Back in 2018, I reviewed my Apple Watch Series 3. Three years post-purchase, everything I wrote in that review still holds true; the series 3 has served me well on a daily basis since I bought it, with very little in the way of issues, and a full day of usable battery power between charges – though use of GPS or exercise apps tends to drain the battery more quickly.
It is, however, three years old, and I’ve been eyeing the later versions with interest. When they launched series 5 with its ECG functionality, my interest was seriously piqued, but I didn’t feel I could justify replacing the watch then – particularly because it was the first version with that chipset. With the series 6, I felt that they had learned the main lessons to be learned, and likely corrected them, and so I jumped on it.
The biggest difference from series 3 to subsequent series of Apple Watch is the size. When launching series 4, they increased the size by about 5 mm diagonally, and that size increase is absolutely noticeable – though not obnoxiously so. There is an appreciable increase in display real estate, and it feels easier to hit the spot I’m aiming for than it did with the series 3, right out of the box – particularly when entering the unlock code or choosing apps from the app view.
Besides that, the biggest difference is that it feels significantly faster and more responsive. Not that the series 3 necessarily felt slow; it just feels a lot snappier in comparison. You can really tell that the processing core has more power to bring to bear. This is also noticeable when using the unlock my Mac functionality, which feels noticeably faster than before.
As I mentioned, the ECG functionality piqued my interest. My family has a history of heart issues on both of my parents’ sides, and the ability to easily monitor and get data on my cardiac health certainly appeals to me.
The always on screen is very nice, particularly when paired with the bedtime mode which turns it off entirely. It means that I can simply glance at the watch, and the need to tap the watch face to wake it has mostly become a thing of the past.
As of this writing. Apple has three offerings. Series 6 is the most expensive, but also the most capable, including ECG and blood oxygen functionality as well as an always on display. The recently launched Watch SE is a lot cheaper, at the expense of those features, though still retaining fall detection, an always on altimeter, and compass functionality.
At the lowest price bracket, Series 3 is still available. Offering the smaller display, its feature set hasn’t changed since its launch. The most limited in terms of features, it is still a good purchase, and should be evaluated seriously if you’re in the market for a smart watch.