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Apple Watch 8 vs. Samsung Galaxy Watch 5: How to choose the best smartwatch for you – CBS News

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By Kaylyn McKenna
/ Essentials
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The Apple Watch 8 was just released, and it’s already set to be one of the hottest smartwatches of the fall. But the watch has some major competition: the Samsung Galaxy Watch 5. Both smartwatches offer a wide range of impressive design, fitness and streaming features.
If you’re having trouble deciding which one to buy, we’re here to help. Keep reading to find the right smartwatch for you.
Top products in this article:
Apple Watch 8 (41mm), $399
Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 (40mm), $280  
Apple Watch Ultra, GPS + Cellular (49mm), $799
If you are currently shopping for a smartwatch, the Apple Watch Series 8 and the Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 should be at the top of your list. Both of these smartwatches are designed to seamlessly work with your smartphone to keep track of notifications, play music, track your workouts and more.
If you’re an Apple iOS-friendly household, then the Apple Watch Series 8 is a no-brainer. You’re already set up to integrate your smartwatch with your Apple devices. This should make tracking your fitness goals via your iPhone a breeze. Pairing your new Apple Watch with an iPhone is a simple, quick process, too.
The Apple Watch Series 8 comes in two sizes: the 41mm and the 45mm. Sizing generally comes down to personal preference, though note that some designer women’s watchbands are compatible only with the smaller, 41mm size. (For more on Apple Watch sizing, check out our guide on how to pick the right Apple Watch size for you.)
The Apple Watch Series 8 is a durable smartwatch that is swim-proof, dust-proof and crack-resistant. It also comes with a new crash detection feature, which detects where the wearer is in a severe car crash and alerts emergency services.
The Apple Watch 8 has a number of health-tracking features, including an optical heart sensor, electrical heart sensor for ECG, blood oxygen sensor and a new body temperature sensor. You can also tap into yoga, meditation and other workout programs via Apple Fitness+. (Apple Fitness+ is a subscription service. It costs $9.99 a month; Apple Watch buyers get the first month free.) 
Apple Watch 8 (41mm), $399
Apple Watch Series 8, GPS + Cellular (41mm), $499
The 45mm version of the Apple Watch Series 8 does everything the 41mm version does, except it does it bigger. Both the 41mm and 45mm versions are compatible with a number of sold-separately, cool-looking Apple Watch bands. (Click here for our guide to our favorite Apple Watch bands and deals.) 
The 45mm Apple Watch Series 7 lists for $429. Expect to pay $100 more for a model with 5G cellular connectivity.
Apple Watch Series 8 (45mm), $429
Apple Watch Series 8, GPS + Cellular (45mm), $529
The Apple Watch Ultra (GPS + Cellular) is designed to be a more rugged and durable option for athletes and adventurers. It is an upgraded model comparable to the Samsung Watch 5 Pro. The Apple Watch Ultra provides up to 36 hours of life on a single charge with standard use, or 60 hours of battery life with the soon-to-be-released battery optimization setting. It is made with a stronger titanium alloy material for improved impact resistance. It also offers a brighter display and a second speaker for better sound and display visibility during outdoor use. 
The Apple Watch Ultra provides enhanced GPS functionality to trace your steps and improve navigation for outdoor expeditions. There is also an action button that can be used to more accurately track your workouts by marking segments of your workout. The new wearable is currently the only Apple Watch to feature Bluetooth 5.3 connectivity.
The Apple Watch Ultra features a large 49mm display screen. You can preorder the new smartwatch at Amazon now. It’s scheduled for release on Sept. 23.
Apple Watch Ultra, GPS + Cellular (49mm), $799
If you’re an Android owner, a Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 purchase makes the most sense. Unlike the Apple Watch, which can only be paired with an Apple iPhone, a Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 smartwatch works with iOS and Android devices. (Note that there are compatibility requirements for the app.)
The Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 is an upgrade from the popular Samsung Galaxy Watch 4. It features 10W smart-charging capabilities, a notable upgrade from the slower 5W charging offered by the prior model. It also offers an advanced workout algorithm and sleep tracking technology.
The Galaxy Watch 5 features an advanced bioactive sensor that collects more accurate data. This data can be managed and tracked in the Samsung Health app.
This is the first time that Samsung is offering its sapphire glass on its non-premium smartwatch options. (Sapphire glass isn’t actually glass. It is a ceramic that mimics the transparency of glass and offers more durability.)
Like prior Galaxy Watch models, the Galaxy Watch 5 is available in 40mm and 44mm display sizes. It is also available in five colors. 
Samsung Galaxy Watch 5, $280 and up  
The Galaxy Watch 5 Pro offers a bigger and stronger smartwatch option. The watch face and battery are larger in the Pro model. The Pro model features a titanium case and sapphire glass. The Galaxy Watch 5 Pro also boasts improved navigation with track-back mode to help you navigate your way to back your starting point. 
The Watch 5 Pro is available in two colors. It comes in one size, 45mm. 
Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 Pro, $450 
With the Apple Watch 8 and Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 offering fairly similar features, it can be hard to decide which to buy. Here are more important considerations to keep in mind while shopping for your next smartwatch.
For most shoppers, the choice will come down to which operating system you are more familiar with and what phone you have. iPhone users will enjoy how seamlessly the Apple Watch 8 syncs with the iPhone 14 and other Apple products. Because the Apple Watch 8 does not sync with Android phones, it is not an ideal choice for Android users.
Another consideration is accessories. Since the Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 was just unveiled on Aug. 10, there are fewer third-party accessories immediately available. That should change soon as manufacturers catch up and start releasing new bands and accessories for the Watch 5 and Watch 5 Pro.
Most older Apple Watch accessories are compatible with the newer Apple Watch models, so you have a wide selection to choose from.
Both the Apple Watch 8 and Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 are made with strong materials designed for advanced durability. The Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 and 5 Pro both include sapphire glass, a tough screen material. The Apple Watch 8 features a crack-resistant front crystal display. Both are durable and can be safely submerged in water.
Both smartwatches are well equipped to support you on your health or fitness journey. Both include sleep tracking, ECGs, heart rate monitoring, blood-oxygen monitoring and workout tracking. With the introduction of the Apple Watch 8, both options also now feature skin temperature tracking.
If you’re a runner or outdoor workout enthusiast, you’ll probably want to look at the higher end models. The Apple Watch Ultra and the Samsung Galaxy 5 Pro both offer enhanced GPS navigation, durability and safety features designed for outdoor adventurers. 
This is one area where there is a standout winner. Apple says that the Apple Watch 8 should offer 18 hours of battery life with standard usage. The Samsung Galaxy Watch 5, meanwhile, offers up to 50 hours of battery life.
The Samsung Galaxy Watch Pro has a larger battery for even longer battery life with up to 80 hours of usage on a single charge. The Apple Watch Ultra does offer better battery life than the standard Apple Watch 8, but it still doesn’t compare to the battery life of the Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 or 5 Pro.
Of course, battery life will vary based on your usage habits, but if you want to go longer between charges the Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 is the better choice.
First published on August 17, 2022 / 9:00 AM
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