Which watch is right for your wrist? We’ll clock in time with the Series 6 Apple Watch and Samsung’s Galaxy Watch 3, and check out what’s new in earphones, speakers, and what’s coming to get you to sleep. All in five.
It’s almost the end of September 2020, and you’re listening to The Wrap, Australia’s fastest technology round up, and as we push well and truly into the back half of the year, the attention might be focused in places you might not expect.
While September was hoped to be an iPhone launch, we missed out, getting a new iPad and Apple Watch instead, with October now the likely timeframe for an iPhone announcement.
That new Watch is the latest in Apple’s line, and while we’ll be talking about it very shortly, the week wasn’t just about that. Rather, it offered some news for your ears, whether you were trying to avoid noise, listen to your music at home, or just get to sleep.
If it’s the former, and if noise is hardly your friend these days, Jabra has announced that it’s joining the noise cancelling wireless earphone world with the Elite 85t, a six microphone take on last year’s 75t that is still around. In fact, folks who bought the current Elite 75t will actually get an update to switch on noise cancellation too. There are only four mics in that model, but it’s like a cool bonus. Like surprise cake. We all love cake, so surprise cake is even better. This is surprise noise cancelling as a feature, and arrives in October, which isn’t far away.
Also coming in October are a new pair of earphones that aren’t like any other you’ve probably owned. While they still connect to your phone, the Bose SleepBuds 2 have been announced as a form of earphone to lull you to sleep. Instead of music, they focus on tracks to get you to slumber town, and hold in your ears without the scratchy sound of earphones rubbing against a pillow.
And just a little further off in November, the sound news continues with stuff from Amazon, which just announced new gadgets for Australia in its smart speaker line.
Australians will see new takes on its Echo and Echo Dot, plus its 10 inch Echo Show smart display which is now a little different, and is more like Google’s Hub Max, with a 10 inch screen stuck to a small speaker, though it now has a design that can rotate and follow you around, handy for those video calls, or if you’re moving around while watching something.
The smaller Echo speakers, the Echo and Echo Dot, have changed too, becoming, well, circular. Simply put, the new Echo speakers are a little spherical, with the Echo and Echo Dot offering spherical takes on the smart home speaker, with that design allowing Amazon to get better sound in the design.
Going full circle might be important in speaker design, but it’s also important when talking about watches, because it can be important when looking at smart watches.
These days, there’s certainly no shortage of choices for the smartwatch world, but there are two major ones, and we’re reviewing both this week, the newly released Apple Watch Series 6 and Samsung Galaxy Watch 3.
Both are new for each company, and while the Apple Watch is a softened square — a squircle, it’s called — Samsung’s Watch is more of a traditional circular watch.
Both are equipped with a touchscreen, durable glass, and some similar health sensors, yet both are still quite different. While they both track steps, heart rate, and can now both do blood oxygen, they both come with an ECG — an electrocardiogram — but neither work in Australia. That’s a local issue, but it’s one that could be fixed in the foreseeable future.
With similar features, the differences come down to design and use.
Samsung’s possibly looks the most “watch-like”, with a circular design and a bezel that rotates not unlike a chronograph time piece. This is Samsung’s main design for the control. You’ll use both the touchscreen and the circular control which makes the Galaxy Watch 3 a cinch to get used to.
On the other hand, the Apple Watch Series 6 like its predecessors is pretty much all about the touch screen in that square-ish design, and it takes up what you can see looking very schmick.
They’re both quite attractive, truth be told, and while the Samsung can look more like a standard watch, the Apple Watch feels more modern, as if Apple has somehow delivered the next-gen watch.
They both support apps, though it can feel like Apple is more successful on that front, and thanks to watchOS 7, there are now more watchfaces on the Apple Watch.
Battery life is a little hit and miss between them, particularly if you focus on sleep mode. We found the Samsung could hit a max of two days, provided you charged it after the second night of sleep, while the Apple Watch needed a charge after every night of sleep tracking.
At the moment, we think if you’re an Android owner, Samsung’s Galaxy Watch 3 represents one of the nicest and cleanest smartwatch experiences, but on the iPhone, the Apple Watch Series 6 is where it’s at.
The battery needs work, but between watchOS 7 and all the tech inside, the Apple Watch Series 6 is still one of the best smartwatches you can find. And it wins over the Samsung because the bands are just that much easier to deal with. That might seem small, but it’s a big win if you want to change the look really quickly.
For now, you’ve been listening to The Wrap, Australia’s fastest technology roundup. We’ll be back next week for more tech in five, but until then, have a great week. Stay safe, stay sane, and take care.