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The Sony SmartWatch 3 and Samsung Gear S are set to go head-to-head this Christmas, as both brand new smartwatches hit the stores nearly simultaneously.
Sonyhas been in the smartwatch game for a while now, and the Japanese brand”slatest wrist worn wearable, the Sony SmartWatch 3, is about to hit shelves andit has the makings of one impressive device. Meanwhile Samsung has been pumping out Gear branded watches, with six being released in just one year.
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Essential reading: Samsung Gear S2 review
Withmore and more Android Wear devices hitting the market, it”s looking like theperfect time to jump on board. But, Android Wear isn”t the only new operatingsystem looking to take pride of place on your wrist.
Tizenis the OS of choice for the majority of Samsung”s wearables, which is headlinedby the all singing, all dancing Gear S, along with the slightly more subduedGear 2 Neo.
So,is it the Sony SmartWatch 3 or Samsung Gear S that deserves your hard-earnedwearable cash? Let”s take a look.
Sony vs Samsung:Apps and OS
TheSony SmartWatch 3 runs Android Wear and it”s the first time Sony has ditchedits proprietary software for a smartwatch. Was it a choice well made?Definitely. Don”t get us wrong, Android Wear is far from perfect, but Googlelooks like they”ll be giving us regular software updates and lots of newfeatures, and they don”t seem to be leaving any devices behind.
Ifyou classed Android Wear as an extension of your phone”s OS, then Tizensoftware that runs on the Samsung is more like a full blown operating system initself. Tizen lets you read full emails, reply – using a comically tinykeyboard – and there”s even a web-browser being built especially for the littledevice. Android Wear isn”t quite as fully featured, it”s there for you to glance at incoming emails, rather than creating new ones.
nadechworld.com verdict: Samsung Gear S review
WhileTizen is certainly much more feature-rich than Android Wear, you”ll need aSamsung device running Android 4.3 to get going, which severely limits its appeal.
Thereare around 1,000 fully-featured apps for Tizen watches, including big hitterslike Endomondo and Facebook, so it”s not really lacking in that department. Android Wear also has a growing selection of apps and a more vibrant developercommunity, so we”ll call it evens in the apps department for now at least.
Sony vs Samsung:Health
Sony”sSmartwatch 3 is one of the first Android Wear watches to come packing a GPSsensor, making it infinitely better for runners because of increased accuracyand step counting.
MostWear watches so far have packed a basic pedometer, but we”ve often found themto be anything but accurate. The latest update will also let you store musictunes on the internal storage of the watch offline, so in theory you couldleave your phone at home and just take your watch out running – somethingthat the Samsung Gear S also enjoys.
Must download: Best Sony SmartWatch 3 apps
Fitnessfeatures are also highly touted on the Gear S and it boasts an array ofsensors, again including GPS. Everything is tied to the S Health app, which isfully featured on the watch and lets you check your daily stats, map your runsand even keep a track of your heart rate. All of this can then be synced backto S Health app on your Samsung phone. The Gear Neo also boasts a heart ratesensor and pedometer, so you can ditch that fitness band.
Sony v Samsung: Hardware
When it comes to comparing hardware, there”s only really one part that matters: the screen. With a 2-inch curved AMOLED display, the Samsung Gear S not only prevails over the Sony, but every smartwatch out there.
The Sony”s lack of AMOLED hurts the visuals, and could impact on battery life – and it”s certainly underwhelming against many of its Android Wear cohort.
We could talk processor size, RAM and so on…but it”s not really all that important in the smartwatch world for now.
Sony v Samsung:Notifications
Smartwatchesare all about giving you glanceable information on your wrist, letting yoursmartphone stay tucked away in your pocket unless there”s something vital thatneeds your attention.
AndroidWear on the Sony SmartWatch 3 alerts you to incoming calls, texts, emails andany of the notifications that ping your phone countless times throughout theday. You can”t really do much with these, apart from swiping them away andopening them up on your phone and you can”t search through old notificationsafter the fact, once they”re dismissed, they”re gone.
Tizendoes notifications a bit more conventionally and if you use the native Samsungtext and email apps on your phone, you can reply to messages right from yourwatch with the built in keyboard. You can also answer and make calls directlyfrom the watch, Dick Tracy style. What sets the Gear S apart from the Gear Neois the SIM slot, letting you make calls even when you”re not connected to aphone. However, you need a SIM card to make it work, so this will mean two dataplans in the UK at least, and a separate phone number – not ideal.
Sony v Samsung:Price
Boththese devices are at the top end of the smartwatch spectrum, with the Sony SmartWatch3 one of the priciest Android Wear devices yet. The inclusion of GPS has pushedthe cost up and it”ll set you back £185.
However,that price is much lower than the Gear S, which due to its large, curved screenand SIM slot has a RRP of £329, a price much more inline with what we expect tosee from Apple”s Watch when it launches early next year. If you”re looking fora cheaper Tizen-toting smartwatch, the Gear 2 Neo can be had for £160.
Sony v Samsung:Verdict
AndroidWear vs Tizen is likely to be a big deciding factor on whether you plump forthe Gear S or the Sony SmartWatch 3. The Samsung Gear S certainly packs thepick of the tech, but the need for a Samsung handset and a separate SIM cardslot will seriously limit its adoption.
WithGoogle doubling down on new features for its own OS, the Sony SmartWatch 3 andits built-in GPS and storage for music certainly looks a strong contender – evenif the screen leaves a lot to be desired.