Sony Smartwatch 3 vs. Samsung Gear S: Which Is Best?

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Two of the hottest smartwatches coming out of IFA in Berlin are the Sony Smartwatch 3 and the Samsung Gear S. Which smartwatch is right for you? Read on to see how these two watches stack up.


1. Price & Operating System

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The Gear S is a Tizen creation. Tizen is a nice OS that is beloved by its user base, but it does seem like Google is making a concerted effort to improve the newer Android Wear platform. Sony’s SmartWatch 3 is just one of many Android Wear watches currently on the market.

The SmartWatch 3 is expected to retail for around $300. The Gear S pricing is still a bit up in the air, but it has been estimated to cost around $380, plus a lot more if you want one of those swanky Swarovski crystal bands (pictured above). That’s a big price difference, but it makes sense that the “solo” nature of the Gear S would command a premium price.


2. Smartphone Compatibility

Check out a hands-on video about the Sony SmartWatch 3 above.

During the Unpacked Episode 2 event, Samsung said that the Gear S would work with over 20 different Galaxy phones. You will need to connect the Gear S to a Samsung device before you can “go solo” with it, however. In other words, this is yet another Samsung wearable that is inaccessible to anyone who doesn’t own the right kind of Samsung phone. Similarly, the SmartWatch 3 works with Sony Xperia phones.


3. Design & Form Factor

Is the Gear S too big? That depends on how you want to use your smartwatch, as well as the size of your wrist and arms in general. The Gear S has a huge screen, which is great for people who want to have a larger area for notifications, news, and information. That being said, the large screen may be uncomfortable and overwhelming on the wrist of a small-boned person. The SmartWatch 3 offers a form factor that’s a bit more like a traditional watch.


4. Waterproofing

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Sony’s SmartWatch 3 boasts a waterproof rating of IP68. The Gear S only has a rating of IP67. What’s the difference? While both have a high rating for dustproofing, the Gear S can only withstand immersion in water for a limited time, and only at depths under one meter. The SmartWatch 3 can handle those depths for longer.


5. Conclusion & Final Thoughts

Sony’s SmartWatch 3 is an Android Wear smartwatch that has a display that is easy to read in bright sun, advanced motion sensors, and integration with Sony’s LifeLog platform. The Gear S’s main selling points are the virtual keyboard, S Health features, and the ability to go “solo” thanks to an included SIM card. The SmartWatch 3 is no slouch in the “solo” department, however. On its product page for the SmartWatch 3, Sony writes: “Even without your smartphone, SmartWatch 3 SWR50 is a fun and useful accessory. You can fill it with music to take with you if you’re going for a run. When you’re out, you can track your activity and movements as well as sync with your Lifelog when you come home.”

Both of these phones offer some good “solo” features, so in the end it comes down to personal preference about brand, operating system, and price.


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