Buyers' guide: Choosing the right Apple Watch model for you

Posted:
in Apple Watch edited November 2016
The Apple Watch is one of the most popular wearables out there, but as of this fall Apple has a variety of options, even putting aside cosmetic touches. Which one you should go with depends on your intended use -- and of course, your budget.

A Series 1.
A Series 1.


For many people, the Series 1 is probably all they need. It's the original Apple Watch with a faster dual-core processor and watchOS 3, making it capable of handling most of the tasks other Watches support.

More importantly, it's the cheapest option -- a 38 millimeter model is $269, although you should almost certainly spring for the $299 42-millimeter, unless your wrist is small enough that it would look comically oversized.

You do make some tradeoffs in the process. There are fewer stock configurations than with other Watches, and material options are limited to glass and aluminum, which may not satisfy people worried about their model taking a beating.

A Series 2.
A Series 2.


Apple really, really wants you to buy the Series 2, which starts at $369 for 38 millimeters or $399 for 42 millimeters. Its display is over twice as bright -- making it easier to read outdoors -- and it has more band choices, plus the option to upgrade to a stainless steel shell and sapphire display.

It's only a must-have however if you're into fitness but still insist on a Watch. The device is water-resistant to a depth of 50 meters, which means you can not only take it swimming, but into the shower -- making it a lot easier to clean after a sweaty workout. It also has built-in GPS, though all that does is allow runners and walkers to leave their iPhone at home.

The Apple Watch Nike+.
The Apple Watch Nike+.


In fact there's a version of the Series 2 called the Apple Watch Nike+, which runners and even weightlifters should strongly consider. The key advantage is an exclusive set of bands, lighter and cooler than Apple's regular Sport Bands thanks to their perforated design. It's otherwise unchanged, except for some new watchfaces and close integration with the Nike+ Run Club app.

The Apple Watch Edition.
The Apple Watch Edition.


Two models you should probably ignore are the Hermes and Edition. These start at $1,149 and $1,249 respectively, and don't offer any substantial benefit over a regular Series 2 except for being status symbols. The Edition is technically tougher with a ceramic shell that shouldn't scratch, but you could buy two ordinary Watch models for the same cost, with change to spare.

Whichever route you take it's worth considering that Apple will almost certainly continue upgrades in 2017, and the year after that, at some point making the Watch a standalone device. Don't invest too much in a wearable you're not prepared to replace in 2-3 years.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 19
    I waited for new Watch to launch, then procured a new original 42mm Watch for 178 bucks. To semi-frugality!
    freshmakerwilliamhGeorgeBMaciqatedo
  • Reply 2 of 19
    Really wish you had the option to buy a watch without a band.  I'd love to upgrade my S0 to an S2, but I've already got a Milanese loop and don't really wanna fork over the $ to get another one.  Gah
  • Reply 3 of 19
    Really wish you had the option to buy a watch without a band.  I'd love to upgrade my S0 to an S2, but I've already got a Milanese loop and don't really wanna fork over the $ to get another one.  Gah

    Buh, you can use old band with new watch. Just get model you want with whatever band it comes with.

    I love the Milanese loop, but procured a knockoff for 10 bucks from spamazon. There wasn't any sense attaching super fancy band to 178-buck Watch. When I saw that one of product photos for the Top4cus band was a customer complaint of the product being crap but being replaced immediately, the graphic stated, ""This is top4cus. Well noted before your purchase. Maybe the items sold by top4cus not the best But we offered the best After-sale service," I knew I had to be one of their customers.
    freshmaker
  • Reply 4 of 19
    I was all ready to commit, when I got to the store I discovered the Apple Watch does not carry a Roman numeral face!
    kernapster
  • Reply 5 of 19
    fallenjtfallenjt Posts: 3,980member
    I waited for new Watch to launch, then procured a new original 42mm Watch for 178 bucks. To semi-frugality!
    I rather spend $299 for a stainless steel series 2 now. That's $300 off. Best deal ever.
    king editor the grate
  • Reply 6 of 19
    Apple needs to make either the press on the dial or press on the side button be the start / stop for tracking time. As it is the watch is worthless for any training, its super frustrating when you are at the end of a hard run and the bloody timer wont stop as the presses on the face are just ignored and time just keeps ticking.

    It also needs an always on function during running so that you can quickly glance at the watch, as it is the delay for the screen to come on breaks your rhythm especially when going hard.  The heart rate monitor is so inaccurate that is serves as a novelty at best. 

    I only apple let us developers have access to at least one of the push buttons we could fix these issues our selves. I guess the HR monitor can be fixed by forking out more $$$ for chest strap in true to apples new M.O. it just works if you pay more. 
  • Reply 7 of 19
    Actually, this article is incorrect.  The processing power of Series 1 and 2 are identical. Jeff Williams said as much during the product introduction and a number of side-by-side tests prove it.
    williamlondonwlymjbishop1039albegarc
  • Reply 8 of 19
    Apple needs to make either the press on the dial or press on the side button be the start / stop for tracking time. As it is the watch is worthless for any training, its super frustrating when you are at the end of a hard run and the bloody timer wont stop as the presses on the face are just ignored and time just keeps ticking.

    It also needs an always on function during running so that you can quickly glance at the watch, as it is the delay for the screen to come on breaks your rhythm especially when going hard.  The heart rate monitor is so inaccurate that is serves as a novelty at best. 

    I only apple let us developers have access to at least one of the push buttons we could fix these issues our selves. I guess the HR monitor can be fixed by forking out more $$$ for chest strap in true to apples new M.O. it just works if you pay more. 


    A study by the Cleveland Clinic showed the Apple Watch heart monitor to be the most accurate of all wrist based monitors tested at 90% accuracy.   But, a chest strap, at 99% was more accurate than any wrist based heart rate tracker.   The deficiency is not with Apple but with the inherent inaccuracy of wrist based heart rate tracking trying to 'see' blood flow through the wrist.  Conversely, a chest strap uses the same technology as an EKG:  measuring the electronic signal of the beating heart itself.  

    The Apple Watch can be paired with a chest strap and the wrist based monitor turned off.   The advantages are:
    -- More accurate HR
    -- More frequent sampling of HR
    -- Less battery drain / better battery life

    And the delay of the display going on does not bother me at all during a run even on a Series 0.  The only thing that does is that I have to snap my wrist up to turn on the display because simply rolling it up doesn't trigger the display to go on.   Always On would be nice -- but I doubt the tiny battery could handle that.

    But, I agree that Apple should enable the physical buttons to stop exercise tracking because sweaty fingers simply don't work well on a touch screen.   I guess the geeks at Apple never had sweaty fingers...  They need to get serious athletes involved in their design & testing (and Nike is no longer for serious athletes) 

    king editor the grate
  • Reply 9 of 19

    AI editors need to take a look at this article.  It seems to be from your standard mass media pundit reporting on what he has heard rather than actual facts...

    Two of the inaccuracies are:
    -- Speaking of the Series 2 vs Series 1:  "On top of having a superior processor".  It doesn't.  Series 1 and Series 2 use the same processor.   The difference is in the 'system on a chip' because the Series 2 includes a GPS in the system.
    -- "weightlifters should strongly consider" the Series 2.  Why would they say that?   Even Apple agrees that the wrist based heart rate monitor is highly inaccurate for things like boxing and weight lifting.   It's not a deficiency of the watch itself but of the technology of watching the blood flow through the wrist used by wrist based monitors.   

    king editor the gratewlym
  • Reply 10 of 19
    dougddougd Posts: 281member
    I'll not buy until the battery lasts at least a week
  • Reply 11 of 19
    larryalarrya Posts: 551member
    Apple needs to make either the press on the dial or press on the side button be the start / stop for tracking time. As it is the watch is worthless for any training, its super frustrating when you are at the end of a hard run and the bloody timer wont stop as the presses on the face are just ignored and time just keeps ticking.

    It also needs an always on function during running so that you can quickly glance at the watch, as it is the delay for the screen to come on breaks your rhythm especially when going hard.  The heart rate monitor is so inaccurate that is serves as a novelty at best. 

    I only apple let us developers have access to at least one of the push buttons we could fix these issues our selves. I guess the HR monitor can be fixed by forking out more $$$ for chest strap in true to apples new M.O. it just works if you pay more. 


    A study by the Cleveland Clinic showed the Apple Watch heart monitor to be the most accurate of all wrist based monitors tested at 90% accuracy.   But, a chest strap, at 99% was more accurate than any wrist based heart rate tracker.   The deficiency is not with Apple but with the inherent inaccuracy of wrist based heart rate tracking trying to 'see' blood flow through the wrist.  Conversely, a chest strap uses the same technology as an EKG:  measuring the electronic signal of the beating heart itself.  

    The Apple Watch can be paired with a chest strap and the wrist based monitor turned off.   The advantages are:
    -- More accurate HR
    -- More frequent sampling of HR
    -- Less battery drain / better battery life

    And the delay of the display going on does not bother me at all during a run even on a Series 0.  The only thing that does is that I have to snap my wrist up to turn on the display because simply rolling it up doesn't trigger the display to go on.   Always On would be nice -- but I doubt the tiny battery could handle that.

    But, I agree that Apple should enable the physical buttons to stop exercise tracking because sweaty fingers simply don't work well on a touch screen.   I guess the geeks at Apple never had sweaty fingers...  They need to get serious athletes involved in their design & testing (and Nike is no longer for serious athletes) 

    Not that I have one, but I've read on more than one occasion that pressing the crown and other button simultaneously will stop the timer. Might be worth trying. 
    GeorgeBMac
  • Reply 12 of 19
    larrya said:
    Apple needs to make either the press on the dial or press on the side button be the start / stop for tracking time. As it is the watch is worthless for any training, its super frustrating when you are at the end of a hard run and the bloody timer wont stop as the presses on the face are just ignored and time just keeps ticking.

    It also needs an always on function during running so that you can quickly glance at the watch, as it is the delay for the screen to come on breaks your rhythm especially when going hard.  The heart rate monitor is so inaccurate that is serves as a novelty at best. 

    I only apple let us developers have access to at least one of the push buttons we could fix these issues our selves. I guess the HR monitor can be fixed by forking out more $$$ for chest strap in true to apples new M.O. it just works if you pay more. 


    A study by the Cleveland Clinic showed the Apple Watch heart monitor to be the most accurate of all wrist based monitors tested at 90% accuracy.   But, a chest strap, at 99% was more accurate than any wrist based heart rate tracker.   The deficiency is not with Apple but with the inherent inaccuracy of wrist based heart rate tracking trying to 'see' blood flow through the wrist.  Conversely, a chest strap uses the same technology as an EKG:  measuring the electronic signal of the beating heart itself.  

    The Apple Watch can be paired with a chest strap and the wrist based monitor turned off.   The advantages are:
    -- More accurate HR
    -- More frequent sampling of HR
    -- Less battery drain / better battery life

    And the delay of the display going on does not bother me at all during a run even on a Series 0.  The only thing that does is that I have to snap my wrist up to turn on the display because simply rolling it up doesn't trigger the display to go on.   Always On would be nice -- but I doubt the tiny battery could handle that.

    But, I agree that Apple should enable the physical buttons to stop exercise tracking because sweaty fingers simply don't work well on a touch screen.   I guess the geeks at Apple never had sweaty fingers...  They need to get serious athletes involved in their design & testing (and Nike is no longer for serious athletes) 

    Not that I have one, but I've read on more than one occasion that pressing the crown and other button simultaneously will stop the timer. Might be worth trying. 
    It surely does. 
  • Reply 13 of 19
    Apple needs to make either the press on the dial or press on the side button be the start / stop for tracking time. As it is the watch is worthless for any training, its super frustrating when you are at the end of a hard run and the bloody timer wont stop as the presses on the face are just ignored and time just keeps ticking.
    it does. press the digital crown and the button together to pause and unpause your workout. tap quit when you're back home and your fingers are dry. also, you can rotate the crown button to wake the screen if it doesn't turn on quickly upon wrist raise. what i do is i turn the digital crown as i raise my wrist so that the acreen is immediately on when i glance at it. 
  • Reply 14 of 19
    dougd said:
    I'll not buy until the battery lasts at least a week
    Good luck with that. You'll be waiting until mankind invents new battery tech. 
    king editor the grate
  • Reply 15 of 19
    Apple needs to make either the press on the dial or press on the side button be the start / stop for tracking time. As it is the watch is worthless for any training, its super frustrating when you are at the end of a hard run and the bloody timer wont stop as the presses on the face are just ignored and time just keeps ticking.

    It also needs an always on function during running so that you can quickly glance at the watch, as it is the delay for the screen to come on breaks your rhythm especially when going hard.  The heart rate monitor is so inaccurate that is serves as a novelty at best. 

    I only apple let us developers have access to at least one of the push buttons we could fix these issues our selves. I guess the HR monitor can be fixed by forking out more $$$ for chest strap in true to apples new M.O. it just works if you pay more. 
    That's some silliness. There's no Apple conspiracy here... The AW HR monitor has been tested and was the most accurate of the bunch. When I compare it to my gym's cardio readers it's always right where it should be. 

    Of course a chest strap is going to be better, that's an entirely different technology. That doesn't mean evil Apple is out to get you. 
    king editor the grate
  • Reply 16 of 19
    mj webmj web Posts: 918member
    Apple Watch has stimulated and rekindled my desire to acquire and wear mechanical watches. Almost bought a Withings smart watch because it's so much more attractive than Apple's chunky fat Chicklet design. But I passed. Recently bought a Sieko SARB065. Now that's one great design!
    edited November 2016
  • Reply 17 of 19
    dougd said:
    I'll not buy until the battery lasts at least a week
    Good luck with that. You'll be waiting until mankind invents new battery tech. 
    garmin vivoactiv lasts 13 days.
    how?
    they allow you to selectively turn off the GPS 
  • Reply 18 of 19
    sandor said:
    dougd said:
    I'll not buy until the battery lasts at least a week
    Good luck with that. You'll be waiting until mankind invents new battery tech. 
    garmin vivoactiv lasts 13 days.
    how?
    they allow you to selectively turn off the GPS 
    Does it also do notifications, payments, apps, and music in addition to the activity tracking? Looks like it may do music but certainly doesn't do apps and notifications. Small detail, huh?

    Obviously it doesn't do as much as the AW0, which has absolutely no GPS but doesn't get that kind of battery life. 

    Hint: all of our gear uses the same core battery tech. 
    edited November 2016 king editor the grate
  • Reply 19 of 19
    sandor said:
    dougd said:
    I'll not buy until the battery lasts at least a week
    Good luck with that. You'll be waiting until mankind invents new battery tech. 
    garmin vivoactiv lasts 13 days.
    how?
    they allow you to selectively turn off the GPS 
    Does it also do notifications, payments, apps, and music in addition to the activity tracking? Looks like it may do music but certainly doesn't do apps and notifications. Small detail, huh?

    Obviously it doesn't do as much as the AW0, which has absolutely no GPS but doesn't get that kind of battery life. 

    Hint: all of our gear uses the same core battery tech. 
    Garmin does only have about 13,000 apps on its store, and yes, most are fitness-centric. 
    and notifications. 


    all i was pointing out was that Apple prioritized "every function all the time" over long battery life.
    king editor the grate
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