Apple Watches are among the most popular smartwatches around. All the nifty features they come equipped with have improved in performance with each generation.
While the Apple Watch is a favorite among iPhone users, you can still appreciate and use most of the features from the Apple Watch lineup, without owning an iPhone.
That begs the question: which Apple Watch is best? Despite the Apple Watch Series 7 being the best, the older generations haven't lost their charm. In fact, the Series 3 can be just as valuable if you want smart features at an affordable cost.
Here are the best Apple Watch models available today.Premium pick 9.60 / 10Read Reviews Read More Reviews Read More Reviews Read More Reviews See on Amazon
Marking the latest of Apple’s smartwatches is the Apple Watch Series 7. While the Series 7 is marginally better than the previous generation in terms of performance, the design has gone through the most significant changes, with a focus on the watch's screen. Apple now offers the Series 7 in its biggest size yet: the monstrous 45mm and 41mm.
Along with thinner bezels, the full QWERTY keyboard is more user-friendly than ever before. It’s also fitted with crack-resistant front crystal and IPX6 dust resistance for added durability. Under the hood, the Apple Watch Series 7 is using the S7 chip. Apps and functions are now snappier and more responsive than the S6 chip from the last generation, so if you want the most powerful Apple Watch, the Series 7 is the way forward.
For those that are health-conscious, the Apple Watch Series 7 boasts ECG functionality and the ability to measure blood oxygen levels. If you’re asthmatic and feeling symptoms of low blood oxygen, running a test on the spot is invaluable as is seeking medical attention immediately. An ECG can sense irregularities in your heart’s rhythm—a possible sign of atrial fibrillation. In both cases, the Apple Watch Series 7 provides notifications if anything appears out of place.Key Features SpecificationsPros Cons Buy This Productapple watch series 7Shop at AmazonEditors choice 9.60 / 10Read Reviews Read More Reviews Read More Reviews Read More ReviewsSee on Amazon
For those shopping for value, the Apple Watch Series 6 is a fantastic option. While it’s the predecessor to the Series 7, it comes equipped with near-identical features. However, it’s a small step-down in terms of performance, durability, and design. For example, the Apple Watch Series 6 is built with the S6 chip instead of the S7 chip inside the following generation.
It's still a great chip though and runs apps efficiently enough to provide 18 hours of battery life. This is despite having an always-on display. The Series 6 has slightly thicker bezels than the Series 7 and smaller overall size. It has two options: 40mm and 44mm, sufficient for most users who are keen to spend less money but still get the premium feel from Apple's smartwatch lineup.
The Apple Watch Series 6 provides the most value for those with health conditions. It can monitor fitness metrics during the day, in addition to a SpO2 sensor. If you suffer from COPD or congenital heart defects, knowing your blood oxygen levels is invaluable. However, if your budget doesn't stretch as far as the Series 6, you may find the Apple Watch SE a better fit, sporting many of the same features at a lower cost.Key Features SpecificationsPros Cons Buy This ProductApple Watch Series 6Shop at AmazonBest value 9.60 / 10Read Reviews Read More Reviews Read More Reviews Read More ReviewsSee on Amazon
For iPhone users ready to opt into using an Apple Watch, look no further than the Apple Watch SE. It's the ideal option if your budget won't stretch as far as the Series 6, but you value essential features and fitness tracking.
What it doesn't sacrifice is style. The Apple Watch SE still looks stylish and modern. There are six different colors to choose from, though all are painted over an aluminum case material. However, it comes with four different band types: solo loop, braided solo loop, sports band, and sports loop. Unlike the colors, there are over a dozen band designs you can switch out to best match your style day-to-day.
As for features, the Apple Watch SE still runs watchOS software. This means you will still gain access to Apple's ecosystem of apps, fitness or otherwise. You can still count steps, track your sleep and exercise routine, and access communication features like emergency SOS. While the SE doesn't feature an always-on display, it does offer excellent battery life at an affordable cost.Key Features SpecificationsPros Cons Buy This ProductApple Watch SEShop at Amazon9.00 / 10Read Reviews Read More Reviews Read More Reviews Read More Reviews See on Amazon
If you're not fussed about having the latest tech, the Apple Watch Series 5 is still a valuable option. It features several aspects of future models, like ECG, GPS, and an always-on display. The thin bezels and the watch face are designated to cater to the always-on display. You won’t have to press any buttons to reveal the time or tap the screen—a small, yet welcomed trait. Though it’s always on at a dimmed state, it doesn’t hinder the incredible 18-hour battery life.
For those keen on exercise and health, it keeps track of health-related metrics and detects the workout you’re doing. It’s tough enough to withstand water at 50 meters, allowing you to add swimming to your workout regime. And, if you happen to fall, the watch's fall detection can activate and, in the worst-case scenario, initiate an emergency SOS call.
For your health, the ECG comes in handy whether you experience any heart conditions or not. It can get a read on your heart’s rhythm and possibly any irregularities your doctor may want to investigate further. The Apple Watch Series 5 is an excellent smartwatch if you can look past a slower CPU and lack of a blood oxygen reader.Key Features SpecificationsPros Cons Buy This ProductApple Watch Series 5Shop at Amazon9.60 / 10Read Reviews Read More Reviews Read More Reviews Read More ReviewsSee on Amazon
The Apple Watch Series 3 is best in the hands of those wanting to exercise and, when the situation calls for it, the ability to call and text. It may be “old” in comparison to the current generation of Apple smartwatches, but the Series 3 still receives regular updates since Apple still supports it.
To put that into perspective, users will still gain access to Apple’s ecosystem of apps. That means you can still listen to music, access Apple Pay, and track fitness-related metrics. And with its swim-proof properties, you can add swimming to your workout routine.
Despite the lack of an ECG monitor, the Apple Watch Series 3 does monitor your heart rate. It’s an invaluable feature nonetheless. Should it detect any irregularities, the Series 3 immediately sends a notification to seek help for any underlying heart conditions.Key Features SpecificationsPros Cons Buy This ProductApple Watch Series 3Shop at Amazon9.20 / 10Read Reviews Read More Reviews Read More Reviews Read More ReviewsSee on Amazon
For iPhone users wanting to keep a closer eye on their heart health, the Apple Watch Series 4 is an easy choice. The Series 4 is the generation to introduce the ECG sensor. The ECG is so sensitive, it can detect if you’re at risk for atrial fibrillation. It acts as both an on-demand checkup, but also as a helpful preventative tool if your family has a history of heart conditions.
When in use, it will monitor the rhythm of your heart and detect irregularities. Naturally, the Apple Watch Series 4 doubles as a workout companion. It has the nifty ability to detect your workout. If you’re performing a downward dog, the Series 4 will know you’re engaging in yoga and track your progress. Your progress is then logged in the Activity app.
Should you find yourself in dire circumstances or harm, the Apple Watch Series 4 comes with both fall detection and emergency SOS. It's a great entry-level smartwatch for those who are starting their fitness journey and want the option to receive smart alerts to motivate them throughout the day.Key Features SpecificationsPros Cons Buy This ProductApple Watch Series 4Shop at Amazon
Unfortunately, no. Even now with the latest Series 7 model, Apple Watches will not work with Android devices. If you attempt to connect the two via Bluetooth, they refuse to connect with one another.
Perhaps in the future, Apple will change its stance. For now, if you're an Android user, go with Android-compatible smartwatches.
No. You will need, at the very least, an iPhone 6 to use any Apple Watch from the Series 3 and onward. However, the version of iOS your iPhone is running also matters as well. The Series 7, for example, requires iOS 15 or later; the Series 4 requires iOS 12.
It's important to know which version of iOS your phone is running before you make a purchase.
No. Apple splits its smartwatches into two categories: GPS and Cellular/GPS.
The former has all the health-related features, sensors, and GPS, but can't make calls or send texts. For calling and texting, you will need to choose a cellular model, though it comes at a higher cost. They are otherwise indistinguishable in terms of performance and features other than communication.
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Brady is a consumer technology writer based somewhere quiet in Pennsylvania. He's been writing about gadgets for the past few years, creating guides, lists, and reviews. When not on the job, you'll find him writing short stories.MoreFrom Brady Klinger-Meyers
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