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Apple Watch vs. Garmin: Which smartwatch is right for you?

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Apple Watch vs. Garmin: Which smartwatch is right for you?

If you are in the market for a smartwatch, and you have narrowed your search down to one of two options, Apple Watch vs. Garmin, you may be having trouble making a decision. On Amazon, both smartwatches have high ratings, and each has its own strengths and weaknesses. So it can be difficult to decide which is the best one for you. Among the best Garmin smartwatches are those designed specifically for sports enthusiasts, such as runners, golfers, and surfers. Garmin watches come in a variety of styles, designs, and prices, ranging widely in terms of features, design, and price. Whereas Apple Watch’s current selection is limited by comparison, but ideal for those looking for a well-rounded smartwatch that fits into the Apple ecosystem. In other words, if you own multiple Apple devices, getting an Apple Watch can be very beneficial.

Discover how these two smartwatches compare to one another in this detailed guide!

Comparing Smart features

Apple Watch vs. Garmin

Knowing the differences between Apple Watch vs. Garmin smartwatch features is important if you want your wearable to do more than monitor your health. So let’s have a glance at this comparison;

  • Garmin watches offer basic features like notification mirroring, but the Garmin Connect app store has some limits compared to Apple’s. The Apple Watch also supports NFC payments through Apple Pay. Whereas only select Garmin watches support NFC payments through Garmin Pay.
  • Garmin watches do not support a voice assistant like the best Fitbit watches. However, the Venu 2 Plus does borrow your smartphone’s voice assistant, allowing you to initiate commands from your wrist. In addition, the Apple Watch is not compatible with Android smartphones. Both iOS and Android phones are compatible with Garmin.
  • There are both Garmin and Apple watches with LTE connectivity, but the features differ. Apple watches cannot send texts when they’re out of reach, while Garmin watches can. Instead, a $5.99/month LTE plan ensures you can reach emergency services in case of an emergency. Garmin watches with LTE can help find you if you are off the track or in need of assistance, such as when hiking.
  • If you choose Apple’s LTE (or Cellular) options, your smartwatch will untether from your phone. But in addition to the upfront fee, you’ll need to pay a monthly carrier fee for it to be always connected. For the Apple Watch SE, the price starts at $329, while the Apple Watch 7 starts at $499.

Comparing Models & Prices

Apple Watch vs. Garmin

  • Apple Watch Series 8 (399 USD), Apple Watch SE (2022) (249 USD), and Apple Watch Ultra (799 USD) are the only new Apple Watch models. In terms of design and features, they differ slightly. But they all come in two sizes, with Apple Pay, GPS, and fitness tracking. Also, these watches enable you to answer calls or text messages from your wrist. If you know how to trade in your Apple Watch or use one of the best Apple Watch deals, you can often get an Apple Watch for less.
  • For a typical smartwatch, try the Garmin Venu 2 Plus(449 USD). The Forerunner series, such as the Forerunner 255, is designed more for runners. It has in-built music storage and a range of training tools. Garmin’s Fenix series, including the recently released Fenix 7 (699 USD), features long battery life and durability.
  • Adventurers should be excited by the ruggedness of the Garmin Instinct 2. Whereas avid golfers should consider the Garmin Approach with golf course maps and compatibility with swing-tracking accessories. These range from the Garmin Approach S42 to the Garmin Approach S62. Both brands offer apps that allow users to check detailed statistics. These statistics enable them to keep track of their performance. Also, they allow users to share these things on social media.
  • Still, for those seeking GPS functionality in a women’s or children’s sized wristwatch, there are Garmin models, such as the Garmin Lily for women’s wrists (199 USD) and the Garmin Vivomove Sport (179 USD). Here are some of the less expensive options.
  • Prices for Garmin watches vary based on their features and optional add-ons. So two models of the same watch will vary in price. They’re also generally more expensive than an Apple watch. On the other hand, Garmin does not set different prices for size between models like Apple does. There is an ‘S’ model available which is a smaller size.

Comparing the Designs

Apple Watch vs. Garmin

Apple Watches

The Apple Watch has two squircle-shaped touch screens, a digital crown, and a side button. That is why it looks like a tiny computer on your wrist. There is a slight difference in screen and bezel thickness between Apple Watch models. The Apple Watch 8 is bigger than the Apple Watch SE, and the Apple Watch Ultra has an always-on mode as well. Apple sells Apple Watch bands directly, or you can order them from third-party retailers such as Amazon. You can customize your Apple Watch look by selecting a band from a variety of Apple Watch bands.

Garmin Watches

Garmin watches are generally circular, but the Venu Sq is an exception. These watches come in different colors, but some do not have interchangeable straps. A traditional touchscreen smartwatch like the Galaxy Watch 4 or Fenix 7 has more features and an upgraded display at the same price point. The Garmin Forerunner 945 (599 USD) and Fenix 7 are slightly more expensive. The rugged Garmin Instinct is reminiscent of a G-Shock and has impressive durability certificates, while the quaint Garmin Lily could be mistaken for jewelry. Some Garmin watches are also button-controlled and lack color displays. The features vary greatly from smartwatch to smartwatch, so you have many choices.

Comparing Wellness Features

Apple Watch vs. Garmin

  • Every version of both Apple Watches and Garmin watches has plenty of fitness and health features to offer. Some models of these wearables monitor your heart rate, steps and calories burned; not only can they track a wide variety of workouts, but they can also track sleep.
  • While Garmin and Apple both track sleep, the two are far from similar. Garmin provides more detailed sleep analysis and SpO2 monitoring, whereas Apple Watch monitors for establishing a bedtime routine and setting daily sleep goals. While Garmin did not come with built-in respiratory rate monitoring, that was rectified in watchOS 9. Now Apple Watch is catching up.
  • In addition to these core capabilities, you may want to explore features on whichever product you purchase. For example, all Apple Watches come with GPS functionality, but not all Garmin devices. These cheap watches with the location tracker just have limited functionality, whereas the more expensive models for those wanting to do sports and the like have built-in GPS. The higher-priced Garmin model is designed for the outdoorsy type, with GPS included and lots of run-specific features.
  • Both Apple and Garmin offer SpO2 measurements in some of their models, but Apple’s recently-released watches include an ECG feature which Garmin does not. Garmin has some downsides, like reduced battery life, but it also has benefits you won’t find on Apple Watches. For example, most Garmin watches have the ability to track your stress and energy levels, allowing you to see how ready (or not) you are to work out.
  • Additionally, newer Garmin watches also come with a health-oriented Snapchat app that displays your key health statistics, giving you an assortment of health-related information all in one place.
  • While Garmin’s comparison service is much different from Apple’s Apple Fitness Plus, there is one similarity: at a cost of $10/month, it offers on-demand workout classes for customers who have the Apple Watch. This offers a nice opportunity for anyone looking to motivate themselves, to finally close the rings.
  • Compatible with some third-party exercise app memberships, the sole paid service associated with sports is a $10/month golf subscription that isn’t designed for Garmin’s wearables.

Comparing Battery life

Apple Watch vs. Garmin

Apple Watch and Garmin watch battery lives are almost incomparable. The Apple Watch Series 8 lasts about a day on a single charge, whereas the Apple Watch Ultra lasts up to 36 hours on a single charge. The battery life of a Garmin watch varies greatly, depending on the display settings, fitness tracking, and more. Some GPS models for running or outdoor sports last up to a week using GPS.

Even without considering battery-optimization modes and Garmin watches with solar charging. One of the reasons Garmin is the best sports watch brand is that it offers Solar versions of some watches, which allow you to extend the battery life when you’re outside. Solar models are more expensive, but if you live outside, it could be worth it.

What We Recommend

With Garmin watches, you can find the most comprehensive health and sleep tracking features available on the market. Whatever your interest is in sports, there is probably a Garmin watch for you.

You can shop for an Apple Watch, but it is more difficult because the three models that are currently available all have their own key features such as GPS, watchOS, and fitness tracking. You can still use your phone, even without carrying your phone around, with an Apple Watch.

With an Android phone, you would want a Garmin watch, but make sure you read the details before making a purchase. Not all Garmin watches are created equal. Some of them are made specifically for runners or cyclists while others may be geared towards those who prefer to work out indoors.

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