Last updated: September 6, 2020

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Apple’s range of technological products is incredibly broad – from its famous iPhones to iMac and MacBook computers and iPad tablets. All these devices share the durability, quality components, and operating system that have made the American brand so popular. But Apple has also designed another slightly less conventional product.

Smartwatches are relatively recent gadgets on the tech market. Once again, the California-based manufacturer went all in and created its very own range of Apple Watches with some of the best features and technical specs in the industry. These products now allow you to wear your phone, social networks, calendar, and heart rate monitor on your wrist – and in a single device.

Key Facts

  • Apple Watches are multi-functional smartwatches developed by the American giant. Compatible with other devices of the brand, they allow you to make phone calls, chat on WhatsApp, check your emails, or measure your heart rate on the go.
  • These smart gadgets work with different versions of the watchOS operating system, developed specifically by Apple for its line of smartwatches.
  • With different models and series released on the market, Apple has tailored its products to different user profiles; that way, you can find the perfect Apple Watch for your needs. The Nike Edition, for instance, is ideal for athletes and active people in general.

Our Selection: The Best Apple Watches on the U.S. Market

While there are different versions available out there, knowing the differences between each model isn’t necessarily easy at first. To help you make the right purchase, we have selected the most popular Apple Watches currently on the American market. The descriptions we provide below will put you on the right track to finding the best model for you.

Best-Selling Apple Watch

The Apple Watch Series 3 might be a model older than the others in our selection, but it remains Amazon’s Choice in the category and an absolute best-seller. Integrating the brand’s latest operating system, the watchOS 6, it offers GPS functionality so you can keep track of all your physical activities. The dual-core processor and S3 chip allow you to make the most of the App Store on your wrist. This product gives you real bang for your buck.

Best High-End Apple Watch

This is quite simply the latest version of the Apple Watch, with an OLED Retina display that is 30% larger than previous models. It has a built-in compass and a heart rate monitoring application. With 32 GB of storage, Bluetooth 5.0 connectivity, and the watchOS 6 operating system, it stands as one of the best smartwatches on the market. Its main feature? You can now make and receive calls without your phone.

Best Mid-Range Apple Watch

The Apple Watch Series 4 is another model that offers excellent value for money, with some of the latest tech at a more affordable price than the version above. It has a storage capacity of 16 GB and works with the watchOS 5 operating system. This smartwatch is a fantastic activity tracker with which you can hike mountains or cross lakes. You can also make calls or chat with your best friends via text messages.

Best-Rated Apple Watch

While this version of the Apple Watch Series 5 doesn’t integrate the latest Cellular technology developed by the American brand, it still allows you to receive and make calls as long as you have your iPhone nearby. It’s more affordable, too, and this might just be why it is the best-rated Apple Watch on the market. Water-resistant up to 50 meters and with a battery that will last 18 hours, this space gray model is an excellent choice.

Shopping Guide: Everything You Should Know About Apple Watches

So, what is an Apple Watch exactly? How can I use it? Why should I choose it over more affordable models on the market? Purchasing technological products can be quite a challenge today, but you have come to the right place. In the following section, we have answered the most frequently asked questions regarding Apple Watches. That way, you can get to know the product better before you make your decision!

Man showing apple watch

Apple allows you to customize the wristband of your watch with a wide range of materials and appearances.
(Source: Canibano: JE3ASpuEld4/ Unsplash.com)

What is the story behind the Apple Watch?

The first smartwatches started to land on the market in 2000, with very limited technologies and functionalities at the time. As far back as the 1980s, companies like Seiko, Casio, or IBM had launched prototypes that have little to do with current models.
For its part, Apple introduced the very first Apple Watch in 2014, three years after the passing of Steve Jobs.

This original model was marketed from 2015 with its own operating system: the watchOS. Apple wanted to make it stand out from other smartwatches, as these devices were starting to become popular. With the brand’s reputation as a quality manufacturer, its unique operating system, and stylish design, the Apple Watch was set for glory.

Why are Apple Watches so popular?

Despite a price generally higher than other smartwatch models, the Apple Watch is a leader on the market for several reasons. As we just mentioned, Apple’s popularity and reputation as a manufacturer of high-end technology products is key to this success. The seemingly higher cost is eventually offset by the durability and reliability of the device.

Secondly, the watchOS operating system, much like the iPhone’s iOS or the MacBook and iMac OS, is a brand in itself. Their quality and good repute make any new development by Apple reliable. Besides, the compatibility with all other Apple products makes these smartwatches ideal for anyone using the American brand.

woman with apple watch

The watchOS operating system offers simple and intuitive access to the different apps on the device.
(Source: Chesser: rCOWMC8qf8A/ Unsplash.co

What is the watchOS operating system exactly?

As we briefly explained, Apple’s smartwatches function with a unique operating system – watchOS – that has been evolving consistently over the years. The version 6 is the latest and can be found in the Apple Watch Series 3 and 5 models. This operating system is compatible with iOS, so you can and should connect your iPhone to your Apple Watch.

The watchOS system offers simple and intuitive access to the different apps on the device. The touch-operated interface is easy to navigate, with sliding and pressing movements to activate the various functions available. Note that it is upgradeable; the watchOS 6, for instance, only supports iOS 13 or higher on the iPhone.

What features make the Apple Watch stand out?

Besides the watchOS, distinct from the more traditional Android system, various aspects differentiate Apple Watches from the rest of the herd. Regarding the construction and design of the device, Apple has bet on top-quality materials and very stylish finishes. The outer case of the Apple Watch Series 5 Edition, for example, is made of titanium and ceramic.

In addition, the American brand allows you to customize the straps for almost all its models. You can choose from a wide range of materials and appearances, from colorful and classic to sporty and youthful. The built-in GPS and Retina display with high-quality colors are two other advantages that Apple Watches have over other models.

woman with apple watch working with laptop

The Apple Watch allows you to make and receive calls and messages.
(Source: Hume: hBuwVLcYTnA/ Unsplash.com)

What screen types and sizes do Apple Watches have?

The original Apple Watch models – Series 1, 2, and 3 – had casing dimensions of 38 or 42 millimeters available. Given that the display occupies practically the entire upper part of the casing, both measurements are compatible. The most recent models – Series 4 and 5 – saw a slight increase in size: 40 or 44 millimeters.

As you can see, the brand always offers two size options per model.

As for the screen itself, the Retina system developed by Apple and applied to all its products – iPhones, MacBook, iMac, and iPad – is a real highlight. This technology improves image quality by eliminating excess pixels until they are invisible to the naked eye. Now you understand the reference to the retina, too.

What are the advantages of Apple Watches?

While we have already discussed most of them, we want to show you these advantages in an easy-to-read table. This is why we have listed the pros and cons of Apple Watches below, in comparison to other brands’ smartwatches. Let’s see where the Apple Watch is dominating and where it could improve:

Advantages
  • Apple”s guarantee of quality
  • watchOS operating system
  • Ideal for iPhone users
  • Great autonomy and fast charging
  • Retina display
  • Storage capacity
Disadvantages
  • Higher cost
  • Incompatible with non-iPhone devices
  • Less functionalities for athletes

What can I do with my Apple Watch?

The Apple Watch allows you to send and receive calls and messages, chat on WhatsApp, check the weather forecast, measure your heart rate, schedule events and meetings, listen to music, and naturally know the time. All of this fits in a tiny little gadget attached to your wrist. James Bond much?

For example, the Apple Watch is ideal when you’re practicing sports but want to stay connected to the world. It allows you to remain available to anyone looking to contact you, and you don’t need to carry a cumbersome cell phone on you. This is all made possible by the Cellular technology, which is a new feature in the latest versions of the Apple Watch.

Which Apple Watch should I choose?

In the following table, we have listed the main features and technical specifications of the most popular Apple Watches on the market. That way, you can easily compare them and figure out which one best suits your needs. If you still have doubts, we will then introduce you to the main shopping criteria to consider.

Model Apple Watch Series 5 (GPS) Apple Watch Series 5 (GPS + Cellular) Apple Watch Series 4 (GPS + Cellular) Apple Watch Series 3 (GPS)
Size 40/44 mm 40/44 mm 40/44 mm 38/42 mm
Operating system watchOS 5 watchOS 5 watchOS 5 watchOS 6
Storage space 32 GB 32 GB 16 GB 8/16 GB
 Retina display Yes Yes Yes Yes
GPS Yes Yes Yes Yes
Bluetooth 5.0 5.0 5.0 4.2
Cellular technology No Yes Yes No
Compass Yes Yes No No
Autonomy Up to 18 hours Up to 18 hours Up to 18 hours Up to 18 hours

Buyer’s Guide

Before you purchase any electronic product, it is essential that you define why you want it and how you plan on using it. Smartwatches are relatively expensive devices, and you certainly don’t want to get it wrong. Otherwise, you’ll be left with little more than a regular watch. In the section below, we have delved into some critical shopping factors to take into account in order to find the right Apple Watch for your needs.

Personal Use

This is undeniably the criterion with which you should start your search. Once you have defined why you want an Apple Watch, other aspects like size, design, and primary functionalities will be much easier to sort out. So, are you looking for a watch to go on adventures with you, or a model to keep up with your busy schedule? Answer this question and you will be a step closer to your new Apple Watch.

As we briefly mentioned, you can also find special editions to suit your taste. The more elegant models are designed for daily use in the office or at social events, for instance. You may want to prioritize different functions depending on your preferences, whether it’s listening to music during your workouts or staying connected to the internet at work.

apple watch next to wallets

The Apple Watch is ideal when you’re practicing sports but want to stay connected to the world.
(Source: Edmonds: Tr4FdDbFEw/ Unsplash.com)

Favorite Apps

Are you more of a texter or a caller? Do you prefer to listen to music or watch videos while running on the treadmill or riding your static bike? Various factors depend on the applications you most use, such as the quality of the screen, for instance. Models integrating a Retina display will offer you a crisp and high-quality image.

iPhone Operating System

This criterion is really conditioned by compatibility. Purchasing the latest Apple Watch on the market is pointless if you cannot sync it with your iPhone; you simply wouldn’t be able to make the most of it. This is why you have to make sure that the versions of the operating systems of your Apple Watch and your iPhone are compatible with each other.

As we said earlier, the watchOS 6 operating system is only compatible with versions 13 or higher of the iPhone’s iOS. While most iPhone models allow you to upgrade to that version, some of the older phones won’t let you do that. Pay close attention to this, or you might just be sending your smartwatch back in no time.

Man using apple watch

The watchOS operating system, much like the iPhone’s iOS or the MacBook and iMac OS, is a brand in itself.
(Source: Chesser: WLOCr03nGr0/ Unsplash.com)

Aesthetics

If you like to look sharp and want to stay up to date with the latest trends, you will undoubtedly be interested in an Apple Watch whose strap you can change. Models designed in partnership with Nike have a sleek, sporty edge. In any case, Apple allows you to tailor your watch to your personality and tastes.

When we talk about aesthetics, it is also important to consider the manufacturing materials and design of the product. While most Apple Watches are made of aluminum, the brand has also released models with ceramic and titanium finishes, conferring a much more elegant and careful appearance to them. These devices have nailed the classic-chic style.

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Size of the Watch

We have already introduced you to the various casing sizes available, and there are no significant differences between the models here. If you remember our comparative table, each smartwatch version gives you the choice between two dimensions with a difference of 4 millimeters between them. While this aspect may not seem so relevant, many people don’t like their watch to look too big or too small on their wrist. That’s always something to keep in mind!

Summary

Throughout our article, we have introduced you to the very popular Apple Watch. You have learned about its story, the different versions available, and various technical specifications that have made it what it is today. We hope that this has convinced you to purchase one of these smartwatches.

In addition, you now know which criteria to take into account when choosing your own Apple Watch. You certainly have the right tools to compare the American brand’s models with other manufacturers and decide which are most suitable for your needs. Don’t forget to consider your favorite apps, the overall design of the watch, or the quality of its operating system.

Did you find our shopping guide on Apple Watches helpful and informative? Did it come in handy when you purchased your new smartwatch? We’d love to hear your opinion, so feel free to leave us a comment in the section below. You can also share this article on your social media, so that your friends and family can learn more about one of Apple’s incredible products!

(Source of featured image: Abrahan: vVmfi-yhCsc/ Unsplash.com)

Why you can trust me?

Brett Holmes Technology Geek
Brett is a keen observer of the latest technology trends and knows his way around the industry because he runs an electronics store. He writes about it in his spare time and wants to help others learn more about the technology industry.