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The Great Smartwatch Shoot Out

When Apple enters a new market, it attracts a storm of attention, both for itself and the category as a whole. Things were no different following the announcement of the Apple Watch. In the second quarter of 2015, the wearables market exploded with 223.2% growth and Apple is now number two in the category after Fitbit.

Now on the heels of Samsung’s Unpacked and just in time for IFA 2015 and Apple’s annual September event on the 9th, we’re all about the next wave of wearable tech that’s about to hit our bodies. Rumors are running rampant about what to expect from these new devices across the board: A FaceTime camera on the Apple Watch? A Moto 360 Sport model? iOS compatible Android Wear watches?

With all the noise and excitement, one persistent question remains: “what does it do and why would I buy one?” So far, the best case in favor of smartwatches is that they help you keep your phone in your pocket. When the device is on your wrist, you can stay in the moment, thus avoiding those rude pauses in conversation when you pull out your phone to check your latest call, text or tweet.

But we want to know how far you can actually push this idea. How many tasks can you perform on a smartwatch only? At what point does the watch fail, finally forcing you to dig out your phone?

And which smartwatch offers the best overall experience? With so many choices, there is no shortage of reviews and technical comparisons out there, but all they do is compare the specs. We are setting out to compare the experiences in a head-to-head Smartwatch Shoot Out.

The rules

We will have four contestants: Tom, wearing the Moto 360, Jon, strapping up with the Apple Watch, Neeti, our control contestant, will be working with a regular smartphone and just to keep it interesting, Markus, with an analog watch.

The contestants will be given a set of tasks to complete, which we will send from Artefact HQ via text, voice and email. Our analog contestant will have all of his instructions in the form of a printed list and he will record his tasks using only pen and paper.

Contestants will score 10 points for successfully completing each task. While each contestant can use their smartphone to complete a task, we will deduct 5 points from their score each time they do. We will also award 10 bonus points to the person who completes all of the tasks in the shortest amount of time.

The challenge

Each task in the Smartwatch Shoot Out is meant to test the contestant’s experience trying to complete activities or actions they would use in every day situations. Specifically, we chose tasks that would test each device’s capabilities for navigation, healthy habits, exploration and fitness.

Watch the video below to see who comes out on top: