You can do better than the Apple Watch Series 3 in 2021, even if you want to save money


The Apple Watch Collection 3.

The Apple Watch Series 3 was a turning level for the Apple Watch line again when it debuted in 2017. The third model of the Apple Watch was the primary to incorporate a mobile choice that didn’t require an iPhone to be close by to work. This let it work for Dick Tracy type telephone calls and CNET’s Scott Stein touted in his overview that when mixed with Apple Music the watch started to really feel like an iPod Shuffle on his wrist. Now in 2021, you may nonetheless purchase the Apple Watch Collection 3 for $199 (£199, AU$299) and it is nonetheless actively getting updates from Apple to help WatchOS 8. 

This makes the Apple Watch Collection 3 at $199 the most affordable entry level for the Apple Watch in 2021, because it was final yr in 2020. Regardless that it is the least costly approach to get entry to an Apple Watch, WatchOS 8 and the world of watchbands that clip into the Apple Watch, there’s additionally a query of whether or not or not it is a good worth at that value. At $199 or much less, there are additionally newer competing watches that work with iOS and Android, have trendy options that the Apple Watch doesn’t have like an always-on show and can possible get continued help years into the long run. The latter level is of appreciable observe, since there isn’t any assure that the Collection 3 will see the eventual WatchOS 9 after already receiving 4 years value of help.

Let’s go over just a few the explanation why try to be cautious if contemplating the Apple Watch Collection 3, together with comparable options.


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The Apple Watch Collection 3 remains to be capable of get up to date to the brand new WatchOS 8 working system, however the technique of getting that replace put in is perhaps extra hassle than it is value. Apple offers its own support page on what to do in the event you wouldn’t have sufficient area to replace your Apple Watch, which entails having to unpair the watch and set it up as new so as to make sufficient area for the replace.

That is as a result of the Apple Watch Collection 3 consists of 8GB of inner area for the model with out mobile, whereas the step-up Apple Watch SE at $279 consists of 32GB. The mobile model of the Apple Watch Collection 3 had 16GB of area, however that was discontinued. We do not but have technical specs for the Apple Watch Collection 7, however final yr’s Collection 6 additionally consists of 32GB of area. 

It is unlikely that almost all Apple Watch customers will ever use all of their space for storing, however for downloading and putting in an replace, the Apple Watch Collection 3 clearly doesn’t have sufficient area to make updating easy. By comparability, once I’ve up to date the Apple Watch SE or the $180 Fitbit Versa 2 that launched in 2019, I simply plop the watch right into a charger, hearth up the respective app for the watch from my telephone and begin the replace from there. Roughly 10 to twenty minutes later, the method is finished.

Apple Watch SE

The Apple Watch SE hits a center floor of recent Apple Watch specs at a lower cost than the Collection 6 or upcoming Collection 7.

Vanessa Hand Orellana/CNET

Older specs

The Apple Watch Collection 3’s age additionally consists of its total specs, and it isn’t only a space for storing distinction as talked about within the final part. The Collection 3 consists of an S3 SiP with a dual-core processor, a model of the optical coronary heart sensor accessible in 2017 and on the 38mm model a 563 sq. millimeter show space. Whereas newer updates do add compatibility with providers like Apple Health Plus, a software program replace doesn’t change that many of those specs are displaying their age. The Apple Watch SE by comparability has a more moderen chip with a 64-bit dual-core processor, a second-generation model of the optical coronary heart sensor and on the 40mm model features a 759 sq mm show space that is far roomier than the Apple Watch Collection 3’s show.

Regardless that the Apple Watch SE is $80 greater than the Apple Watch Collection 3, its characteristic checklist additional exhibits off how rather more you obtain over that Collection 3 mannequin. An always-on altimeter can monitor your elevation, the watch consists of fall detection, coronary heart well being notifications, Bluetooth 5.0 for higher connections with wi-fi headphones and plenty of different options which might be accessible within the Apple Watch Collection 6. The primary variations that maintain the value $120 lower than the Apple Watch Collection 6 are the dearth of an always-on show and some well being options like no ECG sensor. That mentioned, if these sensors and an always-on show are essential to you, you may need to solid a wider web than simply Apple’s watches.


Fitbit Cost 5 consists of most of the latest well being monitoring sensors right into a wearable that is cheaper than the Apple Watch Collection 3.

Lexy Savvides/CNET

Higher choices for $199 or much less

When you flip away from simply contemplating the Apple Watch, there are a number of different choices that deal with most of the Apple Watch’s greatest options and in just a few methods carry out even higher.

Fitbit is especially stacked with merchandise underneath $199 which may do every part you need the Apple Watch to do. The aforementioned Fitbit Versa 2 at $180 has six days of battery life, health monitoring, sleep monitoring and an oxygen saturation (SpO2) sensor. That final sensor is on the market on the Apple Watch, however provided that you pay up for the Apple Watch Collection 6 or the upcoming Collection 7. In case you are prepared to trim the battery life down to 2 days, you should use that watch’s always-on show. The weaker factors of the Versa 2 are its restricted third-party app help, which is unlikely to develop now that Fitbit shall be turning its consideration towards supporting Google’s Put on OS.

For a similar $180, you too can get the model new Fitbit Charge 5. Whereas this one is extra of a health tracker, it is stacked with almost each trendy health monitoring characteristic (together with an ECG sensor and stress monitoring) together with GPS.

And whereas we’ve not examined it, Mobvoi’s $199 TicWatch E3 is slated to be updated to the next version of Google’s Wear OS that’s codesigned with Samsung. That watch presently helps the earlier model of Put on OS, consists of well being monitoring options together with the SpO2 sensor and is waterproof with an IP68 rating for pool swimming. It is value caveating that we’re nonetheless studying extra in regards to the new model of Put on OS, together with its compatibility with the iPhone and which Fitbit features are finally making their approach into Google’s OS.

Go refurbished

One other approach to get a greater Apple Watch and avoid wasting cash is to show to Apple’s refurbished store, which might get you a reduced Apple Watch Collection 4, Collection 5 or Collection 6 with a one-year guarantee. Of observe on the time of this writing, the Apple Watch Collection 5 in that retailer is presently at $309, which for barely greater than the Apple Watch SE consists of an always-on show.

But if you’re actually searching for the most affordable approach into the Apple Watch world and you continue to really feel just like the Apple Watch Collection 3 is for you regardless of the technical limitations, you might as properly store round. Since Apple has been promoting this look ahead to 4 years, you will discover offers on it all around the web. On Walmart, you should purchase a refurbished Apple Watch Series 3 for $140 with support for LTE. In case you are prepared to go used, you can find others on eBay between $100 and $130. If you wish to purchase it from a retailer, you may be capable to get an open field mannequin from Finest Purchase, which is itemizing the Apple Watch at $165.

However severely, do not buy the Apple Watch Collection 3 in 2021. With all of those choices, there may be so a lot better on the market for the cash.

Are you continue to sporting the Apple Watch Collection 3? Or desire utilizing a special watch or health tracker? Tell us within the feedback. | You are able to do higher than the Apple Watch Collection 3 in 2021, even if you wish to get monetary savings


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