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Apple Watch Series 3 First Look – is LTE a hit or a miss?

We take both versions of Apple's latest wearable for a spin to see if you should consider them

Apple has made a lot of noise about its new Series 3 Watch with 4G. With an emphasis on fitness, it promises to help you stay in shape and improve your daily life, but does it deliver?

According to claims made in the company’s keynote speech, Apple’s smartwatch is now the top selling watch in the world. So it seems the designers at Apple have been putting their heads together to see how they can cram in even more impressive specs to keep their product flying off the shelves.

We tried out the recently released Apple Watch Series 3 LTE and the regular Apple Watch 3 to give you our initial impressions before we send them to our labs for testing

Series 3 Apple Watch with LTE

 

The new Series 3 Apple Watch, which starts at £399, is the first smartwatch from Apple that can be used independently to make calls, meaning you can leave your phone at home and navigate your digital life from your wrist.

And it’s an all-seeing, all-knowing fitness coach, too, because Apple knows that people who are in the market for wearable technology are interested in devices that track and monitor fitness.

Key Series 3 features include: 

  • Water resistance: you can swim and surf with it. Or, at the very least, you wont have thrown £400 down the drain if you jump in the shower with it on.
  • A heart monitor: you can track your heart’s recovery rates and see improvements as you get fitter.
  • Altimeter and GPS: it tracks you through the day as you make your way to the daily 10,000 steps, while also keeping tabs on stairs and other inclines climbed.
  • Pairs with your wireless earbuds: you can listen to your music while out and about. And soon (if you have a subscription to Apple Music) you can stream over 40 million tunes straight from your Series 3.
  • 4G: with data and 4G capability you can make calls and send texts.

The Series 3 Apple Watch is available exclusively through EE in the UK at the moment and in order to use all of its features you will need an extra data plan to cover it. You have to use it in conjunction with your iPhone, which needs to be an iPhone 6 or later and be operating iOS 11.

We recently tried out the LTE Series 3 Apple Watch before sending it for rigorous testing in our lab. Read our review to see if we recommend it, or if we think you shouldn’t bother.

Series 3 Apple Watch without LTE

 

 

Apple also offers a new Series 3 model without LTE connectivity, which is useful if you don’t have an iPhone tied to the EE network. It’s cheaper than the LTE version, starting at £329 for the 38mm version, or £359 for the larger 42mm.

The two watches are almost identical, with a red inlay on the digital crown of the LTE version being the only way to spot which watch is which.

Dip beneath the surface and you’ll find that the features are nearly identical between the LTE and non-LTE versions, but you will have to bring your iPhone with you to get the most out of the latter.

The non-LTE Apple Watch will mirror anything you do on your iPhone, whether that’s playing music, exercising or responding to notifications. You can even make calls on the non-LTE Watch, provided you’re within the iPhone’s Bluetooth range.

We took the non-LTE Apple Watch Series 3 for a spin, and we’ll have our fully lab-tested review soon. But if you can’t wait that long, check out our First Look review to see if the newest Apple Watch is right for you.

Still undecided? Our guide on whether to buy a fitness tracker or a smartwatch can point you in the right direction.

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