 4G. I own one.

  • 1
    Cal Rob Apr 16, 2015 Link to comment

    I have owned both iphone and Android products. Yes the Gear S is it's own phone. Just remember that because of that, you have to add it on to your plan as another device and pay the monthly fee EVERY month.

  • 1
    gsmed Apr 6, 2015 Link to comment

    I have been a past employee of apple and a bleeding edge of all of the multi-generational iphone technology since it was introduced. I carry both an ATT iphone and a Verizon iphone daily. Last Xmas in anticipation of the Apple watch I decided to purchase a gear S and android phone for my ATT service to make sure I could make a fair comparision when the appl watch came out. I also picked up a gear circle for a headphone.

    In my opinion, the apple watch will never compete . Why? simple reason: im 50+ years old and I dont like ALWAYS carrying aroung these phones. With the Samsung your watch is your phone! It has all functionality while in Bluetooth mode, but carries the same functionality while disconnected from your phone and roaming on its own - automatically call forwarding texts, voicemails, and calls and all functionality still remaings on your wrist.

    You cant beat that Apple!

    Having siad that, I'll still pick up an Apple watch just to make sure Im not missing something. we'll see.

  • 1
    Mutation Mar 11, 2015 Link to comment

    Error! Gear S has no NFC on board!!!

    • 1
      dave davis Feb 18, 2016 Link to comment

      Wow you are a smart one aren't you

  • 2
    Jay Mont Mar 10, 2015 Link to comment

    to many iZombies dont see yet Apple running behind , with the Gear S you can make a lot and the good part is a phone in your hand not only a watch for notifications , i think who ever make this article smartwatch comparison is a iFan

    Kong Ling

  • 16
    Deactivated Account Mar 10, 2015 Link to comment

    You don't need to tell me anything SAMSUNG has been in this Smartwatch business a while now.

    The Gear S runs tracks around the Apple iwatch it's no contest.

    Apple is worthless in this department.

    Moni Mihailov

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