With the introduction of Apple Watch, Apple formally enters the smartwatch market. Apple fans/enthusiasts might probably discard the competition with a wave of the hand but in Moto 360 (and to a feeble extent, in Galaxy Gear 1), there’s some competition for Apple Watch.
Truth be told, Apple Watch directly competes with Moto 360 more than any other gadget. Forget Galaxy Gear (which now runs on Tizen and feels more of a bloat given the unfocused approach to apps and utility). In this Apple Watch vs. Moto 360 (vs. Galaxy Gear where it excels), we’ve tried to collate information and compare it with what we know about Apple Watch.
Comparison Between Apple Watch, Moto 360, and Galaxy Gear: The Smartwatch War Begins
The “Watch Face”
We talk a lot about how a smartphone looks. With a smartwatch – which is even more of a personal gadget – the watch face becomes one of the first things to look at.
Apple Watch features a neo-look while sticking to a rounded-rectangle. The physical “watch face” is made of sapphire glass (or ion-strengthened), curved in the edges. The sizes are 1.5″ and 1.7″. It’s modern, undoubtedly.
Moto 360 takes the traditional approach to watch faces: it’s circular. The diameter still hovers around the 1.5” mark but since it’s a circle, we’ve got a lot more screen space than the Apple Watch. You’ll expect Moto 360’s interface to be less cramped and well-spaced. In most cases, this is true. The resolution is 320x320px.
Galaxy Gear’s latest model (v2.0) features a rectangular display spanning ~1.6″. Here again, the resolution is 320x320px.
Also Check: Detailed Features on Apple Watch
Apple Watch wins here hands down.
- There are two sizes: 1.5″ and 1.7″.
- Then, in each size, there are three models: Apple Watch, Apple Watch Sport, Apple Watch Edition
- Each model can be customized with different bands/straps. There’s quite a bunch of them.
- And finally, you can have a very customized clock-face (they’re calling this the ‘watch face’). The options run into hundreds of thousands.
With Moto 360, you have two options. Grey or black.
The Gear doesn’t seem to offer “exciting” options here.
Apple Watch features what I’d call a unique interface. It borrows very lightly from iOS unlike, say the Moto 360. The Apple Watch has dedicated apps which are either extensions of the apps on iPhone (like camera, photos, messages etc.). There’s also a WatchKit which will let third-party app developers create extensions of their apps to fit Apple Watch.
The Watch also features a haptic response: vibrations alert you to a variety of interface interactions like notifications, “sent” confirmations, alerts etc.
Moto 360 runs on Android Wear so what we’re looking at is a heavily-Android-like UI. Not that it’s bad. It looks great. And when it comes to apps, we’re looking basically at a widget-like behavior. You cannot use apps on the Moto 360 just like you’d on a smartphone. You can mostly check notifications and use voice-commands to respond to them.
The Galaxy Gear can run apps too. In fact, it is probably the lonely warrior that runs almost all apps on the watch itself.
Communicating with the smartphone
Apple Watch can largely work on its own but you will definitely need a pairing iPhone. (iPhone 5 and above). The Apple Watch can show you messages, mail, incoming call alerts and other notifications. And you can also reply to all these easily through voice commands. In some use-cases, Apple Watch even comes up with suitable one-tap replies for incoming messages.
Apple Watch features Siri too so you can get almost any information through your Watch, without having to take out your iPhone. But where it wins is the new modes of communication. Under the digital crown, you have this communication button. Click it and contacts show up on the screen. You can tap on these contacts to call them, messages them, send them your heartbeat or even doodle with them.
Moto 360 connects to any Android device that runs 4.3+ thanks to the underlying Android Wear software. It connects to Google Now and can carry out a lot many actions but I doubt that it can get to Apple Watch’s level of integration. However, it does feature complete integration to notifications: any app that sends a notification to your Android phone will send notifications to Moto 360 too.
Maps, Location and GPS
Apple Watch relies on your iPhone to work through GPS data. The Maps interface is akin to the one you’ll find on your iPhone.
Moto 360 too relies on your smartphone to pick GPS data but interestingly, the Moto shows only a turn-by-turn-style navigation. Unlike the Apple Watch, the Maps interface on Moto 360 is a little hard to navigate through.
Galaxy Gear runs custom maps on Tizen but the performance or focus is apparently nothing much to talk about.
Health and Fitness
This is where Apple Watch beats the competition. Forget sensors: every watch features sensors. I’m talking about apps, app features and integration. Apple built a strong foundation in iOS 8’s Health app and HealthKit. They’re using this to boost Apple Watch’s focus on health and fitness. The Watch features a very streamlined approach to fitness: it tracks your movements, your exercises and calories burnt. And the integration with the Health app is total.
Apple Watch also features optical heart-rate sensors under the watch.
Moto 360 features an optical heart-rate sensors too. It beats Galaxy Gear because it’s a live sensor which tracks your pulse in real-time. But when it comes to apps, Moto 360 works only as a pedometer, tracking the number of steps. In collusion with apps on your smartphone, it can track a bit more but that’s as far as it gets. Full-fledged health integration like Apple Watch is not one of its features.
Galaxy Gear has an optical sensor on the back. It is not real-time (like Moto 360) but it sure is a good sensor. Dedicated apps on the Gear help track your fitness. It is possible to use this data through your smartphone (third-party apps) but Apple-like integration is not a part of the Gear.
Apple hasn’t revealed much about Apple Watch’s spec. For instance, we only know that the watch features an S1 chip but we don’t know about the RAM or the internal storage. As someone pointed out, Apple’s possibly focusing on the traditional watch experience (along with fitness tracking) instead of approaching the smartwatch thing like Samsung.
Moto 360 shares the same mystery. No specs on storage capacity or RAM.
Galaxy Gear features 512MB of RAM and 4GB internal.
Apple Watch is splash-resistant. It can handle a little bit of water but you can’t swim wearing it or head into a heavy downpour.
Moto 360, on the other hand, is totally water-resistant. It’s like it is built to be a swimmer’s wear. Possibly, later versions of Moto 360 will feature good fitness-tracking capabilities that will make the water-resistant feature much more useful than it is now.
Galaxy Gear is not completely water-resistant but can withstand splashes.
Price Comparison Between Apple Watch, Moto 360 and Galaxy Gear
Apple Watch starts at $349. There are multiple variants in three models and two sizes so it’s going to be a premium product.
Moto 360 starts at about $250 for the standard version. Customizations in the form of straps can take that value to about $300 or so. Still, cheaper than Apple Watch and will be so for a long long time.
Galaxy Gear sells for $299.
Arguably, the best smartwatch is largely based on individual preference.
Apple Watch is a premium product that comes with a ton of features that beat the competition. If you’re looking for a complete smartwatch already, and already own an iPhone 5 (or planning to get the new iPhones), Apple Watch is your best bet.
Moto 360 is for Android folks who own an Android smartphone. It’s not as widely functional as Apple Watch but for most smartwatch-like features, Moto 360 is definitely a budget-friendly solution.
I won’t recommend the Galaxy Gear when there’s Moto 360.
Also Read: Apple Watch Release Date