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Garmin vs apple watch

Garmin vs Apple Watch: The ULTIMATE Tool For Your Needs

When it comes to the world of smartwatches, two titans reign supreme: Garmin and Apple. These powerhouses bring distinct flavors to the table. Apple watches boast sleek aesthetics, seamless iPhone integration, and a bustling app universe.

On the other side, Garmin caters to fitness fanatics and athletes, flexing its muscles with advanced tracking and navigation features. In this electrifying battle, we’ll dissect every aspect, from design prowess to health monitoring, battery life, and more.

Choosing between Garmin and Apple Watch boils down to your individual style, goals, and priorities. But wait, if these contenders don’t tickle your fancy, we have a lineup of other extraordinary alternatives to explore. The ring is set. Let’s get ready to rumble!

About Apple Watches

In the world of smartwatches, few names are as iconic and influential as Apple Watch. Launched in April 2015, the Apple Watch has revolutionized the wearables market and become an essential companion for millions of users worldwide. Created with the signature Apple flair for design and innovation, the Apple Watch collection has evolved over the years, setting new standards for both fashion and function.

The Apple Watch lineup is characterized by its sleek and elegant design, seamlessly blending fashion and technology. The latest Apple Watch models boast a stunning OLED display, which provides vibrant colors and sharp details. From the early generations to the present, Apple has continuously improved the device’s performance, introducing faster processors, improved sensors, and expanded health and fitness tracking capabilities.

As of today, Apple offers a diverse range of Apple Watch models to cater to various preferences and budgets. At the forefront is the Apple Watch Series 8, the flagship model that packs cutting-edge features like ECG monitoring and blood oxygen saturation tracking. 

For those seeking a more budget-friendly option, the Apple Watch SE is a compelling choice, providing the most essential features without compromising on performance. The Apple Watch Ultra also appeals to adventure enthusiasts with its superb water resistance and scuba diving features.

With a strong emphasis on user experience and a commitment to continuous innovation, Apple Watch remains the go-to choice for tech enthusiasts, fitness aficionados, and style-conscious individuals alike. Whether you’re tracking your workouts, managing notifications on the go, or simply expressing your personal style, the Apple Watch collection has something to offer everyone.

Popular Models:

Apple Watch Series 8: The flagship model, featuring ECG, blood oxygen saturation, and a dazzling display.

Apple Watch SE: A cost-effective option without compromising essential features like fitness tracking and notifications.

Apple Watch Ultra: Ideal for adventure seekers, with superb water resistance and scuba diving capabilities.

Apple Watch’s journey from a pioneering concept to a global phenomenon is a testament to the brand’s dedication to pushing the boundaries of technology and style. As the wearable industry continues to evolve, Apple Watch remains at the forefront, setting new benchmarks and redefining what a smartwatch can be.

About Garmin Watches

When it comes to rugged durability and an unwavering commitment to fitness and outdoor enthusiasts, Garmin stands as a trailblazing force in the world of smartwatches.

Established in 1989, Garmin started as a navigation technology company, providing GPS devices for various applications. Over the years, Garmin expanded its portfolio, introducing a wide range of GPS-enabled devices tailored for specific activities like running, cycling, swimming, and more.

Garmin’s smartwatch collection embodies the spirit of adventure and precision. Designed to withstand the harshest environments, Garmin watches are known for their rugged build, making them a favorite among athletes, explorers, and outdoor enthusiasts.

What sets Garmin apart is its dedication to crafting watches that cater to specific needs, ensuring that every individual, from amateur athletes to seasoned professionals, finds a perfect match for their lifestyle.

The Garmin lineup is extensive, with several popular models catering to different user preferences. Among them are the Forerunner series, known for its excellent running and cycling features, and the Instinct range, designed for extra toughness and endurance.

For those seeking a more smartwatch-oriented experience, the Venu collection offers a blend of style and functionality. The Fenix series is at the pinnacle of Garmin’s offerings, an all-rounder flagship watch packed with advanced features to support even the most extreme adventures.

With its extensive experience in GPS technology and a relentless pursuit of innovation, Garmin continues to expand its horizons, incorporating features like heart rate monitoring, sleep tracking, and even controlling bike smart turbo trainers.

For individuals seeking a watch that seamlessly integrates into their active lifestyle and provides in-depth fitness insights, Garmin watches stand as an exceptional choice.

Popular Models:

Garmin Forerunner Series: Known for its running and cycling features, offering a wide range of enthusiast options.

Garmin Instinct Range: Designed for rugged durability, ideal for outdoor enthusiasts and adventurers.

Garmin Venu Collection: A blend of style and smartwatch functionality, appealing to a broader audience.

Garmin Fenix Series: The all-rounder flagship watch, equipped with advanced features for extreme adventures.

Garmin has maintained its commitment to quality, precision, and performance from its inception as a GPS pioneer to its current status as a dominant force in the smartwatch market.

The brand’s relentless dedication to serving the needs of active individuals ensures that Garmin watches continue to inspire and accompany users on their remarkable journeys.

Garmin vs Apple Watch: Which One is Best for You?

Let’s dive deeper into the two wearables to see which one fits your needs more.


When it comes to design, Garmin and Apple Watch have adopted distinct philosophies catering to a diverse range of tastes and preferences.

The Apple Watch, with its iconic and elegant design, has become a symbol of modern luxury. The Series 8, with its premium materials like aluminum and stainless steel, exemplifies Apple’s commitment to aesthetics and craftsmanship.

However, Apple also offers the more affordable Watch SE, which maintains a sleek appearance while utilizing different materials to balance elegance and accessibility.

Garmin, on the other hand, adopts a more rugged approach to design, focusing on durability and practicality. The use of “resin” plastics in many of their watches ensures that they can withstand harsh conditions and the demands of outdoor activities.

The Garmin Instinct range, built to military standards for thermal, shock, and water resistance, is a prime example of its commitment to durability.

For those seeking more unconventional designs, Garmin offers the Garmin Lily and Vivomove series, which showcases a more delicate and fashion-forward style compared to their other offerings.

Build Quality & Durability

Garmin is renowned for producing smartwatches that are built to withstand the rigors of an active lifestyle.

The brand has a history of creating durable and robust timepieces, and this tradition carries on with its smartwatch lineup. Garmin watches are designed to meet military thermal, shock, and water resistance standards, making them ideal companions for outdoor enthusiasts and adventure seekers.

The Garmin Instinct series, in particular, stands out for its rugged construction, ensuring it can endure the harshest environments.

Apple Watch also emphasizes on build quality, and with each iteration, they have improved the durability of their watches.

While they may not match Garmin’s military-grade standards, Apple Watches are built with high-quality materials that withstand daily wear and tear. The Series 8 and Ultra models, in particular, offer impressive water resistance, making them suitable for swimming and water-based activities.

Additionally, Apple’s attention to detail and premium materials, such as stainless steel and titanium in the Ultra model, contribute to its reputation for excellent build quality.


Both Garmin and Apple Watch incorporate state-of-the-art displays that provide excellent visibility and responsiveness. Apple’s use of OLED displays in all their watches results in vibrant colors, high contrast ratios, and deep blacks, creating an immersive visual experience.

The Series 8 and Ultra models, in particular, showcase the full potential of Apple’s OLED technology, offering stunning visuals for both smartwatch features and fitness tracking.

Garmin offers a choice between OLED and MIP (Memory in Pixel) displays in their smartwatches. While OLED displays deliver vibrant colors and excellent visibility, MIP screens provide constant visibility without using significant power when the pixels are not lit.

This feature is particularly advantageous for fitness tracking, where users may want to keep the display on throughout their workouts.

The selection between the two types of displays allows users to choose the option that best aligns with their preferences and usage patterns. However, it’s essential to note that Garmin’s displays may not match the visual richness of Apple’s OLED screens.

Smartwatch Features

In the realm of smartwatch features, Apple Watch takes the lead with its comprehensive app store and seamless integration with the Apple ecosystem.

Apple’s app store for smartwatches is unparalleled, offering a vast selection of visually rich and sophisticated apps, ranging from productivity tools to entertainment and health apps.

The Apple Watch’s ability to interact seamlessly with iPhones, iPads, and Macs enhances its appeal to users already embedded in the Apple ecosystem.

Garmin watches also offer access to an app store, although it may not match the sheer size and variety of Apple’s store. Instead, Garmin focuses on delivering features tailored to its users’ sports and fitness demands.

Their app store emphasizes fitness tracking, training, and outdoor activities, making them an excellent choice for athletes and outdoor enthusiasts.

While Garmin’s app ecosystem may not be as extensive, it excels in providing in-depth fitness tracking and enthusiast features that cater to specific activity needs.

Health Monitoring & Fitness Tracking

Both Garmin and Apple Watch excel in health monitoring and fitness tracking, setting the industry standard for accuracy and reliability.

Apple Watch’s health monitoring capabilities have evolved significantly, with the Watch Ultra introducing various new features.

These include custom workouts, running power measurements, heart rate zone alerts, and recovery insights, allowing users to optimize their activities and overall health.

The Series 8 and Ultra models come equipped with an electrocardiogram (ECG) sensor, enabling users to monitor their heart’s electrical activity and detect signs of arrhythmia.

On the other hand, Garmin has been a long-time frontrunner in fitness tracking, offering a comprehensive suite of tools to cater to fitness enthusiasts.

The brand’s watches provide in-depth workout tracking, including running, cycling, swimming, and more. Garmin’s training load feature, available in high-end models, analyzes exercise exertion over time, providing valuable insights into workout effectiveness.

Garmin’s top-tier watches like the Fenix and Epix also have a heart rate data broadcasting feature, allowing users to share their heart rate data with other compatible devices.

Some Garmin watches, like the Forerunner series, offer features such as recovery advisor, race predictor, and even the ability to control bike smart turbo trainers.

Both Garmin and Apple Watch offer menstrual cycle tracking features, but Apple’s Watch Ultra takes it a step further with advanced tracking that includes temperature sensors to estimate ovulation.

Garmin’s health monitoring features, while useful, tend to be more generalized, as seen in their Body Battery score, which balances sleep, stress, and exercise to suggest the user’s readiness for physical activity.

Apple’s focus on the possibilities of their tech allows for more advanced and specific health monitoring features.

GPS & Navigation

In the realm of GPS and navigation, Garmin’s expertise shines through, making their watches ideal for outdoor adventurers and those who rely heavily on accurate navigation.

The top-tier Garmin watches like the Fenix and Epix series can store maps on the watch itself and provide route-finding without an internet connection.

This feature is highly advantageous for hiking, running, and exploring remote areas with limited internet access. Additionally, Garmin watches are compatible with various navigation tools and features such as back-to-start, which helps users retrace their steps to their starting point.

While offering reliable GPS tracking, Apple Watch does not match Garmin’s advanced navigation capabilities. Apple’s focus on GPS lies more in fitness tracking and mapping workouts rather than in-depth navigation.

While Apple Watch users can use mapping apps and receive route guidance during activities, it may not cater to the same level of outdoor exploration as Garmin’s watches.

Companion Apps & Platforms

Apple Watch’s most significant advantage in this category lies in its seamless integration with the Apple ecosystem.

Apple Watch functions as an extension of the iPhone, allowing users to receive notifications, make calls, and interact with Siri directly from their wrist. The watch’s compatibility with Apple Pay enables contactless payments, adding convenience to daily tasks.

Furthermore, the extensive app ecosystem designed for iPhones also translates to a wide range of apps and features available for the Apple Watch.

While also offering some integration with smartphones, Garmin excels more in interfacing with fitness and outdoor equipment.

Many Garmin watches can broadcast heart rate data to other devices, which is particularly useful for fitness enthusiasts who want to analyze their performance using third-party apps.

Additionally, Garmin watches can control smart bike turbo trainers, and specific models are compatible with Garmin’s Varia bike lights, offering a more specialized set of features compared to Apple Watch.

Battery Life

Garmin’s watches set the standard for battery life in the smartwatch market, with some models boasting an impressive duration of up to 46 days between charges.

The Garmin Enduro 2, in particular, stands out for its long-lasting battery, making it an excellent choice for endurance athletes and those who prefer not to worry about frequent charging.

Thanks to its solar charging panels, the Garmin Instinct 2 Solar model offers “unlimited” basic use battery life, ensuring reliable performance during extended outdoor activities. While known for its other strengths, Apple Watch tends to have a shorter battery life than Garmin.

Watches like the Apple Watch SE and Series 8 typically require daily charging for heavy users. However, Apple has made improvements in this area, with the Watch Ultra offering a couple of days of battery life or even longer in its Low Power mode.

While Apple has addressed battery life concerns, Garmin still stands out as the go-to option for users who prioritize extended battery life and minimal maintenance.

Strap Options

Both Garmin and Apple offer a range of strap options to cater to different preferences and activities.

Garmin’s strap offerings focus on functionality, with durable and comfortable materials designed to withstand outdoor conditions. They offer silicone and nylon straps suitable for sports and outdoor activities. Garmin also provides quick-release options for easy swapping of straps.

Apple Watch, on the other hand, offers a more diverse selection of straps that appeal to both style and comfort. Apple’s bands range from sporty options like silicone and nylon to more luxurious choices like stainless steel, leather, and even titanium.

The ability to easily switch between bands allows users to customize their watches to match their daily attire or specific occasions.

Bottom Line

In conclusion, both Garmin and Apple Watch offer unique strengths and cater to different user needs.

Apple Watch excels in its comprehensive app ecosystem, seamless integration with the Apple ecosystem, and elegant design, making it a top choice for users seeking a sophisticated smartwatch experience.

On the other hand, Garmin watches are renowned for their durability, in-depth fitness tracking capabilities, long battery life, and specialized features for outdoor enthusiasts and athletes.

Choosing between the two will depend on individual preferences, activity levels, and desired features, ensuring that users can find the perfect companion for their lifestyle.

Should You Get a Garmin or an Apple Watch?

Choosing between a Garmin and an Apple Watch ultimately comes down to understanding your priorities, preferences, and lifestyle. Each smartwatch type caters to distinct audiences, and making the right decision depends on what you value most in a wearable device.

For the Fitness Enthusiast

If you prioritize fitness and outdoor activities, Garmin is a strong contender.

Their watches offer unparalleled durability, specialized features for various sports, and in-depth fitness tracking tools. Garmin’s GPS navigation and route-finding expertise make them a reliable companion for outdoor adventurers, hikers, and cyclists.

The extensive battery life of Garmin watches is also a key selling point, allowing users to focus on their activities without worrying about frequent charging. Garmin is the way to go if you are an athlete or outdoor enthusiast seeking a smartwatch that complements your active lifestyle.

For the Apple Ecosystem Lover

If you are deeply ingrained in the Apple ecosystem and rely on Apple products for your daily tasks, an Apple Watch becomes a natural extension of your digital life.

The seamless integration with iPhones, iPads, and Macs makes the Apple Watch a convenient hub for notifications, calls, and other smart features. The wealth of apps available in the Apple app store provides a vast array of possibilities, from productivity tools to entertainment.

Additionally, if you value a sleek and elegant design and appreciate the premium materials used in Apple’s watches, the Series 8 and Ultra models will likely appeal to your sense of style.

For Those Who Seek Balance

If you find yourself torn between fitness tracking and smartwatch features, the decision might come down to finding a balance between the two.

The Apple Watch Series 8 and Ultra models have significantly improved their fitness tracking capabilities, making them more appealing to those with an active lifestyle.

Likewise, Garmin’s smartwatch offerings, such as the Venu series, have incorporated more advanced smart features, bridging the gap between fitness and convenience. If you want a watch that provides a decent balance of both worlds, either of these options might be the right fit.

For the Budget-Conscious

While both brands offer watches at various price points, Garmin tends to have more affordable options with robust fitness tracking capabilities.

The Garmin Forerunner 45, for example, provides essential fitness tracking features without compromising on quality.

On the other hand, Apple Watches, particularly the Series 8 and Ultra models, offer premium features and materials that come with a higher price tag.

If budget plays a significant role in your decision-making process, Garmin might offer more accessible options.

Ultimately, the choice between a Garmin and an Apple Watch boils down to what you value most in a smartwatch, what features you are willing to compromise on, and your budget.

Consider your activity level, the type of activities you engage in, the platforms you are invested in, and your aesthetic preferences.

Whether you prioritize durability, in-depth fitness tracking, seamless integration with the Apple ecosystem, or a combination of these factors, both Garmin and Apple Watch offer exceptional options to cater to your needs.

The 7 Best Alternatives to Apple and Garmin Watches

If you’re in the market for a smartwatch but not necessarily keen on getting an Apple or Garmin watch, there are several other brands and models that offer compelling alternatives, compatible with both iPhones and Android devices.

Amazfit GTS 2 Mini

Amazfit GTS 2 Mini

For those seeking a budget-friendly Apple Watch alternative, the Amazfit GTS 2 Mini fits the bill.

Despite its low price, it boasts a beautiful 1.55-inch AMOLED touchscreen display with 450 nits of brightness, providing a cool bezel-less look.

It offers essential health monitoring features like heart rate tracking, blood-oxygen saturation measurement, sleep monitoring, stress level, and menstruation tracking.

The watch includes 68+ sports modes, supports voice control with Alexa, and has a battery that lasts up to 14 days on a single charge.

Fitbit Sense

Fitbit Sense

If health and wellness are your priorities, the Fitbit Sense makes an excellent alternative.

Focused more on health than just fitness, it includes features like portable ECG, stress sensing, skin temperature sensor, sleep tracking, heart rate zones, and meditation tools. It can also track and record 20 exercises and provide detailed workout stats.

The Fitbit Sense has a battery life of up to six days and offers voice control via Alexa or Google Assistant.

Fitbit Versa 4

Fitbit Versa 4

The Fitbit Versa 4 is an overall great Apple Watch alternative, offering built-in GPS, excellent features, and impressive battery life of up to six days.

It caters to those with an active lifestyle, tracking various exercises and providing essential health and fitness features like sleep tracking and swim tracking.

Though it lacks some of the high-tech features found in the latest Apple Watches, it comes close and is available at a more affordable price point.

Samsung Galaxy Watch 3

Samsung Galaxy Watch 3

For those who prioritize a stylish smartwatch focusing on features other than fitness, the Samsung Galaxy Watch 3 is an appealing option.

Offering IP68 water resistance, fall detection, wireless charging, an ECG, and a blood pressure monitor, this watch has an impressive range of health and fitness features.

It may not compete with Apple or Garmin in terms of advanced fitness tracking, but it caters to users who desire other smartwatch functionalities.

Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2

Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2

If you’re looking for a more budget-friendly alternative to the Samsung Galaxy Watch 3, the Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2 is a suitable choice.

It’s slimmer, lighter, and better suited for workouts. Although it has a limited battery life of up to two days, it still provides several smartwatch features and works well with both Android and iOS devices.

TicWatch Pro 3 Ultra GPS

TicWatch Pro 3 Ultra GPS

Rugged outdoor enthusiasts will appreciate the TicWatch Pro 3 Ultra GPS, which offers a dual-display design and long-lasting battery life of up to 45 days in Essential Mode.

This waterproof GPS smartwatch is equipped with a Snapdragon Wear 4100 processor, providing fast and smooth performance. It tracks various health metrics, including heart rate, stress levels, sleep, and more.

Although the app might not be as user-friendly as other brands, the TicWatch Pro 3 Ultra GPS comes at a competitive price point and offers sophisticated features.

Withings ScanWatch Horizon

For those seeking a hybrid smartwatch with a classic watch appearance, the Withings ScanWatch Horizon is a compelling option.

It combines old-school looks with advanced smart features, such as an ECG, SpO2 monitoring, heart monitoring, and sleep tracking.

With a battery life of up to 30 days on a single charge, it strikes a balance between a traditional watch and a smartwatch, catering to users who prioritize both aesthetics and functionality.

Note that it lacks onboard GPS and has a smaller display compared to high-end smartwatches, but it offers an attractive middle ground.


All in all, the Garmin and Apple Watches stand tall as the ultimate contenders in the smartwatch arena.

The Garmin excels in robust fitness tracking and navigation capabilities, making it an ideal choice for athletes and outdoor enthusiasts.

On the other hand, the Apple Watch boasts a powerful ecosystem with advanced smartwatch functionalities and seamless integration with iPhones.

Your choice between the two depends on your priorities: fitness prowess or smart features. And if you can’t decide between the two, then consider one of the appealing alternatives we’ve lined up.

Regardless of your decision, these two giants have revolutionized the way we stay connected and fit in the digital age.

About Exquisite Timepieces

Established in 1998, Exquisite Timepieces is your one-stop shop for all things luxury watches! We are an authorized dealer for 60+ luxury watch brands including Omega, Hublot, Seiko, & Longines! We are proud to showcase one of the world’s largest pre-owned watch collections, including renowned brands like Rolex and Patek Philippe. Check out our brand new watch arrivals here and popular pre-owned listings here.

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