The Apple Watch 3 (or Apple Watch Series 3, if you take it seriously) has been superseded several times, most recently by the Apple Watch 6 and Apple Watch SE – the latter could be a real rival for it as both are budget models.
But the Watch 3 remains on sale – which is more than we can say about the Apple Watch 4 or even the Apple Watch 5 – and it’s now also been heavily discounted.
The Watch 3 is available in two versions – one with cellular connection and one with GPS only. As a replacement for the Apple Watch 2, this device was the flag bearer for fitness and longevity, with running and bike tracking on board and a waterproof case for swimming as well as the same heart rate monitor on the underside.
And while newer models offer additional features and faster chipsets, Apple continues to support the Apple Watch 3 with software updates, most recently watchOS 7, which adds sleep tracking, new workouts and much more.
To update:watchOS 8was announced atWWDC 2021which brings more software and features later this year – and yes, it’s compatible with the Apple Watch 3. Avid fans can now get the Developer Preview if they are part of the Developer Program or join the July Public Beta.
Apple Watch 3 price and release date
- Launched September 22nd, 2017, still on sale from Apple
- Price starts at £ 199 / $ 199 / AU $ 319
- The LTE version starts at £ 299 / $ 299 / AU $ 469
When it launched in late 2017, the Apple Watch 3 was the most expensive wearable the company sold, but now the price has shrunk since the Apple Watch Series 4 and Apple Watch 5 launched. It’s still not an inherently cheap smartwatch, but it’s a lot cheaper now.
There are two versions of the Apple Watch 3, one with LTE / cellular network and one with only GPS on board.
The former now costs £ 299 / AED 299 / AED 469 / AED 1,199 or £ 329 / AED 329 / AED 519 / AED 1,329 (for the 38mm and 42mm tapes respectively) thanks to a significant discount after the Apple release Watch 5.
The 3-series GPS version is much cheaper at £ 199 / $ 199 / AU $ 319 for the 38mm and £ 229 / $ 229 / AU $ 369 for the 42mm.
It’s also worth noting that while Apple discontinued the Apple Watch 4 and 5, you can still get the Apple Watch 3 directly from the company so it’s easy to get.
Do we need LTE?
- Connects pretty well, can be a bit sketchy
- Additional costs for streaming your data from the watch
The biggest upgrade the Apple Watch 3 brought with it was having its own cellular connection inside so it can work independently of your phone.
Does that mean you can buy one without owning an iPhone? Unfortunately not … nowhere near. In reality it means you can receive phone calls and some app notifications when your phone is at home, but otherwise it is totally dependent on your handset.
Regarding notifications: if the app you want to use has not been updated to work in ‘standalone mode’ (e.g. LTE connection is enabled.
The ability to connect to a cellular network is fine, but it doesn’t feel like the most important feature to add – although some people have already reported that it saved their lives.
The call quality with such a small device is really impressive – we had a phone chat with someone while walking and both the voice quality from the speaker and the sensitivity of the microphone were excellent.
That meant we could walk pretty normally and still have a conversation without having to hold the Watch 3 to our head. In fact, it was so loud you have to move quickly so people don’t overhear.
It’s less useful when driving – the surrounding noise makes it hard to hear what you’re talking about – but it will do so if necessary and save you from illegally grabbing your phone. We’d doubt if you really need the functionality – not least because you have to pay extra for it.
It is especially annoying that you have to spend between $ 5 and £ 5 / AED 25 per month to get your data that you are already paying for onto your device.
If adding data to the watch were free and only naturally extended to the wrist it would be fine, but the added cost makes it difficult to recommend the LTE version because of this.
50 million songs on your wrist
Another upgrade is the addition of streaming music, something that was announced when the Apple Watch 3 launched but, oddly enough, wasn’t there when it launched.
That feature – when you’ve paid all the money for the LTE-enabled variant of the Watch 3 and are spending extra money every month to have the data – is actually a pretty good addition.
With the new streaming capabilities of Apple Music, you get two things: Apple Music Direct and Beats Radio. Both are easiest to access through Siri – you can Tap through the clock to get there, but it’s very fiddly.
The easiest thing to do is to ask Siri to play the kind of music you want on the go – be it by genre, a playlist that has already been created but not synced, or just a specific song.
It’s not perfect – especially when it’s going and running or running outside – but when it works it’s a dream, a futuristic scenario where you control almost every song in the world via chat with your wrist.
you certainly They need to be embedded in the Apple Music system for this to work well. For example, you can’t browse playlists on your wrist, and just asking Siri to “play music that’s playing” makes some strange choices. However, a running playlist that has already been created can be accessed in seconds.
Well, let’s say in a second … far too many times Siri had a connection problem and said to us, “Wait … I’ll tap you when I’m ready”. And then don’t connect for ages, forcing you to try again.
The entire Apple Music streaming setup is brilliant when it works, when you ask for music that you will enjoy and it plays what you enjoy.
It’s a bit too restless at times to feel like you’re constantly connected to so many songs – and you generally have your phone with you, which is a far better way to access songs, but it’s a nice feature and one that will only improve.
Despite the streaming capabilities of Apple Music, we still can’t see a really good reason to recommend the LTE variant of the Apple Watch 3 given the thought that your phone won’t be needed to run by adding GPS to the watch with it the second generation model.
Do we want another time in which we are always connected? Isn’t training a time to switch off? And are you ready to pay the much higher premium to listen to music or use apps outside of the phone?
With this in mind, you should only consider the Apple Watch 3 LTE variant if you fear that you will not be available during training or that you will inexplicably leave your phone lying around.
Design and screen
- Almost identical design to previous models
- Screen is still vivid and bright
- Smaller display than the Apple Watch 4
The design of the Apple Watch has gotten pretty iconic so people just know you’re wearing the iTimepiece. Whenever you see a soccer player wearing a Fitbit, you need to check which model it is, but it’s instantly recognizable with the Apple Watch.
Unlike the iPhone, we don’t see the need to improve the design that much with a watch, and Apple has done pretty well at keeping the case almost identical, as it now includes a new chipset and cellular connection in the two device sizes ( 38mm and 42mm).
It does this by integrating the antenna into the screen, which is an innovative way to save space … while the watch couldn’t have been clunkier, it’s the square, curved design.
There was a slight upgrade in the manufacturing process, however, as clicking the Digital Crown or the power button feels firmer than the Apple Watch 2.
This is subtle, but it’s something we’ve noticed every time we’ve used the Watch 3. Other than that, the only major difference is the Digital Crown, which now has a red dot to indicate it’s the new model.
It’s nothing special, but we got a question about it while wearing the watch, which shows that people are interested when a new watch shows up.
It’s sleek and light, and while some have craved a round display, the 1.65-inch display (on the 42mm version) is certainly the optimal size and shape for showing more data – and as I said , Apple has accepted its raw acceptance of watch design in the market.
The screen itself, using OLED technology, has always been one of the most attractive on the market. It’s clear, vivid, and bright, and we’ve never had the problem of not seeing it on the go.
Well, that’s not entirely true – the screen turns off when needed to save battery life, and that means moving your wrist to see the display.
This is far from ideal, but Apple has fine-tuned the algorithm so that even a tiny line fires the display – and that is not always so accurate when running, for example, quantity better than the first version of the Apple Watch.
Image source: TechRadar
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