Apple Watch Series 3 review: The smarter smartwatch
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
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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.
- 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
- eSIM compatibility enables standalone use away from your phone
- Faster processor delivers better responsiveness overall
- All-day battery life is achievable
- Standalone use drains battery significantly faster, however
- No official support for Qi wireless charging
What the other reviewers are saying
|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 31st October 2020
Apple Watch Series 3
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- Samsung announces the Galaxy Watch smartwatch
- Mobvoi’s new Ticwatch Pro can manage up to 30 days of battery life
- Vodafone finally launches Apple Watch Series 3 eSIM support
- Samsung’s Gear S3 will be available in Australia next week