Lab – Apple Watch Series 8 vs. Samsung Galaxy Watch 5: The Autonomy Match

The workhorse of most connected watch makers, battery life doesn’t seem to have been an area of ​​improvement for Apple with its Watch Series 8, unlike Samsung, which has gone to great lengths to integrate larger batteries into its Galaxy watches. Fifth generation watch. When Apple continues to announce up to 18 hours of autonomy with the 308 mAh battery of its 45 mm Watch 8 -no change compared to the Watch 7- Samsung even promises up to 40 hours with the 410 mAh of its 44 mm Galaxy Watch 5! An autonomy that, therefore, would be more than double in the South Korean watch, which we wanted to check as part of our Apple Watch Series 8 test.

Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 44mm vs Apple Watch Series 8 45mm.

Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 44mm against Apple Watch Series 8 45mm.

So we wore both watches for several days, setting them to display a similar dial, receive the same notifications, and measure similar health and activity metrics. On the Galaxy Watch 5, this translates to enabling continuous heart rate tracking so that the watch can send low or high heart rate alerts, like the Apple Watch does by default. We also opted to turn on Always-On Display on both watches so we can see faster downloads at first.

Bigger battery makes a difference

Our experience began in the early afternoon (2:30 p.m.) with both watches 100% charged. When the time came to finish writing an article, the author of these lines then left to carry out the split running test of the Apple Watch Series 8 while he carried his rival on the other wrist. An outdoor activity with active GPS, known to consume the most energy. 51 minutes later, the former had lost 15% battery while the latter was happy with 10%. So the Samsung watch seems a bit less power intensive in GPS activity. GPS off, on the other hand, the download is equivalent between the two watches for an indoor sports activity.

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As for consumption during sleep, with the “rest” and “bedtime” modes activated respectively on Apple Watch Series 8 and Galaxy Watch 5, as well as SpO2 monitoring, a slight advantage for the Samsung watch. During a sleep time of about 7 hours, the charge gauge can drop by 10-14% depending on the night of the Samsung watch, compared to 12-15% on the Apple watch, based on our observations over four nights. consecutive.

Apple Watch issues an alert after the 30% battery threshold to request a recharge before starting sleep tracking.

Apple Watch issues an alert after the 30% battery threshold to request a recharge before starting sleep tracking.

These results can be explained by the different battery capacities of these two watches. Galaxy Watch 5 benefits from 33% more power than Apple Watch Series 8.

Better Apple Watch power management

The situation is different in the use of connected watches and demonstrates better control of Apple Watch consumption. Battery percentage drops just as quickly on both watches, a sign that the Galaxy Watch 5’s Exynos W920-powered Google Wear OS 3.5 draws slightly more power than the watchOS 9 and SiP S8 chip combined. of the Apple Watch Series 8. .

The observation is the same when the very greedy permanent screen is deactivated. This also has the effect of doubling the autonomy, since in moderate use of the connected watch (only smartphone notifications and responses to messages), without sports activity using GPS, we go from 24 hours of use to almost two days and two nights. . Unfortunately, this is still too little to not have to carefully monitor the remaining battery percentage and afford to forget about the proprietary charger when you travel. Therefore, a daily charge is strongly recommended to cover all eventualities.

For greater autonomy at Apple and Samsung, the only solutions currently are to turn to the Watch Ultra and the Galaxy Watch Pro, respectively, with larger capacity batteries. We hope that the next generations of Apple Watch and Galaxy will be able to reduce their consumption to offer us greater autonomy.

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