Apple Watch Series 3 review

Apple Watch Series 3 review

Three years later, the Apple Watch Series 3 is still one of the most effective smartwatches around. As long as you get the non-LTE design, that is.

I have actually possessed numerous iPhones, iPads, iPods, and also MacBooks over the previous decade. I put on a first-generation Apple Watch and after that a Series 2. The Apple Watch Series 3 with LTE is the first Apple gadget I have actually made use of that didn't just function out of the package. And while I did ultimately get it running, various other concerns-- along with its high price-- make this linked watch a harder sell than the non-LTE version.

While I really did not like the mobile Series 3, the Bluetooth model is just one of the most effective smartwatches and also our leading pick among the very best economical smartwatches. It's also one best fitness trackers you can get, if you're on the search for a workout-oriented wearable. 

With watchOS 7, you'll still get the most current software application features without needing to spend lavishly on a $399 Apple Watch Series 6, or $279 on the Apple Watch SE, too.

Fortunately? With the release of the Apple Watch Series 7 later this loss, Apple revealed that the Apple Watch Series 3 will continue to be for sale, starting at $199.

The assurance-- and also reality-- of LTE

A smartwatch aims to place simple access to your smart device on your wrist. Yet mobile connectivity has the potential to remove your phone from the equation altogether. Early criticism of the Apple Watch consisted of that it leaned too heavily on the phone for fundamental tasks. Software application updates, as well as faster cpus, have actually made that less of a problem; currently, the watch can run apps natively as well as accessibility Wi-Fi networks that your apple iphone has linked to in the past. Yet it still needs your phone to be its relay device for phone telephone calls and also notices, as well as it can not do a lot when your iPhone runs out variety and there are no well-known Wi-Fi networks around.

The LTE Apple Watch Series 3 is created to link that space, yet that's it. It's not an apple iphone substitute. If you're anticipating to leave your phone for extended periods of time and utilize the watch to handle all your jobs, you will certainly be disappointed. That frustration sinks in after you build up the expenses-- $399 for the 38-millimeter design or $429 for the 42-mm version, and after that an additional $10 on your monthly cellular phone bill to make sure that the watch can draw from your data pail. All that, as well as it can not also last a complete day by itself.

However although I knew the watch could not replace my iPhone, I still had high hopes. Those floated down to earth as quickly as I unboxed the gadget.

Apple Watch Series 3 activation: A frustrating procedure

The Series 3 sets to your apple iPhone similarly past generations did, with a dynamic image on guard face that you scan with your apple iPhone camera. That component is equally as smooth as typical. However, after that I obtained to the part where I needed to activate the watch's cellular connectivity.

I encountered a myriad of concerns when trying to turn on the watch on my AT&T plan. A customer care representative couldn't aid me to figure out the issue over the phone, so I ultimately matched the gadget to an Apple-provided iPhone 8 on T-Mobile to evaluate it out.

Apple Watch Series 3 review

I experienced some launch-weekend jitters with telephone call reliability, where getting in touch with the supervised LTE would certainly stop working, yet those issues seem to have actually been fixed. (If you run into similar trouble, attempt shutting down the watch's data plan, and afterward reactivating and rebooting. That did the technique for me.) A consider Twitter and also Reddit reveals that Series 3 customers experienced the very same early issues I did.

I ultimately got my watch activated on AT&T's network, but it took a journey to my neighboring AT&T shop and also the help of five client service associates-- 4 in-store and one over the phone-- greater than a hr to browse the challenging setup procedure.

A watchOS update that Apple pushed out a couple of weeks after the Series 3's launch dealt with a bug that affected the watch's capacity to switch over from Wi-Fi to cellular. The software update likewise included a hand-operated setting in the Nerve center, obtainable by swiping up on the watch face, that allows you toggle amongst the iPhone's connection, a Wi-Fi network, and also the watch's very own cellular connection.

Prior to the update, you can attach to cellular just by putting your apple iPhone in-plane setting or leaving it out of the Bluetooth array completely. Currently, if your watch gets hung up attempting to link to a Wi-Fi network, you can manually push it to attach to cellular.

Apple Watch Series 3 mobile connectivity: Battery killer

I swiftly discovered the LTE Series 3's constraints when I left my iPhone in the house. I started the day with a 3.5-mile run, throughout which I streamed Apple Music's Pop Workout radio station the whole 37 mins. When I returned house to eat breakfast, I examined my watch battery. It had drained pipes to 60 percent after running every battery-sucking attribute all at once. I took care of to squeeze another 12.5 hours out of the watch by not relying upon it as well greatly for the remainder of the day.

Apple Watch Series 3 review

These activities aren't battery killers on the Series 2 or Series 3 without LTE, but with the Series 3's constant mobile link, you can forget it long lasting 18 hrs on a charge. Just being connected to a cell network will certainly minimize the battery life with blended usage from 18 hours to concerning 8 hours.

That's why the watch is designed to count on your phone's connectivity to maintain its own mobile connection from draining the gadget-- and why it's so vital to have hand-operated control over that connection.

Apple Watch Series 3 design: Unchanged, in a great method

Apple's capability to put a mobile modem and bigger battery into the Series 3 without considerably including to its dimension goes over. The watch is somewhat thicker than the Series 2-- concerning two sheets of paper thicker, Apple states-- yet not noticeably so. The 38mm Apple Watch Series 3 is the only LTE smartwatch that looks excellent on my wrist. The Series 3 also can be found in a larger, 42mm dimension for individuals with larger wrists.

Apple Watch Series 3 review

The ultrabright, 1,000-nit OLED display has the same size and resolution as the previous designs: 272 x 340 pixels on the 38mm model and also 312 x 390 on the 42mm version. The display is Ion-X glass on the aluminum versions and sapphire crystal on the stainless-steel and ceramic variations. The light weight aluminum range can be found in gold, silver and also room gray, while the ceramic version is readily available in white and gray.

Primarily, it's still one of the better-looking smartwatches on the marketplace (yes, although it's square).

Apple Watch Series 3 fitness-tracking: Better than ever before

Exercising is the one use for which an LTE Apple Watch is best. There is absolutely nothing fairly like tiing up my sneakers, pairing my AirPods to my watch as well as hitting the pavement with no phone weighing me down. (I enjoy my iPhone 7 Plus, yet it feels like a huge barnacle attached to my body when I'm running.) Knowing that I can still get message messages and crucial alerts on my watch is assuring.

Both Series 3 versions, the one with mobile and the one without, sport a brand-new barometric altimeter, which is a convenient new information factor for measuring elevation. That's helpful for hiking and also skiing along with actual stair climbing. I recognized I climbed a great deal of stairways, considering mostly all metro stations are situated underground, however I never ever truly tallied them up previously. After I saw that I powered with 21 flights of stairways after a Mets game at Citi Field, I recognized why I was so weary (and also immediately took a nap).

Or else, the Series 3 with LTE has the very same wonderful fitness-tracking features that the Series 2 as well as Series 3 without cellular connectivity have, consisting of precise integrated GPS and a just as exact heart rate sensor. Apple's watchOS 4 upgrade placed more fitness-tracking features on all of its smartwatches, such as alerts when your heart rate rises and support for high-intensity, interval-training workouts. A feature that connects your watch to your fitness center's equipment for even more precise exercise tracking is slowly presenting.

Apple has included a feature to the LTE watch that enables you to switch off mobile connectivity as well as the heart rate sensor to save battery life, which is terrific if you're taking place a long term. I toggled on this function for one run, however if you do this frequently, it makes it sort of meaningless to own an LTE watch. Yet with or without LTE, the Apple Watch 3 is among the most effective fitness trackers.

Series 3 songs: The missing item forms

Apple promoted the Series 3's music-streaming abilities in a series of TV commercials in advance of the gadget's launch. Yet Apple Music streaming took weeks to show up on the watch.

The good news: Since it's here, Apple Songs streaming over mobile is an extremely one-of-a-kind attribute that really makes me seem like I might ditch my phone at some point. Apple packaged the streaming solution in two applications: Apple Music, which needs a $10-per-month membership, and also Radio, a cost-free watch application that anybody can make use of to stream songs. Streaming songs makes the smartwatch experience almost-- attempt I claim it-- magical.

There was no lag as I released a radio station in my home, where my watch was linked to my iPhone, or when I vacated Bluetooth and also Wi-Fi range as I set off on my run. Apple Songs never ever stammered or dropped, even as I ran via Brooklyn's enormous, tree-filled Possibility Park.

I was hoping that the Series 3 would also sustain on-device podcast playback, however that hasn't occurred because of limitations in watchOS 4, as Cloudy programmer Marco Arment details here.

I still have to carry my phone with me when I want to pay attention to podcasts on my commute, which I do on a daily basis. The watch does permit you to control audio playback and conserve music offline from Apple Songs to listen to through Bluetooth headphones, however those features are neither new nor unique to the LTE model.

Series 3 call: Much better with Bluetooth earbuds

Sure, you can phone home from your watch. Yet do you really intend to? Making or taking phone calls from your wrist is something of an uniqueness, as well as you'll definitely tire of it. A set of Bluetooth earphones, such as Apple's AirPods, elevates the experience-- it has to do with as pleasurable as a call can perhaps be.

When I first evaluated the watch, the tool began to warm up after a couple of minutes of talk time. I really needed to end a 13-minute telephone call since the watch came to be uncomfortably cozy on my wrist. After the software application update, I didn't experience those overheating concerns.

The watch's call top quality is equivalent to that of my iPhone, and when it's paired with Apple's AirPods, speaking on guard is effortless. You will definitely appear like you're speaking with on your own without a phone in hand, however if you do not care regarding looking a little awkward in public, then proceed.

For quick check-ins with good friends or loved ones, the watch will do just great.

Why you don't require LTE

When the watch is linked to a cellular network, it can quickly make calls, reply to messages utilizing voice dictation or the Scribble handwriting-to-text attribute, as well as activate Siri to address concerns or draw up directions. I experienced some issues downloading and install e-mails from my Gmail account in Apple's indigenous Mail application on cellular, and there were time periods when the cellular connection would suddenly drop (represented with a red X on top of the display), also when I hadn't relocated.


The important things I love most about the Apple Watch have absolutely nothing to do with its LTE abilities. I appreciate having the ability to save music offline to listen to with AirPods, make use of Apple Pay to buy stuff without bring my wallet around, glance at the Siri watch face to obtain an overview of my day and also track my everyday task in the Workout and also Activity applications. However I can do all those points with a Series 3 that does not have LTE, and those versions begin at $329. As a matter of fact, you can get every one of these features with every watch Apple offers.

Series 3 vs. Series 5

The Apple Watch Series 3 is more budget-friendly currently that the Series 5 is the most recent watch in the schedule. But the Series 5 likewise has bells as well as whistles that the Series 3 can not match, consisting of a larger, much more immersive always-on display, built-in compass, faster cpu, and also advanced heart health features such as an FDA-cleared ECG application for taking on-the-go electrocardiograms and an easy atrial fibrillation alert that checks your heart's rhythm behind-the-scenes.

If display, speed and medical-grade health features are essential, the Series 5 is worth the splurge. But if what you seek is a strong smartwatch that functions well with your apple iphone, then the Series 3 is just great. Examine out our comprehensive Series 3 vs. Series 5 face-off here.


The Series 3 with LTE has had its issues, like the Wi-Fi software insect and also launch-weekend carrier missteps. But the watch has already enhanced by jumps and bounds, many thanks to a software program update that included streaming songs and also manual control over mobile and Wi-Fi connection so your watch doesn't obtain stuck somewhere in between both. Longer battery life will proceed to be a battle at this size, despite the fact that the Series 3 has a larger battery than its predecessors.

There are minutes when LTE makes the watch really feel genuinely wonderful: getting a message while I'm running with just the Apple Watch and also AirPods, or downloading e-mails without a phone nearby after getting away the office to grab lunch. However those minutes aren't as constant as I would certainly like them to be. If you desire the Series 3, get the non-LTE variation, which starts at a cost effective $199.

I can envision a future in which a smartwatch can replace a smartphone for a lot of the tasks we use it for, yet the Series 3 with LTE is not that future. At least not yet.