Generally speaking, recommending an Apple Watch is simple: if you use an iPhone and want a smartwatch, staying in-house with Apple will usually be your best bet.
But there are currently several Apple Watches in the market. The introduction of the Apple Watch Series 7 in September 2021 brought Apple’s lifetime total to nine, with the company currently offering three models in store: the Series 7, SE and Series 3. Of these, there are several variants that differ in size, connectivity, design and price.
Then there are older but still updated generations that you can look up from third-party retailers like Best Buy and Amazon, as well as options to buy refurbished devices. Everyone has different needs, and you might be able to find a cheaper Apple Watch that’s more suited to your wants by going these routes.
The imminent launch of watchOS 9 will further complicate these decisions, and as usual, Apple should launch new models in the fall. For those who want to take the leap today, however, we’ve sifted through the market for old, new, and refurbished Apple Watches and tested the current options to help you decide which is right for you. We’ll keep this guide updated over time as new models are introduced, so if you’re looking to upgrade from an older model or hop on board for the first time, allow us to do so. your research for you.
The best Apple Watch for most people
Apple Watch Series 7
Buy: From $345 at Amazon, Apple, Target, Walmart
The Apple Watch Series 7 is the best smartwatch you can buy right now. It’s the best-equipped and best-supported wearable on the market, making it the true extension of your phone available. The number of apps and integrations is unmatched, allowing you to do everything from opening your garage door to checking ocean tides right from your wrist. It’s not the fanciest fitness accessory – we’d opt for a Garmin smartwatch for serious athletes and outdoor enthusiasts who want longer battery life and more in-depth workout features – but the 7 series is also gaining momentum.
Packing sensors for ECG monitoring, blood oxygen readings and heart rate, the Series 7 hits the top trio for health metrics in wearable devices. Add GPS, compass, always-on altimeter, built-in fall detection, 50-meter water resistance, and the option of cellular capability, and you’ve got a fitness buddy you can take with you wherever you go. tracking and security purposes. .
Apple’s “digital crown” mechanism is still an intuitive way to scroll the watch, and there are fun case colors and a plethora of strap options to suit your style, including the Nike sports tapes, sleek metallic options, woven bandsand a ton more.
With the imminent release of watchOS 9 this fall, the Series 7 will also have the ability to provide advanced running metrics (e.g. stride, cadence, pace), heart rate zones, and new multi-sport tracking modes. , among other features.
The Series 7 also sports the largest display of any Apple Watch, thanks to its smaller bezels and 1mm larger watch case compared to the Series 6. That’s not a huge difference, except the larger size facilitates a QWERTY keyboard for text input. – but it allows for larger text formats which can be a game-changer for people with visual impairments.
With charging coils and a USB-C charger, the Series 7 is also the fastest Apple Watch to charge, going from 0-100% in just over an hour in our tests. That’s about half the time it takes to charge any other Apple Watch model. It’s also the only dustproof (IP6X) Apple Watch and the only one that supports input via a full QWERTY keyboard.
To be clear, the Series 7, like all of the Apple Watches in this guide, isn’t perfect. Although Apple’s smartwatches have the broadest level of third-party app (and accessory) support, you won’t find every iPhone app on the Apple Watch, far from it. And not all apps are particularly useful. (Do you really want to be able to scroll through Twitter on your wrist?) Still, pretty much every app relevant to a wrist-based experience is out there.
The biggest sacrifice you’ll make by owning an Apple Watch is battery life; it only lasts a day or two. Other smartwatches, like those from Garmin and Fitbit, can last a week or more, although you won’t find the same level of app support (third-party or first-party) as with your iPhone. And yes, Apple Watches are still just for iPhones, and that’s probably never going to change. But taken as a whole, and for iPhone owners in particular, the Apple Watch is the most comprehensive wearable platform on the market – and right now the Series 7 is the most comprehensive offering for Most people.
Who is it for : Those who want the latest health and fitness features or those who simply need a bigger screen
Worth the upgrade for: Series 5 and lower