Saturday, March 21, 2015

Apple Watch vs Android Wear: which smartwatch is best?

Apple Watch vs Android WearChances are, if you're wearing a smartwatch by the end of this year, it's going to be made by Apple care of its Apple Watch or powered by Google's Android Wear platform.
There's also a very good chance you know which one is right for you based on the phone you already own. Apple Watch works with iOS 8 and Android Wear works with, you guessed it, Android.
However, there's still an excellent debate as to which smartwatch delivers the best on-wrist experience: Apple's one smartwatch or Android Wear's many, many watches.
Now that the Apple Watch price has been announced and the "iWatch" tested on our wrists, we can finally make the inevitable Apple Watch vs Android Wear comparison.

Design: Apple Watch

Apple Watch vs Android Wear
Apple Watch vs Android Wear: best smartwatch debate
Smartwatches come in all shapes and sizes, while smartphones - with a few exceptions like the Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge and LG G Flex 2 - generally all look the same.
Apple Watch, for example, takes on a square shape with rounded off corners and three cases types: aluminum, stainless steel and the much-talked-about 18-karat gold Watch Edition.
Its two higher-end models feature scratch-resistant sapphire glass, while the entry-level Sport edition is protected by Ion-X glass. Apple considers both premium, of course.
There are two sizes in an effort to fit more wrists, a smaller watch with a 38mm height and a bigger timepiece with a 42mm height. This is something Android-based watches don't offer.

Design: Android Wear

Apple Watch vs Android Wear
Android Wear vs Apple Watch comparison design
Android Wear watches add more variety with eight different designs so far. This includes the circular Moto 360, LG G Watch R, Huawei Watch and new LG Urbane.
There are also square-shaped Google-powered watches: Sony Smartwatch 3, LG G Watch and Samsung Gear Live. The Apple Watch-like Asus ZenWatch fits somewhere in between.
In total, there are now eight Android Wear watches and they've come a long way from their "plastic disguised as metal" beginnings.
Huawei and LG's forthcoming watches are made of stainless steel with fancier silver and gold tones, catching up with Motorola and its customizable timepiece.

Display: Apple Watch

Apple Watch vs Android Wear dipslay
Apple Watch vs Android Wear comparison
Apple Watch's display size is rather small, but its resolution is still pixel-dense enough to earn that "Retina" marketing label.
The colorful OLED screen reaches a resolution of 312 x 390 on the 42mm watch size and 272 x 340 on the 38mm watch size.
Apple Watch's display has its own "one more thing" you don't see right away. Its pressure sensitive with technology the company calls "Force Touch."
This means the flexible screen can sense differences between light taps and deep presses, which solves complex UI commands sans Multitouch. Sounds expensive, hence the Apple Watch price.
Force Touch is also a part of the New MacBook

Display: Android Wear

Apple Watch vs Android Wear
Android Wear vs Apple Watch
Android Wear's displays really brightened up smartwatches at a time when we were all fooling around with Pebble's black-and-white e-paper screen.
The current highest resolution displays come from Samsung, Sony and Asus watches thanks to 320 x 320 AMOLEDs and LCDs with 278 pixels per inch.
But even the Moto 360 looks good thanks to 280 x 280 and 240ppi. Its debut of a circular watch face tempted buyers to return or cancel their initial Gear Live and LG G Watch orders.
Google's software doesn't support anything like Apple's Force Touch at the moment, but that doesn't rule out future technology along those lines.
After all, Android Wear watches are already pushing smartwatch pixels to the next level. Huawei Watch promises a 400 x 400 resolution and 286ppi from a 1.4-inch round AMOLED.

Controls: Apple Watch

Apple Watch vs Android Wear comparison
Apple Watch touchscreen
Apple Watch's Digital Crown isn't just a classic-looking knob: it's a unique way to interact with the interface without having to constantly swipe at a tiny screen.
Twisting this time-tested input magnifies content and scrolls through lists, and pressing it in returns home without obstructing the display. It's much better than swipe and pinch-to-zoom gestures on surface that's about 1.5 inches.
Tapping the larger side button underneath leads to your friends' thumbnails. This keeps your most frequent contacts within arm's reach so you can initiate a quick message or call.
Of course, the touchscreen is still utilized a lot, like for pressure-sensitive Force Touch, and Apple Watch wearers can exchange drawings, taps and heartbeats for added personalization.

Android Wear: Controls

Apple Watch vs Android Wear comparison
Everyone else without a smartwatch got wet
Android Wear vs Apple Watch
Android Wear's interface is primarily controlled with swiping, but a lot of the menus pop up automatically thanks to the know-it-all Google Now software.
The search engine giant's intelligent personal assistant dives into everything from your search history to your email to your calendar to surface relevant tips. It's creepy, but works so well.
"Were you looking for directions to the Chicago Cubs' stadium last night? Leave now to get there in time for this afternoon's game, and take this route," my Moto 360 reminded me during a trip in Chicago.
"Can't see the scoreboard at the stadium? Here's the real-time score. Oh, and watch out for that inclimate weather. It looks like a rain delay." Everyone else without a smartwatch got wet.
So yes, Android Wear watches rely heavily on swiping, even though most include a button on the watch case, but it's the controls inside that really turn the gears.

1 comment:

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