The Apple Watch 3 (or Apple Watch Series 3 for those who are more particular) has been replaced several times, most recently by the Apple Watch 7 and Apple Watch SE. This latter model could challenge it since they’re both affordable models.
The Watch 3 is still available on Apple’s official website. This is more than what we can say about the Apple Watch 4, or the Apple Watch 5. It has also been heavily discounted now. It’s almost as good as the Apple Watch SE in terms of specs and features, but likely at a lower price.
There are two versions of the Watch 3: one with cellular connectivity and one with GPS. This device replaced the Apple Watch 2 and was the flagship for fitness and long-term health. It features run and cycle tracking, a water-resistant case for swimming and the same heart rate monitor.
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While newer models have more features and faster chipsets than the older models, Apple continues to support the Apple Watch 3 by providing software updates that add sleep tracking, workouts, and much more. It is one of the most affordable smartwatches currently.
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- Apple Watch Series 3 on Amazon for US$275
Apple Watch 3 release date and price
- Still available from Apple
- Prices start at PS179/ $199/ AU$319
- LTE version starting at PS299/ $299/ AU$469
Apple Watch 3 specifications
Screen sizes: 38/42mm
Software: WatchOS 4
Battery capacity: 279/ 341mAh
The Apple Watch 3 was the most expensive Apple Watch at launch in late 2017. However, the price has dropped since the Apple Watch Series 4 launch and the Apple Watch 5. Although it isn’t an inexpensive smartwatch, it’s much more affordable than before.
The Apple Watch 3 comes in two versions: one with LTE/cellular capabilities and the other with GPS only.
You can get the former for as low as PS299 / $299 / AU$469 / AE 1,199, or PS329 / 329 / AU$519 / AU 1,329 (for the 38mm & 42mm bands), these days because of a significant discount following the Apple Watch 5’s release.
The 3 series GPS version costs less at PS199 / $199 / AU$319 38mm and PS229 / 229 / AU$369 42mm.
It is worth noting that Apple has discontinued its Apple Watch 4/5 and 5 but you can still order the Apple Watch 3 directly from them.
The Apple Watch 3 (top), and Apple Watch 2 (bottom), are almost identical in design
Is LTE necessary?
- Connects quite well, but can be a bit patchy.
- Additional cost to stream data from the Watch
The Apple Watch 3’s biggest improvement was its own cellular connection, which allows it to work independently from your phone.
Is that a guarantee you can purchase one without an iPhone? It doesn’t. Not by much. It means you can only receive app notifications and phone calls when your phone is at work, but it’s completely dependent on your handset.
If the app you wish to use isn’t in standalone mode (that is, it doesn’t require a phone connection) you won’t receive notifications and updates even though the LTE connection has been enabled.
Although it is nice to be able to connect to a cell network, it doesn’t feel like the most important feature. However, some people have reported that it has saved their lives.
The Control Center can disable LTE.
It is quite impressive to have such good call quality with such a small device. We were able to hold a conversation while on the phone and both the quality of our voice and the sensitivity from the microphone were outstanding.
This allowed us to run fairly normal and have a conversation without the Watch 3 being held to our heads. It was so loud that you will need to move fast to keep people from listening.
It is less useful for driving as the ambient noise can make it difficult to hear the words being spoken. However, it will work in a pinch and keep you from illegally taking your phone. It is not necessary, but we aren’t sure if you need it.
It is particularly troubling that you have to spend between $5-10 / PS5 and AED 25 per monthly to get your data – which you already pay for – pumped into your device.
It would be great if data could be added to the Watch for free, and the watch would extend to the wrist. However, the extra cost makes it difficult to recommend LTE versions.
50 Million songs available on the wrist
Another upgrade is music streaming. This was something that was announced at the launch of the Apple Watch 3, but which curiously wasn’t available at the launch.
This is a great feature for those who have paid all the money for the LTE-enabled version of the Watch 3 as well as those who pay extra each month for the data.
With the new Apple Music streaming capabilities, you get two things: Apple Music directly and Beats Radio. Both can be accessed through Siri. You can tap through your Watch to access them, but it is very tedious.
Siri can be asked on the go by you to play your music. This could be done by asking Siri for the genre you prefer, a playlist you have created, but not synchronized, and a song.
Although it isn’t perfect, especially outside when running or walking, it works well.
- I was able to listen to opera in a lake thanks streaming music from the Apple Watch 3.
To make this work, you absolutely must be embedded in Apple Music. You can’t browse playlists from your wrist and ask Siri to play some running music. A running playlist that you have already created can be accessed within seconds.
We say it in a second… Siri would often have trouble connecting and would tell us “Hold on… We say in a second… Siri would have a problem connecting and would tell us to ‘Hold on…’. Then, it will not connect for several hours, forcing a retry.
Apple Music is a great streaming service. It works when you ask it for music you like and it plays it.
Although it can sometimes feel a bit too glitchy to truly feel connected to so many songs, you will always have your phone with, which is a much better way to access them. It’s still a nice feature that will only get better.
We don’t see any reason to recommend LTE version of the Apple Watch 3 despite the Apple Music streaming capabilities. The idea of not having to run your phone was solved by adding GPS to this watch with the second generation model.
Are we willing to spend another hour connected? Isn’t a workout an opportunity to disconnect? Are you prepared to pay a higher price to be able to use apps and listen to music on your phone?
Keep this in mind, you should not consider the Apple Watch 3 LTE version if you are worried about losing your phone or being unable to contact you while you exercise.
Apple Watch 3 screen and design
- Very similar design to the models before it.
- The screen is still bright and vivid
- A smaller display than the Apple Watch 4
In the same way that the Apple Watch is instantly recognisable by people, the design of the Apple Watch is also iconic. The Apple Watch is instantly recognisable when you see a Fitbit worn by a footballer.
We don’t think the iPhone’s design needs to be updated as much as a watch. Apple has done a good job keeping the chassis nearly identical, even though it now packs in a new chipset, cellular connectivity, and both sizes of the device (38mm and42mm).
The antenna is integrated into the screen. This is an innovative way to save space. However, the Watch could not have been made larger due to its square and curved design.
The manufacturing process has undergone a slight upgrade. Clicking the Digital Crown or power button feels more firm than the Apple Watch 2.
Although it is subtle, we have noticed this every time we have used the Watch 3. The only difference in the Digital Crown is the red dot that signifies it’s the latest model.
The screen is as bright and clear as ever
Although it’s not a major issue, we were asked about it while wearing the Watch. This shows that people are curious when a new Watch is released.
It is elegant and lightweight. While some may long for a circular display on the 42mm model, the 1.65-inch LCD (on the 42mm) is the best size for data display. Apple has also forced acceptance of its watch design onto the market, as previously mentioned.
OLED technology has made the screen one of the most appealing on the market. It’s bright and clear and easy to see when we are out and about.
However, this is not true. The screen switches off when it’s necessary to conserve battery. You will need to flick your wrist to view the display.
Although this is not ideal, Apple has fine-tuned the algorithm so that even a small flick of the screen will activate the display. This is much more accurate than what we saw with the original Apple Watch.