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How to buy the best Apple Watch

By Katie Waller

Apple caused a stir with its first smartwatches, but which Apple Watch is the best smartwatch for you? Find out with our expert guide.

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Apple's launch of the Apple watch created a huge stir. But is it worth the hype? Read on to find out if the Apple Watch is the smartwatch for you.

The Apple Watch is Apple’s first attempt at delivering a piece of wearable technology. It works by wirelessly tethering to your iPhone via Bluetooth. The Apple Watch then delivers text messages, email and social media notifications, and even phone calls to your wrist.

Take a look at our smartwatch reviews to discover the best-rated models.

Buying the best Apple Watch for you

The Apple Watch ranges in price from £299 for the Watch Sport to upwards of £13,000 for the Watch Edition. There’s no difference between the speed and functionality of the lowest and highest priced Apple Watch, but instead the added cost is based on materials used. The £13,500 Watch Edition is crafted from 18-carat gold, for example.

Three types of Apple Watch are available: the Watch Sport, the Apple Watch and the Watch Edition. They’re identical when it comes to technical specifications. All three have the same processor, 4GB of storage and the same choice of 38mm and 42mm screen sizes. The difference is in the materials used and the price.

To find out all you need to know about the Apple Watch and Watch Sport, see our full Apple smartwatch reviews.

Which Apple smartwatch should I buy?

Apple Watch Sport  

The Watch Sport is the lightest and least expensive model, with a choice of dark and light brushed aluminium cases and rubber-feel plastic straps. It starts at £299 for the 38mm version and £339 for the larger 42mm version, The Watch Sport has a different screen to the more expensive versions designed to be lightweight as well as scratch resistant. Its strap is detachable, with alternatives available from Apple and other manufacturers.

Pros: Light. Cheaper than other Apple watches but works exactly the same.
Cons: Glass isn’t quite as tough as the premium Apple Watches.

Click to read the full review of the Apple Watch Sport.

Apple Watch

The Apple Watch starts from £479 for the 38mm version and £519 for the 42mm version, and features a stainless steel (or black stainless steel) case with a sapphire crystal screen that Apple claims is especially durable. The strap is again detachable, with a choice of stainless steel or leather.

Pros: Premium straps and finishes. Tougher sapphire crystal screen.
Cons: More expensive and heavier than the Watch Sport.

Click to read the full review of the Apple Watch.

Apple Watch Edition

If money is no object, the Watch Edition could be for you. It retains the design and sapphire crystal screen of the Apple Watch, but each case is now crafted from 18-carat gold or rose gold with a choice of premium straps and a leather box with built-in charger. Prices start at £8000 and rise to £13,500.

Pros: Luxurious finishes.
Cons: Works the same as other Apple Watches. Just look at the price tags.

Apple Watch Key Features

To use the Apple Watch you’ll need to pair it with your iPhone. It will only pair with recent iPhones, from the iPhone 5 onwards.

Design

Whether you pay £299 or £13,500, every Apple Watch has the same basic design and runs the same Watch OS operating system. Each version has a square touchscreen, a circular ‘digital crown’ on the side you can use to scroll through your notifications, and an inset button that acts as a shortcut for calling and texting favourite contacts, like your friends or family.

Notifications

The Apple Watch works with your iPhone to give you notifications about emails, calendar events, incoming calls and texts and even certain apps directly to your wrist. Notifications arise with a quick, tapping vibration, and you can read them by lifting your wrist. The ‘Quick Word’ function can analyse text messages and come up with quick responses you can pick with a tap. You can also dictate a reply.

Voice control

Speaking of which, Apple’s voice-activated virtual assistant, Siri, is built into the watch. You can use Siri to dictate a text message, set a reminder for later or get directions.

Battery life

Apple claims that its smartwatch offers ‘all-day battery life’ but ‘all-day’ is actually 18 hours.In tests, we got around 17 hours of typical use from the Apple Watch and Watch Sport. Attach the small magnetic charger to the back for fifteen minutes and you can get another two hours of life.

Apps

Many popular apps for the iPhone have their own Apple Watch apps for you to install. You can check recent tweets and trends on Twitter, see your to do list, create a shopping list with Evernote, access Google Maps and even play simple games on your watch . In terms of numbers of apps the range of Apple Watch apps is about the same as on Android Wear smartwatches, with little to choose between the two.

Health

The Apple Watch has its own heat-rate monitor, which works with some new apps to track your daily activities and encourage you to be more healthy. It also works with many popular fitness apps.

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