Only fit­ness fa­nat­ics need ap­ply for up­grade to ap­ple watch se­ries 3

Belfast Telegraph - Business Telegraph - - News - By Adrian Weck­ler

Is it time to con­sider Ap­ple’s Watch Se­ries 3? There are prob­a­bly three cat­e­gories of po­ten­tial cus­tomers in­ter­ested in it. The first is the up­grader who had ei­ther the orig­i­nal Ap­ple Watch or the ‘Se­ries 2’ model last year (This is me).

An­other po­ten­tial buyer is the ded­i­cated fit­ness en­thu­si­ast, who is won­der­ing be­tween this model and, say, a Garmin. And fi­nally, there’s the reg­u­lar punter who is sim­ply won­der­ing about get­ting a smart­watch.

I’ll start with the up­graders. For those who have had the Ap­ple Watch from the time of its launch two years ago, go for it. The 2017 Se­ries 3 model has umpteen sig­nif­i­cant im­prove­ments over the first model. One of the main ones is GPS (and Glonass — Global Nav­i­ga­tion Satel­lite Sys­tem): the Watch 3 can track your run, swim or cy­cle with­out your phone need­ing to be close by. For any­one with even ca­sual no­tions of a fit­ness plan, this is a big step up.

Then there’s screen bright­ness. The new model has over twice the bright­ness of the ear­lier de­vice. Ex­tra speed is an­other fac­tor (the Se­ries 3 has an ex­tra chip on board and more stor­age too), as is the fact that speed im­prove­ments in fu­ture Watchos re­leases will likely favour this model over pre­vi­ous ones.

Fi­nally, there’s wa­ter re­sis­tance. While the Watch 1 can take a bit of rain, you can go swim­ming with the Watch 3.

I have had both the first Watch and the new model — the new one is well worth get­ting for those won­der­ing be­tween the two.

The choice be­comes less clear for any­one who has last year’s Ap­ple Watch Se­ries 2. This al­ready has quite a few of the perks of the Watch 3, in­clud­ing GPS and rea­son­able wa­ter­proof ca­pa­bil­ity.

The big­gest fea­ture dif­fer­ence be­tween the two mod­els is that this year’s de­vice has a baro­met­ric al­time­ter, which can help tell whether you’ve climbed flights of stairs or other el­e­va­tion-re­lated sta­tuses.

So for Ap­ple Watch users who are into their fit­ness, it’s prob­a­bly worth it. For those who aren’t there isn’t a com­pelling rea­son to up­grade right now.

Speak­ing of fit­ness, how does this rate com­pare to the de­vices favoured by hard­core ath­letes, such as Garmin de­vices?

The Watch 3 has a lot more gen­eral func­tion­al­ity and a much bet­ter screen than any of its sport­ing ri­vals, but it lags in one de­part­ment: bat­tery life.

Garmin’s Vivoac­tive 3, for ex­am­ple, gives you a week. The Ap­ple Watch is around two days.

How­ever, some ear­lier com­plaints about Ap­ple’s de­vice be­ing less ac­cu­rate in track­ing lo­ca­tion or users’ fit­ness train­ing than of­fer­ings from Garmin are now less sig­nif­i­cant, with the Watch 3’s al­time­ter help­ing things here.

But what about the or­di­nary user, cu­ri­ous about the Watch’s value to an every­day life?

I’ll say straight off that I’m a fan of the new Watch 3. It feels sig­nif­i­cantly faster and bet­ter put to­gether than the last two mod­els. So if you’re go­ing to plump for one, this is prob­a­bly the best time to get one (so far).

My test model was a 42mm alu­minium screen (there’s a 38mm ver­sion that’s slightly cheaper) with a black rub­ber sport band.

Ap­ple only seems to sell this ba­sic Watch con­fig­u­ra­tion here — the more ex­pen­sive stain­less steel (via the Her­mes op­tion) or ce­ramic ‘Edition’ mod­els are re­served for UK stores.

What do I use it for? Run­ning (both through Ap­ple’s own fit­ness app and the Strava app), no­ti­fi­ca­tions (par­tic­u­larly texts, calls and so­cial me­dia alerts) and di­ary re­minders.

But it’s worth stat­ing that it can be used as a hands-free de­vice to make or take calls as it has both a mi­cro­phone and a speaker.

One cau­tion­ary point about wa­ter and the Ap­ple Watch. The Se­ries 3 has the same wa­ter­proof sta­tus (ISO stan­dard 22810) as the Se­ries 2.

This, it says, ex­tends both to the sea as well as the pool, but not to “ac­tiv­i­ties in­volv­ing high-ve­loc­ity wa­ter or sub­mer­sion be­low a shal­low depth”.

It name-checks wa­ter­ski­ing and scuba-div­ing as ex­am­ples of these ‘ac­tiv­i­ties’.

These ex­cep­tions need to be treated with sen­si­tiv­ity. My Se­ries 2 Watch suf­fered through a creak­ing crown al­most im­me­di­ately after I jumped into the sea from a pier about 10ft up.

Given that this was my only sea swim since I got the watch, I don’t know whether it was the im­pact of the jump or the salt wa­ter that did for the creaky crown.

I’m hes­i­tant to try the same move again with my Se­ries 3 model, but I will be­fore Christ­mas. Watch this space.

The Ap­ple Watch 3

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