We compare the Samsung Gear S2 Classic, Motorola’s new Moto 360 (2015 model) and the Huawei Watch to see which smartwatch is best for your personal needs.
This past month has seen the UK release of three massive new wearables: Samsung’s Gear S2 (Classic edition), the 2015 edition of the Motorola Moto 360 and Huawei’s very first smartwatch, imaginatively titled Huawei Watch. Which is the best? Here’s our full comparison review.
At a glance
|Watch||Huawei Watch||Motorola Moto 360 (2015)||Samsung Gear S2|
|Screen||1.4-inch AMOLED||1.56-inch/1.37-inch IPS LCD||1.2-inch Super AMOLED|
|Screen resolution||400×400 (286ppi)||360×330 (233ppi) / 360×325 (263ppi)||360×360 (302ppi)|
|Processor||Snapdragon 400||Snapdragon 400||Exynos 3250|
|Battery||300mAh||400mAh / 300mAh||250mAh|
|Heart rate sensor?||Yes||Yes||Yes|
The good news is that smartwatch design has improved considerably since those early smartwatches emerged two years ago. All three watches here sport sexy stainless steel bodies that are pleasingly lightweight and not too bulky either. In fact, they’re more or less an identical 11mm thick and look good on smaller, more dainty wrists.
If you’re particularly picky about how your watch looks, you’ll be glad to hear that all three wearables here come with a choice of straps and finishes. The Moto 360 is the best for customisation however, with a choice of sizes (42mm and 46mm), design (men or women’s) and a massive range of Motorola straps including metal bands and leather. Of course, you can swap out the straps at any time on the Moto 360, Gear S2 and Huawei Watch for standard 22mm, 20mm and 18mm straps respectively.
All three watches are water resistant, so you can keep them on in the shower if you’re particularly lazy or wear them when you go swimming. Of course, if your strap choice is leather, you’ll want to keep it dry to avoid spoilage.
The Moto 360 46mm edition has the biggest screen of the bunch, at 1.56-inches. And while it’s not as sharp as the other watch screens here, packing just 233 pixels-per-inch compared with the Gear S2’s 302 ppi and the Huawei Watch’s 286 ppi, it’s still sharp enough so you won’t be noticing individual pixels. Not unless you push it right into your face, at least.
However, the Moto 360’s display is hampered by an unsightly black bar at the bottom, something not found on the other watches here. It’s not enormous but it does detract from the otherwise attractive aesthetics.
The Huawei Watch and Gear S2 boast impressively vibrant AMOLED screens, but the Gear S2 wins out with seriously strong viewing angles. And you’ll have no trouble seeing any of these screens in bright daylight, as they’re powerful enough to cut through glare.
Apps and interface
The Huawei Watch and Moto 360 both use the same Android Wear OS, which is getting better all of the time thanks to Google’s updates. You can download a huge range of apps from Google Play and the interface gives you fast access to your Google Now cards (including travel updates and whatever else you have set up) and notifications.
However, the Gear S2 trumps Android Wear with the brilliant Tizen interface. A dial around the edge of the Gear S2’s screen can be used to quickly check your notifications (just twist left to access) and your apps (twist right to scroll through). It’s a very intuitive and satisfying system, backed up by touchscreen controls and dual back and home buttons.
All three watches have built-in voice functionality, which is handy if you’re on the move and need to input something. However, the Gear S2’s maps app (powered by Here) is a bit glitchy and nowhere near as good as the Android Wear-supported Google Maps.
Need a watch to help you keep fit? All three wearables here sport built-in heart rate sensors to monitor your pulse as well as motion sensors to track your movements all day long. There’s no real discrepancy in their accuracy either, with the watches reporting only slightly different numbers on a day-to-day basis.
Both Android Wear and Samsung’s Tizen OS support a wide range of health apps, although we personally prefer the Gear S2, which gives you near-instant access to your fitness stats via S Health. Nike+ Running also comes pre-installed for jogging types.
The Huawei Watch, Moto 360 and Gear S2 are all charge wirelessly, using bundled docks. Of course, that means you need to remember to take the dock when you travel, but it’s still more convenient than fiddling around with cables every time you need to power up your watch. The Moto 360 automatically turns into a bedside clock when docked, with the time displayed faintly in the colour of your choosing, which is a neat touch.
As for battery life, the Gear S2 and Huawei Watch both last for a day and a half if you keep the time permanently displayed. The Moto 360 will survive for 24 hours before it needs recharging. All three watches can be fully charged in roughly an hour.
All three watches have plenty to offer, with the latest features such as wireless charging, heart rate sensors and plenty of app support, plus a choice of designs and – in the Moto 360’s case – sizes. However, our favourite is Samsung’s Gear S2, with its fast and intuitive Tizen interface, respectable battery life and gorgeous, vibrant screen.