Which Apple Watch is the best? Our Apple Watch buyer’s guide

Which Apple Watch is the best? Our Apple Picket buyer’s guide

(Image credit: Laptop Magazine/Sean Riley)

The Apple Sentry is the undisputed champion of the smartwatch world and for iPhone users, it is the articulate selection (unless you lot need multi-24-hour interval bombardment life). But that leaves open up the question of which Apple tree Sentinel is best for you?

The Apple tree Sentinel 7 features the largest display e’er on Apple Watch, which makes for a amend overall experience, particularly for those with larger hands. However, discounts on Apple tree Watch 6 and Apple tree Watch iii may tempt you to cede some features to salve some coin. Finally, the Apple Watch SE gives you however another affordable Apple Watch option without giving upwards besides many features.

Our Apple Watch buying guide volition show you all of the differences and similarities beyond these four models and assist you lot observe which Apple Watch is the best for your needs and budget.

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Which Apple Watch is the best: Specs

Apple currently has 3 Apple Watch models available for buy on its site: Apple Scout 3, Apple tree Picket SE and Apple Sentinel seven. For this buying guide, I’m including the Apple Lookout man 6, which remains available at many other retailers.

Hither’s a basic specs breakdown of the four Apple Watch models we are covering.

Apple tree Watch 3
Apple Watch SE Apple Picket vi Apple tree Watch 7
Starting Cost $199 $279 $399* $399
Screen (sq. inch) 0.87, i.15 1.18, ane.51 1.18, 1.51 1.iv, i.77
Case size (mm) 38, 42 40, 44 40, 44 41, 45
CPU Apple S3 Apple S5 Apple S6 Apple S7
Storage 8GB (16GB with LTE model) 32GB 32GB 32GB
Battery life (claimed) Up to 18 hours Up to xviii hours Up to 18 hours Upward to 18 hours
Swim proof Yep Yes Yes Aye
Size 1.52 x i.31 ten 0.45 inches i.57 x 1.34 10 0.42 inches ane.57 x 1.34 x 0.42 inches ane.61 x ane.38 x 0.42 inches
Weight 0.94 ounces 1.08 ounces 1.08 ounces i.13 ounces
Colors Silver or Space Gray Silver, Space Gray or Gold Silverish, Space Greyness, Gold, Blackness, Blue or Red Silvery, Space Black, Gold, Midnight, Starlight, Blue, Green, Graphite, Red, Titanium

*Apple Watch 6 is no longer officially available from Apple tree, and then while the starting retail price technically remains $399, buyers should look to become it for less.

Common Features

I’ll dig into the differences for each Apple Watch, only first, allow’s accept a look at what all 4 of these models share. Somewhat surprisingly, the battery life claims take remained the same over the years with all iv Apple Watch models at “upwards to xviii hours,” according to Apple. Each hovers a flake higher up and below that marking, only it’s roughly authentic, and so bombardment life alone won’t be a deciding factor.

Basic fitness features are also identical across these models with GPS allowing for multi-sport tracking regardless of the activity. All iv models are also “swim-proof” as Apple puts it, so in that location is no need to worry about getting your Apple Lookout man wet or tracking laps in the pool with it.

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Apple Watch 7

(Image credit: Laptop Mag/Sean Riley)

While the Apple Watch 6 and Apple Watch 7 introduce some more advanced health monitoring, all iv models have heart rate sensors that tin potentially identify an irregular heartbeat, a characteristic that some accept said saved their lives.

Finally, while a couple of software features are sectional to the newer Apple Scout models, all four yet run the latest
watchOS 8
operating arrangement. Just every bit we’ve seen on the iPhone, Apple is the unquestioned leader in the smartwatch world when information technology comes to software support for its devices.

Apple Watch SE features

(Image credit: Apple)

Apple Watch SE

The best Apple Watch for almost people

Reasons to buy


Affordably priced


Excellent software support


Swim proof


Solid fettle tracking

Reasons to avoid

Simply 18 hours of battery life

Lacks always-on display

At $279, the Apple Lookout SE is the best Apple Watch for most people. With the same processor as the Apple tree Watch 5, it offers a considerable performance boost over the Apple Watch iii, forth with the increased display size and form cistron introduced with the Apple Watch 4.

Apple has stuck to the same “up to xviii-hours of battery life” claims for all 4 of the Apple Watches we’re comparing, but the truth is that they practise differ slightly. Despite the lack of an always-on brandish like the Apple Sentry 6 and 7, the Apple tree Sentry SE typically comes up short of those watches, while outlasting the Apple Watch 3.

From a health-tracking perspective, you lose the ECG monitor that was introduced with the Apple tree Spotter 6, so if heart wellness is a business organisation for y’all that is worth considering. Fitness tracking is nigh identical to the pricier models and information technology supports the latest watchOS 8, meaning you aren’t losing out on whatever other major new features.

While $279 is expensive compared to most fitness trackers, it’s a solid entry-level for a full-blown smartwatch like the Apple Picket and a much better buy than the Apple tree Watch 3 from both a hardware and software support standpoint.

Best for:
Anyone who wants to go into the Apple Lookout ecosystem merely can’t afford or doesn’t want to spend the money for i of the recent flagship Apple tree Watches. The Apple Watch SE still outperforms the vast majority of smartwatches on the market and given Apple’s track record yous can be sure that it will remain supported for years to come.

Apple Watch 3

(Image credit: Apple)

The nigh affordable Apple Watch the company still sells is the Apple Lookout iii, and while the $199 price point is enticing, I would strongly advise you to steer articulate of this model. At $fourscore more, the Apple Lookout man SE is a much better value.

The Apple Lookout man 3 was released in 2017 and Apple has washed an admirable job supporting the hardware. All the same, the iii is struggling to proceed upward at this betoken and mayhap on its final update with watchOS eight. The 8GB internal retentivity in the GPS model (the merely model officially for sale in 2022) is a prime concern as it makes updates hard.

While battery life, fitness tracking, and basic app support are all fine, the smaller form gene and display of the Apple Scout three compared to the other three all make for a less friendly user experience. The Apple Watch 3 remains a competent smartwatch today, there’s no reason to cull it in 2022 with the Apple Spotter SE available for $eighty more (and often less on sale).

Best for:
If you find an aggressive discount ($149 or less) on the Apple tree Sentinel 3 and are unsure if a smartwatch is something you will utilize so, past all means, it’southward worth a shot. However, if your budget allows, the Apple Spotter SE gives you a much more than modern Apple tree Sentinel that will exist supported far longer, making it the ameliorate value.

Apple Watch 6

(Paradigm credit: Apple)

Apple tree Watch 6

The best Apple Sentry to buy on sale

Reasons to buy


Unbeatable software support


Solid deals bachelor


Fantabulous health monitoring


Brighter always-on display

Reasons to avoid

But 18 hours of battery life

Lacks larger brandish of Apple Sentinel 7

The Apple Watch 6 remains an fantabulous smartwatch in 2022, but simply buy it if it’s deeply discounted. If you tin can save $75 to $100 versus the Apple Watch 7, it’s a compelling selection for those who don’t need the accented latest and greatest.

Apple tree Watch 6 represents a solid upgrade from the Apple Watch SE. It gives you an always-on display that is also considerably brighter than the Apple Sentinel SE and the new ECG monitor and SpO2 sensors. How much you value the latter ii depends on whether y’all are leaning into the Apple Watch for health monitoring or as a general fitness and notification triage device. But the display improvements are something every user volition appreciate.

I’ll address the primary upgrades that you get with the Apple Watch 7 in the adjacent section so read on if y’all are on the fence. But overall, the feel with Apple Watch half-dozen is largely the aforementioned and if yous can find the right bargain remains a peachy purchase.

Best for:
Apple tree Scout buyers who want all of the latest wellness and fitness features without having to spend top dollar. If you can find the Apple Picket vi for at least xx-25% under the price of the comparable Apple Watch vii then it is a solid value and worth considering if budget is a concern or you lot just aren’t swayed by the Apple Watch 7’s updates.

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Apple Watch 7

(Prototype credit: Laptop Magazine/Sean Riley)

The best Apple Watch

Reasons to buy


Bigger brighter always-on display


Excellent health monitoring


Unbeatable software support


Robust app library


Extensive color and band options

Reasons to avoid

Only 18 hours of bombardment life


The Apple tree Watch 7 is the current top of Apple Watch hardware, and while it didn’t get the massive rumored redesign, information technology does become one very meaningful upgrade from Apple Sentry 6 that may be enough to win you over. That is the new larger display.

While the form factor remains virtually identical, increasing past a mere 0.04 inches in length and width, the bezels were almost entirely eliminated, assuasive for a 0.22 and 0.26-inch increase in display size on the two models. That may sound minor, but information technology’south an aesthetic and usability improvement that should bear upon just virtually everything you lot practice with Apple tree Watch. It even enabled some features that remain exclusive to Apple Lookout man 7 like the full QWERTY keyboard.

The i other upgrade worth noting is the increased charging speeds with the new USB-C magnetic charger. It reduces the full charging time to nearly an hr, roughly 33% faster than Apple tree Sentry six according to Apple. For a device that needs to be charged daily for most users that is a very helpful update.

All-time for:
Upgrading Apple Scout owners who know they are bought into the organization and will fill up use of the Apple Watch 7’s new features or new buyers who aren’t concerned with budget and only desire the best. The Apple Sentry 7 isn’t a transformational update over the previous generation, just the new display feels similar the all-time version of this Apple Watch pattern, so it’southward non a purchase you’ll regret.

See our

Apple Sentinel seven review

Apple Watch 7

(Epitome credit: Laptop Mag/Sean Riley)

Apple Watch tips and tricks

  • How to unlock your iPhone with Apple Spotter
  • How to change an Apple Watch band
  • How to apply hand gestures on Apple Lookout man
  • How to unpair the Apple Watch
  • How to alter Action goals on Apple Watch

Sean Riley has been roofing tech professionally for over a decade now. Most of that time was as a freelancer roofing varied topics including phones, wearables, tablets, smart home devices, laptops, AR, VR, mobile payments, fintech, and more.  Sean is the resident mobile expert at Laptop Mag, specializing in phones and wearables, you’ll find plenty of news, reviews, how-to, and stance pieces on these subjects from him hither. Only Laptop Mag has also proven a perfect fit for that broad range of interests with reviews and news on the latest laptops, VR games, and computer accessories forth with coverage on everything from NFTs to cybersecurity and more than.

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