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Apple Watch Series 3 review: The smarter smartwatch

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Apple's upgraded and LTE-ready smartwatch will impress, but it's still very much a luxury buy rather than a must-have gadget.

  • Smart single number tracking
  • Calls work well
  • Good battery life
  • Improved performance
  • Single number service costs extra
  • Still not entirely independent of iPhone
  • No data roaming, seemingly ever

Apple's approach to its Apple Watch range of smartwatches has been one of slow patience and small changes between generations. The first Apple Watch generation launched with a variety of styles, bands and prices, from the somewhat affordable models to the bank-breaking Apple Watch Edition series.

That luxury approach was somewhat toned down for the second generation of Apple Watch devices, which brought with it integrated GPS and water resistance features. For the Apple Watch Series 3, there are under-the-hood processor improvements, but the big story here is the option for an integrated eSIM for voice, text and data services directly on the Watch itself.

Design

  • Maintains the same sleek design of previous Apple Watch series
  • New range of bands, though some are quite expensive
  • Multiple finishes to choose from including ceramic
AppleWatchS3_2_738

Performance

  • eSIM compatibility enables standalone use away from your phone
  • Faster processor delivers better responsiveness overall
AppleWatchS3_3_738

Battery

  • All-day battery life is achievable
  • Standalone use drains battery significantly faster, however
  • No official support for Qi wireless charging
AppleWatchS3_7_738

Verdict

Is the Apple Watch Series 3 Apple's best take at a smartwatch to date? Yes, it is, and if you're already a big fan of Apple's take on a smartwatch, this is the one to buy. Apple does still sell the original Apple Watch at a slightly discounted price, but the performance jump between those models means that it's not really worth your while. Drop the extra cash on the more recent model and you won't regret it over the original series.
AppleWatchS3_6_738

What the other reviewers are saying

SiteCommentScore
TechRadar"An incremental upgrade, but one that offers a very different way to use the Apple Watch... for a price."N/A
Wired"This really is finally what I hoped the original Apple Watch was going to be like."9/10
News.com.au"That old saying ‘third time’s a charm’ seems apt here."4/5
Sydney Morning Herald"I didn't expect to see LTE come to a smartwatch smaller than a dinner plate this year, and I didn't expect decent battery if it happened."N/A
Australian Financial Review"It's beginning to look like Dick Tracy had it wrong, that watches don't make good communications devices and phones don't make good watches after all."N/A
CNET"The Apple Watch Series 3 is the best overall smartwatch you can buy, but battery limitations and add-on fees keep it from being a must-have upgrade."8.0/10
Engadget"A good watch, a so-so phone replacement."82/100
TechCrunch"The Apple Watch is still the one to beat."N/A
The Verge"You should still call me on my cell phone."5
MacWorld"It still feels like we're quite early in the Apple Watch's evolution as a product."3/5

Pricing and availability

The Apple Watch Series 3 is available in Australia in 38mm and 42mm sizes, with pricing starting from $459 for a non-LTE 38mm variant, up to $1,899 for a ceramic 42mm model with integrated LTE. Pricing can vary markedly depending on your choice of band or bands, although the underlying technology within each Apple Watch Series 3 model doesn't change based on price, aside from the inbuilt LTE technology.

Telstra and Optus also sell the Apple Watch Series 3 outright in a variety of styles, albeit not as many as Apple provides. If you buy from a given carrier you're not locked into that carrier for actual connectivity, but as noted, the Apple Watch Series 3 purchased in Australia will not operate at an LTE level outside of the country, and the same is true for units coming in from overseas.

The additional single number service from either Telstra or Optus attracts a $5 per month charge on top of existing contract commitments, although it is offered on a month-by-month basis and is free for trial from either provider. Vodafone will offer the Apple Watch Series 3 later in the year, although it has yet to reveal its pricing for eSIM services at the time of writing.

Pricing accurate as of 14th July 2020

Apple Watch Series 3

via greengadgetsaustralia

Specifications

Apple Watch Series 3

General

Face Size
38mm/42mm
Strap Size
Adjustable
Colours
Grey, Silver
Internal Memory
8GB/16GB
Battery Life
Up to 18 hours

Connectivity

Wi-Fi
802.11 b/g/n
Network Compatibility
4G on select models
Bluetooth
v4.2
NFC
Yes

Features

Wireless Charging
Qi
Accelerometer
Yes
Alarm Clock
Yes
Built In Microphone
Yes
Calories Burned
Yes
Distance
Yes
Gps
Yes
Gyroscope
Yes
Heart Rate
Yes
Nfc
Yes
Pedometer
Yes
Rechargeable
Yes
Speedometer
Yes
Touchscreen
Yes
Usb Charging
Yes
Water Resistant
Yes
Wireless Sync
Yes

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