Apple Watch Series 3 Review Facts
Though on the surface the Apple Watch Series 3 looks very similar (if not identical) to the Series 2 version, there are a few upgrades in the 3 that really set this smartwatch apart from its predecessor. The biggest and most exciting upgrade that Apple fans will love is the option of purchasing an LTE-enabled Series 3 watch. This simply means that you will be able to leave your iPhone at home and use your smartwatch as a smartphone as well. Of course, this will require the use of a data plan and only certain carriers in the U.S. will support this upgrade. For folks who don’t really see the need to be connected to the internet constantly through their watch, there is a version of the Series 3 that won’t connect to a cellular network so the option is there to stay disconnected as well.
With the Apple Watch Series 3, as with its predecessors, you will be able to track a number of different workouts and activities. Runners will love being able to track their cadence and activate pace alerts. Skiers and snowboarders will appreciate the relatively new update that allows them to be able to track vertical descent, horizontal distance traveled, and both their average and max speeds. A neat thing about the Series 3 is that it grows along with you to ensure that you’re always being challenged. As you become fitter, the watch settings will shift so that activities that used to close the Exercise Ring, may only partially close the rings as you become stronger.
One of the most recognizable features of any of the options in the Apple Watch series are the rings that display how on track you are in achieving your daily goals. There are three different rings that your watch will display – Move, Exercise and Stand. The Move ring will display how many calories you’ve burned in any given day through being active. In order to close the circle, you need to move your body
. The moving goal is customizable using your watch. The Exercise ring shows how many minutes of brisk activity you’ve participated on in any given day. To close the Exercise ring, you’ll need to be moving briskly for at least 30 minutes every day. You cannot customize the Exercise goal. The Stand ring displays the hours where you stood and moved around. To close this ring, you’ll need to be standing and moving for, at the bare minimum, one minute throughout 12 hours of the day.
The Apple Watch Series 3 is similar to its predecessor in that they’re both marketed as water-resistant to 50 meters, though we wouldn’t suggest swimming with your watch on in order to protect your investment. The regular version of this watch has an 8GB capacity, while the GPS + Cellular versions double that with a 16GB capacity. Both versions boast an 18-hour battery life, optical heart sensor, accelerometer and gyroscope and W2 Apple wireless chips.
A huge improvement over its predecessor, the Apple Watch Series 3 features a 70% faster dual-core S3 chip. For comparison, the Series 2 only had an S2 dual-core processor. Also new in this version is the addition of a barometric altimeter which allows the watch to gather information abought flights you’ve climbed, as well as your elevation without requiring your iPhone to be nearby.
As with most smartwatches available on the market currently, there are two different ways the Apple Watch Series 3 measures your heart rate. The first way is through 24/7 monitoring. This is when the watch is sensing your heart rate through all normal daily routines and while you’re asleep. The Series 3 measures once every five to six minutes while you’re at rest and slightly more often when you’re moving. This watch measures heart rate
very accurately during normal daily activities. When it comes to tracking your beats per minute during physical activity, reviews seem to be mixed. It seems to perform better during activities where your heart rate will maintain around the same cadence (e.g., running or cycling) and won’t be as accurate during activities like High-Intensity Interval Training, where you’ll be spiking and lowering your heart rate. It should also be noted here that the location you place the watch on your wrist can really affect the accuracy of the heart rate readings.
When it comes to GPS accuracy and the Series 3, it really is a hit or miss depending on who you’re talking to. Most folks were very impressed with the accuracy of the GPS. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t drawbacks. It seems as if the watch has problems acquiring GPS at the start of outdoor activities. This can be remedied by ensuring you give your watch enough time to properly gain the GPS signal before beginning your run, but we understand not everyone has that kind of time to waste. Reviewers mentioned that the GPS capabilities of the Series 3 are far more accurate when they bring their iPhones along for their runs/rides
Both versions of the Apple Watch Series 3 come with a regular 1 m magnetic charger
. The GPS + Cellular model will be shipped with a 5W USB power adapter as well. Numerous different after-market chargers can be purchased online if folks find their cords to be too short.
When it comes to battery life, the Apple website says consumers can expect up to 18 hours of battery life for both versions of the watch with regular usage. The metric Apple used to gather this data includes checking the time 90 times, checking notifications 90 times, using apps for 45 minutes and a 30 minute workout while listening to music. Actual battery life may vary depending on how often consumers are fiddling with their phones. The LTE model’s battery does drain more quickly, however. The metric used to measure the battery life for the LTE model included the above metrics as well as 4 hours of LTE connection and a connection to the users iPhone via Bluetooth for 14 hours. Consumers who use their watch less often will find that the battery life can last up to two days in some cases. The real battery drainers here are overusing the GPS and the LTE functions. According to the Apple website, this watch will charge up to 80% in just 1.5 hours and all the way to fully charged in two hours.
A new addition to the Series 3 is the LTE connectivity option. This means that you will be able to connect to the internet without having your iPhone on hand, making this smartwatch the standalone product that consumers have been waiting for. It should be noted here that there are two versions of the Apple Watch Series 3 – the one with the LTE connection and one without it. Also new in the Series 3 is a new wireless chip that utilizes Wi-Fi and Bluetooth radios to provide 35% faster Wi-Fi.
There are a number of different Apple Watch apps that are available for download to supercharge your smartwatch. If you want to track your sleep cycles – there’s an app for that. If you want to bring meditation with you on your smartwatch – there’s an app for that. If you want to have a personal trainer built into your Series 3 watch, yep, you guessed it, there’s an app for that too. The possibilities are quite endless, in fact.
In other smartwatches on the market that are LTE-enabled, the manufacturers lace the antenna inside the strap joint on the watch. This decision can then make the watch uncomfortable. With the Series 3, however, Apple has chosen to place the antenna behind the screen. This doesn’t affect the overall thickness of the watch and makes it more comfortable than other LTE-enabled options on the market. The introduction of the sport band makes the Series 3 stand ahead of its competitors in terms of comfort. It sits nicely on the wrist and stays in place. We didn’t read much in terms of complaints about the comfort level of this watch during our research.
Despite the fact that many other smartwatches on the market today feature a traditional round face, Apple decided to again stick with their square face design. This choice makes the Series 3 a bold smartwatch option. With different sizes and bands to choose from, the Series 3 becomes a highly customizable smartwatch that can be catered to your exact tastes. The watch face itself is nice looking and with an infinite amount of band colors, styles and materials available at your disposal, you’re sure to find something that makes you tick.
Because of all the different variables available with the Series 3 watch, there are a number of different price points. The 38mm watch is $329, while the GPS + Cellular version in this size is $399. The 42mm option is $359 or $429 if you decide to opt for the GPS + Cellular version.
The Series 3 holds up remarkably well. We always do recommend purchasing a screen protector, just in case, but it seems that most reviewers found the screen to hold up fairly well. It should be noted here that there is the option to upgrade to a sapphire screen option for folks who are choosing the LTE model of this watch. The sapphire screen will provide even further durability as this material is incredibly scratch-resistant.
The display on the Apple Watch Series 3 has not changed much from its predecessor. It features the same resolution as the Series 2 with a 272 x 340 (on the 38mm) or 312 x 390 (on the 42mm) OLED display. It still features an incredibly bright display, meaning you won’t have any problems viewing your activity rings or time regardless of if you’re in the bright sunlight or indoors. The face is mostly customizable. Typically, most people will choose to display their activity progress in Apple’s signature rings as well a traditional analog clock so they can know both their daily progress and time simultaneously. But, of course, this is all customizable through the watch.
When purchasing from the Apple website directly, consumers have the choice of purchasing the GPS series watch and the GPS + Cellular version with either a white or black sport band. These bands are made with a high-performance fluoroelastomer (a fancy word for a fluorocarbon-based synthetic rubber) which makes it very durable and strong. It lays comfortably on the wrist and feels surprisingly soft on. If you’re looking to purchase your watch through Amazon, you’ll have many more band options to choose from as many of the Amazon Series 3 products are certified-refurbished. There are also countless types of bands available for aftermarket purchase in nearly every color under the sun. We’ve found silicone, leather, metal and magnetic bands in different styles and colors on Amazon. You truly can personalize your watch to every outfit and event if you wanted to.
As with all Apple Watches released so far, there are two different sizes available for the Series 3 – 38mm or 42 mm. These measurements are taken vertically. Width-wise, the 38mm version is 33.3mm wide and the 42mm option is nearly 36mm wide. The smaller version has a display size of 340x272 pixels while the larger option is 390x312. Apple recommends folks who have wrists in the 130-200mm range to opt for the smaller watch, though, of course, it all comes down to your personal preference. If you have a small wrist and prefer the look of a smaller watch or if you have a larger wrist and like the feel of a smaller watch, the 38mm should work great for you. Alternately, if you have a larger sized wrist or a smaller wrist and prefer the look of a larger watch, you might find the 42mm option to be up your alley.
There are countless aftermarket accessories available for purchase. Some examples of what you can buy to compliment your watch are screen protectors, rugged protective cases, different colored silicone bands, metal bands, leather bands, watch stands, and charging stations just to name a few. Although many of these products aren’t actually made from Apple, they can help you to customize your watch and really provide a personalized feeling.
-LTE connectivity option
-Dual-core S3 chip
-W2 wireless chip for faster Wi-Fi performance
-16GB storage capacity (in the LTE version)
-8GB storage capacity (in the non-LTE version)
-Updated Music app & a new Radio app
If you are an Apple and fitness aficionado, you need to do yourself a favor and invest in the Apple Watch Series 3. This is probably one of the leaders in terms of smartwatches on the market today and we don’t have many negative things to say about it. The cost can be prohibitive, especially to folks on a tighter budget, but when you consider the value that you’re receiving in return for the investment, the Series 3 really is worth the price tag.