It’s been a rocky ride for smartwatches – and these days you’ll see more Android Wear watches from fashion brands than tech companies; even Louis Vuitton and Tag Heuer are in on the act. Despite all this, there has always been one consistent performer: the Apple Watch. The Apple Watch Series 3 best represents what current smartwatch tech is capable of right now. It’s rated to be waterproof up to 50 metres, which means you can take it for swims. It’s significant that you can now use your smartwatch as you would a regular watch, short of the limited battery life. But everything else works great.
With a full assortment of GPS, heart rate monitor, altimeter, accelerometer and gyroscope sensors, the Activity app can capture quite a lot of data, with sleep tracking the only notable omission – for some reason, it’s still not offered natively. Health and activity tracking is a significant element of the new watch. And with Apple Music integration, you can sync tracks onto the watch (streaming to come shortly) and listen to your AirPods during your workouts.
With the upgraded processor, navigating the watch feels seamless and lag-free, while notifications are unobtrusive and readable. The 1000-nit screen is bright and easy to view in most lighting conditions, and more importantly, battery life is quite reasonable. On non-workout days, the battery should tide you through one and half days of moderate use. So you’re not in trouble if you forget to charge it the night before.
Siri is particularly useful on the Series 3 and is one of the highlights – that is, if you don’t mind talking to your watch in public. The upside is that you don’t have to hold your watch to your mouth to have it pick out your words accurately. It makes a lot of sense now to keep your phone in your bag or pocket – you can send texts or make calls with just Siri.
With each iteration, the Apple Watch makes a stronger case for itself as a companion device for your phone. It is now a very refined way of filtering through the many notifications that will hit your phone throughout the day, and you’ll find yourself only picking up your phone for essential tasks. And unless you are a competitive sportsman, you’ll not need a specialised fitness tracker – the Apple Watch covers plenty of ground.
The third iteration of the Apple Watch shows the potential of a smartwatch in its entirety now that all the underlying tech is up to the task – with exception of the battery, once again. Even without LTE, the watch is hard to put down. You’ll find yourself not needing to pick up your phone as often.
38mm: S$498, 42mm: S$548