Spec stand off: Samsung Galaxy Gear vs Sony SmartWatch 2

Comparing the Sony and Samsung smartwatches by the numbers

There are few consumer electronics products as hyped at present as so-called smartwatches.

While much of the hype is due to the anticipated unveiling of some sort of wearable device by Apple next year -- something the company hasn't actually confirmed -- excitement has been building thanks to devices from two other industry heavyweights: Sony and Samsung.

Sony recently unveiled its second smartwatch, called the SmartWatch 2, and Samsung provided a first look at its Galaxy Gear on Wednesday at the IFA electronics show in Berlin.

Here's a look at how the two devices measure up based on the initial specifications from each company.

The screen

Both have a 1.6-inch screen but that's where the similarities end. Samsung has chosen an OLED (organic light emitting diode) screen while Sony uses transreflective LCD (liquid crystal display). Both screens use less power than traditional LCD panels -- OLED thanks to pixels made up of an organic compound that emits light when a current is passed through it and transreflective LCD because it makes use of ambient light in addition to a backlight. But it's difficult to say which is better without a more thorough test. The Galaxy Gear has the better resolution at 320 pixels square while Sony's SmartWatch 2 is 220 pixels by 176 pixels.

The camera

The Galaxy Gear has a 1.9 megapixel camera compared to none on the SmartWatch 2, so an easy victory for Samsung on this feature.

The apps

Both watches have a number of custom-built apps that will run alongside the basic clock. Some are common to both, like Evernote, but there are considerable differences in the others. While Samsung's Galaxy Gear will display details of emails received using its own email client in the Note 3 handset, for Gmail, Twitter and Facebook it will only show notifications that a message has been received. Sony's SmartWatch 2 will let you see details of those messages on the screen. This might be a concern for early adopters, but as apps so often change it might become less of an issue as time passes.

Battery life

There is a big difference in the claimed battery life figures from each company. Samsung said the Galaxy Gear will last up to 25 hours in regular use while Sony claims between three and four days in normal use.

The sports (or party) zone

Both watches will withstand a certain amount of dust and water without becoming expensive chunks of useless plastic, but Sony has Samsung beat. The Galaxy Gear is rated for IP55 -- protected against dust and water jets for a few minutes -- while the SmartWatch 2 is rated to IP57 -- dust and submersion in up to a meter of water for 30 minutes.

Weight and dimensions

The Smartwatch 2 is thinner and has more of a squared shape compared to the rectangular Galaxy Gear. Sony's device measures 9mm thick and 42mm by 41mm against Samsung's 11mm thick and 37mm by 57mm, which means the volume of the SmartWatch 2 is about a third less than that of the Galaxy Gear, but the Sony watch weighs more: 122 grams compared to 74 grams.


It's no use studying specifications if the device won't work with your phone -- both have limited functionality when they aren't paired with a smartphone. Sony's SmartWatch 2 will happily play with any smartphone running Android 4.0 but Samsung's is much more picky. At launch it will run on the Note 3 only. Samsung said it plans to offer software updates to some recent model smartphones, like the Galaxy S3, but don't expect to use it on non-Samsung products.

Price and availability

The Galaxy Gear will be available beginning late September for around US$299. Sony hasn't announced a date for the SmartWatch 2, but it's listed on Amazon U.K. as shipping next week for £160 (US$250).

Martyn Williams covers mobile telecoms, Silicon Valley and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Follow Martyn on Twitter at @martyn_williams. Martyn's e-mail address is martyn_williams@idg.com

Join the newsletter!


Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags smartphonesAndroidsonyIFAsamsungconsumer electronics

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Martyn Williams

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles


PCW Evaluation Team

Tom Pope

Dynabook Portégé X30L-G

Ultimately this laptop has achieved everything I would hope for in a laptop for work, while fitting that into a form factor and weight that is remarkable.

Tom Sellers


This smart laptop was enjoyable to use and great to work on – creating content was super simple.

Lolita Wang


It really doesn’t get more “gaming laptop” than this.

Jack Jeffries


As the Maserati or BMW of laptops, it would fit perfectly in the hands of a professional needing firepower under the hood, sophistication and class on the surface, and gaming prowess (sports mode if you will) in between.

Taylor Carr


The MSI PS63 is an amazing laptop and I would definitely consider buying one in the future.

Christopher Low

Brother RJ-4230B

This small mobile printer is exactly what I need for invoicing and other jobs such as sending fellow tradesman details or step-by-step instructions that I can easily print off from my phone or the Web.

Featured Content

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?