Both the 38mm and the 42mm versions of the Apple Watch Series 3 remain incredibly impressive devices, but the smaller, cheaper and non-4G iteration arguably offers the best value for money.
Apple has always had a knack for successfully upgrading their devices, and the Apple Watch Series 3 embodies this unique ability perfectly. More specifically, while the 38mm iteration maintains the solid battery performance and bright display that distinguished previous timepieces in the range, it also provides significantly improved fitness features along with both GPS and GPS+Cellular plans.
Of course, the 38mm version of the Apple Watch Series 3 is no longer the new kid on the block, but despite this it remains a powerful and incredibly functional device that's still worthy of consideration. Our refurbished Apple Watch Series 3 can also be sourced in both GPS and GPS+Cellular plans, allowing you to get even more value for money.
One of the main (but most underrated) upgrades on this device is the addition of music streaming, which was conspicuous by its absence at the time of the timepiece's launch. Still, this feature enables you to make the most of purchasing the more costly and LTE-enabled 38mm model, as you can stream up to 30 million songs at any one time with or without your iOS smartphone in hand! You can also access both the Apple Music and Beat Radio apps through your device using Siri, rather than having to tap and navigate through menus like Indiana Jones traversing the Temple of Doom.
While the Apple Watch Series 3 features the same, four-sensor heart-rate monitor that dominated previous iterations, the new 38mm iteration undoubtedly boasts a far wider range of fitness tracking applications. Not only this, but the heart-rate monitoring functionality on the Apple Watch Series 3 has been upgraded considerably, as you can now record your daily resting heartbeat and pulse-rate while also counting beats per minute and detailing your unique workout ranges. Interestingly, you can now also take calls while out running, and while we personally wouldn't recommend this (as we'd be far too out of breath) this is a unique feature that will benefit many.
While the average battery life varies between GPS and LTE models, the Apple Watch Series 3 38mm offers genuine longevity for all users. For relatively basic users whose idea of physical fitness is being able to change the channel without the remote control, for example, the 279 mAh power pack can last for around 50 hours or so on a single charge. This falls to somewhere between 24 and 36 hours when operating a device in LTE mode, with sustained workouts and heavy usage will probably drain the battery within a single day.
Intriguingly, the 38mm Apple Watch Series 3 display maintains the same size and resolution as previous iterations, while delivering up to 1000 nits to create a vivid and bright screen and viewing experience. While some may be disappointed that Apple has chosen not to significantly upgrade the 1.5-inch, 340x272 pixel display, however, we'd argue that there was little need to alter a specification that had previously wowed users across the world. Not only this, but maintaining the same sleek and slimline chassis from before represents a significant achievement for Apple, especially when you consider that the Apple Watch Series 3 features a new chipset and LTE functionality.
With the 38mm iteration of the Apple Watch Series 3, the brand has chosen to upgrade to its much-improved S3 processor. This advanced, dual-core processor definitely provides superior speed and performance when navigating your timepiece, while flicking through a revamped dock is now a pleasant and pleasing experience that allows for far greater efficiency when working or exercising. This is a huge boon, particularly as smartwatches are designed to aid multifunctionality.
Ultimately, the Apple Watch Series 3 delivered everything that we expected from this timepiece and more, with its enhanced, dual-core processor and much-improved fitness tracker providing far greater functionality than previous models. We'd wager that the 38mm iteration of this device offers slightly better value for money, however, with its specification not markedly different or any less impressive than the larger 42mm alternative.
If you are in the market for a cheaper iteration of the Apple Watch Series 3, you should take a look at our refurbished and high quality timepieces. What are you waiting for?