Another September, another Apple eventand this year we have two new Apple Watch models: the Apple Watch Series 6 and the Apple Watch SE. But do you know which watch is also available? The Series 3. And I know the $ 200 price of Series 3 is tempting – a bargain even – but for the love of all saints, I’m back here for Gizmodo dot to remind you: Don’t buy Series 3.
The time to buy a Series 3 has come and gone. You could have done it earlier this summer, when sales were rampant and Apple’s fall launches were months away a strong case for buying a Series 3. But like I said at the time, the only people who would really benefit from it are people who have no idea if the #smartwatchlife was for them. Gadget nerds may make fun of themselves, but these people really exist. In this case, a reduced series 3 might have made sense. You could get the vast majority of software updates WatchOS 7 and check out the Apple Watch ecosystem without throwing away $ 400-500 on a device that you’re not sure you need, want, or will enjoy.
But the Apple Watch SE is here now. My friends, don’t be stupid. If you’re looking to save some money, the SE is a better choice.
Let’s get the price out of the way. The SE costs a reasonable $ 280, while the Series 3 maintains its lowered price of $ 200. You are effectively arguing over $ 80. Now $ 80 isn’t nothing – but you’ll only save on extremely short notice. If you like the Apple Watch in the long run, you are spending money in the long run More. It was a big red flag that Apple Watches Series 2 and older didn’t make the cut for WatchOS 7 – good or bad, the older hardware in earlier watches is beginning to see the end of its useful life. We don’t yet know if WatchOS 8 will find its way into the Series 3, which is hobbling on an Apple S3 chip. However, I would choke on my water if the Series 3 made it to WatchOS 9.
So we’re talking about a maximum of one year of use if you just buy a Series 3. From a Moolah standpoint, you’ll save $ 80 for a year before being tricked into upgrading with any flashy new software or hardware. For example, if you were to do this in June, July, or August, you would actually extend that $ 80 to 13, 14, 15 months. If you were to spend that extra $ 80 on a Watch SE, you’d be making that $ 280 for at least two years before it was time to consider upgrading. $ 200 over a 12 month period is roughly $ 16.67 per month. $ 280 within 24 months is $ 11.67. See! Saved money. Type of.
These are just rough schedules that will not be considered when attempting an upgrade. Say you want to upgrade – maybe the Series 7 is just a devastatingly insane update, and WatchOS 8 is phenomenal. Apple has a pretty good trade-in system that gives you a discount on older products when you buy new products. On that front, if you’re looking to trade in a one-year Series 3 for a one-year Watch SE, then you can expect to get a bit more for the SE. Let’s say the Series 7 is an incremental change and you’re waiting for the Series 8. When it’s time to upgrade, the Series 3 will give you even less, but the SE may still give you something decent. In terms of value, unless you can find a Series 3 on sale for less than $ 200, you’ll be better off with the SE.
This also applies to the hardware. The SE is kind of a Frankenstein watch in that it appears to have the Series 4 chassis and screen with a mix of Series 5 and Series 6 chips and sensors. The SE has the S5 chip (the same one on Series 5) which is 20% faster than the S3 chip on Series 3 right off the bat. While you don’t get things like a constantly on display or an EKG, you get Features like fall detection and noise level monitoring, plus the same accelerometer, gyroscope, and altimeter as the 6th series. Heck, in some ways the SE has more advanced components than the 5 series.
That said, if you’re not particularly into features like blood oxygen monitoring, constant readout, and EKGs, and want just a little more than the basics, the SE is more than capable. It is cheaper than any other major flagship smartwatch while offering at least some of the same advanced features. That includes the $ 400 Samsung Galaxy Watch 3who have favourited the $ 295 Fossil Gen 5 and the $ 330 Fitbit Sense. If you get a trade-in discount, the SE might be a little more expensive or the same as the Fitbit Versa 3 for $ 230.
At $ 280, the Watch SE is $ 120 cheaper than the Series 6 GPS-only version. It also includes built-in GPS, which not every smartwatch in the under $ 200 category has. If the Series 6 upgrades don’t really excite you, or if you just can’t afford to pay at least $ 400 for a new smartwatch, or if you are the parent who has enough moolah to get yours Kid, the new Apple Watch SE is the safer choice on your wallet. If you’re upgrading from a Series 2 or older but really don’t want to spend more than $ 300 on a new smartwatch, the SE isn’t a bad option. Hell, it’s also a good upgrade option for budget conscious Series 3 and 4 owners who don’t care about the EKG. You just don’t get much Faster Components: If you’re looking to upgrade to a Series 7, you will likely get more from a future trade-in than a Series 3.
If you’ve bought a Series 3 after reading it, your best bet is to buy it from a fire sale or reseller for $ 140 or less. Otherwise you just throw your money away.