First look: Apple Watch Series 3 with cellular: stainless steel vs. aluminum

Posted:
in Apple Watch edited September 2017
The new Apple Watch Series 3 has arrived, and AppleInsider offers a closer look at what to expect from the next-generation model, including new packaging, a new sport loop band, and the controversial Digital Crown red dot.




For Friday's launch, we got our hands on two models: the space gray aluminum case with dark olive sport loop ($429), and the stainless steel case with milanese loop ($749). Both are 42-millimeter size, and both come with built-in cellular LTE connectivity.

For a previous Apple Watch owner, the first thing you'll notice with your purchase is new packaging, at least for the aluminum model (previously known as sport). While previous purchases came in a long box where the watch and bands were stretched out, the aluminum and stainless steel versions both now come in square boxes.




Interestingly, while the pricier stainless steel model has an easy-to-remove plastic wrapping with convenient pull tab, the aluminum model is covered in vacuum-sealed plastic and must be torn to be opened. In other words, one of the things that your extra $320 gets you is an easier-to-open box.

Once inside, the watches are displayed in the same manner, but the stainless steel model again has some small, finer touches.




While the aluminum model is presented with a softer plastic insert to keep the band in shape, the stainless steel model has a stiffer cardboard insert. And the magnetic attachment on the charging cable has a plastic back with the aluminum model, but features a metal back with the stainless steel version.

Both come with the same 5-watt charger and instruction manual.




And internally, they both feature the same components, including the S3 dual-core processor and W2 wireless chip, as well as a dedicated LTE radio, allowing for data on the go without a connected iPhone.

The main differences between the two models are on the outside. Beyond the stainless steel case, the step up in pricing also gets users a sapphire crystal cover over the OLED display, which is more resistant to scratches and scuffs.




The sport loop band on the aluminum model is an entirely new band option made by Apple. It's a lightweight and soft cloth band with a velcro attachment. As shipped, the band loops through the bottom of the watch face.

Setting up the new Apple Watch Series 3 is much easier than before thanks to the W2 chip, allowing an iPhone and the wearable to easily recognize one another and begin the pairing process. And if you've used an Apple Watch before, you can restore those settings and apps to get up and going just as you were before.




AppleInsider will have much more on the Apple Watch Series 3 with cellular in the coming days and weeks, including our full in-depth review.


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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 23
    toulouse31000_toulouse31000_ Posts: 1unconfirmed, member
    The square box on the aluminium Apple Watch is only for the sport loop (because it can't be put flat in the box... others Series 3 aluminium models come in a long box), and sadly they removed the fancy little plastic box for travel one the stainless steel one :-(
    pscooter63stanhope1983
  • Reply 2 of 23
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 9,739member
    So did you run into the much touted LTE-gate or not?
    toulouse31000_watto_cobra
  • Reply 3 of 23
    Pretty cool...... except apple sent exact 0 of any lte  watches to att for launch.     
  • Reply 4 of 23
    jfc1138jfc1138 Posts: 3,090member
    Had mine delivered this A. M. and yes that setup from my Series 0 was fast and easy. Performance is noticeably far faster. 

    I always have have my WiFi list restricted so I’m not expecting to run into that even before Apple works that glitch out.  
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 5 of 23

    Those are some pretty bad product shots.  The stainless steel model looks cheap and unattractive (in these pictures, but not on the Apple site).  And in at least one of the side by side pics the two watches look like they have quite different dimensions.

    I don't know what to think of the new sport band.  Hopefully the uninspired look is a photography issue too.

    bshank
  • Reply 6 of 23
    sog35 said:
    Red button......still don't get it.

    Has Jony Ive gone senile?
    You mean 'dotard'....? ;-)

    I like the red dot a lot.
    pscooter63stanhope
  • Reply 7 of 23
    frank777frank777 Posts: 5,837member
    The red button is apparently there to differentiate the cellular model, for situations where open mics and cell phones aren't allowed.

    However that seems silly, because repainting it to sneak it into such events requires almost no skill and will certainly become a side industry.

    Standard protocols for security-conscious businesses and events will simply be that no smartwatches are allowed.
  • Reply 8 of 23
    frank777 said:
    The red button is apparently there to differentiate the cellular model, for situations where open mics and cell phones aren't allowed.

    However that seems silly, because repainting it to sneak it into such events requires almost no skill and will certainly become a side industry.

    Standard protocols for security-conscious businesses and events will simply be that no smartwatches are allowed.
    I suppose Apple needs to be seen to be doing something towards the situation regardless of how easy it is to circumvent (or how much some people go on about it) :smile: 
  • Reply 9 of 23
    Do bands from earlier versions fit this series 3???
  • Reply 10 of 23
    Received my AW3 with Cellular earlier today. The good news is pairing with my iPhone was easy as ever. The bad news it that Verizon is having some nationwide glitch which prevents the Watch from joining the iPhone billing plan and consequently, cellular couldn't be activated. Thus, the Watch works fine with the iPhone nearby, but cannot yet be a standalone device until Verizon gets its act together.
    Additionally, even though the Watch comes with the stainless steel Milanese Loop, I purchased the Space Black version of the Loop.
    edited September 2017
  • Reply 11 of 23
    pslice said:
    Do bands from earlier versions fit this series 3???
    Yes. And prior power sources work as well.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 12 of 23
    sog35 said:
    Red button......still don't get it.

    Has Jony Ive gone senile?
    It’s a red dot for chrissakes....go to Houston, Key West, Mexico, Puerto Rico.....get some perspective.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 13 of 23
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 9,739member
    sog35 said:
    Red button......still don't get it.

    Has Jony Ive gone senile?
    It’s a design thing that many premium watches have. Google “watches with red crowns” and see all the pictures.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 14 of 23
    bluefire1 said:
    Received my AW3 with Cellular earlier today. The good news is pairing with my iPhone was easy as ever. The bad news it that Verizon is having some nationwide glitch which prevents the Watch from joining the iPhone billing plan and consequently, cellular couldn't be activated. Thus, the Watch works fine with the iPhone nearby, but cannot yet be a standalone device until Verizon gets its act together.
    Additionally, even though the Watch comes with the stainless steel Milanese Loop, I purchased the Space Black version of the Loop.
    I’m having the same problem with Verizon. 
  • Reply 15 of 23
    these are pretty poor photos. not white balanced and low contrast. 
    edited September 2017 bshankwatto_cobra
  • Reply 16 of 23
    jfc1138jfc1138 Posts: 3,090member
    My new Series 3 watch useage stats are impressive. 17,431 days, 19 hrs since last full charge. Now THAT’S battery life. 

    Computer code can be just SO literal sometimes eh? Lol
    edited September 2017 watto_cobra
  • Reply 17 of 23
    "Aluminium"  works fine for me:  it looks good and the screen holds up well.  Plus, with the advances Apple is making in the Watch area, I won't be keeping mine long enough for it get worn out anyway...

    Maybe in a decade we'll be keeping our AppleWatches like we used to keep our Bulovas and other expensive watches.   But now, a one year old watch -- and still shiny -- starts to feel obsolete.
    randominternetpersonwatto_cobra
  • Reply 18 of 23
    19831983 Posts: 1,225member
    The square box on the aluminium Apple Watch is only for the sport loop (because it can't be put flat in the box... others Series 3 aluminium models come in a long box), and sadly they removed the fancy little plastic box for travel one the stainless steel one :-(
    That's rather cheap of Apple! That was a useful well-made little box with a feel good factor for your purchase. I use mine to store straps. When Apple does this kind of thing, it bugs the hell out of me! Why do that? Its like on the iPhone 7,8 and X with iOS 11 they've dropped support for WAV and AIFF audio files...why do this? It costs them nothing to leave them in, while providing high quality audio playback for many users (like myself) who have a significant library of music encoded using those codecs in iTunes.
    edited September 2017 toulouse31000_
  • Reply 19 of 23
    stanhope said:
    sog35 said:
    Red button......still don't get it.

    Has Jony Ive gone senile?
    It’s a red dot for chrissakes....go to Houston, Key West, Mexico, Puerto Rico.....get some perspective.
    You could apply that logic to pretty much every discussion on this site. If you're that much of a big picture "hero", why aren't you at one of those locations helping out instead of perusing AI forums?
  • Reply 20 of 23
    lkrupp said:
    sog35 said:
    Red button......still don't get it.

    Has Jony Ive gone senile?
    It’s a design thing that many premium watches have. Google “watches with red crowns” and see all the pictures.
    So Apple's TURD is acceptable because they copied everyone else's TURD? TURD's a TURD.
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