Apple Watch Series 3

8.6
8.6 score
(TheGearHunt) score (8.6)/10

Our TheGearHunt score is based on 3 different factors: Editor's rating after in-depth testing. User ratings submitted on this page Overall score from the "reviewmeter" based on reviews across the web the weight of each factor is: 40% editor rating 15% user ratings 45% reviewmeter.
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Editor rating: 8.5 / 10
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Apple Watch Series 3 Review Facts

With so many fitness trackers and smart watches on the market it can be hard to decide what to look for. Trying to narrow down your search based on activity might help but trying to find just the right fitness tracker that also has the same features of a smart watch is harder than finding a smart watch that will track your particular activity of choice. With the Apple Watch Series 3 you can find a wide variety of activities to choose from that will track on your device, all while still handling your calendar, alarms, messages, notifications, and even phone calls, should you select the model option that includes built-in cellular connectivity.

Editor's Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Emergency SOS
  • Streams Apple Music & Podcasts
  • Freedom from Cellular option
  • 3-ring activity display
Cons
  • Not for Androids
  • Not all features available in all models
Activities

Activities

Being labeled a smart watch as opposed to a fitness tracker usually means that less focus is on activity-based functions and features. Even knowing that this is a smart watch, the Apple Watch Series 3 is capable of recording activity from standard and common routines as walking or running to more diverse options such as yoga, swimming, and HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) among others. It can even be linked to compatible gym equipment for the most streamlined information sharing. With the breathing guide feature you can even try your hand at meditating, or simply use it to calm down if you find yourself feeling stressed or anxious about something. Likely the heart monitor will have picked up on it, and from there you can try out this feature, just sitting calmly and breathing in sync with your device, to ease your nerves.
Basic Features

Basic Features

Having a smart watch after so many have been on the scene for so many years breeds a new standard of minimum expectation. Step counter, calendar function, message and phone call notifications, as well as heart rate monitoring and, with increasing frequency, water resistance for swimming as opposed to a flimsier water resistance only intended to protect a watch while washing one’s hands in the bathroom sink. This particular model series also includes weather information and navigation for your current location. There are also audio alert, vibration alert, and visual interface options for your feedback style of choice, so that your notifications do not disrupt you when you are out and about.
Advanced Features

Advanced Features

Once the basics are established, it is the functionality of the advanced features that will set a smart watch apart from others of its kind. This third series of the Apple Watch offers Voice Assist, a three ring display model for fitness, showing three aspects of your customizable daily goals so that you can see how you are doing on all three at once on one screen, and an ability to stream Apple music and podcasts right from your wrist. Its “freedom from cellular” feature means that, if you purchase the Series 3 version that offers this feature, you can call, message, listen to music, and even enlist the emergency SOS without your phone present. The emergency SOS is a feature attached to your heart rate monitor function. The heart rate monitor on this edition of the Series 3 issues a warning if your heart rate reads dangerously high or low, screening for a-fibrillation (or “a-fib”). It will offer to call for help via the emergency SOS system, so that you can have help as quickly as possible if you need it. There is also a breathing app to help you lower your stress levels if you are feeling anxious or exceptionally stressed.
Connectivity

Connectivity

Being an Apple product, it seems almost silly to mention that this device does not connect to Android devices, but sometimes people hope for a cross-compatibility edition. This is not the case with this particular item. It will run on iOS 11th edition or later and will connect to Bluetooth version 4.2. The watch itself runs OS 5. According to a few user reports, the freedom from cellular version of the model had some glitches and becoming too distant from their cell phone rendered the connection shoddy. Calls would drop, messages answered and deleted would not sync between phone and watch, and the signal would be inconsistent. It may be wise to test the connectivity of your watch to your iPhone before setting out up a mountain or into the bay if you are not confident with your new device’s connection and true function level away from your phone signal.
Apps

Apps

This smart watch has quite a few features built in, but there is always the ability to add more. Through the Apple Watch app on your iPhone you can select any number of apps that will work in conjunction with your pre-loaded setup. As long as it fits within the 8GB memory space available on the device, you will be able to add them to your smart watch and build them into your device’s repertoire of options and features. There are lists of applicable options that will function with the version of iOS your cell phone is running as well as the version of OS your smart watch uses, keeping things that work for you in front of your face as opposed to obsolete app choices cluttering up your screen as you try to filter through them in the general app store. Always keep your operating systems in mind when you consider adding something new to your smart watch, or bugs and glitches may start to appear.
Comfort

Comfort

Having a nylon strap with an adjustable closure for fit makes the Series 3 Apple Watch as comfortable as the rest of the smart watches out there. Anyone with a wrist measurement of somewhere between 5.51 inches and 8.27 inches will fit into this sport-style band, the 42 millimeter face framing out in conjunction to form a sleek total measurement of 1.4 inches wide, only 0.4 inches deep, and 1.7 inches high. It will sit securely, move with you, and stay where you put it when you affix it to your wrist for the day. Just remember to let your skin breathe now and then, in order to avoid the irritation that might come from wearing it for too long without a break.
Style

Style

The Series 3 is a sport band style smart watch, intended for activity use as well as day to day life. As such it transitions well from the board room to a paddle board. Coming in basic black or white with corresponding metal case frame makes it any of the design models sleek and stylish. Function and style do not always go hand in hand, but in this case, they make a great pairing, and having the emergency SOS feature option means that you are now effectively wearing a safety monitor for your health, hidden away among the time, calendar, calls, messages, and fitness apps all wrapped up in that watch-sized screen on your wrist.
Durability

Durability

Having a sturdy aluminum case frame and a strong nylon band show the world that this smart watch is ready for action, but do not let that turn you away from a warranty if the option is offered to you. Smart watch faces are glass; they can break. Much like a phone screen it is never on purpose or intentional, but it can happen and taking precautions to ensure your investment in your health is protected is a small measure that can cover you for ages.
Face

Face

The face of this smart watch is made up of 312 x 390 pixel resolution on an OLED color display. The standard display upon waking the screen is a clock face, digital or analog being a matter of preference. The screen works on a “force touch screen” style, meaning you need to exert a little effort to make it work, so that it does not blow through its battery life every time your wrist brushes against your coat sleeve or bumps someone on the subway. The 42 millimeter case that houses the watch is a digital crown, composite back, and is framed in either silver or space grey aluminum. For added protection there is a screen protector option that you can apply to protect it further from scrapes or scratches.
Band

Band

This particular smart watch is available in two base colors, with a special edition option. Whether or not you opt for the built-in cellular version of this smart watch, you will have a white or black option. The white band is paired with a silver aluminum case; the black band is paired with a space grey aluminum case. The Nike special edition – also available with or without built in cellular – includes a Nike sports band instead of the solid standard versions of the nylon and the darker aluminum case option. Regardless of which version you ultimately select, you will be using a pin and tuck clasp. Many smart watches use this version of a clasp as opposed to the standard buckle design, and while it does not seem to have a negative impact on comfort or functionality, those with activities or daily life that might involve hazards should attempt to try on a watch bearing this band – any will do – just to be sure that they are pleased with it. If you walk dogs for a living, for example, be sure that an excited labradoodle isn’t going to catch a paw on your watch and yank it from your wrist by mistake.
Ease of Use

Ease of Use

Anyone who has used an iPhone will be able to navigate this smart watch, though there is something of a learning curve when you acquire a new piece of technology. Not many other smart watches have a 3-ring display for your fitness goal tracking, so if you were used to something more simplified from another fitness tracker or smart watch this may take some getting used to. Just take your time to learn the way things work and you will have a well-enjoyed, helpful smart watch. If you have an owner’s manual included in your purchase price, as most reputable dealers will offer, you can always refer to it in order to learn the layout and menus for your device. If you are not given one with your item and charger, there are always online FAQs, forums, and helpful online videos for programming the apps, inputting your information, and setting your goals to your personal needs. Getting through setup can be a bit frustrating when you want to get started immediately with your new product but remember that you only have to set it up once and then you are good to go.
Battery

Battery

Most people will be unsurprised to find out that, like many other fitness trackers and smart watches alike, the Series 3 Apple Watch bears a Lithium Ion battery. The life of the battery between charging cycles will be a maximum of eighteen hours, giving you plenty of time to get through your day. Admittedly compared to other smart watches or fitness trackers this might not sound impressive. There are fitness trackers that can go on for days, or even a week. There are smart watches that have more than a day on between charge needs. The level of attention you give your smart watch is going to play a factor in how much life you get out of your battery before you need to set it down for a recharge. Just bear in mind that the number of hours it lasts will depend on how much you engage your smart watch, and how many apps and programs you have running at any given time. Used sparingly, the battery will last longer. Keep aware of your usage and you should be fine. If you think your smart watch is dying more quickly than it should be, try taking note of how many times you check it per day, how many incoming notifications you use, and so on and so forth. If the problem is not overuse, consider trying an exchange for a replacement. Know what options are available to you based on what you purchase, and invoke your warranty if need be, but for the most part users did not report short-lived batteries or heavy drain.
Price

Price

Unsurprisingly, the more you have on a smart watch, the more it is going to cost you. The standard Series 3 Apple Watch without the built-in cellular option will run you approximately $279 depending upon your retailer of choice. If you opt for the built-in cellular functioning model, the price goes up to $379. Those prices are also true of the Nike edition of the watch but be aware of the fact that the Nike edition may or may not be harder to find, being a special edition release and not necessarily a constant manufacture. This might sound like a high price to pay for being able to leave your phone at home as an extra set of features that freedom allows, but the worth of that price can only be determined by yourself and your judgement.
Accessories

Accessories

Being compatible with other apps and devices means the ability to pair things brings a host of optional accessories to the table. As far as included accessories, the standard power adapter and magnetic charging cable are the only things you will find in the box with your smart watch when you open it. If your purchase point of choice is having a sale, perhaps something else may come included, but for the most part those sorts of deals cannot be counted on to acquire other things with your purchase.
Key Features

Key Features

-Freedom from Cellular option
-Voice Assist
-Emergency SOS feature
-Tracks activities, calories burned, and stress levels
Bottom Line

Bottom Line

There are a lot of features wrapped up into the Series 3 Apple Watch. It has all the basics of a fitness tracker, all of the basics of a smart watch, plus an ability to answer phone calls with the speaker audio output and Voice Assist input. It also offers the emergency SOS heart rate monitor and alarm, helping you request EMS if you find yourself with an alarmingly high or low heart rate that might be indicating a different level of condition. In general, smart watches should never be considered medical devices, but a smart watch that is aware of your heart rate norms and gives you a heads up when something does not seem right might just be the difference. Hopefully that particular feature never comes up, but there is a certain amount of peace of mind to be found in knowing someone – or something – has been designed to watch out for you while you are going about your routine. This smart watch can tell you a lot about yourself via your heart rate, your goals, how much you are moving, and where you are via the navigation setting. It will even tell you the weather of your location if you are planning on going out into the world for a run or a bike ride or a day on the water. Having all of this power on your wrist, right there at your fingertips, is still very much an impressive feat in a world were technological advances happen so quickly that it is often hard to get excited anymore. At its core, however, this smart watch is designed to help you be a more organized, well-connected, and healthier version of yourself, and in that regard, it is nearly priceless.