The Series 3 has two big new features: mobile internet (on the £399, S$730 ‘cellular’ version) and a built-in barometric altimeter, which lets your Watch measure changes in altitude.
How does the cellular connection work? A tiny little eSIM in the watch can ‘borrow’ your iPhone’s number to stream Apple Music and take calls, among other things.
The stinger is that you’ll need to also have an iPhone on the EE network (which is the only one in the UK to offer the cellular Apple Watch, for now), and pay an extra £5 (S$10) per month contract.
It’s difficult to say right now how well the cellular connection will work, and how useful it’ll be. Unless you’re an early adopter, a ‘wait and see’ approach seems wise.
But what about the S$498, non-cellular Series 3? Sure, it has that barometric altimeter to work out when you’re climbing stairs or mountains, but is that the only thing it offers over the Series 2?
No, there are a few internal differences that should future-proof it for forthcoming software updates and apps. Like the Series 2, the Watch 3 has a dual-core processor, but Apple says it’s a whopping 70% faster.
There’s also a new wireless chip, the W2. It’s more efficient, has faster Wi-Fi and allows for the new 4G connection. While these do help make watchOS 4 feel a bit zippier (as we discovered in our hands-on), it’s unlikely the Series 2 will grind to a halt over the next year.
If you own an Apple Watch Series 1, then an upgrade feels like a no-brainer. But it’s probably not enough to justify an upgrade from an Apple Watch 2, unless you’ve already spent months treating your old Watch like dirt and are tired of its scratched and tarnished face.
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