Apple Watch Series 5 vs. Series 3: Which Is the Right Watch for You?

Apple Watch Series 5 Nike Credit: Karl Conrad
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The new Apple Watch Series 5 has been available for about a month now and comes with a bevy of new features (like the always-on display), making it the best Apple Watch yet. And, of course, it’s also the most expensive one yet.

Fortunately, Apple has lowered the price of the already great Apple Watch Series 3. Now, if you want to have the latest and greatest, you’ll need to pay double the price.

But is it worth it? Should you buy the Apple Watch Series 5 for a few new features? Or should you get the cheaper, older Apple Watch Series 3 for half the price?

Let’s compare both devices to help you decide which Apple Watch is better for you.

Here’s What Both Watches Have in Common

Despite the differences in these devices, they have a couple of things in common.

First, both models run Apple’s new watchOS 6. And both watches get new Apple Watch Faces, but the Series 5 has even more available. And they get new apps, but again, the Series 5 does get a few more apps, including a new Noise app. More on that later.

Finally, both watches can now download apps directly to them, instead of downloading them from your iPhone. As you can see, most differences come from the Series 5 hardware, which we’ll get to in a second.

Apple Watch Series 5 vs. Series 3: Specs

Here’s where you’ll see the differences between two watches. Both watches come in two sizes.

  1. 38mm version and a 42mm version for the Apple Watch Series 3
  2. 40mm version and a 44mm version for the Apple Watch Series 5.

Note that the Series 5 has smaller bezels, so you’ll get a bigger display overall even if you’re using the smaller version.

Besides size, both watches come with different storage capacities.

  1. The Series 3 comes with 8GB of storage in the regular model and 16GB for the GPS + cellular model.
  2. The Series 5, however, comes with 32GB in both models.

The Series 5’s optical heart sensor has been updated to its second-generation, which means it’ll do what it does on the Series 3, but better.

The Digital Crown got an even bigger upgrade too. Now, it comes with haptic feedback and an electrocardiogram sensor (ECG), so it may be able to detect atrial fibulation if you put your finger on the crown.

Last but not least, the new Apple Watch Series 5 comes with an all-new 64-bit dual-core S5 chip processor, which is twice as fast as the older S3 processor that comes in the Series 3.

Series 5: A ‘Healthier’ Apple Watch

Apple has added new features to the Apple Watch Series 5 to make it a better tool to keep you healthier. Besides the improvements to the Digital Crown and the new second-generation optical heart sensor, the Series 5 comes with a fall detection feature.

This means that if you fall, the watch will send you a message that you’d need to address. If you don’t address it or don’t get up in the next 60 seconds, the Apple Watch will make an emergency call and it will contact your emergency contact numbers to send them your location.

Hearing is not our biggest concern in our everyday life. This changes with Apple’s new Noise App. This app senses the noise in your surroundings, and if it’s too loud, it will let you know that you need to step out and take a break. This app is exclusive to the Apple Watch Series 5 and Series 4.

An app that’s on both watches is the Cycle Tracking app. This is an app for women to track and control their menstrual cycle.

These new health features are some of the biggest changes the Apple Watch Series 5 has to offer. If you or a relative need to pay attention to their health, these are a few features you might have always wanted.

Although, I feel like most people only wanted this next feature.

Series 5 Always-on Display (Finally)

The new Apple Watch Series 5 comes with a much needed (and requested) feature: the always-on display. Now you can set up your Apple Watch to always show the time, instead of having to touch the screen or make a sometimes noticeable gesture to check the time.

In theory, you won’t need to worry about your Series 5 battery life. Apple assures that using this feature won’t drain your battery. Here are more things you should know about the Series 5’s always-on display.

In our initial tests, the Series 5’s battery didn’t exactly live up to Apple’s set expectations (until after a few days). Wait out the battery drain and you’ll likely see a major improvement.

Apple Watch Series 5 vs Series 3: Price

As mentioned before, the Apple Watch Series 5 costs twice as much as the Series 3. Let’s be more specific.

  1. The Apple Watch Series 3 starts at $199 for the 38mm version and $229 for its 42mm version. The GPS + Cellular version of these models come at $299 and $329 respectively.
  2. The Apple Watch Series 5 starts at $399 for the 40mm version and $429 for its 44mm version. Its GPS + Cellular versions come at $499 and $529 respectively.

And if you want something fancier, you can get the Apple Watch Series 5 with a Titanium case that starts at $799. There’s even a new case made of Ceramic that starts at $1299.

Is It Worth the Upgrade?

The Apple Watch Series 5 is better in most aspects compared to the Series 3. Although, despite all of the new features that it comes with, the Series 5 likely won’t offer you anything you can’t live without.

They’re both smartwatches. They’ll do what you need them to do, especially with the new watchOS 6 update.

If you absolutely need the new health features, or you’ve been waiting for the always-on display, and money is not an issue, you should spring for the Apple Watch Series 5.

However, if you just want a device to help you track your activities, help you with things like health and notifications while keeping within the Apple ecosystem, you should get the Apple Watch Series 3 for half the price. Or consider the Apple Watch Series 4.

What About the Series 4?

Oh, right! The Apple Watch Series 4. With the Series 4, you’ll get an even better version of the Series 3 with the display size of the Series 5, but Apple has decided to discontinue it. This means two things for you. One, you can’t get them from Apple anymore. And two, they’re cheaper now.

The Apple Watch Series 4 is being sold at a great discount right now. Spoiler alert, they’re still more expensive than the Series 3. But if you’re interested and you want to know the differences between the Apple Watch Series 4 and Series 5, check out what’s changed from the Series 4.

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