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HOME / Wearable Tech / Apple Watch 3 vs 2 – What to Know with the Series 3 Smartwatch!
Apple Watch 3 vs 2 – What to Know with the Series 3 Smartwatch!
The big differences when comparing the Apple Watch Series 3 vs 2
What’s new with the Series 3? And is it worth the upgrade? That’s what we’re looking to answer in this post. If you take a look at a Series 3 watch, it looks virtually identical to the Apple Watch Series 2. Same square design with Digital Crown, single button, and interchangeable bands. Same sizing options (38mm and 42mm), basically the same display with Force Touch, same water rating (down to 50m), and the same quoted battery life at up 18 hours on single charge. The higher end Series 3 watches (stainless steel and ceramic cases) do feature a Sapphire crystal display, but the mass market Series 3 watches (aluminum cases) still have the Ion-X glass. In terms aesthetics, you’re essentially looking at the exact same watch, so what’s with the Series 3?
Apple Watch 3 LTE
That’s right! There is an LTE-enabled Apple Watch and the way that you can tell it apart is that its Digital Crown is now red…and also, it happens to be about 2 sheets of paper thicker than the AWS2. With LTE, you’ll be able to leave your phone behind and basically use your AWS3 as a phone.
You do need a data plan through the same carrier as your existing iPhone, but your phone number will be the same. That way, when you receive a call or text, you’ll also get the notification on your wrist, regardless of whether you have your phone nearby. As of this post, the AWS3 supports the following carriers in the US: AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, T-Mobile. Apple also supports other carriers globally, including Optus, Telekom, Orange, and EE with plenty of others planned for the future.
What else is there with the Apple Watch 3 LTE?
In addition to receiving phone calls and text messages while you’re away from your iPhone, you’ll also be able use apps that require the internet, including Maps and Mail and even 3rd party app like WeChat.
Not only can you get those notifications, but you can interact with them. As an example, you can start or answer phone calls from your wrist where you actually speak through the Apple Watch. You can reply to text messages with Siri or via keyboard or emojis. You can get directions via Maps.
Streaming Music with Apple Watch 3 Cellular?
Thanks again to the LTE chip, you’ll be able to stream music directly from the AWS3 using Apple Music. You no longer need to transfer music directly onto the watch. You can now actually stream music completely phone-free, which is the dream for anyone that runs or exercises a lot.
Standard Apple Watch Series 3
In addition to the LTE model, there is also an Apple Watch Series 3 that is basically a slightly updated Series 2 watch. Everything on the standard AWS3 will be present on the cellular model as well. The AWS3 has a new dual-core processor for performance improvements (up to 70% faster according to Apple). This also allows Siri to speak, whereas in the past Siri just took your requests without offering feedback or audible results.
The AWS3 also has a new W2 chip that will supposedly make Wi-Fi up to 85% faster and Bluetooth and Wi-Fi up to 50% more efficient. We’re really hoping this translates into battery life improvements. With the AWS2, we couldn’t even go a single day without needing to charge it. And with the AWS3 LTE, battery life clearly a very large concern.
Also new to the AWS3 is a built-in barometric altimeter. This sensor is typically found in higher end GPS watches like the Garmin fenix 5. Because of the barometric altimeter, you’ll now be able to track flights of stairs climbed and elevation gained. Apple is moving quickly to take on not only Fitbit in the health & fitness space, but also Garmin and Suunto in the performance category.
And as a reminder, all Apple Watches will have access to WatchOS 4 that brings you more watch faces, an improved Siri, and access to GymKit, which lets you pair your Apple Watch with select gym equipment.
Closing thoughts on the AWS3
In sum, the AWS3 now features a faster processor, W2 Chip, and barometric altimeter and if you get the cellular version you also have LTE built in. LTE brings you access to music streaming and the ability to take phone calls, answer messages, and use apps that require the internet…all without your iPhone.
So adding LTE clearly makes the AWS3 the better watch, but what does the AWS2 have going for it? For the most part…just price. Apple has kept the Apple Watch Series 1 [check price on Amazon] around with an MSRP for $249. They’ve made the standard Apple Watch Series 3 start at $329 [check price at Amazon]. And the Apple Watch Series 3 LTE starts at $399 [check price at Amazon].
The AWS2 will definitely drop in price from its original MSRP for $369 and $399 for the 38mm and 42mm models, respectively. We’re expecting pricing to be around $300 flat for the AWS2, possibly even cheaper if you get a refurbished or used model.
And remember, the AWS2 still have GPS and is water resistant down to 50 meters. So practically speaking, the AWS2 isn’t much of a downgrade from the standard AWS3. It will still get WatchOS 4 and will still offer most of the sport features that you’ll get with the AWS3.
Bottom line with the Apple Watch 2
If you want LTE, you definitely should go with the Apple Watch Series 3 with cellular. If you’re fine with a phone-dependent smartwatch, well then the AWS3 is going to be hard to justify over the AWS2, all things considered.