Don't buy the Apple Watch Series 3 anymore - it's not worth it

Don’t buy the Apple Watch Series 3 anymore – it’s not worth it

After Apple announced the long-awaited Apple Watch Series 7, you may be drawn to the idea that the Apple Watch Series 3 has lowered its price to a decidedly affordable $ 199.

While it won’t have any of the 7 Series features, such as updated specs, improved battery life, a sleek new design, and a host of new features, it will come for $ 200 less, compared to the Series 7’s $ 399 At first glance this can seem like a deal. But we advise against falling into this stratagem.

Here because:

A design that hasn’t aged well

First, put this timeline into perspective. Apple released the Series 3 in September 2017. The design at the time did not keep it up to date with other smartwatches on the market. Upon release, we even praised it in our review as a “joy to use” and the “best smartwatch you can buy”. That was true then, but in 2021 the design started showing its age.

Don't buy the Apple Watch Series 3 anymore - it's not worth it
The Apple Watch Series 3 (left) next to the Apple Watch SE (right)

Place the Apple Watch Series 3 next to Series 7 or even an Apple Watch SE and you’ll immediately notice the large bezel around the screen and thicker body. First off, the Series 3 is only available in Space Gray and Silver Aluminum color options, while the latest and greatest Apple Watch Series 7 comes in a slew of different colors that offer better style options. The Apple Watch Series 3 comes in at 42.5 by 36.4 by 11.4mm and weighs 52.8 grams, compared to 44 by 38 by 10.4mm and 36.4 grams on the SE. The weight difference is particularly noticeable, making the Series 3 bulkier and less comfortable on the wrist.

Just as the tweet above points out, it’s also pretty clear that you get less screen real estate which affects how enjoyable it is to run apps, track notifications, and use the clock in general. The screen is also a standard Retina OLED instead of the LTPO OLED you’ll get on new Apple Watch models, meaning it doesn’t vary the refresh rate to preserve battery life.

The specs are not up to par

Forget Series 7, when Apple released the Apple Watch Series 4 it had a two-fold speed increase over the Watch 3. Series 7 uses the same processor as Series 6, but the gap between the two devices is still ample. This not only affects performance, it also affects how easily you’ll be able to run WatchOS 8, with reports already out on Series 3 requiring a full wipe before updating to WatchOS 7.4.1, not to mention WatchOS 8.

The Apple Watch Series 3 continues to exist in the range as an affordable alternative to the latest models, but it doesn’t offer enough to fill that role. It’s a heavily compromised device in both design and hardware, and it’s just $ 79 cheaper than the Apple Watch SE which makes improvements across the board and should still easily support WatchOS 8. From the compass to improved cellular connectivity features to the ECG tracking, you should do yourself a disservice by investing in this “budget” option. Either way, the Apple Watch SE will offer you a better experience.

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