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Apple Watch 7 vs. Samsung Galaxy Watch 4: All the major differences between smartwatch rivals

The Apple Watch 7 arrives Oct. 8 and the Galaxy Watch 4 is already available. Before you buy, here's how Apple and Samsung's latest smartwatches compare spec-by-spec.

galaxy-watch-vs-apple-watch-6

We previously compared the Galaxy Watch 3 and the Apple Watch 6 (shown above). Here's how the newest versions of Apple and Samsung's watches to stack up. 

Angela Lang/CNET

Samsung's Galaxy Watch 4 is taking on Apple's smartwatches as it adds the new Google Wear OS. But how does the Android watch hold up against the even newer Apple Watch Series 7? Although it's fun to compare the two rival smartwatches' specs, most people will pick the one that matches their current operating system, especially since you need an iPhone to use the latest Apple Watch and an Android phone for the Galaxy Watch. But if you like bragging to your friends about which watch is superior, read on. 

Samsung's Galaxy Watch 4 and Watch 4 Classic were unveiled in August at the company's August Unpacked event. The new smartwatch made its debut alongside two new Samsung foldable phones, the Galaxy Z Fold 3, Galaxy Z Flip 3 and the Galaxy Buds 2

The Apple Watch 7 made its debut appearance alongside the iPhone 13, iPad Mini 6 and updated entry-level iPad at the company's September event. The iPhone 13 lineup mirrors last year's iPhone 12 family with standard, Mini, Pro and Pro Max versions. (Here's how the four new iPhones compare.) The updated iPhone also runs on Apple's new operating system, iOS 15, and the Apple Watch 7 will run WatchOS 8

Although we were previously unsure when the Apple Watch 7 would be released, we now know Apple's latest smartwatch will be available for preorder starting Oct. 8 and will be available in stores starting Oct. 15. This is a deviation from the timeline for Apple's smartwatch released in the past. Even in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, when many product announcements were disrupted, the Apple Watch Series 6 and Apple Watch SE both debuted on Sept. 15, 2020 and were released three days later. (Here's how the Apple Watch 6 compares to the SE.)

We took a stab at comparing the Galaxy Watch 4 and Apple Watch 7 specs, based on everything we know so far. Just note that there are still a few things to learn about the new Apple Watch. (Here are all the other questions we still have about the Series 7 Apple Watch.)

If you're itching for more rumors about the latest from Apple, check out all the details about how to buy the new iPhone 13 and how the iPhone 13 compares to the iPhone 12. You can also take a look at how the Apple Watch 7 stacks up against last year's Apple Watch 6

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The Galaxy Watch 4 has a collection of animated watch faces, shown above.

Scott Stein/CNET

Price: The Galaxy Watch 4 is cheaper than the Apple Watch 7

For many people, price is one of the most important deciding factors when choosing new tech. With that in mind, the Galaxy Watch 4 is $150 cheaper than the starting price for the Apple Watch 7

The Galaxy Watch 4 went on sale in the US and UK on Aug. 26, following its reveal during Samsung's August Unpacked event. The new Galaxy Watch starts at $250 (£249 or roughly AU$470) and goes up in price for the larger-size Bluetooth and LTE versions. Samsung's previous smartwatch, the Galaxy Watch 3, cost $400 at launch. The company also lowered prices for its foldable Z Flip phone this year.

Although we know the new Apple Watch starts at $399, we are yet to find out what pricing looks like for the entire lineup. But, the Apple Watch Series 6 also started at $399, so it's possible that the Series 7 will follow the same pricing for the watch's more premium features and finishes. For example, the 40-millimeter Apple Watch Series 6 with GPS and cellular in a stainless steel casing costs $700, while the titanium version costs $800. 

Read more: Apple Watch Series 7: How to preorder, when it will ship and more

Design: All the differences in shape, size and color 

The most noticeable difference between the two smartwatches is their shape. The Galaxy Watch 4 has a round, circular design that mirrors a traditional watch shape. In comparison, Apple's smartwatch features a square-like shape with curved corners, which was contrary to earlier rumors saying the Apple Watch 7 would sport a flat edged design similar to the design choice for the iPad Pro and iPhone 12

In terms of size, the Galaxy Watch 4 is smaller than the dimensions of the Apple Watch 7. The Galaxy Watch comes in 40mm and 44mm options, while the Apple Watch 7 comes in 41mm and 45mm sizes. The Galaxy Watch 4 Classic, however, is larger than the new Apple Watch. The Classic version of the new Galaxy Watch comes in 42mm and 46mm options. 

The two smartwatches also each offer a different collection of colors. The Galaxy Watch 4 comes in black, green, silver, pink and gold (aluminum) and the Classic version of the Samsung watch comes in black and silver (stainless steel). The Apple Watch 7 comes midnight, starlight, green, blue, red (aluminum). The stainless steel Apple Watch Series 7 will be available in silver, graphite and gold colors.

Apple announcements September 14 2021: iPhone 13, new iPads, Apple Watch Series 7, and more

Apple showed off the Apple Watch 7 at its September event.

screenshot/Apple

Health and fitness: Samsung's smartwatches has newer features

The Galaxy Watch 4 has a bundle of health and fitness features, including body composition measurements through bioelectrical impedance analysis, heart-rate monitoring, blood-pressure measuring, an electrocardiogram (ECG or EKG) feature, a collection of stress measurements and workout tracking. The Android smartwatch also has better sleep tracking than its predecessors with more frequent blood oxygen readings and snore detection. Some of the watch's health features, including ECG, need a Samsung phone to work, while others work fine with any recent Android phone.

The Apple Watch Series 7 offers the same health features as the Apple Watch Series 6 with a blood oxygen sensor, electrical heart rate sensor and ECG app. The Apple Watch 7 also inherited fall detection and emergency calling. 

More ambitious health features like blood glucose monitoring and body temperature measurements are still a few more years away for the Apple Watch, according to Bloomberg.

Performance: Processors, software and battery specs compared

The Galaxy Watch 4 is powered by the latest Exynos W920 chipset. The watch also features a new Google Wear OS co-designed by Samsung and Google. It's the first smartwatch to run the new software, officially called Wear OS 3. In his review of the Galaxy Watch 4, CNET's Scott Stein says, although the move to Wear OS was a big deal and a step toward integrating the smartwatch with Android phones, "it feels like the Samsung ecosystem Band-Aid hasn't been ripped off completely."

Although Apple's new smartwatch typically gets a new processor each year, the company didn't mention the Apple Watch 7's processor during its September event. Earlier rumors say the Apple Watch 7 houses a smaller, double-sided S7 chip, but we don't know if this is true yet. The new smartwatch also features Apple's WatchOS 8 software, announced at WWDC this past June. 

In terms of battery, the Series 7 Apple Watch is said to have up to 18 hours of battery life, while the Galaxy Watch 4 can hold a charge for 1 to 2 days. Compared to other rival smartwatches and fitness trackers like Fitbit, the Apple Watch's poor battery life is one of the more persistent complaints. Stein says the Apple Watch has been "dead last" in battery life among its competitive set. 

There are a few details about the Apple Watch 7 we still have questions about, but we hope to find out more when the watch is released next week. In the meantime, here's CNET's Galaxy Watch 4 review, all the best new features in WatchOS 8, how to decide between the Apple Watch Series 6, Series 3 and SE, settings to change on any new Apple Watch, best Apple Watch apps and the best Android smartwatches in 2021. 

Apple Watch 7 vs. Samsung Galaxy Watch 4


Galaxy Watch 4 Apple Watch 7 (rumored)
Shape Round Square-like
Watch size 40mm/44mm 41mm/45mm
Colors Black, green, silver, pink and gold midnight, starlight, green, blue, red
Software Wear OS 3 WatchOS 8
Processor Exynos W920 chipset Unknown
Health and fitness sensors Body-composition measurements, heart rate monitoring, blood pressure measuring, an electrocardiogram feature, snore detections, stress measurements and workout tracking Blood oxygen sensor, electrical heart rate sensor, ECG app, emergency SOS, fall detection
Price $250, £249 (converts to roughly AU$470) $399, £379, AU$599