What started as a device where you can receive all notifications from your smartphone on your wrist and access a series of apps without having to take your iPhone out of your pocket, has become a product focused on health and physical activity. The Apple Watch has clear its intention and path for a few years: to improve the habits of users by encouraging sports and healthy living.
The turning point came with the Apple Watch Series 4, which debuted two key features: the ECG sensor to perform electrocardiograms and the detection of falls. While the former should not be used for self-diagnosis purposes, there are more and more stories of people who have discovered that they have heart disease after consulting the wearable’s test results with their doctors.
Blood oxygen measurement is now also available, and there are rumors that the company is looking to add non-invasive sensors to analyze the glucose level in the bloodstream, which would be a great help and advance for, for example, users with diabetes. Every year, one way or another, some health-related feature is introduced.
All this, added to the fact that it is the smartwatch that is best worn with the iPhone as it is the only one that can access all the nooks and crannies, makes it the most used “smart” watch if you have a smart mobile phone with the logo of the bitten apple on its back. But this does not mean that it is the only compatible one.
Whether they have Wear OS (from now on, Wear), Samsung’s Tizen or RTOS (real-time operating system, which is what devices such as the OnePlus Watch, many Xiaomi, Amazfit, or Huawei models are based on), An Apple Watch is not strictly necessary to be able to enjoy a “smart” watch if we have an iPhone, because with its corresponding app it is possible to use them relatively completely.
There are manufacturers specialized in watches for physical activity with many years of experience in the sector. Polar, Suunto or Garmin are the ones with the greatest presence, and the latter is possibly the one with the largest user base. The firm founded in Kansas, United States, and with headquarters in Switzerland, has gradually added “smart” capabilities to its wearables as well , and in this article we are going to face the main Apple and Garmin models to find out what it is what each one offer.
Apple Watch VS Garmin: the models to compare
Garmin’s watch catalog is quite extensive. Many models are specifically aimed at racers who compete and who seek the maximum possible precision, as every second count. The two watches we have selected are the Garmin Venu 2S, which offers a more “intelligent” experience, and the Fēnix 6 Pro Solar, aimed at the most hardcore athletes. In the case of Apple we have taken the two most recent models, that is, those of the current generation: the SE and the Series 6.
|SPECS||APPLE WATCH SE||GARMIN VENU 2S||APPLE WATCH SERIES 6||GARMIN FENIX 6S PRO SOLAR|
|Size||44 x 38 x 10.4 mm | 40 x 34 x 10.4 mm||40.40 x 40.40 x 12.10mm (fits wrists with a circumference of 110-175mm)||40 x 34 x 10.4 mm | 44 x 38 x 10.4 mm||42 x 42 x 14.2 mm (adaptation to the wrist depends on the chosen strap)|
|Screen||1.78 “or 1.57” OLED Retina LTPO with 448 x 368 pixel resolution (or 394 x 324 pixels) and Ion-X reinforced glass||1.10 “, 360 x 360 pixel resolution, AMOLED technology, Corning Gorilla Glass 3||1.57 “or 1.78” OLED Retina LTPO with 394 x 324 pixel or 448 x 368 pixel resolution and sapphire crystal||1.2 “, 240 x 240 pixel resolution, transflective (most visible in sunlight), Power Glass|
|Case and bezel material||Ceramic, aluminum and glass||Fiber reinforced polymer and stainless steel||Crystal, ceramic / sapphire and aluminum or stainless steel||Fiber-reinforced polymer with metal and stainless steel back cover|
|Weight||36.4 grams||38.20 grams||39.7 g | 47.1 g||60 grams (the shell, 44 grams)|
|Autonomy||Up to 18 hours with mixed use of normal life and sport||Smartwatch mode: up to 10 days; GPS mode with music: up to 7 hours; GPS mode without music: up to 19 hours; energy saving “smart” watch mode: up to 11 days||Up to 18 hours with mixed use of normal life and sport||Smart watch: up to 9 days / 10.5 days with solar charge * Battery saving watch mode: up to 34 days / 59 days with solar charge * GPS: up to 25 hours / 28 hours with solar charge; GPS and music: up to 6 hours; GPS mode with maximum battery use: up to 50 hours / 64 hours with solar charge; GPS expedition activity: up to 20 days / 26 days with solar charge|
|Waterproof||5 ATM||Swimming, 5 ATM||5 ATM||10 ATM|
|Health functions||Heart rate measurement, abnormal heart rate alerts, sleep measurement, hand washing, breathing exercises, women’s health||Constant heart rate measurement (every second), abnormal heart rate alerts (high and low), respiration rate, blood oxygen saturation, physical age, energy monitor, stress monitor, relaxation reminders, sleep, hydration and female health monitoring||Heart rate measurement, abnormal heart rate alerts, sleep measurement, hand washing, breathing exercises, women’s health, blood oxygen measurement and ECG for electrocardiograms||Constant heart rate measurement (every second), abnormal heart rate alerts (high and low), respiration rate, blood oxygen saturation, physical age, energy monitor, stress and relaxation reminders, advanced sleep measurement, hydration and monitoring of women’s health|
|Sensors||Accelerometer, gyroscope, second-generation heart rate, barometer, always-on altimeter, and compass||GPS, GLONASS, Galileo, wrist heart rate monitor, barometric altimeter, compass, gyroscope, accelerometer, thermometer, ambient light sensor, pulse oximetry acclimatization||Accelerometer, gyroscope, 3rd generation heart rate, barometer, always-on altimeter and compass, SpO2 and VO2max||GPS, GLONASS, Galileo, wrist heart rate monitor, barometric altimeter, compass, gyroscope, accelerometer, thermometer and pulse oximetry acclimatization|
|Connectivity||Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, GPS and NFC (optional LTE / 4G)||Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, ANT +, GPS, NFC||Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, GPS and NFC (optional LTE / 4G)||Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, ANT +, GPS, NFC|
|“Smart” functions||Answer calls, messages, music playback, storage of songs, podcasts and audiobooks, downloadable apps, customizable faces, option with LTE / 4G connectivity, HomeKit device control, Siri assistant||Connect IQ system (downloadable watch faces, widgets and apps), “smart” notifications, text reply, text phone call rejection (Android only), music control, storage of up to 650 songs, find my phone, Garmin Pay||Answer calls, messages, music playback, storage of songs, podcasts and audiobooks, downloadable apps, customizable faces, option with LTE / 4G connectivity, HomeKit device control, Siri assistant||Connect IQ system (downloadable watch faces, widgets and apps), “smart” notifications, phone call rejection and text reply (Android only), “smart” weather forecast, power saving, music control and storage up to 2,000 songs, find my phone, find my watch, remote for Virb and Garmin Pay.|
|Tracking and security features||Fall detection and SOS function||Livetrack, incident detection during specific activities and assistance||Fall detection and SOS function||Livetrack, Group Livetrack, share live events, detection of incidents during specific activities and assistance|
|Live activity tracking features||Step counter, daily goal (rings), calories burned, floors climbed, distance traveled and challenges||Step counter, automatic goal, calories burned, floors climbed, distance traveled, intensity minutes, Garmin Connect challenges, Move IQ and TrueUP||Step counter, daily goal (rings), calories burned, floors climbed, distance traveled and challenges||Step Counter, Inactivity Line, Auto Goal, Calories Burned, Floors Climbed, Distance Traveled, Intensity Minutes, TrueUp, Move IQ, and Garmin Connect Challenges|
|Training, planning and analysis functions||Dedicated app to record a large number of physical activities and sports with customizable goals.||Rate zones, alerts and calories based on heart rate,% of maximum heart rate, transmission of heart rate data by ANT + devices, respiratory rate / Yoga and work of breathing), speed and GPS distance, customizable activity profiles, automatic lap , Vo2 MAX, downloadable training plans||Dedicated app to record a large number of physical activities and sports with customizable goals.||Zones, alerts and calories based on heart rate,% of maximum heart rate and HRR, recovery time, automatic heart rate, HRV stress test (with compatible accessory), respiratory rate (with compatible accessory), HR Broadcast, speed and distance GPS, interval training, advanced training sessions, downloadable training plans, automatic and manual lap, Vo2 MAX, training load focus, audio prompts, Strava functions and much more.|
|Price||From 299 euros||399 euros||799 euros||From 429 euros|
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You have to be very clear that the Garmin and Apple proposals are quite different. While the former are sports watches that have acquired some “smart” capabilities, those of the bitten apple is smartwatches that have health and sports-related functions. Therefore, the target audience is different.
However, Garmin has the Garmin Venu 2S, which is a wearable that could more accurately be compared to the Apple Watch by being categorized as a “smart” watch, but without neglecting the sports functions. Starting with its design, the Venu 2S is a device designed to be worn daily and with which to improve habits, and its 1.10 “AMOLED screen does not make it excessively large, as, for example, the company’s Fenix
Its operating system integrates functions such as interactive notifications (although an Android smartphone is required to get the most out of it), music playback from sources such as Spotify, Deezer, or Amazon Music when connecting a headset (songs are downloaded to listen to them without an Internet connection), contactless mobile payments with Garmin Pay and an Apps store, the Connect IQ, to personalize the device with more dials, add data fields and get additional applications.
Not to mention its autonomy. While the Apple Watch has an estimated life of around 18 hours with normal-mixed use of daily activity and sports, the Garmin Venu 2S is capable of lasting up to 10 days in “smart” watch mode , or up to 19 hours in smart watch mode. GPS (7 hours in GPS with music). Just 10 minutes of charging provides an additional day of battery life.
If we talk about the sports field, the Garmin Venu 2S has lively workouts for cardio, strength, yoga, Pilates, and HIIT; some come pre-installed, and others can be downloaded through the Garmin Connect app. It is capable of recording 25 sports activities, and creating personalized training sessions by including 1,400 different exercises. In addition, with Garmin Coach, you have a personal trainer on your wrist to prepare for marathons.
In the case of the Apple Watch, its Train app hosts many different activities, but the customization options are quite basic. For more advanced registrations, you have to pull third-party apps. Luckily, in the watchOS App Store there are many interesting alternatives that sync seamlessly with the Health app. And that is one of the strengths of the Apple Watch, its wide catalog of applications. It is not only related to health, but also task management, productivity, games, various entertainment, etc.
Another factor to consider is the app for mobile devices, specifically Garmin Connect vs. Apple Health. Garmin Connect is a free tool for smartphones and tablets that is used to synchronize the manufacturer’s devices, and it also has a web version to view data from a computer. It allows you to see the following:
- Performance statistics: see all the data recorded by the device. Monitor metrics, from training status to VO2 max, or functional power threshold, to help you exceed your goals.
- Garmin Coach: Prepare for a 5K, 10K or half marathon with free advice and a dynamic training plan that changes based on performance and goals. Sessions are synchronized with the clock.
- Activity Tracking: Garmin Connect tracks all activities, regardless of whether it’s running, swimming, or weightlifting. Statistics allow you to analyze your performance and improve for the next training session.
- Fitness stats: track energy levels, Pulse Ox, stress, sleep, heart rate, hydration, breathing, and more, and get detailed charts and tables for a deeper understanding of health.
- Female Health Tracker: Track your pregnancy or menstrual cycle by recording symptoms, get tips on nutrition and exercise, and more.
- Download tracks: send courses and training sessions to the device so that they can be navigated.
- Social Share: Share activity training sessions with photos, time and distance overlays, sporting challenges and achievements via social media.
- Create challenges: create and join challenges that encourage competition between contacts, or compete against other users.
- Earn Medals – Track health records and train with virtual medals. Compare them with those obtained by friends and enjoy showing off your achievements.
- Livetrack: allow friends and family to follow workouts and activities in real time with this feature.
Something that is very important about the app is that the interface is very intuitive and well designed . It is based on colorful activity cards, the tonality is different depending on the activity, to easily know what the data is being consulted about. The app is customizable, and you can choose which cards you want to see and which you don’t in the “My day” panel. Comparing statistics is also easy with the “last 7 days” view, which shows average sleep, steps, calories, and more.
The Garmin Connect app can be linked to the Apple Health app and that much of the data it records is available on the bitten apple platform. Among the information that is transferred is the percentage of body fat, heart rate, stairs climbed, sleep analysis, steps, weight, training, the distance covered by walking and running, among others.
In the case of Apple, the physical activity data is recorded in the Fitness app, but the rest falls into the Health app. As we have counted the features of the Garmin Connect app, we are going to break down both Fitness and Health, starting with Fitness :
- Summary tab: easily see the history of activity, training, and trends.
- Progress: check your progress with activity rings and check daily activity metrics, such as distance and total apps, also possible from the Apple Watch itself.
- Movement details: exercise calories, total active time, and a visual graph of exercise minutes throughout the day. Also the goal of standing time and inactivity hours.
- History: View the history of your workouts in the Train app or any other Fitness app from other developers on your Apple Watch. See important metrics for each workout, such as average pace, distance, calories burned and average heart rate, among others.
- Competition: get challenge medals and compete against friends.
Regarding the Health app :
- Interactive graphs with the minutes of exercise or vital signs to see the evolution in a panoramic or more detailed view.
- Dream: one of the latest innovations that were already available in competitive products. Now, the Health app lets you manage your sleep schedules and create bedtime routines.
- Find information related to blood glucose, weight, hearing health, heart rate or menstrual cycles, as well as nutrition, and track the symptoms you register over time.
- Mobility: through the accelerometer, gyroscope, and GPS sensors of the Apple Watch and iPhone it is possible to record physical activity, but also obtain data on mobility through advanced algorithms to determine speed and asymmetry when walking, for example.
Garmin or Apple Watch, which is best for me?
Apple has already marked the path of the Apple Watch, and it is that of health and physical activity. We do not know what will bring us in the coming years, but we do know what you already have available for your smartwatch , and that is what we must base ourselves on to make the right choice. If you are a user who wants a “smart” watch and have some control over their physical activity , such as the steps they perform each day and record the three weekly races, and have access to a wide catalog of apps, and of course you have an iPhone , the Apple Watch is difficult to disappoint.
But if sport is an important part of your life and you value advanced metrics and having a personal trainer on your wrist 24 hours a day, Garmin is one of the most complete solutions on the market. The Garmin Venu 2S is a multisport device with good design and finishes that also stands out for its battery life. And if you compete and need maximum precision, especially in the race, the Garmin Fenix