avatarby Jimmy WestenbergSeptember 29, 20161 comments

Apple Watch Series 2 13

Just a few weeks ago, Apple unveiled the Watch Series 2 alongside the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus. While the overall design may not stray too far away from the first Watch, Apple has made a few changes this time around that might make you second guess your recent Android Wear or Pebble Time 2 purchase.

It seems as though Apple is taking a more fitness-focused approach with the Apple Watch Series 2. Featuring water resistance up to 50 meters, GPS and a brighter display, it’s hard denying that the Watch Series 2 is a big step up from its predecessor. But you may be wondering – how does it compare to the Android Wear competition? What about Samsung’s new Gear S3? Or the countless number of fitness trackers on the market? We’ve rounded up some of the most notable specs and features from each of the top wearables on the market in hopes to help you decide which device is right for you.

Don’t miss: The best smartwatches

Today we’ll be comparing the Apple Watch Series 2 against the Samsung Gear S3, Moto 360 (2nd Gen.), Pebble Time 2, Fitbit Blaze and Garmin vívoactive HR. So without any further delay, let’s take a look at the specs:

 Apple Watch Series 2Samsung Gear S3Motorola Moto 360 (2nd Gen.)Pebble Time 2Fitbit BlazeGarmin vívoactive HR
Display38mm: 1.3-inch OLED, 340ppi
42mm: 1.5-inch OLED, 390ppi
1.3-inch Super AMOLED, 278ppi42mm: 1.37-inch IPS LCD, 233ppi
46mm: 1.56-inch IPS LCD, 263ppi
1.5-inch LCD, 202ppi1.25-inch LCD, 240ppi1.38-inch LCD, 183ppi
Water resistance5 ATM
Up to 50 meters
ISO standard 22810:2010
IP68IP673 ATM
Up to 30 meters
No5 ATM
Up to 50 meters
Battery lifeUp to 18 hoursUp to 4 daysUp to 1.5 daysUp to 10 daysUp to 5 daysUp to 8 days
GPSYesYesNoNoNoYes
Heart rate monitorYes, opticalYes, opticalYes, opticalYes, opticalYes, opticalYes, optical
LTENoClassic: No
Frontier: Yes
NoNoNoNo
BluetoothYesYesYesYesYesYes
Wi-FiYesYesYesNoNoNo
NFCYes
For Apple Pay only
YesNoNoNoNo
SpeakerYesYesNoNoNoNo
MicrophoneYesYesDual digital micsYesNoNo
SoftwarewatchOSTizenAndroid WearPebbleOSFitbitGarmin
CompatibilityiOSAndroidAndroid, iOSAndroid, iOSAndroid, iOS, WindowsAndroid, iOS, Windows
ColorsToo many to list hereN/ACase: Silver, Black, Gold
Band: Cognac Leather, Black Leather, Silver Metal, Gold Metal, Black Metal
Silver, Black, GoldBlack/Silver, Blue/Silver, Plum/Silver, Black/Gunmetal, Slim Pink/GoldBlack (with interchangeable bands in Lava Red, Force Yellow and White)
Interchangeable bandsYes
Proprietary
Yes
Standard 22mm straps
Yes
Standard 22mm straps
Yes
Standard 22mm straps
Yes
Proprietary
Yes
Price38mm: Starts at $269
42mm: Starts at $299
N/A$299.99$199.99$199.95$249.99

Since there’s so much information in the table above, we’re going to walk you through what you need to know about each device. Let’s start off with the under-the-hood specifications.

Now, it’s going to be a little tough to compare all of these devices fairly in each category, but bare with us. As you can see, each device has a display measuring around 1.3 inches. They’re all touchscreen displays (aside from the Pebble Time 2), but each one is very different. Apple chose to employ a square OLED panel on the Watch Series 2, while Samsung is using a circular Super AMOLED panel on its Gear S3. Motorola is also still going with a (mostly) circular LCD panel, save for the “flat tire” on the bottom that houses the ambient light sensor.

While these three devices sport the clearest, brightest panels on the list, they also have the worst battery life

While these three devices sport the clearest, brightest panels on the list, they also have the worst battery life. The Apple Watch is said to only last around 18 hours on a single charge, the Moto 360 can only last about 1.5 days (with moderate use), and, while we haven’t tested it yet, Samsung says the Gear S3 can last up to 4 days. This is definitely something to consider when making your next wearable purchase.

Garmin-vivoactive-HR-review-AA-7-768x512

Moving on to the Pebble Time 2, Pebble decided to stick with an e-paper LCD display that should be great for battery saving purposes. It may not be the brightest or highest resolution panel out there, but it should allow the Time 2 to last around 10 days on a single charge. The Fitbit Blaze also comes with an LCD display, but this one is touchscreen and is very easy to read outdoors. In our full review, the Blaze was able to achieve around 5 days of battery on a single charge. Last but not least, Garmin’s vívoactive HR comes with a comparatively low resolution LCD panel. It’s not the easiest to read outdoors, though the device can last around 8 days on one charge.

There are a few key differences between smartwatches and fitness trackers

Now, as you’re probably already aware, the Apple Watch Series 2, Moto 360, Samsung Gear S3 and Pebble Time 2 are all squarely in the smartwatch category, while the Fitbit Blaze and Garmin vívoactive HR are fitness trackers. That doesn’t mean the smartwatches on our list are completely without fitness tracking features, nor does it mean the fitness trackers are without smartwatch features. But we think it’s fair to consider the first four devices on our list as primarily smartwatches, while the last two devices are mainly fitness trackers.

samsung-gear-s3-first-look-aa-16-768x432

As a result, what you can expect on the software front from the Apple Watch, Moto 360, Gear S3 and Time 2 is a more robust, productivity-focused software interface. Each of these devices may handle certain things their own way, but they’re built to handle notifications, music control, calendar events, voice commands and other functions better than the current crop of fitness trackers on the market.

Alternatively, the Blaze and vívoactive HR, for the most part, sport much clunkier interfaces. Both devices can handle things like notifications and music control, but they’re not as intuitive or convenient to use as the smartwatches on our list.

Related: The best Android Wear watches

If you’re looking for a wrist-mounted wearable that will be used as more of a smartphone companion rather than a device that can track your workouts, you should choose one of the first four devices on our list. But if you need something that will mainly be used for fitness tracking and not so much notifications, music controls and other smartwatch-y features, you’ll definitely be happier with the Blaze or vívoactive HR.

Okay, okay. What if your mind isn’t made up yet? In the table below, you’ll find a list of what each of these wearables track when it comes to fitness:

 Apple Watch Series 2Samsung Gear S3Motorola Moto 360 (2nd Gen.)Pebble Time 2Fitbit BlazeGarmin vívoactive HR
Steps takenYesYesYesYesYesYes
Distance traveledYesYesYesYesYesYes
Calories burnedYesYesYesYesYesYes
Floors climbedNoYesYesN/AYesYes
SleepYes, with third-party appsYesYesYesYesYes
RunningYesYesYesYesYesYes
BikingYesYesYesYesYesYes
SwimmingYesYesNoYesNoYes
Automatic activity recognitionNoYesNoYesYesYes
Limited to Move IQ

All of the devices on our list are more than capable of tracking daily activity metrics like steps taken, distance traveled and calories burned. They’ll even track your sleep, which can be an extremely useful metric when looking at activity levels overtime. Plus, because all these devices come with optical heart rate sensors, you’ll be able to check on your active and resting heart rate to make sure you’re staying healthy.

See also: The best fitness trackers

Want to work out with your new wearable? You should get one with a built-in GPS.

But if you’re truly serious about using one of these devices as a workout companion, you should get one with a built-in GPS. The Apple Watch Series 2, Samsung Gear S3 and Garmin vívoactive HR all have GPS capabilities, allowing you to more precisely track your distance and workout metrics throughout your day. It should be noted that the Blaze supports Fitbit’s not-so-convenient Connected GPS feature, which means you’ll have to carry your phone with you to get an accurate GPS signal.


There are a lot of different factors that go into buying a new wearable, but we hope we provided enough data here to steer you in the right direction. What are your thoughts on the new Apple Watch and how it compares to the competition? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!

  • Still sticking with my Huawei watch for now… really interested to see what the next wave of Android Wear devices brings.