Want to know which Apple Watch model might be best for you? Confused by the huge variety of sizes, straps, materials and special editions on offer? Here we compare the different Apple Watch Series Three, Two and original models, plus their various options, to see which is right for you.
The Apple Watch is undeniably one of the best wearables on offer in 2017, especially if you own an iPhone. It’s smartly designed, packed with great fitness features (and other useful tools) and fully customisable to your own liking.
However, the process of actually choosing which Apple Watch might be right for you isn’t the least bit simple. After all, Apple offers a large variety of models, with loads of custom options and personalisation to consider.
That’s why we’ve broken down all of your choices, so you can pick the right Watch for your personal tastes and needs.
Which Apple Watch is right for me: What are my choices?
To begin with, you have a selection of three different Apple Watch versions (Series One, Two or the shiny new Three), each of which come in two sizes (38 or 42mm) as well as three distinctive finishes (aluminium, stainless steel or ceramic).
On top of that, you have different strap types and colours to choose from. And as if that wasn’t enough, Apple is also offering special edition Watch models, most of which come packing a premium price.
So which Apple Watch is best for you? Let’s consider the options, one at a time.
Which Apple Watch is right for me: Series Three vs Series Two vs the original
The second model was released over a year after the first Watch came out and added a number of hardware improvements. It’s fully water resistant, with built-in GPS and updated specs, for smoother performance. In other words, the Series Two is a much better choice for sporty users, especially if you want to track your swimming sessions.
Check out our full run-down of the Apple Watch Series Two’s new features, to see how it compares with the original wearable.
Note that you can’t actually buy the Series Two direct from Apple any longer. This Watch has been completely replaced by the Series Three, which adds some new functionality to the Apple wearable. However, you can still pick up the second device from certain retailers.
The Series Three Watch boasts all of the best bits of the Series Two, including the built-in GPS support, water resistance and so on. You also now have the option of cellular connectivity, which is handy if you want to ditch the iPhone at home for your exercise session, while staying in touch with the world (and streaming music online).
There’s also an altimeter for measuring how many flights you climb each day, plus updated specs for even smoother performance.
UK pricing for the different Series models
The Series One watch is the most affordable, starting from £249 for the 38mm model. The Series Three watch costs from £329 for the WiFi model, while the cellular version costs from £399.
Which Apple Watch is right for me: Aluminium vs stainless steel vs ceramic
Once you’ve figured out which Series is best for you, your next step is to pick a finish.
Each Apple Watch comes with a choice of three materials for the body. For instance, the aluminium surfacing gives a matt finish which is pretty hardy, although the stainless steel model is tougher – and also offers a shiny finish. Meanwhile the ceramic version is the toughest of all, not to mention those unique aesthetics.
Don’t forget that there’s a price difference between these different models as well, with the aluminium proving the most affordable and the ceramic finish adding on some serious bucks.
Take a look at our Apple Watch aluminium vs stainless steel vs ceramic comparison to see the precise differences between these three finishes.
Which Apple Watch is right for me: Sizes
You also need to consider which size of Apple Watch is best for you.
Here you get just two choices: 38mm or 42mm. Your pick of Watch size doesn’t affect the specs or functionality of the wearable. The only difference is the dimensions, weight and the screen size and resolution.
The 42mm model has the slightly bigger display, with a 312×390 pixel resolution. The 38mm model’s panel offers visuals that are just as crisp, with a 272×340 pixel resolution.
We recommend visiting an Apple store and trying on both sizes, to see which fits your wrist better and feels more comfortable.
Which Apple Watch is right for me: Bands
One of the final considerations when choosing the best Apple Watch for your own personal needs is the selection of wrist straps.
You get a choice of four different band types: Sport, woven nylon, leather and stainless steel. Those Sport bands are the cheapest Watch straps, made from a fluoroelastomer material. They’re good for fitness sessions, as they allow your skin to breathe.
Woven Nylon bands are constructed from over 500 threads, for a fabric feel. Alternatively, you can pick up an Apple Watch with a leather strap, if you’re after a premium finish.
Those three strap choices come in a range of colours, so you can pick one to suit your personal tastes. Of course, these Apple Watch bands are also interchangeable, so you can buy new ones and swap them out whenever, depending on your mood and what you’re up to.
Finally, Apple offers a selection of stainless steel bracelets for the Watch. They’re impressively tough and really look the business.
Your choice of Watch band will affect the final cost of your Apple wearable. The Sport and woven nylon straps are the cheapest, with a bump in cost for the others.
Check out our round-up of the best affordable Apple Watch straps.
Which Apple Watch is right for me: Special editions
To further complicate matters, Apple offers some special edition versions of the Watch for you to consider.
The most popular model is the Nike+ Series Three Apple Watch, which sports a special Nike sports band and some other custom features. Take a look at our Nike+ Apple Watch feature to see exactly how this special edition model is different to the standard Apple Watch Series Three. This model costs from £329 for the WiFi model and £399 for the WiFi and cellular model, just like the standard Series Three device.
Note that you can’t get the Series One wearable with the Nike+ finish.
If you’re feeling particularly loaded, you can always splash out on the Apple Watch Hermes. This Stainless Steel-only model costs from £1199 and offers a special Hermes leather strap as well as a Sport Band for those more casual moments. You also get a custom watch face for all of those extra stacks. This super-expensive model doesn’t come in WiFi only; cellular support comes as standard.
There’s also the ‘Apple Watch Edition’, which costs from £1299 – more than the most expensive model of iPhone X. This is a ceramic watch with cellular support, available in a white or black finish. You only get a Sport Band for that cash, however.
Which Apple Watch is right for me: Software
So what about the software side of things? Is there any difference in the apps and OS of these different Apple Watch models?
In a nutshell, no, there’s no difference. All of these Watch versions run the same version of Apple’s WatchOS operating system, with support for the same apps and tools. Of course, the Series Three is able to open and run apps more quickly. Likewise, some special edition models such as the Nike+ Apple Watch come with their own custom wallpapers.