On Monday, the wearable market welcomed two new devices, the Galaxy Watch Active 2 and the Fossil Gen 5. The Active 2 comes just six months after its first iteration was introduced and the Gen 5 follows the Sport which was announced in 2018.
Both of these watches use a different OS. While the Watch Active 2 uses Samsung’s proprietary Tizen OS, Fossil’s latest smartwatch runs Google’s WearOS — which hasn’t been a fan favourite in recent years, mostly due to slow updates. Since the new watches use rival software, we thought why not cover all the bases and compare them with Apple’s Series 4, which is arguably one of the best pieces wearable techs in the market.
Read on to find out how the Galaxy Watch Active 2, Watch Series 4 and Fossil Gen V smartwatches stack up against each other.
Apple’s wearable has a square watch face while the other two have circular ones. The Series 4 is available in two sizes, a 42mm and a 44mm. The display has covered corners and runs very close to the edges, which gives it an attractive look. Other than that, the case has a Digital Crown, an additional way to interact with the device.
Galaxy Active 2 brings to the table with it, a minimalist look, which it garners using a round watch face. It is available in two sizes, a 40mm variant and a 44mm. For controls, the device has brought back the rotating bezel, albeit in a different way than what was seen in the Galaxy Watch from last year. The bezel is no longer a physical rotating structure but is a touch-sensitive strip which provides haptic feedback.
Fossil Gen 5 definitely captures the essence of a traditional watch with its design. It offers no size options, with only a 44mm option available, but gives consumers a choice of three different straps and five different colours. Three of them are sold under the Carlyle HR moniker while the other three are known as the Julianna HR. The watch features three buttons on the sides for controlling specific actions. Customisation receives a big boost with these as they support all quick-release 22mm bands, so if you have any lying around, you can attach them, and you’re good to go.
Also read: Samsung Gear Sport vs Huawei Watch GT Sport
The Series 4 has a 1.78-inch display, while Active 2 comes in two variants sporting 1.4-inch and 1.2-inch touchscreens, and Gen V features a 1.28-inch display. All of these displays use OLED technology and thus offer the deepest blacks and vibrant colours. But the Apple Watch takes the cake here because of the way it utilises the relatively large display, providing users with a variety of customisations all on their home watch face.
All three of these devices use processors that come from different sources. Apple and Samsung use their proprietary chipsets, the S4 and the Exynos 9110 (same as the last generation) respectively. The Gen 5 uses Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 3100, which was announced in September last year.
In terms of RAM and ROM, there is no official word on the Series 4’s capacity, but the Series 3 was found to have 768 MB of RAM, so you can expect the 4 to have the same or more — but that doesn’t matter much in Apple’s case. The Active 2’s Bluetooth and LTE variants have 768 MB and 1.5 GB respectively whereas the Gen. 5 has 1GB of RAM. Concerning onboard storage, Apple offers 16 GB, Fossil 8 GB and Samsung a paltry 4 GB.
With the 4th generation Apple Watch, users have reported an average usage of two days between charges. Samsung says that the 40mm Active 2 will last for a day and a half on a single charge whereas the 44mm will last for a whole two days. Fossil Gen V will last a company claimed 36 hours while active or a week on clock mode.
The experience that these devices offer is more or less the same across the board. It has remained relatively unchanged since the inception of this market, hence, drawing a comparison here should generally not make any difference.
Therefore, what we will talk about here are some of the new experiences that the watches are set to offer.
Starting off with the Active 2, Samsung’s wearable is set to bring with it, support for reading ECG’s (which Apple offers on their device already) and the ability to watch YouTube on its display, these are the only significant differences that it has when compared to the last generation device — excluding the physical ones.
The Gen 5 is set to bring call support for iPhones — a first-ever feature for an Android Wear device. iPhone users will now be able to answer and make calls from their Android Wear device. This was exclusive to Android devices at first, but Fossil is making this available via a proprietary application set to be launched at a later date.
Price and Conclusion
- Apple Watch 4 starts at $399
- Active 2 at $279
- The Fossil Gen 5 at $295
Now, if you are an iPhone owner and the price of an Apple Watch isn’t going to put a hole in your pocket, there is no other option that you should choose because of the software integration that the device offers within the ecosystem is seamless. In case you don’t want the Apple Watch, we’d recommend the Active 2 as Samsung has continuously shown interest in further developing their wearable tech — something that Google hasn’t.
If you’re on the Android side of things and Samsung isn’t the first choice you may want to wait and see what happens with Google’s platform as they acquired Fossil’s R&D department for watches earlier this year in a $40 million deal, and something interesting might come out of it in the near future.
Also read: Lenovo Ego vs Mi Band 3 vs Honor Band 4
So for updates & ongoing support for Android, do you think Samsung is the way to go with this? Are Fossil & Google likely to drop the ball with the Gen 5 updates? I’m torn…getting S10e phone so want to have one of these. they both look great-like watches! But with awesome capabilities…I’m stuck!
The answer to this question also depends on how you’re gonna use the watch.
As of right now, if your approach is more fitness-centric, Samsung is the way to go.
On the other hand if you’re looking for software/AI based capabilities, Google and its Assistant are miles ahead of the competition.
Samsung’s device is more catered to its phones than others (similar to the Apple Watch and iPhone) and will hence function better with your S10e.
While Google hasn’t really dropped the ball in terms of features, if they continue to offer untimely updates the Android Wear experience is bound to take a hit.
The base smartwatch experience is even along all platforms and hence your approach matters the most.