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Apple Watch Vs. Android Wear – Which Smartwatch Should You Choose?

Khyati SehgalKhyati Sehgal

Wearable technology is the next big thing. Fitness trackers, when announced, created a lot of buzz in the tech sector. The idea of keeping  track of day-to-day tasks and emails right from the wrist excited several people around the globe, which resulted in the concept of a smartwatch.

The two major smartwatch manufacturers in this sector, Google and Apple, have a big difference in their ideology and outlook.

Android Wear is Google’s take on what the ideal smartwatch should look like. It includes a number of smart watches such as the Sony SmartWatch 3, LG Watch Urbane, LG G Watch R and Moto 360. All these have something unique to offer, both in terms of features and design

Apple released the  Apple Watch a couple of months back and it seems to be doing really well. It is, as some would say, the perfect blend of technology and fashion. Unique features such as the digital crown and Apple’s very own Force Touch technology set the Apple Watch apart.

Smartwatches
Source: Digital Trends

But if you’re on the lookout for a decent smartwatch, which one should you go for – Google or Apple? We’ve compared the specs, features and design of both these platforms to help you make an informed decision.

Design and Interface

Android Wear

The UI on Android Wear is inspired by Google Now, Google’s very own search assistant. It’s simplistic, elegant and a perfect fit for smaller displays. However, a lot of work still needs to be done on this front. For the starters, Android Wear neither supports multiple home screens nor does it allow you to create app folders. All in all, the experience on Android Wear is just not as good as on Android smartphones in general.

Google has gone for a round dial in some watches and square in some. Although the circular watch looks more attractive, the square one is easier to operate. Android Wear provides a lot of customization options, ranging from changing the watch dial to switching between various watch straps.

Android Wear Watch Faces
Source: Google Play

Apple Watch

Apple has worked hard on the interface of Apple Watch. It’s not just a streamlined look of iOS 8 by any stretch of the imagination! All apps are present on the home screen, limiting the need for you to go deep into Settings to search for something. You don’t even have to use voice search, as you do on Android Wear to discover apps. It’s good to see that Apple recognizes the need for a drop-down notification menu, even on such a small display!

Apple follows a similar trajectory on Apple Watch, but not exactly the same. It features a square screen with a limited number of watch dials (for now). However, you get to choose from a wide range of wristbands to flaunt.

Apple Watch Wristbands

Source: Cult of Mac

No matter which smartwatch you go for, it will still stand out and make the onlookers envious.

Functionality

Android Wear and Apple Watch differ a lot in terms of functionality and how you can make the most out of your device.

Android Wear

Android Wear places pivotal importance on voice commands using Google Now. You can swipe and tap to interact, although there’s no pinch to zoom or multi touch feature support as of now.

Android Wear Google Now
Source: Gizmodo

Apple Watch

Apple Watch introduces to the world the revolutionary digital crown. The digital crown is your old traditional crown used to change date and time imbibed with some superb functionality. It lets you zoom, scroll, go to the homescreen and fire up Siri. It’s easy accessibility makes the crown extremely useful.

Digital Crown
Source: Cult of Android

Apple Watch doesn’t lay that much emphasis on voice commands. However, there’s built-in Siri support which makes things a lot easier. Some interesting features on the Apple Watch that makes the whole user experience hassle free are the physical button for contacts and the Glance feature, which lets you swipe from the bottom of the screen to see a variety of widgets extracted from various watch apps.

Despite the intuitive digital crown, the Apple watch is the more cumbersome of the two. Google Now seems seamless and not much effort goes into using the Android wear. It feels smooth.

Features

A Smartwatch was designed to function as a companion device. Both Android Wear and Apple Watch rely heavily on their respective search assistants, namely Google Now and Siri.

Android Wear

In order to use most Android Wear watches, you need a smartphone running on Android. All the data that is displayed to you on the watch relies on the data that your phone’s GPS picks up from services like Twitter and Facebook. This data is shared with your watch via Bluetooth or WiFi. Essentially, your phone does all the hard work and your watch just displays the information as and when you ask for it.

Android Wear
Source: Greenbot

The recent Android v5.0 Lollipop update has made everything a whole lot easier on Android devices in general, and Android Wear in particular. Google’s seamless integration of the two devices makes things look extremely efficient. For instance, if you swipe away a notification from Android wear, it is swiped away from your phone as well!

Apple Watch

Just as with Android Wear, in order to use the Apple Watch, you need an iPhone 5s or above (Sorry! iPhone 5 and iPhone 5c users). It functions on similar lines, by extracting data from your phone as and when you need it. Apple Watch has NFC capability, which means it supports Apple Pay without any hiccups.

The Taptic engine on Apple Watch is a subtle touch for dealing with notifications since it provides a mild vibration when you receive notifications. Any notification, be it text messages, Email alerts or missed calls, is displayed right on the home screen without the need to unlock. If a notification is swiped away from the watch, it gets swiped away from the phone as well.

The messaging app on Apple Watch is another cool addition. Using iMessage, you can send a custom-made sketch, tap or even your heartbeat to a friend who’s rocking the Apple watch. It’s indeed a nice personal touch.

Apple Watch iMessage

Source: Trusted Reviews

The extent to which the two devices are linked with your smartphone is truly applaudable. If you install an app on your smartphone, it will automatically be installed on your watch if the two are in sync. App updates also occur simultaneously on the two devices, no matter whether you’re using Android wear or Apple watch.

Read more about Apple Watch features here.

Fitness and Health

Fitness is an area of major interest for both Google and Apple. This is evident from the amount of work being put into Google Fit on Android wear and Apple HealthKit on Apple watch.

Android Wear

All Android wear smartwatches feature a pedometer which accurately measures data and keeps you informed about your workout and personal fitness on a daily basis. They are capable of collecting data from various fitness apps that are supported on Android and accumulating them on the Google Fit platform.

Android Wear Health and Fitness
Source: HuffPost

Apple Watch

Apple has a lot going on HealthKit. At the back of the Apple watch, you’ll find several sensors that have the ability to read your heart rate and send a vibration to the watch as soon as you increase the intensity of your workout.

Apple Watch Heart Rate Sensors

Source: Cult of Mac

Besides this, there is also a dedicated fitness and workout app to measure calories, duration and distance. And recently, after much debate, Apple updated the app to include reproductive health tracking feature as well.

Battery life

Most Android wear smartwatches deliver a couple of days of battery life. Android Wear and Apple watch are no different.

Android Wear

Depending on which watch you’re sporting, Android wear battery ideally runs for a couple of days at max. But you’ll have to charge your device every night, just as your smartphone. Since most watches come with a charging cradle, you’ll be out of options if your battery dies at a friend’s place and you don’t have the cradle on you. Some watches support wireless charging, such as Moto 360, but that’s still not going to change the fact that you’ll have to charge it every night.

Moto 360

Source: Guardian

Apple Watch

Apple claims an 18 hour battery life on the Apple watch, but don’t rely on it. Besides charging the Apple watch every night, you’ll also need to charge your iPhone, because the Apple watch drains the iPhone’s battery pretty fast. Apple watch supports wireless inductive charging as well, but we would expect to see better battery life on such wearables.

Apple Watch Inductive Charging

Source: IB Times

Conclusion

After talking about Android Wear and Apple Watch in sufficient detail, we believe Google provides a relatively better user experience with Android wear. Although the Google Now based UI has it’s fair share of glitches which need to be worked upon, it still shines.

The digital crown, force touch technology, contacts button, notification panel and glances are all extremely commendable features to incorporate on a device with such a small display, but it all feels a little too much. Simply put, the Apple watch does not feel simplistic, as there’s so much going on in there!

As far as look and feel of the devices go, the Apple Watch beats Android Wear hands down. If you are not able to decide between the two and just want to go for the more handsome one, Apple Watch should be a logical buy.

Apple Watch vs Android Wear

Source: Gadget Goof

Talking about pricing, Android wear has a fair share of smartwatches under it’s hood, all varying in price. The Moto 360 costs $149 while the Sony Smartwatch is available for $199. The stainless steel versions are a tad bit expensive. Meanwhile, the Apple watch starts at $349 and goes as high as $10000 for the entry level Apple Watch edition!

There’s a lot going on in the wearables sector and we definitely hope to see a lot more improvements in the coming years. That said, Android Wear and Apple Watch are probably the best smartwatches money can buy. So depending on the phone you own (Android/iOS), you can decide which one you should go for.

Smartwatches are the next big thing in technology arena. Is your business ready for the? VenturePact helps you get your business on smartwatches. Contact us now to know more.

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Khyati is a technology expert at VenturePact, helping businesses find premium software firms to develop their products and scale their teams. If you have any questions about outsourcing your next technology project Khyati is happy to help.