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Samsung Galaxy Watch vs. Misfit Vapor 2: Which should you buy?

Samsung Galaxy watch
Samsung Galaxy watch (Image credit: Android Central)

Samsung Galaxy Watch

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Samsung's latest watch is an impressive evolution of its smartwatch designs over the last couple of years, and with the LTE radio model, it's almost a phone you wear on your wrist. Unfortunately, it's a little on the larger side, which isn't great for everyone.

Samsung Galaxy Watch

Our Pick

Fantastic display
Great battery life
Rotating bezel design is just plain cool
Easy to swap watchbands
Little on the thick side
The watch doesn't always wake fast enough

Misfit Vapor 2

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Misfit has a history of making quality fitness trackers, and this is its second full smartwatch running Wear OS. This watch is big on looks, but if you want more than a day without reaching for the charger you need to look elsewhere.

Misfit Vapor 2

Killer design

Nearly edge-to-edge display
Stylish design
Virtual touch bezel is damn cool
Wear OS onboard
Mediocre battery life
Single action button
Snapdragon 2100 processor is outdated

Samsung and Misfit both have a long history with different kinds of wearables, but the standalone smartwatch category is fairly new for both. Each has some flaring drawbacks if you care about watch size or battery life.

Wrist computer showdown

When it comes to smartwatches, three things are important. The watch needs to be either thin jewelry or a thick gadget on your wrist, have enough battery for you to go multiple days, or be deeply integrated with your phone. Each of these things is important, but they're not equally important to everyone. In comparing the Galaxy Watch to the Misfit Vapor 2, you're looking at a pair of watches built with different goals in mind.

Misfit didn't just make an aesthetically appealing watch, it took some risks on the design and the hardware. At first glance, this watch is almost minimalist in design, with a single button and very few angled surfaces. The glass is flush with the bezel, and the watch straps hang off the body without a lot of emphases. However, under that simple, classic design is a special touch sensor that allows you to scroll up and down the UI without touching the glass. There's no physically rotating component for this, the bezel around the watch is itself a touch surface, which is cool as hell and a lot of fun to use once you get used to it.

Samsung's design is more masculine. It's thicker, more angled, and has a big bezel that feels like it belongs on a classic outdoorsman watch. But this design is more practical than pretty — the whole bezel rotates to allow you to rotate through the UI instead of touching the glass. This larger rotating ring makes quickly moving through the software super fast, but the trade-off is the whole thing is kind of bulky. If the watch were any thinner, the sacrifices would almost assuredly come from battery life. As a result, you get a capable watch that isn't always easy to hide under a dress shirt and almost assuredly doesn't look as though it belongs under one.

Samsung Galaxy WatchMisfit Vapor 2
Dimensions46mm x 49mm x 13mm/41.9mm x 45.7mm x 12.7mm46mm x 35mm x 11.2mm/41mm x 30mm x 11mm
ProcessorExynos 9110Snapdragon 2100
Battery472mAh/270mAh330mAh/300mAh
Heartrate monitor✔️✔️
OSTizenWear OS
Mobile PaymentSamsung Pay (NFC)Google Pay (NFC)
Waterproofing5ATM + IP6830M + 10k stroke swim test
PriceFrom $280$250

While Samsung's Galaxy Watch comes in two different sizes, they exist on either side of the size of the Vapor 2. The larger Galaxy Watch has a noticeably larger battery than the Vapor 2, and when combined with the power saving modes in its Tizen OS, the Watch can get more than three days of battery life on a single charge. The same, even when in a power saving mode, can't be said of the Misfit Vapor. This watch struggles to get a full day if you're an active user, especially if you use the GPS modes a lot for working out.

However, the larger Galaxy Watch is, well, large. If you have a smaller wrist, or if you wear well-fitting dress clothes, the larger watch will quickly become uncomfortable. This isn't a dealbreaker for everyone, but can be for many. A much bigger deal is the total list of features. Both the Vapor 2 and Watch offer NFC payments, with Google Pay on the Vapor 2 and Samsung Pay on the Galaxy Watch.

Both support standalone GPS so that you can leave your phone behind, but Samsung takes the win with an LTE-enabled version. This truly allows you to leave your phone at home and go for your run, while still keeping connected if the case arises.

Despite the size, the Samsung Galaxy Watch is our pick

Samsung has done an impressive job with this smartwatch. With an LTE radio model, you get what is essentially a phone attached to your wrist. It boasts better battery life than the Vapor and is more resistant to water and dust, meaning you'll be getting more use out of it.

The Misfit Vapor 2 might be good for you

We're not going to discount the Vapor 2 completely. Misfit has made a sleek, well-designed watch that works better for those with smaller wrists or who want a different look. There arealso finally two different sizes available for everyone. Just pay attention to which bands are available for each.

Russell is a Contributing Editor at Android Central. He's a former server admin who has been using Android since the HTC G1, and quite literally wrote the book on Android tablets. You can usually find him chasing the next tech trend, much to the pain of his wallet. Find him on Facebook and Twitter