Both the Apple Watch Series 6 and the Samsung Galaxy Watch 3 are arguably the two best smartwatches available right now. They both have health tracking, helpful smart features, and thousands of apps to keep you connected – they can do everything except rewind to a time before coronavirus.
But which is right for you? Read on to find out which we think is best.
Apple Watch Series 6 vs Samsung Galaxy Watch 3 key specs
Samsung Galaxy Watch 3
Screen size: 1.2 inch
Works with: iPhone and Android
Strap material: Leather or metal chain
Storage space: 8GB
Number of exercises tracked: 40
Contactless payments: Samsung Pay
Voice assistant: Yes, Bixby
Battery life: 43 hours
Colours: Black, white, bronze
Apple Watch Series 6
Screen size: 1.57 inch or 1.73 inch
Works with: iPhone
Strap material: Silicone
Storage space: 32GB
Number of exercises tracked: 80
Contactless payments: Apple Pay
Voice assistant: Siri
Battery life: Up to 18 hours
Colours: Silver, gold, grey, blue, red
Apple Watch Series 6 vs Samsung Galaxy Watch 3 Price
Both watches are the most expensive options from either brand and the latest models in the series. If you’re interested in a slight step down, Apple’s more affordable Watch SE is £100 less, while the Galaxy Watch Active 2 is £110 cheaper.
Apple Watch Series 6 vs Samsung Galaxy Watch 3 Design
The Galaxy Watch 3 follows a more traditional watch design that looks a little more sophisticated. The larger, circular face has plenty of room for you to see all your key stats and apps, and we like using the rotating bezel to navigate menus. It also feels weightier than the Apple Watch.
The design of Apple’s watches hasn’t changed since their inception, and the display offers plenty of space to see what you’re doing. The Watch Series 6 offers a more minimalist approach. You get that digital crown on the side to scroll through menus and apps, and one button to take you to the home screen.
The Series 6 is incredibly similar to the Series 5, with the Series 6 having an upgraded processor chip and the SpO2 monitor for checking blood oxygen levels.
Both models have an always-on touchscreen, so you don’t have to rotate your wrist to “wake” them like you would with older models. This can have a big impact on battery life (more on that later) but it’s also handy for a quick glance down at your wrist.
On test, we found Samsung’s larger watch face to be a bit too big for us, clipping it on door frames or banging it on the table as we walked past.
Apple’s watches are sleeker and less obtrusive. They can slip beneath sleeves and you’re much less likely to be whacking it on stuff as you pass.
So Who Wins?
For design, we reckon the Galaxy Watch 3 wins out quite comfortably, even if it is chunky. We liked the obnoxious watch face sitting on our wrist and got plenty more compliments when wearing it compared to our Apple Watch.
Apple Watch Series 6 vs Samsung Galaxy Watch 3 Smartwatch features
The two flagship watches are almost neck and neck in terms of features, so you might be stuck on what to get for 2021.
Both watches offer sleep tracking, an ECG sensor for detecting minor issues with your heart like atrial fibrillation, an SpO2 monitor for measuring blood-oxygen levels, and VO2 Max readings to check how well your lungs are working.
What do any of those things do? Many of these functions are gimmicks to most users and you’ll maybe use them once or twice before forgetting they exist. We honestly used the SpO2 feature just to see what the fuss was about, but never used it elsewhere.
The metrics you will use frequently (GPS tracking, step count, heart rate, etc) are equally as good on both devices, with our own tests proving each watches can accurately track the usual stats you want to measure when exercising.
Apple can manage more when it comes to exercises, tracking up to 80 (running, cycling, yoga, etc) compared to Samsung’s 40. When working out at home, we found the Samsung watch sometimes lost track of how many reps we’d done in a free-weights session, which hasn’t happened to us on our Apple Watch Series 5.
When it comes to voice assistants, Apple’s Siri is much better than Samsung’s Bixby. It understands a wider range of commands and responds a little quicker. You can still set reminders and alarms, request music, or dictate messages on both, but we’ve found Siri to be much more comprehensive in our tests.
Both watches can connect to Spotify so you can listen to music on the go. Apple won’t let you download Spotify playlists onto your watch, but if you sign up to Apple Music, you can download up to 32GB worth. On the other side, Apple Music won’t work on the Samsung smartwatch, so you’ll have to use Spotify, though you can only download up to 8GB.
So Who Wins?
Hard to pick out a winner here as they both do really similar things, but we have to go with the Apple Watch here, largely because we use Apple Music and have an iPhone. It syncs up easily and just fits into our gadget family nicely. If you’re more of an Android man, you’ll be more happy with the Samsung Watch.
Apple Watch Series 6 vs Samsung Galaxy Watch 3 Battery life
If you’re after a long-lasting smartwatch that requires less time plugged into the wall, you should probably opt for a Fitbit or Garmin, as neither the Samsung or Apple watches have very good battery lives thanks to the always-on display.
Samsung does beat the Watch 6 here, lasting around 43 hours, against Apple’s 18 hours. The battery starts to drain ever faster on both when activating GPS tracking or running an animated watch face, so keep that in mind if you’re planning on using your watch all day every day.
We were charging the Galaxy Watch 3 roughly every other day, using the GPS tracking for our daily run. The Apple Watch 6 will require you to charge it up at least once a day.
So Who Wins?
No brainer here - the Galaxy Watch 3 has the longer-lasting battery, but as we said, that isn’t much of a brag. It lasts more than double the length of time as the Watch Series 6, which was only marginally less annoying.
Apple Watch Series 6 vs Samsung Galaxy Watch 3 Verdict
Ultimately, your choice will probably boil down to what smartphone you have – seriously, who would buy an iPhone 12 Pro Max and then buy a Samsung Galaxy smartwatch? If we had to choose, we’d go for the Watch Series 6.
Apple fans will likely stick with the Series 6, even if that’s only because they want to stay consistent with the user interface. If you’re into fitness, you may find it a bit easier to engage in workouts with the slim Apple Watch instead of the bigger, bulkier Galaxy 3.
But if you have an Android device that’s not a Samsung (like a Huawei or Oppo), we think you’ll be more comfortable with the Galaxy Watch 3.
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