What is the Apple Watch 3?
Apple Watch is now in its third iteration, and while it may appear that not much has changed on the surface, there have been some developments under the hood.
The big draw for the Series 3 is the option of LTE connectivity. This means greater independence from your paired iPhone, and always-on connectivity wherever you get network coverage. The best news of all is that your Apple Watch 3 will share the same phone number as your iPhone, doing away with one of the biggest grievances of previous LTE-enabled smartwatches: juggling multiple numbers.
If you’re in the UK then it’s worth noting that only EE supports LTE connectivity for the Apple Watch Series 3, and this will cost £5 in addition to your standard monthly network tariff. The feature is more widely supported by US carriers and you can expect to pay an extra $10 on top of your usual contract for a smartwatch plan. It seems odd that nearly a year after release you can still only use the LTE functionality if you’re on EE in the UK.
While the Apple Watch 3 GPS + Cellular (£399/$399) offers the full raft of new features, there’s also the Apple Watch 3 GPS (£329/$329) model for consideration. This does away with the cellular capabilities but includes all the other improvements over the now discontinued Apple Watch Series 2. It has half the storage capacity (8GB) of the Cellular model, and launches at a lower price than last year’s model (originally costing £369). It’s potentially a more tantalising prospect for those not enamoured by LTE or a hiked up monthly bill.
Ultimately, the Apple Watch 3 remains a difficult sell as a must-have device – even if I do find myself missing it when I take it off. But, whether or not you feel the need to be always connected, the Apple Watch Series 3 – in both its guises – offers the best smartwatch experience to date. While not perfect, it delivers a welcome balance of smartwatch convenience and fitness tracking to make it a versatile companion.
Apple Watch 3 – Design and comfort
As mentioned, not a great deal has changed in terms of the Apple Watch’s design. While nearly every other smartwatch maker has transitioned to a circular design, Apple has stayed the course since the device’s launch in 2015. For me, the Apple Watch 3 remains one of the more tasteful smartwatch designs out there.
Each iteration of the device has seen its thickness creep up, but it’s such a negligible amount that you’ll only notice if you place each model side by side. Consider the hardware enhancements being packed into newer models, and it’s really an impressive feat of engineering that the Apple Watch 3 remains one of the more svelte smartwatches.
In the Watch Series 3, the LTE antenna has been squeezed in behind the screen, barely impacting the device’s overall thickness. The positive side effect of this move, which may come as a surprise, concerns comfort. In other LTE-enabled smartwatches, the antenna has often been placed inside the strap joint, making the join with the watch casing stiff and uncomfortable. This isn’t an issue with the Watch Series 3.