Samsung made two key changes to its current flagship smartwatch. It became the first Galaxy Watch to be powered by Google’s Wear OS and it can be paired only with Android smartphones. The Apple Watch has always been a wearable that keeps you locked within the Apple ecosystem and is exclusively for iPhone users. In a sense, the battle between the Apple Watch Series 7 and the Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 is more than just a hardware face-off; it’s a clash of two watch ecosystems.

Square or circle: Both smartwatches have a diametrically different design approach. Samsung has stuck to a circular dial, closer to watches you’ve worn for the longest part of your life. Apple too hasn’t deviated from its square design since the first-gen Apple Watch debuted in 2015. Both watches have vibrant displays. The Series 7 has the biggest and brightest display ever seen on an Apple Watch—20 percent larger than the Apple Watch Series 6 from 2020. The 1.9-inch Retina LTPO OLED display (484×396 pixels) packs 326 PPI (pixels per inch). That’s almost identical to the 321 PPI on the 1.4-inch Super AMOLED display (450×450 pixels) of the Galaxy Watch 4. Samsung also offers a rotating physical bezel on the heavier Classic version.

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Wellness: The big differentiator on the Galaxy Watch 4 is the Body Composition tracker. Samsung’s new BioActive Sensor gets a fast chip (a dual-core 1.18 GHz processor) to track fat percentage, skeletal muscle and body water. All you need to get these readings is to place two fingers on the two physical buttons (on the right spine). The watch also has features like blood pressure monitoring and ECG that are still awaiting regulatory approval in India. The Apple Watch offers ECG off your wrist. Both watches have what have now become standard wellness features like SpO2 tracking, sleep tracking and multiple workout-tracking modes. I’ve strapped on both watches simultaneously during outdoor workouts and they work equally well.

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Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 line-up

App ecosystem: In many ways, the Galaxy Watch 4 gives you the best of both worlds. You get heaps of watch faces—a strong point of the Samsung smartwatch experience—as well as a wider basket of apps thanks to the Google Wear OS. But this is still an area where Apple has an edge in terms of the sheer width of the watch OS ecosystem. These are also among the only smartwatches in India that offer LTE versions that allow you to leave your phone behind and still stay connected for calls, texts and data connectivity.

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Apple Watch Series 7 line-up

Hardware: You won’t notice any difference between these two watches on the performance front. The Apple Watch Series 7 is propelled by the Apple S7 chipset, while the Exynos W920 processor is at the heart of the Samsung Galaxy Watch 4. There’s enough internal storage on both for all the apps you’re likely to download as well as your music. The Galaxy Watch 4 performed slightly better in terms of battery life in our extended usage of both devices, but this might depend on your usage patterns especially if you do GPS-enabled workout sessions. The Series 7 also features a USB-C based cable that charges 33 percent faster than its predecessor. This translates to 0 to 80 percent in 45 minutes compared to an hour for the Watch 6.

The Apple Watch Series 7 is the best Apple wearable you can buy, while the Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 is our pick for Android users as it sees a vast improvement over its predecessor. The Samsung is also significantly cheaper—with a starting price of Rs 23,999 compared to the Series 7’s Rs 41,900. The watch you should go for depends on whether you’re on the Android or Apple side of the fence.