Ap­ple Watch Se­ries 3

The smartest smart­watch just got smarter!

Mac Format - - APPLE CHOICE - Re­viewed by Dan GRA BHAM

From £399 from Ap­ple, ap­ple.com/uk Fea­tures Cel­lu­lar con­nec­tiv­ity, Ap­ple Mu­sic (com­ing soon), W2 wire­less chip, dual core S3 chip, wa­ter re­sis­tant

The Ap­ple Watch Se­ries 3 fol­lows last year’s Se­ries 2 by ad­ding cel­lu­lar con­nec­tiv­ity to an

al­ready-suc­cess­ful recipe. The Ap­ple Watch is the best smart­watch by a coun­try mile and so it was go­ing to re­quire some ef­fort to im­prove on the Se­ries 2.

There was no vis­ual dif­fer­ence be­tween the first and sec­ond ver­sions of Ap­ple Watch, but Ap­ple has de­cided there needs to be a vis­ual cue to mark out the cel­lu­lar ver­sion of the Se­ries 3 and so it has painted a red dot on the Dig­i­tal Crown. Non-cel­lu­lar ver­sions look ex­actly like their pre­de­ces­sors.

You pay a perfectly rea­son­able £70 pre­mium for cel­lu­lar con­nec­tiv­ity; start­ing at £399 ver­sus £329, though there are stain­less steel and Mi­lanese loop ver­sions that take you up to £599 and £699 re­spec­tively, and be­yond.

Phone-free calls

So does the cel­lu­lar con­nec­tiv­ity work well? Yes, but there are a cou­ple of caveats. Siri, mes­sages and calls from the watch work re­ally well (au­dio qual­ity seems im­proved) and the call­ing ex­pe­ri­ence isn’t much dif­fer­ent than if you used the watch to call with your iPhone; while you can use the watch it­self to call, things are far bet­ter when teamed with a pair of AirPods (they sync au­to­mat­i­cally if ev­ery­thing is con­nected via a sin­gle Ap­ple ID) or an­other Blue­tooth head­set you’re us­ing for mu­sic.

The cel­lu­lar con­nec­tiv­ity kicks in when the watch is no longer con­nected to your phone – in other words, out of range. Sig­nal strength is shown on Ap­ple Watch Con­trol Cen­tre, which also shows if you’re con­nected to your phone or a Wi-Fi net­work. There’s also a new watch face, Ex­plorer, that shows sig­nal strength in the mid­dle of the dial.

The draw­back to cel­lu­lar con­nec­tiv­ity is that it is only sup­ported on EE in the UK at present – your iPhone will need to be on EE as both use the same num­ber. It isn’t pos­si­ble to, say, keep your phone on Three and pay the £5 per month cost to con­nect the watch to EE. Both your phone and watch share the same num­ber and Ap­ple Watch doesn’t get a SIM of its own. In­stead it has an ‘eSIM’ which is au­to­mat­i­cally ac­ti­vated as part of the setup process in the Ap­ple Watch app. If you’re on

EE and have an iPhone 6 or later, you can sign up for the plan us­ing the Mo­bile Data op­tion – this then guides you through sign­ing in with your EE lo­gin and sign­ing up for the Watch tar­iff in ad­di­tion to your ex­ist­ing plan.

We’d only rec­om­mend the cel­lu­lar op­tion to those who reg­u­larly go out with­out their phone, and that’s pri­mar­ily go­ing to be peo­ple ex­er­cis­ing. Af­ter all, you’re pay­ing a £70 pre­mium for the watch, plus £60 per year for cel­lu­lar ac­cess. Ap­ple Mu­sic stream­ing will also be a boon (com­ing shortly). Reg­u­lar ex­er­cis­ers will also ben­e­fit from the ad­di­tion of ‘smart coach­ing’ (ba­si­cally, prompts), the Heart Rate app and an im­proved Work­out app, but those are watchOS 4 fea­tures rather than be­ing spe­cific to the Se­ries 3. We found bat­tery life was sim­i­lar to the Se­ries 2; from a charge in the morn­ing it will last all day and evening (if you’re not us­ing the GPS for ex­er­cise). If you are us­ing the GPS for ex­er­cise, ex­pect around five hours, al­though more likely is you’ll use it for an hour with the GPS and then you’ll need to charge it within a few hours. Like its pre­de­ces­sor, the Ap­ple Watch Se­ries 3 is also avail­able in Nike+ and Her­mès ver­sions, while the Ap­ple Watch Edi­tion also has a new grey ce­ramic fin­ish in ad­di­tion to the ex­ist­ing white ver­sion. Ap­ple has, once again, de­cided to ex­tend the life of the non-wa­ter­proof Se­ries 1 as a bud­get op­tion. If you have an Ap­ple Watch Se­ries 2, we wouldn’t rec­om­mend the up­grade. But if you have a Se­ries 1 or no Ap­ple Watch, then we’d rec­om­mend the Se­ries 3; just think se­ri­ously about whether you need cel­lu­lar con­nec­tiv­ity.

The only vis­ual dif­fer­ence be­tween the cel­lu­lar and non-cel­lu­lar ver­sions is a red dot on the Dig­i­tal Crown.

Smart coach­ing, en­hance­ments to the in­ter­face and cel­lu­lar con­nec­tiv­ity – Se­ries 3 is an im­pres­sive up­date.

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