Everybody knows Apple to be one of the tech giants of this current age. What with all its products ranging from the iPhone and iPad to the MacBook and of course the Apple wearable (Apple wristwatch). Apple is one of the biggest things to happen to the tech industry and probably the whole of humanity and that is unarguable. Anyway, the focus of this article is not necessary the Apple Company but particularly one of its products or more accurately, one of its product lines; the Apple Watch.
We’ve put together reviews of a number of smartwatches that Apple has produced overtime ranging from its very first watch to the current one. We picked these Apple smartwatches based on different bases from sophistication and aesthetics to price and some special effects. We’ll kick things off with a quick comparison table of all the different watches we will be reviewing so that you can see at a glance what they are all about. Then we will move on to a proper review of each watch. We’ll finally wrap things up nicely with a buying guide. This will tell you what you should have in mind when picking a smartwatch or more specifically an apple smartwatch and all such stuff.
Be sure to stick with us till the very end to get all the juice. We will quickly state here that Apple does not carry Apple Watch for Kids specifically. Now let’s start already.
Table of Contents
- Top Apple Watches on Amazon Worth to Buy in 2018 “Black Friday”
- Basic Things You Should Expect To See on Your Apple Wristwatch
- In Choosing An Apple Watch: Factors to Consider
- Maintaining Your Apple Watch
- What People Think of Choosing the Best Apple Watch
- Our Take for You
Top Apple Watches on Amazon Worth to Buy in 2018 “Black Friday”
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The Apple Watch Series 1 isn’t exactly Apple’s first attempt at a smart watch but it is the first one that actually really counts. The Apple Watch Series 1 just like every Apple smart phone currently available comes in two different sizes: 38 mm and 42mm. There isn’t much of a difference between the sizes except the one that measures 42mm is, of course, a little bit larger than the one that measures 38mm. Also, the latter has a larger display screen than the former. Now to the nitty gritty of the watch.
The Apple Watch Series 1 uses an S1P dual core processor. This makes for a fairly normal loading speed. Now, remember that this smartwatch is the first Apple watch that really counts so you shouldn’t be getting your hopes up.
That said, this smartwatch is splash resistant which means it can hold its own under light rain. It will also be fine if water splashes on it accidentally probably when you’re washing your hands. That’s not to say that this is submersible though. If you are going to get the Apple Watch Series 1 you shouldn’t try submerging it in water, water could interrupt the interface.
You can store a bit of stuff in the 8GB of memory that the Apple Watch Series 1 comes with. As for luminescence, you won’t be getting much with this one. Its luminescence comes in at just 450 nits. That’s not very bright if you ask us.
We think that the only reason you should consider the Apple Watch Series 1 is if you desperately need an Apple Watch and are on a budget because this is the least expensive Apple smartwatch there is. Also, you should own an iPhone 5s or something later and the iPhone should work iOS 11 or something later.
Just so you know, Apple discontinued the production of the Apple Watch Series 1 since the release of its most recent series. You can still get it on Amazon though, new or refurbished.
- This is the least expensive of the Apple Watch series
- It is as basic as basic smart watches go.
- The screen display isn’t the brightest.
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It is with the Apple Watch Series 2 that Apple started to make things really interesting. We’ve already mentioned that Apple watches come in two sizes and for this series, one is 38mm while the other is 42mm. Now to the fun stuff.
The Apple Watch Series 2 is actually water resistant for about 50 meters. So unlike the earlier series that can only take a few splashes and rain drops, the Apple Watch Series 2 can be worn even while the wearer is taking a swim. Yup, it is that water resistant. But whatever water activity you’ll be using this watch for should be shallow like swimming, taking a bath or relaxing in your hot tub. Definitely not for intense underwater activities like scuba diving or such stuff.
Also, the Apple Watch Series 2 is more than two times brighter than the earlier series. Its luminescence comes in at 1000 nits. Now, you have a couple of options with the series 2. They include the Apple Watch Series 2 which is the regular one. There is also the Apple Watch Nike + which is a smart watch collaboration between Apple and Nike. There is also the Apple Watch Hermes which is a watch collaboration between the Apple brand and the Hermes brand. And then there is an Apple Watch Edition. They all come with little differences which we will get to in the buying guide.
The Apple Watch Series 2 affords you the choice of case for your watch. The options available are Aluminum, Stainless Steel and White Ceramic. You should know that this smartwatch features a built-in GPS. Also, it comes with detachable straps. You can decide to shake things up by sliding out the old straps and sliding on new, cooler ones.
It is very important we mention that the processor for the Apple Watch Series 2 is significantly faster than its predecessor. Apps should be able to open and closer faster than on the series 1.
- Processor is faster than its predecessor.
- Significantly water resistant
- Brighter display than its predecessor
- There is no improvement on the Bluetooth connectivity
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OK! The Apple Watch Sport is a kinda deviation from the Apple Series. It is a kind of sport watch and is made out of 7000 Series aluminum. So, you might see it represented in some circles as the Apple Watch 7000 Series. The Apple Watch Sport also features a display of ION-X glass.
Now, in keeping with other Apple watches, the Apple Watch Sport comes in two variants; one whose display screen measures 38mm and another which measures 42mm. However, you should know that the Apple Watch Sport is not waterproof at all. So you cannot use it for any of your water based sports. But it is water resistant and should be fine under light rain or if splashed on.
One major improvement that was made on the Apple Watch Sport is the introduction of Siri. Everybody conversant with iProducts should be familiar with Siri. For those that are not, Siri is a digital assistant that is peculiar to Apple. You can get her to do stuff for you like search the web, call someone or even read a text just by speaking your request to her. Now with the Apple Watch Sport, you can have a hands-free interaction with or operation of your smartwatch.
- Water resistant
- Introduction of Siri
- Not waterproof
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Of course, the Apple Watch Series 3 (GPS Only) is a slight improvement on the previous series. For one, the Apple Watch Series 3 (GPS Only) has a faster processing core. So your apps and all such stuff will load faster than what you have on the series two.
Now, probably more significant is that with the Apple Watch Series 3 (GPS Only), there is the introduction of the cellular connection which we will be talking about next. The ‘GPS only’ added to the name of this product suggests that you can connect to a compatible iPhone via Bluetooth or connect to a WiFi network if your phone isn’t very close by. This is the way all other Apple watches before this work.
The Apple Watch 3 (GPS Only) also features Siri to help you with your operations and stuff. The display luminescence used on the earlier series seems to have worked well for Apple as it does not improve on it. So the luminescence of this one still comes in at 1000 nits. The memory space is 8GB and is not expandable but we think 8GB should be sufficient for a wristwatch. How much stuff could you possibly want to save on a wrist watch?
We haven’t mentioned it before but you should know that all Apple smartwatches are rechargeable and they all come with their own magnetic charging cable. Starting with series 2, Apple decided to add a USB power adapter. So you will find this in all later series. However, one new thing with the power is that the Apple Watch Series 3 (GPS Only) supports AirPower Mat. For those that don’t already know, the AirPower mat is a product designed by Apple that allows you charge your device without the problems that wires bring. You basically just need to pace your device on the mat and it begins to charge.
The Apple Watch Series 3 (GPS Only) is also water resistant for up to 50 meters. To use the Apple Watch Series 3 (GPS Only), you’ll need to be the owner of an iPhone5s or a later (newer) model and that iPhone should work on iOS 11 or something later (newer).
The Apple Watch Series 3 (GPS only) comes in two different designs: the Apple Watch Series 3 GPS only and the Apple Watch Series 3 GPS only Nike +
- Supports AirPower mat
- Faster processor
- Water resistant for up to 50 meters
- Is only compatible with an iPhone 5s and other newer models. Plus the phone must operate on iOS 11 or something newer.
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The Apple Watch Series 3 (GPS + Cellular GSM) is like the slightly better twin of the Apple Watch Series 3 (GPS only). So basically, it comes with the same features as its twin but with slight improvements. For one, this one is enabled for cellular connection. What this means is that if you don’t have your phone close enough to connect via Bluetooth or WiFi, you could just connect using your cellular service provider. To use this feature, however, you’d need a service plan on your watch. Nevertheless, whatever service plan you choose should be same one you have on your iPhone.
You should know, though, that the Apple Watch Series 3 (GPS + Cellular GSM) does not support every service provider. So you have to check with Apple to see if your service provider is compatible. You can know this straight up though: the Apple Watch Series 3 (GPS + Cellular GSM) does not support prepaid plans. Also, issues like coverage and roaming are dependent on your service provider. Whatever is usually obtainable will not suddenly improve or be degraded on the Apple Watch Series 3 (GPS + Cellular GSM).
Now, aside the connectivity thing, the Apple Watch Series 3 (GPS + Cellular GSM) comes in a number of options. There is the regular Apple Watch Series 3 (GPS + Cellular GSM), the Apple Watch Series 3 (GPS + Cellular GSM) Nike +, the Apple Watch Series 3 (GPS + Cellular GSM) Hermes and the Apple Watch Series 3 (GPS + Cellular GSM) Edition.
Remember when we asked who needs so much space on a wrist watch? Apparently, Apple does not agree with us because on the Apple Watch Series 3 (GPS + Cellular GSM), it doubles the memory capacity so you have a 16GB memory capacity on this one. In addition, this watch features LTE for connection to the internet. That is really fast, faster than 3G and lower. And just like its twin, this one supports the AirPower mat.
The Apple Watch Series 3 (GPS + Cellular GSM) is only compatible with iPhone 6 (including newer versions though) that run using the iOS 11 (and newer versions of course).
- Same pros as its twin
- Fast internet connection
- Cellular connection
- More memory space
- Is only compatible with the iPhone 6 and other newer versions.
- A little pricier than its twin.
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The Apple Watch Series 4 (GPS Only) is the latest in Apple’s line of smartwatches and there are some interesting features here. Now, you should recall how we said that Apple wristwatches all come in two different sizes and the Apple Watch Series 4 (GPS Only) is definitely not left out. However, the sizes are different. Instead of the regular 38mm and 42mm, you have 40mm and 44mm. If you automatically concluded that the Apple Watch Series 4 (GPS Only) has a larger display screen than all the other Apple wristwatches, you arrived at the right conclusion. And not only does it have a larger screen, it is also quite sleek and suave.
The luminescence is the same as what we’ve been seeing since the series 2. However, the processor is something we’ve not seen. The processor is an S4 with 64-bit dual core processor so it is about twice as fast as the older model of Apple watch. The Apple Watch Series 4 (GPS Only) uses Bluetooth 5.0. Like its predecessor, the Apple Watch Series 4 (GPS Only) is water resistant for up to 50 meters. You can connect this watch to an iPhone 5s but it should operate on the iOS 12 at the very least.
Another sweet thing about this model is the fall detection. That is if you are wearing the watch, it can detect if you’ve fallen. It does this by analyzing your wrist trajectory and acceleration of the impact. It then quickly initiates an emergency SOS call and only sends it if you do not move in 1 minute. Also, the sound on this thing is greatly improved, we are talking about 50% improvement. So sounds are clearer even over phone calls.
Now here is another unique thing. The Apple Watch Series 4 (GPS Only) features an in-built heart sensor that is electrical. What this allows the user do is take an electrocardiogram. That is, the watch can measure the electrical activity of your heartbeat and diagnose any heart related issue if there is any. This is really neat if you ask us. All you need do is open the app and place your finger on the digital crown. You can then decide to share your results with your doctor.
- Features app that can measure heartbeat and detect heart related issues.
- Has a faster processor.
- Features the Fall Detection feature.
- Audio quality is excellent.
- Larger display screen.
- Costs a bit (by a bit we mean a lot).
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Just like with the series 3, the Apple Watch Series 4 (GPS + Cellular GSM) is a kinda twin of the Apple Watch Series 4 (GPS only). So, it is in so many ways the same as the latter just with very slight differences. We won’t be focusing on the similarities seeing as we’ve written quite exhaustively under the previous heading. Here, we’ll just be concentrating on the things that make this one different from its twin.
The Apple Watch Series 4 (GPS + Cellular GSM) allows for cellular connection which means that you can connect to the internet without your phone, provided you have a service plan on your watch that matches the one on your phone. Also, the Apple Watch Series 4 (GPS + Cellular GSM) allows for fast connection to the internet with the LTE and UMTS. This is something you won’t find on the GPS Only model. In addition, you have to have an iPhone 6 or any of the newer models and the iPhone has to be working on iOS 12 or something newer to be able to use this phone.
Apple uses the same battery, water resistance rate of 50 meters and luminescence of 1000 nits on the Apple Watch Series 4 (GPS + Cellular GSM) that it used on the previous model.
- Same pros as the Apple Watch Series 4 (GPS only)
- Allows for cellular connection
- Faster internet connection
- Costs more than its twin
- Only compatible with iPhone 6 or any of the newer models. Plus the iPhone has to be working on iOS 12 or something newer to be able to use this phone.
Basic Things You Should Expect To See on Your Apple Wristwatch
If you read the above reviews, you should already know that, to significant extents, the different Apple watches are different. However, irrespective of model (or series as Apple calls it), there are a number of things that are common and these are the things we will be looking at here.
- Bluetooth Connectivity
All Apple watches need to be connected to an iPhone to be activated and or operated. The model of iPhone and iOS differs according to the model of the watch itself. The model of Bluetooth that each watch features also differs. However, there has to be a connection to a compatible iPhone with a compatible iOS to get things started. Now, of course, to make use of the Bluetooth connectivity feature, your phone has to be close to your smartwatch.
- Water Resistance
To an extent, all the Apple watches are water resistant. For models like the Apple Watch Series 1 and the Apple Watch Sport, you only have resistance to splashes. However, the other models are OK with being submerged in water provided you are only going as far as 50 meters. No Apple watch model currently allows you go deeper than 50 meters.
- OLED Retina Display
All the Apple wristwatches feature an OLED retina display. This is actually a feature developed by Apple itself. The idea is to have higher brightness, better contrast ratio, and even better color management.
- Force Touch
This is another Apple developed technology and it is pressure sensitive. What it does is allow the track pad or touch screen differentiate between different touch pressures. Which means the user can decide to customize different touch pressures to different commands and to access different information. This is highly doable since the watch is enabled to differentiate between the different touch pressures, thanks to Force Touch.
Remember how you need to connect your Apple Wristwatch to your compatible iPhone device? Well here is one of the reasons why. If your phone is connected, you can get notifications (calls, texts, emails and such) on your watch. This way you don’t have to fiddle in your pocket for your phone whenever you get a notification. The notifications pop up on your watch and you can open and or dismiss depending on what action you want to take.
Now, there is a taptic engine feature. What the taptic engine does is to notify you when those messages come in. So your Apple Watch could give you a gentle tap on your wrist or a light audio cue. Just something gentle that shouldn’t jar you but should still get your attention.
- Heart Rate Sensor
Yes, even the Apple Watch Series 1 features the heart rate sensor. What this means is that any Apple watch you get should be able to measure your heartbeat and heart rate. The combination sensors and LEDs that make up the heart rate help you detect if your heart is working too hard. It conducts this text every 10 minutes and stores the result in the health app. You should know, though, that the test results are affected by such things as extreme temperature, tattoos and even movement.
All Apple Wristwatches carry this feature. However, there are slight improvements in new models. For one, the Apple Watch Series 4 features an electric heart monitor in addition the optical one. This electric monitor goes further than detecting heartbeat and rate. It can conduct an electrocardiogram which is basically detecting the electric activities of your heart. So that instead of just determining how hard your heart is working, it can also detect some heart related issues.
- Activity App
The activity app tracks your progress in keeping up with your daily activity goals. Now, the watches have three activity rings on the display screen. One ring is the ‘Stand Ring’ and it shows you how long you’ve been standing in order to take a break from sitting. If the app figures you’ve stood long enough, the ring connects. Same goes with the other rings.
One of the other rings is the ‘Move ring’ which shows you how many calories you’ve managed to burn. While the last ring is the ‘Exercise ring’ and it how much activity you’ve been involved in in minutes. That is, it represents that information in time not numbers per se.
Now, just like the heart monitor, the activity app is present in all Apple watches but sees improvements as newer models are released. For one, the newest series, series 4, has a Fall Detection feature added to the health app. What this means is that the Apple Watch series 4 can detect if you fall. Not just that, it can also send out an emergency call to the right quarters if you do not move in a minute. This is a definite improvement.
In addition, starting with series 2 (and excepting the Watch Sport), the Apple Watch comes with an app that can track your activity in water. Things like how many strokes, how fast and such.
Siri is a common feature in iPhones. There are probably people who have Siri as their best friend and why not? She will do anything for you, won’t she? Anyway, for those who don’t know Siri, Siri is a digital assistant that is peculiar to Apple. So, Siri can help you search the web, place a call and even read out a message. You just need to ask her.
All Apple Watches are rechargeable and come with their own magnetic charging cable. And aside series 1, the watches also come with USB power adapter. Some newer models like the series 3 support AirPower mat. As for battery, all the Apple Watches make use of the same battery. Apple seems to be satisfied with its work on the battery and so makes absolutely no improvements. The battery is lithium-ion and is in-built.
In Choosing An Apple Watch: Factors to Consider
Having seen the features that are common to all Apple watches, we feel it is expedient for you to bear the following in mind when you go shopping for your Apple Watch:
Every Apple Watch comes in two different sizes. From series 1 to series 3 the sizes are 38mm and 42mm. while series 4 comes with sizes 40mm and 44mm. You need to decide what size you think is best for you. The sizes are really not so different. Granted one has a larger display than the other and is also kinda longer. However, as we earlier said, the difference isn’t so much.
Choosing based on size is basically up to you. Just choose what appeals to you. Both sizes are not heavy, they have the weight of a regular watch so we do not see any of the sizes causing you to break your wrist. However, the larger one might benefit you better if, for some reason, you have a vision impairment that requires you to read large texts.
We think this is something to think about, not only because there are a number of options but also because you need something that works well and looks good doing that. So yes, Apple Watches generally have a number of options available. For one, you can pick one that has the kind of finishing you like. There is stainless steel, aluminum and gold and other different colors. Which of these call to you? This might or might not be a deal breaker.
Now side the finishing, there is the band. They are detachable and also come in different kinds and colors. So you can definitely get a couple of them and switch things up according to your mood or something. So for kinds of bands you have stuff like the sport band, link bracelet, leather loop etc.
The series 3 and series 4 come in two size options quite alright but they also come in two connectivity options. So one is tagged GPS only while the other is GPS + cellular. The one tagged GPS only allows for Bluetooth and WiFi connection. So what happens is that your Apple Watch connects to your compatible iPhone using Bluetooth. It is through this connection that your watch can access information on your phone. Now, what happens when your phone is not within Bluetooth range? Your watch automatically seeks a connection by connecting via WiFi. With this connection, you can also access the internet.
The GPS + cellular model takes things a little farther by allowing you connect to the internet using a cellular service provider. Just be sure that you choose the same cellular provider on your watch and iPhone, which brings us to another factor to consider.
- Phone Compatibility
This is a very important factor to consider because if you get the wrong watch you could end up needing to get a new phone or something. First of all, Apple watches are only compatible with iPhones. Secondly, the oldest iPhone model supported by any Apple watch is the iPhone 5s while the oldest iOS supported is iOS 10. This is just the general spec. Each phone has specific specs of the iPhone and iOS it is compatible with.
With every new model, Apple added some new feature that is meant to cater to one need or the other. Now before you make your choice of an Apple Watch, compare the features (or just read the review above) and see which one matches your lifestyle. For example, if you are more of a swimmer, you shouldn’t be considering Series 1 because it is just water splash resistant and so you cannot wear it when you go swimmer. Also, the more active you are, the newer the model you should be thinking of getting.
Finally, price. All iPhones are kinda pricey. However, the newer the model, the pricier it is. In addition, the Apple Watch with GPS and cellular connection costs more than its GPS only counterpart. Also, the smaller sized watches cost less than their larger counterparts. So, whatever Apple Watch you decide to go with based on any of the above factors be sure that your pocket supports your choice.
Maintaining Your Apple Watch
There are a number of things you need to do (or not do) to be sure that your watch stays for a long time. Here are a few:
- Your Apple Watch is water resistant. However, try to keep it dry when it doesn’t need to be wet. That is, if you are not going swimming or doing something absolutely important where you have to wear the watch, give it a break and keep it dry. Nothing says a water resistant device has to stay wet all day long.
- Never use cleaning agents, abrasive materials and heat sources on your Apple Watch. Remember it is touch sensitive. If you manage to damage the screen, the watch is as good as useless.
- When you want to clean your watch, be sure that it isn’t charging.
- Clean and dry using a nonabrasive cloth so that you don’t get the surface of your watch scratched.
- Be sure to remove the bands from the watch if you want to clean them.
- Now this is about you: When you’re done doing whatever water related activity it is (or you feel you’ve been sweating a lot), be sure to dry the space between the watch and your hand. If you leave moisture trapped between the watch and your hand, you could begin to develop some kind of irritation. So be sure to wipe down.
- Also about you: You know what materials you get reactions to. Now, fortunately, there’s a wide selection of materials when it comes to Apple Watches. Pick something that will not cause you to break out and end up hating your purchase.
What People Think of Choosing the Best Apple Watch
Well, there are different people picking different kinds of watches for different reasons. Some prefer the Apple 4 Series just because it is the newest Apple Watch Series. While others prefer it because of all the improvements and cool apps it comes with.
There are yet those that would rather have the Apple Series 3 because they feel the improvements made on the series 4 are not deal breakers for them so they cannot spend additional money getting it. For some others, they will have anyone that comes with both the GPS and the cellular irrespective of the model.
The choices are really very diverse especially because there are so many things to take into consideration before deciding on a particular watch. However, the lack of interest in the series 1 seems to be almost unanimous.
Our Take for You
Actually, if we had to go for one Apple Watch, we would go for the Apple Watch Series 3 (GPS + Cellular GSM). Why? Well we think the applications on this one are suitable enough for a smartwatch. Don’t get us wrong, we love the improvements made with the series 4. However, the Apple Watch Series 3 (GPS + Cellular GSM) allows one to track health activities, connect to the internet without being connected to a phone and has 16GB memory space. We think those are enough reasons to stick with it.
If you have a more active lifestyle though, then the newer series might be more suitable for you. Anyway, the ultimate decision is up to you. If you’ve found the watch that meets all your specs according to the factors we listed for you, then go for it.