Galaxy Watch 7 vs Apple Watch 9: Early Impressions

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w7 v a9

Intro


The official Galaxy Watch 7 unveiling is already in the annals of history! Samsung lifted the curtain and showed us its new foldable flagships, two earbud models, a ring wearable, and two smartwatches. And even though all eyes are on the Galaxy Watch Ultra, the vanilla model will most likely be the better selling device.

Can the Galaxy Watch 7 give the Apple Watch 9 a run for its money, though? That's the question some of you might be asking yourselves, and we're going to try and answer it today. This comparison will be updated with some hard numbers, as we're testing the Galaxy Watch 7 as we type this, but for now, these are our initial impressions.

So, without further ado, let's get to it. This is our Galaxy Watch 7 versus Apple Watch 9 comparison.

Galaxy Watch 7 vs Apple Watch 9: differences

  • Apple Watch 9: Rectangular, 1.69" and 1.9" sizes, sharper resolution.
  • Galaxy Watch 7: Circular, 1.3" and 1.5" sizes.
  • Apple Watch 9: Custom S9 SiP with dual-core CPU, 4-core Neural Engine, 64GB storage.
  • Galaxy Watch 7: Exynos W1000 5-core chip, 3nm process, 32GB storage.
  • Apple Watch 9: watchOS 10 (seamless for iPhone users).
  • Galaxy Watch 7: Wear OS 5 (wider app selection for Android)

Table of Contents:

Design & Sizes

It's hip to be square

There's a conceptual design difference between the Galaxy Watch 7 and the Apple Watch 9. The former relies on the circular design we all know and love, while the Apple Watch 9 has a square-ish design.

The Apple Watch also comes in two sizes: 41mm and 45mm, while the Galaxy Watch 7 mimics its predecessor with two size options again, slightly smaller at 40mm and 44mm. Samsung fans now have the Galaxy Watch Ultra with its 47mm to satisfy their needs for a bigger watch face, so the Korean company has thought this one through.

The Apple Watch 9 also comes with two options for materials: an aluminum case or a stainless steel one. The Galaxy Watch 7, on the other hand, relies on aluminum and comes in three colorways - cream, silver, and khaki.

The Apple Watch 9 features Ion-X glass for the aluminum models and Sapphire Crystal for the stainless steel option. The Galaxy Watch 7, on the other hand, comes equipped with Sapphire Crystal glass only, so advantage Samsung in that regard.

The display of the Apple Watch 9 is rated at 2,000 nits peak brightness and 1 nit minimum brightness, and indeed, it's one of the best smartwatch displays in the industry. The brightness of the Galaxy Watch 7 wasn't mentioned in the presentation (Samsung boasted the Watch Ultra having 3,000 nits), so we assume the vanilla model can go up to 2,000 nits, just like its predecessor, but we have to test this in our lab, so stay tuned for that.

Bands

Loops aplenty

The Apple Watch 9 offers a wide variety of optional bands for every style and taste. There are silicon sport bands, stylish Milanese loops, braided bands, fabric ones with buckle designs, metal bracelets, and many more.

However, despite this abundance, the Galaxy Watch 7 comes with something even cooler. Samsung has retained the same quick-release mechanism from the Galaxy Watch 6 series. This allows, along with Samsung-branded bands (which are also aplenty), for users to slap a regular 20mm or 22mm third party band on the Galaxy Watch. 

This is cool because you can in theory use your favorite leather band, for example, on your newly acquired smartwatch, given it's the right size and has the same quick release pin mechanism. Going with the traditional watch lugs gives more freedom when choosing a strap and also has a classic look. That being said, there's no right or wrong here, it's just what you like better.

To sum it up, the Galaxy Watch 7 has an advantage in the fact that it can take standard 20mm and 22mm watch bands, while the Apple Watch 9 uses a proprietary mechanism for its bands.

Software & Features

WatchOS vs WearOS?

The Galaxy Watch 7 comes equipped with Google's latest Wear OS 5. This software builds upon the extensive array of health-monitoring and wellness functionalities found in previous generations of Galaxy watches, adding even more advanced features.

Familiar metrics such as Sleep Score, Sleep Consistency, Body Composition analysis, can be found on the Galaxy Watch 7, alongside hundreds of workouts, skin temperature readings, and safety features like fall detection and notifications for irregular heart rhythms.

There's an integration with the newly announced Galaxy Ring baked inside the Galaxy Watch 7 as well, making use of the power and accuracy of the combined sensors on different spots on the hand. Speaking of sensors, the Galaxy Watch 7 features the all new BioActive sensor, which offers 30% more accurate heart-rate detection, and also better sleep tracking and analysis. 

All this is backed up by the new Exynos W1000 chipset, a much faster and efficient 3nm processor. Samsung claims it offers 2.7x faster app launch, 3.4x faster single-core performance, and 3.7x multi-core performance compared to the Galaxy Watch 6.

The Apple Watch 9, on the other hand, currently runs on WatchOS 10 and comes with a slew of really cool features. The new double-tap gesture is available, and it can be a very useful way of quickly answering a call or snapping a photo.

The Apple Watch 9 offers amazing integration with iPhone devices, but it won't work with Android phones, so that's the trade off. Other than that, it has sleep tracking, fitness tracking, fall and crash detection, and women's health features such as menstrual cycle tracking.

The heart-rate accuracy, sleep tracking, and GPS will be assessed after we put both of these models against each other in our rigorous tests. The Apple Watch 9 is famous for its heart-rate sensor, one of the most accurate in the industry on a non-medical device, so it will be interesting to see whether or not the Galaxy Watch 7 will be able to challenge that with its new BioActive sensor.

Battery and Charging

Advantage Samsung... possibly

In terms of battery life, the Apple Watch 9 comes with the usual 18-hour claim. Despite all the complaints that have been voiced for the past couple of generations, Apple seems to think that 18 hours is more than enough for everybody.

The Galaxy Watch 7, on the other hand, features the same battery capacities as the previous generation, 300 and 425 mAh for the two models, respectively.

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We can't judge the actual battery life without running some tests, but we can make an educated guess based on what we saw in previous Galaxy Watch models. With that in mind, we expect the Galaxy Watch 7 to offer at least more than 18 hours on a single charge, possibly a full 24-hour cycle.

When it comes to charging, the Apple Watch 9 lists 50% in 30 minutes, which is a normal metric for Apple devices. For the Galaxy Watch 7, Samsung didn't share anything specific during the presentation but we expect similar results to its predecessors: 30 minutes will get you around 40% charge, and a whole charge should take around 80 minutes. 

Of course, we will update this section with real, hard numbers once we carry out our tests, which are happening as we type this.

Models and Prices


Here's a quick breakdown of all Apple Watch 9 models and prices:

  • Apple Watch Series 9 Aluminum 41mm: from $399 for GPS, $499 for cellular
  • Apple Watch Series 9 Aluminum 45mm: from $429 for GPS, $529 for cellular
  • Apple Watch Series 9 Stainless Steel 41mm: from $699
  • Apple Watch Series 9 Stainless Steel 45mm: from $749

The situation with the Galaxy Watch 7 is coming in four total variants. We have the two sizes, 40mm and 44mm, and an LTE option for each of them alongside the Bluetooth one. So here's the breakdown of the Galaxy Watch 7 models and their price:

  • Galaxy Watch 7 (40mm): $299.99 Wi-Fi only; $349.99 Wi-Fi + Cellular
  • Galaxy Watch 7 (44mm): $329.99 Wi-Fi only; $379.99 Wi-Fi + Cellular

When it comes to bang for your bucks, the Galaxy Watch 7 is definitely the winner here, especially when we factor in Samsung's trade-in deals and bundles.

Voice Calls and Haptics


When it comes to voice calls, both the Apple Watch 9 and the Galaxy Watch 7 support calling from the watch. The Apple Watch has a pretty decent speaker and mic albeit a bit on the quieter side. Our initial impressions of the Galaxy Watch 7 are that its loudspeaker and mic are in the ballpark, decent quality, but not the loudest out there.

Now, when it comes to haptics, the Apple Watch 9 pleasantly surprised us when we reviewed the model. It sports tight and strong vibration, making it almost an industry standard in that regard. The Galaxy Watch 7 inherits the same vibration motor from its predecessor, so the haptics are decent, but probably not as tight and as strong as what the Apple Watch is capable of outputting.

Specs


Here's a quick specs comparison for the number nurds out there.



Summary


We're still carrying out some tests on the Galaxy Watch 7, and will update this comparison with benchmark results and test scores soon. Hence, giving a final verdict is hard at the moment. But we already have a decent idea of how this new wearable from Samsung stacks against the Apple Watch 9. It's been a quiet and steady evolution for both of these smartwatch series, so there's no big shift in the status quo.

Normally, if you rock an iPhone, your obvious choice will be to get the Apple Watch 9. Alternatively, Android users will most likely be better off trying the new Galaxy Watch 7. Things get more complicated if you're both an Android and iOS user, and in this case, you'll have to wait for our full review for the final verdict.

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