It’s been over a year now since the iWatch Series 3 Cellular was released. Reviews came flooding out the gate, as they always do, but is an immediate reaction really going to give you a sense of how a watch impacts day-to-day life? Since release, we at FinalBoss.io have had ample time to get to know the iWatch Series 3 Cellular, and form an opinion on its usability, specs and battery life.
Is the iWatch 3 worth buying? Or should you go ahead and buy the new kid of the block the iWatch series 4? Or perhaps stick with your ageing iWatch Series 2, or Series 1? Find out below as we get stuck into the iWatch Series 3.
When it comes to chic design and minimalist style in tech hardware, Apple is widely regarded as the industry leader, setting the vanguard for countless imitators. The iWatch Series 3 Cellular in stainless steel is no exception to the rule – it looks great, and weighs even less than previous models.
That said, though some of the colours are new – including gold aluminium and dark grey ceramic – the shape, specs and design are all exactly the same as the Series 2. Well, it is 0.25mm thicker, owing to the cellular components, but that is seriously not noticeable.
The major difference between the iWatch Series 2? The Digital Crown dial on the side, which is bright red on the cellular option. This looked great in all of the promo materials, but in person it is very bright and actually serves to make the overall design feel cheaper than it has to. A black, white or a contrasting metal finish would have been more fitting.
Display Specs and Speed
Apple certainly did not reinvent the wheel with the display specs, as they too are very similar to the last generation.
The display has a and a brightness of 1,000 nits, a resolution of 272 x 340 (38mm model) or 312 x 390 (42mm), and a pixel density of 326ppi. There is no difference from the Series 2, and only a slight improvement in resolution from the Series 1.
When it comes to speed, however, there has been quite an update.
The new S3 processor chip claims to be 70% faster than the previous incarnation. This is great news, as is the new W2 wireless chip, which Apple claims can provide Wifi 85% faster. It’s also meant to reduce power usage for Wifi and Bluetooth by 50%. When compared to the Series 2, it certainly does seem to move a lot faster, and there is none of the photo hanging that many noticed with the past 2 series. Notifications also come in a few seconds faster, and everything just seems to move a bit smoother than previous generations.
When it comes to the iWatch Series 3 Cellular, there are quite a few straps to choose from.
At FinalBoss.io, we really like the Sports Loop. It’s ultra light, breathable and perfect for the gym – which is one of the places we really like to take advantage of the iWatch’s features.
That said, it costs £49. That is quite pricey for what is essentially a velcro strap! If you want to add some designer luxury to your wardrobe, Hermes has a whole series of leather straps in rich jewel tones.
Using Your iWatch Series 3 Cellular with UK Carriers
If you want to utilise your iWatch Series 3 on a cellular network in the UK, you are sadly going to be limited to EE. This isn’t because of any exclusive deal that EE has with Apple; it is actually due to the technical limitations of the other UK carriers.
The issue here is that the aerial in the new iWatch is so small that EE is the only network that has the correct instructor in place to communicate with the technology. If you already have a contract with EE, you can simply call them and they will pair it to your existing phone number and data plan, so you do not need to take out a new contract.
This is important to note, because unless you are connected to wifi or in an area serviced by EE 4G, you will not receive any calls, texts or data on your iWatch Series 3 Cellular. Instead, it will just function as a simple watch. That isn’t necessarily a bad thing – it’s a great watch – but it’s not exactly why you bought it.
(Many other carrier options are available in other countries; a full list is available here)
Apps Available on Apple iWatch Series 3 Cellular
While not every app on Apple’s app store is available for the iWatch, more and more are being added every day. You will have no problem accessing Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn, but SnapChat is still MIA.
Voice and Text Quality
It’s doubtful that many people are planning to use their iWatch as a complete phone replacement, but the possibility is there! That said, if you plan to chuck your phone in the bin, you might want to hold off for now.
While it is possible to use the iWatch Series 3 Cellular as a telephone on its own, it works much, much better with a Bluetooth headset. Without it, it can be a little difficult to hear clearly. It’s not uncommon for those on the other end of the line to struggle to hear you either.
While voice chat can be dicey at times, texts and email are seamless. Although, if you aren’t a fan of typing on such a small screen, you better give it a miss.
Adding cellular connectivity to the Apple Watch was always going to be a problem for the battery life, and that is why this topic needs its own section.
The Series 3 does quite well on battery despite the addition of cellular, but lasts approximately a day less than the Series 2. Although remember that battery life varies greatly by user, and depends on activity and how much you are hammering certain apps. In general, the average user gets between 48 – 60 hours from their Series 2, while Series 3 is roughly 36 – 40 hours.
It’s hard to recommend upgrading to an iWatch series 3 at its current price point, not enough has changed from previous generations and the little that has doesn’t always well the way it should, to boot we have also lost battery life.
If you are new to buying an Apple iWatch the Series 2 is the perfect midrange performer between all 4 generations, it can run the latest WatchOS version, has GPS connectivity for running enthusiasts, heart rate monitoring, waterproofing and Bluetooth headphone connectivity. It also sits at half the price of the iWatch Series 3&4, unfortunately, these are harder to find as Apple no longer make them but if you do some digging this is infinitely the best purchase for Apple iWatch newcomers.