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The Apple Watch is deservedly today’s best and most popular smartwatch by an unsurmountable margin. Every iteration of the product is hands-down the best in its price range, offering a mix of cool and customizable design, a fully waterproof build (up to 50 meters), intuitive controls, stellar hardware specs, and a performance to match.
Today’s Apple Watch Lineup
The Best Apple Watch: Apple Watch Series 6
A Feature-Packed Apple Watch for Less: Apple Watch SE
A Budget-Friendly Apple Watch: Apple Watch Series 3
If you're an iPhone owner looking for a new smartwatch, don’t bother looking at other alternatives. Regardless of whether you choose the ultra affordable Series 3, the new SE, or the feature-packed Series 6, you’ll get a product with the following highlights:
An elegant and durable case that’s available in two sizes
An excellent set of fitness-tracking tools, headlined by a reliable heart rate sensor
A best-in-class OLED touchscreen that’s visible even under direct sunlight
A cool and convenient digital crown with haptic feedback
Also onboard all Apple Watch models, watchOS is a platform with an unmatched feature set and an outstanding app library. Dubbed watchOS 7.4, the latest release has made the Apple Watch even more helpful for the reality we live in. The updated OS allows mask-toting Apple Watch users to unlock their iPhone without the need to enter a PIN code.
When it comes to health- and fitness-tracking capabilities, the Apple Watch is also excellent and consistently a favorite of ours. Every version of the product has an accurate heart rate tracker, as well as tools for keeping track of just about any activity. Users can analyze their fitness data via the Apple Health app, or make use of the the subscription-based Apple Fitness+ service that has a world-class selection of workouts, led by experienced pro trainers.
To help you choose the best Apple Watch for you, we spent weeks scrutinizing and testing today’s trio of available variants — the Series 6, the SE, and the Series 3. Learn more about each of Apple's smartwatch options below.
The Best Apple Watch
Apple S6 chip
Blood oxygen sensor
Third-generation heart rate sensor with ECG capabilities
Always-on Retina display
The Series 6 is the best Apple Watch yet and the one to get if you are looking for the most capable and feature-packed smartwatch out there. Launched alongside a duo of new iPads in the fall of 2020, the timepiece is the product family’s first to have a blood oxygen sensor — a wellness-tracking feature that uses similar tech as fingertip pulse-oximeters. Combined with the product’s ECG-capable heart rate sensor, the new bit gives the Apple Watch Series 6 next-level health- and fitness-tracking capabilities.
Powered by an S6 chip that’s based on the iPhone 11 family's A13 Bionic chip, the Apple Watch Series 6 delivers a more fluid user experience than any predecessor — and it charges faster, too. It also features an always-on Retina display, which is a super convenient feature that debuted with the Series 5 model. However, the Series 6 is the only watch available now that has it.
Speaking of variants, there is an overwhelming amount of Apple Watch 6 iterations to pick from, with or without cellular connectivity. You can order it with a 40- or 44-millimeter aluminum, stainless steel, or titanium case in various colors. Pricing starts at $399 for a 40-millimeter aluminum Apple Watch without cellular connectivity. There are also more luxury options available in collaboration with Hermès.
A Feature-Rich Apple Watch for Less
Apple S5 chip
Second-generation heart rate sensor
Optional cellular network connectivity
The Apple Watch SE offers solid hardware specs and stellar performance at a lower price point than the Series 6. If you're looking for an up-to-date feature set and a solid overall experience, but don't need an ECG-capable heart rate sensor or to track your blood oxygen level, the SE is the best option for you. It's also worth nothing that the SE lacks an always-on display.
The SE contains an S5 chip (the same in the Series 5), and while it's a generation behind and 20% slower than the S6 found inside the Series 6, it still delivers a snappy user experience. Performance-wise, the Apple Watch SE is vastly better than any similarly priced rival.
The timepiece is available with a 40- or 44-millimeter aluminum case and you can order the it in gold, silver, and space gray. Variants with cellular connectivity cost $50 more.
A Budget-Friendly Apple Watch
Apple S3 chip
Optical heart rate sensor
8GB of memory
While the Apple Watch Series 3 debuted back in 2017, it’s still a fully capable smartwatch for consumers who don’t want to drop $300 on a new model. If you’re simply looking for dependable fitness-tracking features and a seamless connection with your iPhone, the $169-priced Series 3 is a solid option for you.
Compared to the Apple Watch Series 6 and the SE, the product has a more compact case and a Retina display that’s 30% smaller, making it a good option for people with smaller wrists. Design-wise, the Series 3 sports the timelessly cool design and looks just like the original Apple Watch. Save for protective cases, the wearable device is also compatible with the same accessories as the Apple Series 6 and SE.
While the Series 3 is still a solid smartwatch, it does have less onboard memory and a slower S3 chip compared to the other Apple Watches available. It also lacks a built-in compass, noise-monitoring tech, and the ability to detect falls.
Apple offers the Series 3 with a 38- or 42-millimeter aluminum case in silver or space gray. Variants with cellular connectivity are no longer available.
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