This is the Apple Watch you should buy in 2021

Posted:
in Apple Watch edited October 10
The Apple Watch lineup is as expansive as ever, with a multitude of models available for users, including the new Apple Watch Series 7. To make things easier, we'll tell you exactly which Apple Watch you should buy among all models of the Series 7, the still-available Series 3, and the Apple Watch SE.

Which Apple Watch should you buy?
Which Apple Watch should you buy?


Right now, uses can choose between the four-year-old Apple Watch Series 3, the Apple Watch SE from 2020, the Apple Watch Series 7 in aluminum, steel, and titanium, the Apple Watch Series 7 Nike Edition, and the Apple Watch Series 7 Hermes.

Not to mention there are two sizes available for each of those models and multiple colors. So, let's make it easy for you.




What not to do

Don't buy the Apple Watch Series 3. At this point, it is no longer worth it to invest in Apple's cheapest wearable.

It has been around for years now, remaining in the lineup with an official price of $199. This is tempting if you need a low-cost Apple Watch, but we implore you to consider other models instead.

The Apple Watch Series 3 still functions and supports more recent versions of watchOS, but the S3 processor is getting long in the tooth and will limit how long the device will receive updates.

If you want a low-cost Apple Watch, choose the Apple Watch SE instead. We still see fairly frequent deals on this model, and its MSRP is only $80 more than Series 3.

Apple Watch SE
Apple Watch SE


There are huge differences between the Series 3, the SE, and the new Apple Watch Series 7. The Series 3 has a slower processor, no cellular option, no color options, the smallest display, no always-on display, doesn't support Family Setup, has no compass, no international emergency calling, no fall detection, no noise monitoring, and no ECG.

Simply put, don't buy the Apple Watch Series 3. Look for a deal on Apple Watch SE instead.

Buy this Apple Watch

For most people, there is one Apple Watch that makes the most sense. If someone approaches us and asks which model to buy, we will unequivocally tell them they should purchase the Apple Watch Series 7 Nike Edition, and here's why.

A better value

All Apple Watch models are the same and offer the same features. If you get the expensive Apple Watch Series 7 45mm in titanium, it will do the same things as the 41mm aluminum version.

The only way to get more for your money is by choosing the Nike Edition of the Apple Watch Series 7. The features are the same, but it includes a few exclusive watch faces that you cannot get on any other Apple Watch models.

The new Nike Bounce face
The new Nike Bounce face


That includes the new Bounce face that reacts to movements in your wrist or as you interact with the screen. For the best value, you should get the Nike Apple Watch at the same price as the non-Nike versions.

There are three exceptions

There are three exceptions though to this rule that may push you towards a different model.

Case materials for Apple Watch Series 7
Case material options for Apple Watch Series 7


One reason may be that you prefer a material other than aluminum. The Nike version is only available in aluminum, so if you were leaning towards stainless steel or titanium, you wouldn't be able to pick up the Nike model.

Similarly, the Nike model only comes in Starlight and Midnight colorways. The standard aluminum Apple Watch Series 7 is available this year in more colors than ever.

The new green Apple Watch Series 7
The new Apple Watch Series 7


If you go with the regular Apple Watch Series 7, you can choose between Starlight, Midnight, green, red, and blue. Assuming that Midnight and Starlight are too boring for you, you'll need to venture outside the Nike limitations.

Then there are the bands. The Nike version of the Apple Watch Series 7 only can be bundled with the Nike bands, consisting of perforated sports bands and sport loop bands. All bands will work with the Nike version, but they can't be paired together.

If you want to save money by bundling a more premium band such as the braided solo loop or a leather link, you won't be able to choose a Nike model.

Available now

Apple Watch Series 7 starts at $399 for the 41mm non-cellular aluminium version, and $499 for the same size with cellular. The 45mm edition starts at $429, and from $529 with cellular.

Both of the new Watches remain compatible with previous Watch bands, and Apple has also released very many new ones.

Read on AppleInsider

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 20
    So if you have a Nike Series 4 is it compatible with regular bands??
  • Reply 2 of 20
    Anilu_777 said:
    So if you have a Nike Series 4 is it compatible with regular bands??
    Yes. This article is very oddly written. All bands are compatible with all Watches. The writer was saying that you are only paired Nike bands with when you buy the Nike Watch version. Aside from that, with so many options, “telling us” we should only buy the Nike version just for the additional faces when so many other options of the 2021 Apple Watches are available is a stretch.
    GeorgeBMacapplguy
  • Reply 3 of 20
    Andrew_OSUAndrew_OSU Posts: 486member, editor
    Anilu_777 said:
    So if you have a Nike Series 4 is it compatible with regular bands??
    Yup. The Nike is compatible with all bands, they just can only be purchased with Nike bands. So if you wanted to buy the Nike reversion with the leather loop, you can’t. You’d have the buy the Nike watch with a Nike band and buy the leather link separately at full price. 
    GeorgeBMac
  • Reply 4 of 20
    Nah.  Buy a series 4 or 5 in 2021.  Ignore the 7 until at least 2023.  Save yourself a LOT of money, buy used.
    kkqd1337williamlondon
  • Reply 5 of 20
    eightzeroeightzero Posts: 2,648member
    darkvader said:
    Nah.  Buy a series 4 or 5 in 2021.  Ignore the 7 until at least 2023.  Save yourself a LOT of money, buy used.
    I rather object to "you should buy this" headlines. Tech is a personal choice, and it doesn't get much more personal than Apple Watch. That said, I can't disagree with the conclusion "AW3 is dated and not a good value." I think it is disingenuous of Apple to keep it in the lineup. Put it over in the refurbished store.

    Deciding when to upgrade as in look to last years models and what you have now is a complex decision tree. What features you value and how long you want those features to be useable in future updates are considerations. I was essentially a launch day AW buyer for me and my wife. She's a world class athlete and needed the upgrade to AW3 sooner than I did, and I held out to AW4. It works fine for my purposes...for now. My wife's AW3 is now completely dated, and she just got a AW7 as a birthday present. At some point in the future, I  will upgrade from AW4, but it will likely be new....but there's no way to tell at this point. 

    My 2009 iMac and 2012 MBA do what I need, as well as iPhone Xr and a iPad from...oh about 4-5 years ago. For now. I will look to used or refurbished on these for sure, particularly as M1 based devices appear as used/refurbished. 
    edited October 9 peterhartrundhvidwilliamlondon
  • Reply 6 of 20
    JapheyJaphey Posts: 985member
    I was torn between steel and titanium this year. But after this lukewarm update, I’ll be going with aluminum until the Series 8, which will hopefully see more significant changes and a return of the ceramic model. 
    edited October 9 williamlondon
  • Reply 7 of 20
    The article completely ignores the fact that aluminum version used Ion glass as screen. The SS/Ti version use sapphire crystal screen. To me this is the biggest difference. 

    Any idea if the SS/Ti version worth the extra price if it is just for the sapphire? I know these 2 versions used different body martial and cellular function but they are not very important to me. 

    I am not active but I am clumsy. 
    bluefire1GeorgeBMac
  • Reply 8 of 20
    bluefire1bluefire1 Posts: 1,188member
    darkvader said:
    Nah.  Buy a series 4 or 5 in 2021.  Ignore the 7 until at least 2023.  Save yourself a LOT of money, buy used.
    No thanks.
    mike1StrangeDayswilliamlondon
  • Reply 9 of 20
    I can see not buying the 3 as updating the 3 was a pain. Our 3 is broken so can’t test new updates.  Hopefully Apple has made it easier to update. Nike version? For a few faces and the bands? No thank you. 

    Buying used? Great if you really need to save money. Problems with buying used,  is how much battery life is left, scratches, lack of any warranty, and not getting the latest improvements. I have the 4, which lacks the o2 sensor, so definitely not recommending that model.  How much abuse did the used watch get, will it withstand the water? New, you  get a band, used, you probably don’t get or want the band. It is next to a person’s body after all. 






    muthuk_vanalingam
  • Reply 10 of 20
    You can sneer at #3 all you want, but I do not have gorilla size wrists and I can wear #3 in the pool. The damn thing works!
  • Reply 11 of 20
    eightzeroeightzero Posts: 2,648member
    Japhey said:
    I was torn between steel and titanium this year. But after this lukewarm update, I’ll be going with aluminum until the Series 8, which will hopefully see more significant changes and a return of the ceramic model. 
    Curious: what "more significant changes" other than case materials would you want to see? Health functions? Software functions? A different case shape? Bands (and maybe some functionality in the band?) I'm curious what you other others would value.

    One thing I'd like (laugh if you will) is a rudimentary fast shot camera. I don't take photographs: I take snapshots. I lose a lot of those reaching for my phone, and a top of the case snapshotter would be welcome. And yes, I very much doubt Apple will ever do this (and a third party band I saw with one was laughably ugly.)
  • Reply 12 of 20
    The AW is one of those products I personally think is junk…. But am still glad it exists.

    (I have an AW4) 
  • Reply 13 of 20
    JapheyJaphey Posts: 985member
    eightzero said:
    Japhey said:
    I was torn between steel and titanium this year. But after this lukewarm update, I’ll be going with aluminum until the Series 8, which will hopefully see more significant changes and a return of the ceramic model. 
    Curious: what "more significant changes" other than case materials would you want to see? Health functions? Software functions? A different case shape? Bands (and maybe some functionality in the band?) I'm curious what you other others would value.

    One thing I'd like (laugh if you will) is a rudimentary fast shot camera. I don't take photographs: I take snapshots. I lose a lot of those reaching for my phone, and a top of the case snapshotter would be welcome. And yes, I very much doubt Apple will ever do this (and a third party band I saw with one was laughably ugly.)
    There are plenty of new software functions on my wish list, but I’ll stick to the hardware changes I’d like to see:  Qi charging, stronger haptic engine, TouchID (iPad Air & Mini style), new health sensors (blood pressure, glucose, bioimpedance analysis (body composition, hydration), body temperature).  A new case design…I was in the minority that actually liked those flat-edge rumors. Obviously, all these additions could never be done at the same time. But one or two of them would be good enough for me to drop $1k on an Edition model that would last 2-3 years. Until then, I’m fine sticking with aluminum. 

    I saw those 3rd party camera bands too and they were hilarious. 
    eightzero
  • Reply 14 of 20
    Andrew_OSUAndrew_OSU Posts: 486member, editor
    Dogperson said:
    You can sneer at #3 all you want, but I do not have gorilla size wrists and I can wear #3 in the pool. The damn thing works!
    Haha you mean the Series 3?
    My biggest issue is that the processor is quite old at this point and Apple can't support these with Software updates forever. The SE has the same processor as the Series 7 and only costs about $100 more than the Series 3. If Apple provides 6 years of updates, which is pretty great, the Series 3 will likely be cut off in the next year or so while the SE, along with the series 7, have 5-6 more years to go. I think you get a whole lot more value!
    StrangeDaysmuthuk_vanalingam
  • Reply 15 of 20
    mike1mike1 Posts: 2,808member
    bluefire1 said:
    darkvader said:
    Nah.  Buy a series 4 or 5 in 2021.  Ignore the 7 until at least 2023.  Save yourself a LOT of money, buy used.
    No thanks.

    Nope. Got to disagree with this idea. It's not a car. The new models are not that much more money than used. In addition, if you buy used (not refurbished), you're starting off with an old battery. Better to buy at the top of the curve and hang on to it as long as it does what you want. Personally, there is no compelling reason for me to upgrade my S4 this year. I will probably will upgrade next year rather than invest in a battery replacement.
    StrangeDays
  • Reply 16 of 20
    GeorgeBMacGeorgeBMac Posts: 10,707member
    mike1 said:
    bluefire1 said:
    darkvader said:
    Nah.  Buy a series 4 or 5 in 2021.  Ignore the 7 until at least 2023.  Save yourself a LOT of money, buy used.
    No thanks.

    Nope. Got to disagree with this idea. It's not a car. The new models are not that much more money than used. In addition, if you buy used (not refurbished), you're starting off with an old battery. Better to buy at the top of the curve and hang on to it as long as it does what you want. Personally, there is no compelling reason for me to upgrade my S4 this year. I will probably will upgrade next year rather than invest in a battery replacement.
    I am the same.  I see "no compelling reason for me to upgrade my S4" -- especially as, in my case, Apple just replaced it and it looks and works like new.

  • Reply 17 of 20
    StrangeDaysStrangeDays Posts: 11,764member
    darkvader said:
    Nah.  Buy a series 4 or 5 in 2021.  Ignore the 7 until at least 2023.  Save yourself a LOT of money, buy used.
    Nah. Buy the one with the biggest screen ratio, adding value to your use case. The value of quality lives on after the price is forgotten. For this reason I typically buy the loaded Mac/whatever, wring years of use out of it, then sell for a modest amount or give to family. Been doing so for years...you can sell the $999 iPhone 12 to Apple for $640, making the cost of it for the year only $360 -- a bargain.
    edited October 11 mike1williamlondon
  • Reply 18 of 20
    flydogflydog Posts: 1,027member
    kkqd1337 said:
    The AW is one of those products I personally think is junk…. But am still glad it exists.

    (I have an AW4) 
    Your alleged ownership of an Apple Watch doesn't diminish the absurdity of your post. 
    mike1Dogperson
  • Reply 19 of 20
    Some watch faces I would love to have but can't because Apple won't allow 3rd party watch faces:
    Stock prices and charts updated second by second as you watch. Pick any index, stock, ETF, etc. (up to 4) and they will be displayed live along with a beautiful color coded chart.
    Live weather. See an animated radar map of your area, projected rainfall chart for the next two hours, heat/humidity and live weather alerts.
    Earthquakes: See the latest Earthquakes near you or world wide with an animated map and seismograph chart. Get emergency alerts so you can take cover before the shaking starts.
    Sports: See where the ball is on the field and live score when your team is playing or any other active team or sport. Select your favorites. You could even see horse races in graphic form. See current odds and other information.
    Facebook: (Why not?) See the latest posts from your friends changing constantly. Tap to see more or open the post on your iPhone or computer.
    Satellites: Get a count down to the next visible satellite and where to look in the sky. See information about the satellite (altitude, speed, age, purpose, etc.) or even a 3D model of it.
    This barely scratches the surface of what would be possible if Apple's foot wasn't on the necks of developers and users.
  • Reply 20 of 20
    GeorgeBMacGeorgeBMac Posts: 10,707member
    Some watch faces I would love to have but can't because Apple won't allow 3rd party watch faces:
    Stock prices and charts updated second by second as you watch. Pick any index, stock, ETF, etc. (up to 4) and they will be displayed live along with a beautiful color coded chart.
    Live weather. See an animated radar map of your area, projected rainfall chart for the next two hours, heat/humidity and live weather alerts.
    Earthquakes: See the latest Earthquakes near you or world wide with an animated map and seismograph chart. Get emergency alerts so you can take cover before the shaking starts.
    Sports: See where the ball is on the field and live score when your team is playing or any other active team or sport. Select your favorites. You could even see horse races in graphic form. See current odds and other information.
    Facebook: (Why not?) See the latest posts from your friends changing constantly. Tap to see more or open the post on your iPhone or computer.
    Satellites: Get a count down to the next visible satellite and where to look in the sky. See information about the satellite (altitude, speed, age, purpose, etc.) or even a 3D model of it.
    This barely scratches the surface of what would be possible if Apple's foot wasn't on the necks of developers and users.

    With limited CPU, Graphics and RAM, they probably have to limit what developers can do -- or end up with customer complaints about the watch.  They even limit themselves by only making certain watch faces available on newer, more powerful models:   My favorite watch face on my Series 4 is not available to my friend's Series 3.
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