If you're in the market for a smartwatch and you're not sure which is best in a comparison of an Apple Watch vs Garmin smartwatch, you've come to the right place. We'll break down the pros and cons of each so you can choose the right one for your lifestyle and budget. One of the significant differences in the Garmin watch vs Apple watch debate is each watch's purpose. The Garmin is aimed at sports enthusiasts. Apple's watch is marketed to everyone.
There's a lot more choice if you opt for the Garmin vs Apple Watch. Apple only offers three models right now:
- Apple Watch 7 - $399
- Apple Watch SE - $279
- Apple Watch 3 - $199
Each of the above are slightly different designs and offer various features. You can opt for each in either of two sizes, and you get Apple Pay, fitness tracking, GPS, and the ability to answer calls and texts from your wrist with all three models. You could trade in your current Apple Watch to save a little on your new one or check for the best Apple Watch deals to grab a bargain.
You get a lot more choices with Garmin. The standard smartwatch is the Garmin Venu 2 Plus ($449), but if you're a runner, you'll want a Garmin Forerunner 245 ($299). You can store music on it, and you get dedicated training tools with that one. The Fenix series, including the recently added Garmin Fenix 7 ($699), are the ultimate sports watches. They're ideal for all types of sport as they're durable and offer weeks of battery life. If your sport is rugged, like rock climbing, the Garmin Instinct ($299) is tailored for you, while keen golfers should go for something from the Approach range. The entry-level Garmin Approach S20 ($199) is fine, but you'll find many features with the Garmin Approach S62 ($499), including hundreds of course maps. The range doesn't end there. If you're not interested in sports, opt for the Garmin Lily ($199). It doesn't have GPS and is made for those with smaller wrists.
Garmin's the winner when you think about the amount of choice they offer but does Apple take the lead when looking at design? The Apple Watch is already an iconic design. They look like miniature computers flat on your wrist. The only difference between models is the bezel thickness and slightly different screens. You get multiple metal and color finishes, and you can customize with a new Apple Watch band.
The Garmin watches also come in various colors, but they don't all offer interchangeable straps. The standard Venu looks like the Samsung Galaxy Watch 4, so perhaps you could accuse Garmin of being a little conservative in their design. You'll need to go for something like the Garmin Forerunner 945 ($599) if you want embellishments, elevated bezels, and other touches that make it feel like a special watch. The more rugged watches look a little like the Casio G-Shock range. That can also give a cheap feel to an expensive smartwatch. But the Garmin Lily is attractive and could easily pass as a piece of jewelry.
Let's get practical now and consider what each watch can do for your fitness levels. Whether you choose Garmin or Apple, you get plenty of fitness and health features on either, including a heart rate monitor, steps recorder, and calories burned counter. They can also track a wide selection of the most common workouts. Each records similar data while you sleep, but Garmin's watches provide a more in-depth analysis of your sleep cycle and read SpO2 overnight. With Apple, the focus is on establishing a bedtime routine and tracking your sleep goals, although it also tracks your overnight respiratory rate.
Apple's watches all have GPS. You don't get that with every Garmin smartwatch. You get GPS with the watches designed for athletes. Those high-range watches also offer stress monitoring and assess your body battery, so you're aware when you're ready to work out. You get blood oxygen (SpO2) readings with some Garmins, and it's also offered with some of the Apple Watches. In terms of day-to-day features, the Apple Watches have notifications, alarms, timers, and access to Siri, as you'd expect from all portable Apple products. You can access the App Store, which isn't available on the Garmin watches. Instead, they have the Garmin Connect app store, which is a lot more limited. Garmin works well with iOS or Android, but that's not an advantage over the Apple Watch as it's now compatible with Android.
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