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September 13, 2017

Here’s every Apple Watch model, finish, and band compared

by John_A

The Apple Watch Series 3 is finally here, and it boasts major improvements over the original Apple Watch. With features like LTE cellular connectivity, speedy Wi-Fi, and a long-lasting battery, it’s Apple’s most refined interpretation of a smartwatch yet.

But there isn’t just one Apple Watch Series 3. Apple discontinued the Apple Watch Series 2 but kept around the Apple Watch Series 1 (at a reduced price), and the sheer number of models, finishes, and bands make choosing a new Apple Watch a challenging feat. To help simplify things, we’ve put together a guide to every variant of Apple Watch Series 3 available.

Apple Watch models

There are two basic versions of the Apple Watch: The Apple Watch Series 1 and the Apple Watch Series 3. The Apple Watch Series 1 will retail at the reduced price of $250, and the Apple Watch Series 3 will launch later this year in two models: One non-LTE version for $330, and an LTE-equipped version for $400.

Here’s what you need to know first:

  • The Apple Watch Series 1 is available now on Apple.com and anywhere the Apple Watch is sold.
  • New Apple Watch bands are available today on Apple.com, and will be available soon at Apple Stores, Apple Authorized Resellers, and carriers in the U.S., and over 35 countries and regions.
  • Apple Watch Series 3 models (with and without LTE), Apple Watch Hermès, and Apple Watch Edition (ceramic), will go on sale beginning September 15 in most countries and regions, with availability beginning September 22.
  • The Apple Watch Nike+ will be available to order September 15, with limited availability on October 5.

If you opt for the Apple Watch Series 3 with LTE, you can pick up cell service for an extra fee. Verizon, T-Mobile, and AT&T say it’ll cost $10 to add the watch to an existing plan.

Here’s a quick spec comparison of the Apple Watch Series 1 and Apple Watch Series 3.

Apple Watch Series 1

Apple Watch Series 3

Processor
S1P
S3
Operating System
watchOS 4 (available as update)
watchOS 4
Body (Dimensions)

Aluminum case

38mm

1.52 x 1.31 x 0.41 inches

42mm

1.56 x 1.43 x 0.41 inches

Aluminum case

38mm

1.52 x 1.31 x 0.45 inches

42mm

1.67 x 1.43 x 0.45 inches

Resolution (pixels)
272 x 340

390 x 312

272 x 340

390 x 312

Weight

Aluminum case

38mm: 25 grams

42mm: 30 grams

Aluminum case

38mm: 26.7 grams (GPS), 28.7 grams (GPS + Cellular)

42mm: 32.3 grams (GPS), 34.9 grams (GPS + Cellular)

CPU
520 MHz
Dual Core
Screen
Sapphire crystal glass
Ion-X strengthened glass (aluminum cases)

Sapphire crystal glass (stainless steel and ceramic cases)

Wirless
Wi-Fi
Cellular LTE, GPS, and Wi-Fi
Waterproof
Splash resistant only
Waterproof up to 50 meters
Display 
OLED Retina display with Force Touch
Third-generation Retina display with Force Touch
Price
$250
$330 (GPS), $400 (GPS + Cellular)

There are a few differences between the Apple Watch Series 1 and Apple Watch Series 3 worth noting.

The Apple Watch Series 3 adds LTE connectivity, which means it can stand in for your iPhone. You can make and receive calls, stream from Apple Music’s catalog of more than 40 million songs and radio stations, and chat with friends over WeChat and iMessage, all without the need to bring your phone along.

The Apple Watch Series 3 also packs a dual-core processor that’s 70 percent more efficient (compared to the Apple Watch Series 2), and a Wi-Fi chip that’s faster while drawing significantly less power. And for good measure, the Series 3 throws in an altimeter that measures the verticality of stairs, slopes, and ski runs.

What does all that mean if you’re buying a new Apple Watch? If you live an active lifestyle that involves a lot of running and walking and you don’t want to carry your phone around all the time, then you’re probably going to want to buy the Series 3. The same’s true if you’re a speed demon who want the absolute fastest and longest-lasting Apple Watch on the market. But if you don’t need a cutting-edge processor and don’t care about a cellular connection, you might be better off saving a little cash and sticking to the Apple Watch Series 1.

Apple Watch sizes and finishes

Once you’ve chosen the device you want to go with, you’re going to need to pick a size: 38- or 42-millimeter. They’re targeted at those with small and large wrists, respectively.

You’ll notice when you go to the Apple Watch website, there’s more to choose from than simply ‘Series 1’ or ‘Series 3.’ The Apple Watch doesn’t just come in different sizes and hardware — it also comes in different materials, some of which are exclusive to individual models. Below is a rundown of the finishes available for each device.

Apple Watch Series 1
Apple Watch Series 3
Apple Watch Nike+
Apple Watch Hermès
Apple Watch Edition
Silver Aluminum


Gold Aluminum

Space Gray Aluminum


Space Black Stainless Steel

White Ceramic


Gray Ceramic

As you can see, the Apple Watch Nike+ and the Apple Watch Hermès are pretty much just variations of the Apple Watch Series 3 — we’ll talk more about what sets them apart in the ‘bands’ section. Worth noting, though, is the Nike+ model’s exclusive Run Club app, which has audio-guided tours and fitness-oriented social features.

The Apple Watch Edition, meanwhile, is made from a strengthened ceramic. In fact, Apple says the device is four times as strong as the stainless-steel version. (The Edition line used to include actual gold-plated Apple Watches, but those have gone the way of the dodo.)

Apple Watch bands

Part of customizing the Apple Watch is changing the band, but not all bands are available for all Apple Watch models. In fact, part of what makes certain models unique is their band.

Below is a quick guide outlining which bands you can get for which device, and here’s our guide to the best Apple Watch bands you can buy right now.

Apple Watch Series 1
Apple Watch Series 3
Apple Watch Nike+
Apple Watch Hermès
Apple Watch Edition
Sport

 

Woven Nylon (new for 2017)

Leather

Stainless Steel

Nike Sport

 ✓

Hermès

There are two Apple Watch models that are differentiated based mostly on their bands: The Nike+ and the Hermès.

The Nike+ Apple Watch’s Sport Loop is lighter than other Apple Watch bands thanks to rows of perforations, which make it more breathable and comfortable.

The Apple Watch Hermès’ bands, on the other hand, are more about fashion. They’re made of classy brown leather, and feature an array of unique buckle designs. Two new band watchband designs introduced alongside the Apple Watch Series 3 include the Single Tour Rallye (in perforated Gala calfskin), and the Single Tour Eperon d’Or (in printed Gala calfskin).

Not to be outdone by the Nike+ and Hermès models, the Apple Watch Edition has its own exclusive bands: Two new two-toned Sports Bands.

So which one should I get?

Before you make a decision, there’s one more table you need to see — the pricing table.

Apple Watch Series 1
Apple Watch Series 3
Apple Watch Series 3 LTE
Apple Watch Nike+
Apple Watch Hermès
Apple Watch Edition
Base price
$250
$330
$400
$330
$1,150
$1,300

It’s important to keep in mind that the prices above are base prices. The Apple Watch Series 3, for example, only costs $330 if you get the sports band. Spring for the woven nylon band and you’ll pay $400 and up. If you opt for the leather band, you’ll have to shell out even more.

Still trying to decide which Apple Watch to get? For the average Joe, the Apple Watch Series 1 is going to be fine. But if you’re sold on the Apple Watch Series 3’s LTE connectivity and faster processor, you’ll probably find it worth the extra premium.

It’s a little unfortunate that bands cost so much because the sports bands may not fit well, for example, with a suit and tie. If you’re more fashion-conscious and want the device to fit in with your outfits, you’re going to need to shell out a little more dough — likely $600+ if you’re fine with Apple’s standard leather band, or more than $1,000 if you really want the Hermès name. Finally, if you’re captivated by that ceramic look and have an extra $1,000 lying around, get the Apple Watch Edition. Who cares if it comes with a sports band?

Alternatively, you could always check out third-party watch bands for your Apple Watch, but keep in mind that not everything you see on Amazon is going to be of premium quality.




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