Editor's Note: Google quietly renamed Android Wear as Wear OS. New features are expected to roll out at this year's Google I/O developer's conference in June.
A smartwatch can be a step in the right direction for your company. The right smartwatch should fill in the gaps left by your smartphone, and provide you with renewed access for things like nonchalantly glancing at notifications in meetings, accessing travel details on the go or recording a voice memo.
Smartwatch technology has advanced far enough that, according to watch developers, you can use your smartwatch when you leave your phone at home, at least in some cases. While these watches may cost more and require more in-depth data plans, they can provide the useful service of answering calls and messages when your phone is nowhere near you. Just think – if you're traveling and you've lost your phone, you could still communicate with your team via your smartwatch.
There are countless areas where a smartwatch would streamline different aspects of your business. As you search for the right smartwatch, it's only natural to start with the major phone providers – Apple and Android.
For the purposes of this comparison, we'll be comparing the Apple Watch Series 3 to the LG Watch Sport. The Apple Watch Series 3 runs Watch OS 4 and comes in both 38- and 44-mm square face options. The LG Watch Sport runs Android Wear 2.0 and features a round, 1.38-inch face. Note that both these watches, while they have features that are useful for business owners, are geared toward Apple and Android products. While the LG Watch Sport can work with either an iPhone or Android smartphone, it doesn't support or interact with any iOS apps. You are limited to the apps that can be downloaded directly to the watch. The Apple 3 Series only works with other Apple products.
How long it lasts throughout the day is probably one of the most important factors of your smartwatch. After all, what good is the seamless integration of a smartwatch into your day-to-day professional life if you're stuck tracking down its charger each morning? In the case of both watches, the battery life isn't up to par with some smartphones, and it's significantly lower than that of some laptops.
Apple says that its Series 3 should have up to 18 hours of battery life, but connection to the cellular network reduces this time substantially, with some reviewers saying they struggled to get through the entire day on a single charge while connected to cellular. According to our sister site, Tom's Guide, being connected to a cell network reduced battery life from 18 hours to eight hours with mixed usage.
Likewise, the LG Watch Sport features an always-on face, which can drain the battery. Like the Series 3, the LG Watch drained considerably when reviewers used extra features, like GPS. Despite its more powerful, 430-mAh battery (the 3 Series sports a 279-mAh battery), the LG Watch Sport's battery may struggle to get you through the day if you're heavily using GPS or cellular features. But for general mixed use, Tom's Guide saw it last around 24 hours.
The Series 3 comes with the depth and breadth of the Apple App Store, making it the better choice for users looking to tap into that extensive network of options. You can install apps via your iPhone, and they include services for travel, messaging, and notes or voice recording. It's important to note, however, that Google Apps won't sync with the Apple Watch. Google discontinued its Apple Watch apps earlier this year.
The LG Watch Sport, like all Android Wear smartwatches, has access to all of the Google Play Store, can download watch-specific apps directly to the watch, and supports Android apps. iPhone users won't have the same flexibility, as the watch doesn't have access to Apple's App Store. Even with all these app options on the LG Watch, this is a small selection compared to the Apple Watch's 20,000 apps.
Durability and size
The Apple Watch Series 3 has a scratch-resistant face and is waterproof up to 50 meters. This makes it ideal for withstanding daily wear and tear, as well as swims or other water activities. The actual weight and size varies by model. Most watches weigh 1 to 1.5 ounces and are less than a half-inch thick.
The LG Watch Sport is incredibly bulky compared to the Apple Watch. It weighs more than 3 ounces and sports a thickness of 0.6 inches. It's also waterproof up to 1.5 meters for about 30 minutes. While this may increase durability, it makes for a big watch that may feel clunky on someone with smaller wrists.
These watches also vary in price. The Apple Series 3, loaded with cellular capabilities, costs $499 on Amazon and an additional $10 on your data plan. Apple offers the Series 3 without a cellular option for $403 on Amazon. While this option requires you to have your phone with you to receive texts, calls and messages on the watch, it is still a great option at a lower price.
The LG Watch Sport costs $254 through Amazon, and it varies in price if you decide to purchase it through your cellphone carrier. Regardless of where you purchase it, it's still less expensive than the Series 3 with cellular. While this makes it a cheaper option for a watch with cellular, its bulk and limitations on apps may strongly influence your buying decision.
Both these products have advantages, but for business owners sporting iPhones, the Apple Watch Series 3 (or another model in its family) is the better choice. While the LG Watch Sport supports iPhones, the app selection for iPhone users is severely limited, so you likely won't be able to run the same programs for your business.
Overall, choosing between these two smartwatches will be heavily influenced by which type of smartphone you have. A smartwatch should help accent your business's communication, so whether you use an iPhone or Android product will determine which watch is best for you. Toe to toe, it seems that the Apple Watch's lighter frame and wider app selection outweigh its higher price. While the cellular usage of the Series 3 may not be completely up to par with your iPhone's, it's still a good smartwatch for business.