When the Gear S3 was released a few months ago, we remarked on its large size. Since then, a number of similarly bulky watches have followed in its footsteps. The Huawei Watch 2 is smaller, but just barely.
Build (case and display)
The Huawei Watch 2 is plastic with a ceramic bezel and a Gorilla Glass 3 display covering; Watch 2 Classic replaces the ceramic bezel with stainless steel. Both models of the Gear S3 are stainless steel with Gorilla Glass SR+, a variant of Corning's glass designed specifically for wearables.
Only the standard model of the Huawei Watch 2 offers color options, but these vary depending on whether or not you want LTE connectivity. The black version is available in both Bluetooth-only and LTE editions; the orange is LTE-only, and gray is Bluetooth-only.
The Huawei Watch 2 has a rubbery plastic "sport" band. The Watch 2 Classic has a leather band that's been reinforced with synthetic materials for more rugged wear. Gear S3 watches come with either leather or silicon bands.
On the plus side, keep in mind that all of these watches have removable and interchangeable bands. If you don't like the bundled accessories, you'll probably be able to find something that suits you better from a third party manufacturer.
The Gear S3 watches' round faces are only a tenth of an inch wider in diameter, but that translates into a 20-percent larger display overall.
The Huawei display packs more pixels into a smaller display, so it should be sharper than the Samsung option.
All of these have always-on display options, so you can see time and key notifications without waking the watch. The new Huawei watches also have a basic "watch mode" that skips out on the smart functions to offer only time and step counting.
Some smartwatch makers incorporate a physical way to scroll through apps and content, which can sometimes be more convenient than taps or swipes. On the Samsung Gear S3 watches, you can twist the rotating bezel to navigate.
All of these watches have IP68 water resistance ratings, but note that some leather bands may not be equally water resistant.
Standalone cellular option
Of these, only the Huawei Watch 2 Classic does not have an LTE connectivity option.
All of them have a built-in GPS for mapping workouts and routes right from your wrist.
Heart rate sensor
They also all have heart rate sensors.
They all contain NFC for mobile payments, but they support different payment apps. Huawei watches have Android Pay; Samsung has a payment app of its own.
One advantage of Samsung Pay? In addition to NFC, it can also work with a magnetic strip reader. That means that most merchants that can accept cards can also accept Samsung Pay (in supported countries) without any additional equipment.
Huawei uses a bigger battery, though there are many factors that go into overall battery life.
All of these watches will pair with either an iPhone or an Android phone. However, they play more nicely with Androids. For example, Android Pay is not yet compatible with iPhones.
The Huawei Watch 2 sports Android Wear 2.0, while the Gear S3 runs on the Tizen operating system.
Android Wear 2.0, which just started arriving on devices earlier this month, has a few advantages. For one, it has an on-watch version of the Google Play Store, so you don't have to download and sync apps from your phone. It also has Google Assistant built in, so its voice control features are more robust than Samsung's S Voice counterpart.
The Huawei Watch 2 is expected to hit shelves starting next month. The Gear S3 watches have been around since November.
Starting price (full retail)
Huawei has yet to confirm US pricing for these newly unveiled smartwatches. If you want some indication, its European pricing is €329 for the Watch 2, €379 for its LTE variant and €399 for the Classic. That's about US$345, $400 and $420, respectively, but international prices are rarely based on direct exchange rates. Meanwhile, both the Gear S3 Classic and Frontier start at $350.
For the type of info that you can't find on a spec sheet, check out our hands-on with the Huawei Watch 2 or our review of the Samsung Gear S3. Or, if you're looking for a smaller watch with a different aesthetic, consider the LG Watch Style or the Apple Watch Series 2.
- Buy Samsung Gear S3 on Amazon
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