Apple Watch Series 3 LTE Review

Before Apple's official Series 3 Apple Watch announcement in September, I admit: I was concerned. As a devout fan of Apple's 38mm casing size, I didn't love the rumors over LTE connectivity. LTE networking is hard and battery-draining, and every other manufacturer on the market who's tried it has been forced to make big, clunky watches that look more like 1980s ideals of wrist-connected technology than actual watches for humans without 6'4"-sized wrists.

Would Apple abandon 38mm users in its quest to chase after the "true" dream — the watch as a stand-alone product? Or would it include 38mm users but destroy the user experience? Could it actually make LTE useful on the small watch?

Apple's official on-stage debut and our subsequent hands on time allayed my fears for a few days, but then early reviews of the Series 3 started trickling in with concerns over connectivity. While the vast majority of those problems seem to be related to a Wi-Fi bug, it still left me uneasy.

I've now been able to test the 38mm Series 3 LTE model for 48 hours, and I have a few thoughts about all of this. Like many of our other iMore reviews, this is a living document — I plan to update this again in about a month with more longterm testing notes and observations, but for those of you curious about my initial observations, feelings, and questions over Apple Watch Series 3 — read on (or watch below!).

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Let's talk tiny watches (and why they're so hard)

I want to start with a statement that has been true since 2015: Apple is currently the only company in this space innovating on full-featured smartwatches below 42mm.

There are lots of smartwatches out in the world. Pretty much every fashion company, tech manufacturer, or fitness company has at least one device they're marketing as some sort of "smartwatch," but not a single one of them is actively thinking about a full-featured watch for anyone whose wrist size doesn't look great with a 44mm circular frame.

And just to go on a quick tangent here — I don't bring this up to pit women vs men, or style preferences. There are plenty of women who like big watches and men who like small ones. But in practice, the big "boyfriend"-style watches of the fashion world are worn rather loose on the wrist. You can't make that work on a smartwatch if you want accurate fitness data. As such, if you're a smaller-wristed person, your options have largely been "use a smart band with limited performance options," "wear a gigantic sundial strapped tightly to your wrist," or buy an Apple Watch.

I also say this to point out that Apple never had to make a 38mm watch. Its competitors all think that market doesn't need to be served by anything beyond a bracelet-style fitness band; they haven't even tried to produce a watch in that sizing bracket — largely because trying to shrink the components down to that size while still getting good battery life is hard. Adding LTE? That's just crazy talk.

I suspect that one of the reasons Apple went with a rectangular face rather than a round one when first making the Apple Watch has to do with the 38mm — the same general size in a circular model is a vastly harder engineering problem.

Apple could have easily dropped support for the 38mm watch after its first generation, and the greater tech community wouldn't have batted an eye: "It got terrible battery life in comparison to the 42mm." "Who wears that thing, anyway?" "The screen is so small!"

But the company didn't stop making the 38mm. Instead, it doubled down on making the size actually useable. The Series 2 had proper all-day battery life for its smaller watch, all while keeping feature parity with its 42mm sibling.

I wear and champion the 38mm because of this: It's a triumph in technology that Apple, every year, fits everything it needs to in this casing size without compromising on features. The company could have easily announced LTE as a 42mm-only perk this year, much as Portrait mode is limited to iPhone Plus.

But it didn't. The company figured out how to embed its LTE radio around the screen of the Apple Watch to fix its space problem and offer LTE to both models.

Are there compromises you'll get by wearing a 38mm over 42? Absolutely. You lose out on battery life and a larger screen, and third-party app interfaces don't always consider the smaller watch when making touch targets.

But by and large, the 38mm and 42mm models are identical to the end user — and this is why, for all of Apple's rough waters in making LTE work for Apple Watch, I applaud the company for giving a damn and trying to make this work.

The Apple Watch isn't in its perfect, final form yet with Series 3, but because Apple is forcing itself to innovate here, I can easily foresee a time when it will be — all while the rest of the industry sits and twiddles its thumbs, claiming that no one will buy smaller sizes, so why even try?

But I do. And so, I suspect, do millions of others.

On that Wi-Fi and LTE connectivity bug

Series 3 with Cellular

Series 3 with Cellular

Before I get into the rest of my review, we should probably talk about the elephant in the room: The Series 3's reported LTE and cellular problems. Here's what I can say for sure, after my tests.

The good news is that the issues reported can be tweaked or fixed by software — this isn't a hardware problem, which means it's infinitely easier to solve for the end user. And Apple's teams are likely working weekends at this point to make sure that the LTE watch experience improves.

That said, there's definitely a Wi-Fi bug. I ran into it on Friday while riding Amtrak; when I switched watches, rather than my Series 3 watch hopping on cellular, it attempted to grab the Amtrak captive network. A quick "toggle Airplane mode on and off again" seemed to right its senses, which I'll recommend to anyone else currently having problems.

This is an unfortunate issue, and I'm rather disappointed in Apple for catching it so late in the process — especially because I'm sure older Apple Watches have been falling prey to this bug for years, but no one noticed because they wrote the cloud Wi-Fi support off as finicky.

I certainly did. I've been complaining upwards of a year about Apple not having a way to enter Wi-Fi passwords or interstitials, but I was primarily thinking about new networks — it didn't even occur to me that memorized captive networks might trip up the Apple Watch.

But it's not my job to catch those bugs. It's Apple's. And because the company didn't, it's a huge black mark that tarnishes an otherwise exciting launch.

Now, aside from that bug, have I found any other gaping problems with LTE on the Apple Watch? Not personally. I've tested the watch wandering through NYC, various parks, Amtrak, a Faraday-cage-like hotel with no cellular service, and New England over the last two days — including a particularly ill-advised experiment in putting my iPhone's SIM card into a Samsung phone to make the Apple Watch work for Android users — with no LTE problems whatsoever.

But that said, your mileage may vary. With various carriers, service areas, and everything else that goes into cellular signals, I'm not surprised to see early reviewers having issues. Add in the fact that the watch wants to stay connected to your iPhone or a Wi-Fi network as long as possible before switching to LTE (to keep from unnecessarily draining your battery by looking for a cellular signal), and you have the perfect recipe for potential problems.

Do these make the LTE watch a bad buy, or unusable? Depends on your use case. As I said, I've been using mine for the last few days without issue. But if you've logged into a lot of captive Wi-Fi networks (like Starbucks or Panera) on your iPhone in areas you frequent, you may have weird connectivity while using the watch without an iPhone present until Apple pushes a bug fix.

If you do run into cellular connectivity issues on the watch, there's at least a pretty simple fix: Toggle Airplane mode on and off on your Apple Watch. This will disconnect everything and reboot your cellular antenna, allowing the device to grab onto a new signal. (It's a trick I've used for years when having cellular problems with my iPhone, and now, I suppose, for my watch.)

Okay, but how is LTE + Cellular service?

Apple Watch Series 3 explorer face

Apple Watch Series 3 explorer face (Image credit: iMore)

Perhaps the best praise I can give is that when it works, it feels seamless — something the Apple Watch has always had problems with in the past when pulling data from the iPhone.

Siri queries have improved across the board for watchOS 4 users, but when they're LTE-powered, they feel almost like magic. I frequently got answers to my questions almost before I finished asking them, and the Siri voice is a lovely little chirp in my ears without being too grating. (You can always turn off the feature if you dislike it.)

watchOS 4 has definitely made the Series 2 snappier at quick responses, especially once Siri has been asked an initial query. But on more complex questions, the Series 3 Apple Watch's LTE powers shine.

Directions is a big one. On Series 2 and older, asking for directions directly on the watch was often a crapshoot — sometimes it would work; sometimes the watch wouldn't even load your current location, let alone anything else in the Maps ecosystem.

Series 3 is still slower than I'd like in the directions-seeking department, but it found driving directions to Apple Park from NYC within a minute and a half; in contrast, I waited a minute and a half more for my Series 2 watch (paired to a different iPhone) to try and resolve the same identical query, and eventually gave up.

Calls are crystal clear, and both cellular and FaceTime audio connections work without problem — though they're both battery hogs, eating up anywhere from 5-15% of your power capacity on 5-20 minute calls. I am slightly curious as to which burns more battery (FaceTime or cellular), and it's something I plan to test soon.

There are still queries Siri can't accomplish, which is doubly frustrating when you're away from your iPhone. You can't take a note, for example, or use any of the third-party Siri integration options. (The lack of Lyft support is particularly grating: Even if Siri can't interpret "call a Lyft" into the third-party Siri framework, it should at least be able to open the Lyft app for me to use.) If you ask a query that requires your iPhone even if you're away from your device, the watch will still ask you to "Continue on iPhone," though it has no way of actually accomplishing that task. (Whoops.)

That said, you can ask a number of things I didn't know, including showing photos you took last year, playing music, and querying Wikipedia (by saying "Wikipedia [your query]) or WolframAlpha.

Lastly, carrier limitations. There are a few things to cover here: For one, yes, there's no option to roam. Part of that has to do with the slim number of LTE bands packed into each region-specific model (there are six — 3 of each size) of Apple Watch, but I'd guess the bigger deal here is the cost of roaming on battery life.

How cellular data works on Apple Watch

Bigger issues, though, are individual carrier limitations. When you set up your Series 3 via your iPhone's Watch app and pop into your carrier portal, you'll be asked to pay a $5-$10 "monthly access charge" to essentially let your Apple Watch access your iPhone's pool of data. It's a money-grubbing move by carriers, and I'm not a fan of it, but hey, at least they're not making us sign up for individual plans or locking SIMs.

You can switch to a different carrier (including ones in a different country supported by your Apple Watch's LTE bands) if you switch your iPhone line, but not until that point; there's not even an option to pick a different carrier until your iPhone is set up.

Once you've set up with a carrier, you're bound by their rules. AT&T, for instance, won't let Apple Watch Series 3 users call internationally without the iPhone is connected. I was also unsuccessful at sending a "green bubble" SMS, though I'm not quite sure if that issue was terrible networking or an actual AT&T limitation. (iMessages, for what it's worth, work quite well even with your iPhone in Airplane mode.)

Bottom line: If you don't run into any LTE issues, it feels like magic on the watch and it's hugely helpful into making the watch feel like the device I've wanted on day one.

Battery life

Here's the section I wanted to start my review on before the insanity of LTE issues and Wi-Fi bugs. Can the 38mm be functional for a full day when you're using it as a LTE-only option?


In the few days I tested, I ran the watch ragged for one day — calling multiple people on cellular and FaceTime audio, querying Siri, forcing the watch to run on LTE by putting the iPhone in Airplane mode, doing a skating workout — and wore it more normally the next.

On the stress-test day, I started at 9AM around 100% battery, and immediately enabled Airplane mode on my phone to force my watch to use LTE. First, I placed a few 5-minute calls to my folks in LA. That begged the battery a few notches (97%), but not too much.

After that, I experimented with international calls, FaceTime calls, iMessage texts, and SMS for about a half-hour. By the end of that session, I had hit 90%.

I swapped back over to iPhone connectivity around 10:40AM and proceeded to work on my computer, answering the occasional notification on my watch. By 1PM when I broke for lunch, it was around 84%.

After lunch the real fun began: This was when we tested using an Apple Watch with Android, which meant keeping the 38mm watch entirely on an LTE connection while we attempted outbound and inbound calls, sending iMessage notifications, and looking up some directions in Maps.

By 4PM when we went to start shooting for my Apple Watch review, the watch had hit 47%.

After filming (which involved both LTE-only connectivity and iPhone) and skating tests (three short skating workouts), I hit 29% around 5PM.

By 7PM, I got a 10%-pleading-for-a-charge battery notification from my 38mm watch. Result: 10 hours with about 3-4 hours of forced LTE connectivity and short workouts. Not fantastic battery life, but solid given everything I put it through.

On the second day, the watch behaved similarly in battery consumption to my Series 2, giving me a full 14-16 hours with a short walking workout included in that time period.

So, is battery life functional on the LTE Series 3? Pretty much. You're not going to be able to eke out a full day of LTE-only use without something like a BatteryPro in your bag. But if you work out and use LTE the way Apple intends it (AKA let your Apple Watch decide when it hops between networks, rather than forcing your iPhone into Airplane mode), you should easily get similar battery life to the Series 2.

That's still not fantastic, but I honestly don't know how Apple solves this problem short of a revolution in battery tech or permanently moving to a bigger casing size. For me, the smaller watch size is more than worth the tradeoff of a few extra hours of battery life.

It's also worth noting that Apple has optimized watchOS to better reflect battery decay: Now, when you hit 50%, it's actually 50% — the second half of battery consumption (49%-1%) should take as long as the first half, rather than exponentially draining.

Casings and bands

Not a ton to say here, but a few thoughts for posterity.

The new Sport Loop is fantastic, and I'll be writing a stand-alone review shortly. It's the lightest, most comfortable band Apple has ever made while still looking stylish, the Velcro-style hook and loop closures are rock solid, and it's so much better at repelling water than the Woven Nylon.

The new gold color is an ever-so-slight buttery copper that matches the new iPhone 8 and 8 Plus shade. It's halfway between the original gold shade of the watch and the almost-purple rose gold tint from last year. I love the look, personally, and vastly prefer it to last year's gold models.

Yes, there's a red crown. Yes, it's for every LTE model. And yes, you can cover it up if you really hate it. I was expecting to strongly dislike it, but I find myself largely indifferent — possibly because I wear the watch in reverse orientation, which makes the crown far less noticeable when I look at the watch.

The Series 3 LTE model comes with 16GB of storage. More room for apps, more room for Apple Music when it shows up in October, more room period.

The non-LTE Series 3 models only get the composite back, rather than the ceramic back upgrade that all Series 3 LTE models get (and all Series 2 got, as well). I think this is kind of a raw deal given the difference in scratches on ceramic vs composite glass, but I'm guessing it's to keep the Series 3 GPS-only price at a reasonable rate. Doesn't mean I have to like a subpar material in an otherwise superior casing.

The Series 3's casing design is roughly identical to Series 2 (and slightly bigger/heavier than Series 0/1), though the ceramic backing has an ever-so-slightly increased lip. (About the depth of two sheets of paper, according to Apple.)

A 21x macro shot looking at the back composite glass of the Series 3 GPS-only option versus the slightly deeper ceramic lip on the GPS + Cellular model.

Qi charging: Apple Watch uses a specialized version of the Qi for its magnetic inductive charger. As such, most regular Qi chargers (like the two optimized for iPhone) won't work with the Series 3 Apple Watch, You might be able to find luck with this if you buy a magnetic Qi charger, but I haven't been able to personally confirm one working.

Lots of folks asked about the speaker system: Apple has redesigned the way the speaker fits into the casing, but it's the same basic speaker from the Series 2. The redesign definitely helps with sound projection, however.


Where the Series 2 brought a major improvement to the fitness community with support for GPS, Series 3's altimeter addition is less of a statement, but still welcome. "Flights climbed" has become as shareable a metric as steps as of late, and runners and hikers should especially appreciate knowing their elevation gain over a lengthy trip.

The biggest fitness improvement isn't limited to the Series 3, however, and that's watchOS 4's completely redesigned Heart Rate app (for Series 1-3). It's an excellent way to get more contextual data from the watch, rather than just having your heart rate taken in the background.

watchOS 4 review

Part of Apple's success with fitness has been not only cataloging data, but making it mean something. For instance, as irksome as Stand notifications can be, they mean something in a way that "get 400 calories or else" does not.


Apple Watch Series 3

Apple Watch Series 3 (Image credit: iMore)

Zoom zoom zoom. It's hard to quantify just how incredible the Series 3's S3 processor feels because of watchOS 4 improvements that make Series 2 feel — and look — faster on screen. But even if the lack of lag isn't as dramatically pronounced as it was between Series 0 and 2, it's still improved.

Everything feels snappier. Swiping feels stutter-free for the first time in Apple Watch history — including horizontal swipes for watch faces, which used to make my Series 0 cry.

I haven't done too many academic tests between Series 3 and Series 2, but Siri, app launches, and swipes showed the most dramatic improvement; Series 3 also restarts faster than Series 2, but it's still a hibernating bear in comparison to the iPhone — the two times I attempted to reboot, it took almost a minute and 40 seconds, respectively.


Apple Watch Series 3

Apple Watch Series 3 (Image credit: Apple)

I have no qualms about calling watchOS 4 the best smartwatch software out there right now. Between its iPhone integration and all the apps and options offered to Apple Watch users, watchOS crushes its competition by being easy to use and easier to comprehend.

The LTE Series 3 Apple Watch elevates that software by making it faster and more responsive. All apps are faster, and the Apple Watch's new S3 chip allows it to render things like a full video preview of your iPhone's rear camera.

Two Portrait mode shots taken by the Series 3 Apple Watch while filming said feature.

Just a quick shout out for the Apple Watch's Camera Remote app: What started as an almost-gimmicky remote in watchOS 1 has become an incredibly powerful second-screen tool for mobile filmmakers. The fact that I can line up a shot, tap to focus, and take the photo or video without ever touching my iPhone is a big deal. I could see people buying the watch literally just for video monitoring and shooting, and nothing else.

Comparison testing

If you're interested in how the Series 3 LTE compares to its older siblings and non-Cellular Series 3 compatriot, I'm currently in the midst of comparison testing. I just picked up a Series 3 GPS-only watch, and plan to spend a few days testing performance and battery this weekend. I'll report back when I have more concrete detail about battery life, speed, and any other notes (but feel free to leave comments below if you have a specific test you'd like me to try!).

IM Staff

Your source for all things Apple

  • Great! One question: will one be able to switch carriers with the Watch, as one would with the parent phone? Also, as one who had to forego LTE due to workplace restrictions, I look forward to the comparison between the LTE and non-LTE versions.
  • Yup!
  • “”If i purchasing apple watch series 3 cellular from Australia will work in other country in which LTE bands are same especially.... india???""
    Here the band frequency is same in both the country 3(1800MHz),5(850 Mhz) bands is same in india and australia
    Then after it will not work is it possible and i don’t think it so ... what is the hardware difference in that if these bands are supported and which part of hardware apple make seprate for each country if they will make available ...
    And i want to purchase it plz guide me and i hope that you take me some needfull info about that
    Plz give me a classified information about that
  • Its definitely flawed but good try I guess. Good article! Keep them coming.
  • Can you leave the LTE turned off and not have it affect the watch’s performance? I bought the stainless LTE version just to get the stainless and ceramic. I know that sounds crazy but I have the original stainless black watch and it has held up remarkably well. I wanted the same and felt I was due for the upgrade. Since you can’t. Up the stainless without the LTE I felt I didn’t have a choice. I’m not sure if I will ever use the LTE as a stand-alone as I usually keep my phone with me, even when working out. Thus the reason for my question. Thanks.
  • It appears that unless cellular is activated, and enabled, LTE is not on and draining.
  • Nice job Serenity, as usual. My comment has to do with the new gold. So subjective, of course, but I really dislike it. Waaaaaay too much pink ( in certain light)!!! I dress-up for work and the pinkish watch just won't cut it. So disappointed! So much so that I just returned it and a got a SS space black one. I'd prefer a nice rich gold to black, but it's better than pinkish. Just one man's opinion.
  • Serenity, great insights. Do you think a non-LTE version could work almost the same as the LTE version if you bring your phone while you are out and you use your phone as a WiFi Hotspot (inside just use WiFi)?
  • Yes, as it always has with its in-range Bluetooth connection.
  • not sure why everyone who rights a review is behind apple? first the watch did not change in years and still looks ugly. i use on for work and that the only time i use one sure the watch is the best smart watch out there with a OK price but for a almost trillion dollar company i was hoping for more. same with the iphone 8 i believe THE VERGE has the best review. for me that is the first time i would not recommend any apple products. iphone 8 boring and nothing new
    apple watch looks the same for years
    apple TV 4K is really limited
  • Not sure why people who have a different opinion blame others for theirs. I’m sure we’ll see Apple’s revenue and market share decline on your guidance.
  • I've got the same issue as Gator5000e. I want the stainless 38 mm version, but have little interest/need for the LTE. How will the watch work if I don't want to pay the carrier that lousy $10/month?
  • You don’t have to activate cellular if you don’t want. It’s an option on setup. If you skip it and try to turn cellular on later - it redirects you to carrier page to sign up. So you can do it now or later or never at all.
  • Great. That was my question. I am not sure if I want/need cellular, but if I am going to spend that much on an apple watch, maybe I should get the cellular edition in case I want to add the cellular feature at some point. So, I can get the watch with cellular capability, and decide later if I want to activate it?
  • I would suggest you do settings>general>reset>reset network settings.
    This will blow away all remembered wi-fi networks. Then just stay off of captive portals, period (until Apple fixes this.)
    If you do use them, be selective and “forget” them before you leave (note even setting to not auto join in the AP’s settings, the watch will join, just not the phone.)
    You will have to re-enter wi-fi passwords for home, work, and friends places but be selective for non-captive portals like Starbucks. Open networks like Apple Store and a few places (like aphis coffee arroyos here) are fine if they don’t have the captive portal.
    Note, reset network settings erases your iPhone’s name so go back in to settings>about and re-name it back to “(Youname’s) iPhone xxx” afterward.
  • I got my series 3 with cellular on Friday morning. I got it setup but it would not finish setup with AT&T on the cellular, telling me I needed to call a 800 number, which I did. I spent almost 2 hours on the phone with AT&T and still have not connected my watch with cellular. I already had 10 devices on my family plan so they removed one of our iPad minis that didn't really use data anyway - no success. For some reason they seemed to have given my watch a new number (not synced it with my iPhone) as a new number shows up on my list of devices in the plan. They said they were having lots of problems connecting the new Apple Watch and were going to work on it offline and get back to me–I honestly don't have a lot of hope that they will solve it quickly. I'm going to go to an AT&T store today and ask them to drop the new phone number off my family plan and try once again to set it up from the Watch app on my iPhone (though earlier, before the watch came, they told me it would not use one of the 10 slots on my family plan but just sync to my iPhone's number and cost me $10/month). I'm extremely frustrated with AT&T right now and hoping they get it fixed quickly so I can see whether I like cellular on my Apple Watch or not - I can't say one way or the other, yet…
  • I agree it shouldn’t use a slot of your existing devices, that sounds correct.
    On Verizon it activated under a separate number until their network learned it was line-sharing with my primary mobile. I determined this because I got a text alert telling me a new # was added to my plan and a moment later that a line-share was added to my mobile #.
    Surprised ATT doesn’t have any knowledge out to their reps about how to handle this - I assume this isn’t the first attachment/companion device they’ve done.
    Good luck on your quest, and share what comes of your adventure once sorted please, curious.
  • Here's what I've been able to discover. With AT&T, the Apple Watch, even though it is syncing numbers with your iPhone, still needs it's own slot on your phone plan. Thus, when I tried setting it up the first time, since I already had the maximum 10 items on my family plan, it was not able to add with setup. To shorten the rest of the week-long story, when I called and gave them the IMEI and EID numbers (and dropped one of my iPad minis to free up a space) the EID number apparently didn't get input into the system correctly. It eventually got handed up to an ICU team at AT&T and they finally fixed the EID number and voila! I was able to setup and sync to my iPhone and now have cellular signal on Series 3 cellular Apple Watch!
  • My girlfriend asked an apple store employee whether it was a good upgrade to go from series 0 to the new LTE model. He said if yoou don't care about jogging without your phone save your money. I guess three years in and the watch really hasn't moved the needle at all. Just small iterations. Maybe a new design next year?
  • I enjoyed both the LG G6 cameo and the potty mouth. Seriously, great review. The iPhone is a plenty good camera for a pro review. Not so much for the audio, though. Even with any growing pains that the Apple Watch may be experiencing, in so many ways, it stands alone in it's product category, and you relate that pretty well, here.
  • Serenity, this is an awesome review of the Apple Watch Series 3. I am seriously considering buying one with LTE but wanted to see some reviews first. I have searched all over the Internet and your review is the most complete by far. Specifically, the analysis of the LTE/WiFi problems clarified everything for me. I saw one review that went into minute detail on deleting WiFi networks but your solution of tuning the cellular on and off makes so much sense. I am looking forward to your review of the new watch band and comparison of the Series 3 LTE and no LTE versions. Keep up the good work!
  • I’m way off topic but I think Serenity is Hooottt!! 🔥🔥🔥
  • She mentioned Facetime in her review there is no camera in the watch...
  • FaceTime audio. It was stated in the article several times. Open your eyes.
  • Well here in the UK we have only have one of our mobile operators, providing LTE for the Apple watch 3. So monopoly for them. We do have more providers. Any way i just want to say as an Apple watch one owner i have now moved to the GW05 Smart watch on this watch i can use 3g for calls and txt also i can use skype or messanger for VIDEO CALLS on my watch ( yup uses a lot of the battery) But the battery i just pop it out and put in a new one, As with the sim card you can do the same so no problem with mobile network providers. Also has apps for fittness,satnav ect. Check it out cost like £60 compared to the £429 they charge here for the apple watch
  • I really wanted to thank you so much for taking the time to point out all the things, and differences!, of the 38mm watch. I can't teak you how much googling I have done trying to decide if I should just go with the 42mm or not (even though I had a feeling it would just dwarf my wrist) based on everything I had heard people saying about battery life, however there are so few reviews it felt like actually talking about how it feels to live with a 38mm. So anyway, thanks for that :) I look forward to some more long term thoughts on. I am still trying to decide if I really need the LTE but I think I am in the same boat as several of the others above I would like to have the nicer backing materials. I don't have a feeling I am *needing* the LTE but it might be an OK thing to have... So maybe if I can get it and then choose to turn it on later.
  • By the time I was able to order my Cellular Apple Watch it was backordered till mid-late October. Sounds like that may be a blessing as some of the initial bugs may get squashed and the carriers may finally figure out what they're doing. Currently, I have the original Watch and am very excited about cellular functionality as I work in an enterprise wifi environment and it drives me nuts when I go to the lab next door and lose much of the functionality of my Watch (I hate carrying my iPhone around with me, so it is often left in my lab for the whole day.)
  • Great Article Serenity. Just FYI, I recently purchased 38mm SS GPS and LTE, only to be told by AT&T that I couldn't be connected to LTE because I have a grandfathered unlimited data plan. So, I would warn all users with similar circumstance to think twice before purchasing this watch unless they don't care about LTE. I feel like I wasted my money. If anyone has any information where I am being given bad information by an AT&T rep, please let me know. Thanks
  • On iOS Today, today you did not address the only LTE problem. My watch doesn't even connect to LTE even when not connected to wifi. I have told Apple about this and STILL waiting for a fix.
  • Great article Serenity. Could you please confirm if your FaceTime Audio testing was across WiFi or Cellular/LTE and was it independent of your iPhone as someone else was saying FaceTIme Audio only works independently on the AW3 across WiFi. Thanks in advance.
  • I didn’t mean to report you, hit the report button on accident as I scrolled. Sorry!
  • Anyone know how erase a comment? Seems impossible
  • Great article, cracking' read & very informative. Off topic, but you seem to have an arm missing in your header pic or is it just me, my mind playing tricks?
  • Fantastic article! I feel like I'm in the edge group that would use the watch rather than the phone since I don't make many phone calls away from home and if I did it would be super short. We all know the battery isn't going to be able to handle long phone calls, but I haven't been able to find any kind of write up on standby time on cellular only. Also, just using the watch on cellular and sending texts. Maybe grabbing some directions or checking location. Given your experience with the device, what are your thoughts?
  • It should be pointed out that for any 3rd party notifications etc to work or SMS messaging, the iPhone the Watch is paired to has to be connected to a data network. If it's powered off, in airplane mode or in an area where there isn't data connectivity, none of the above will work. This isn't a problem so long as you remember to leave your phone somewhere with data available, but a bit of a limitation for those of us with 7 series phones which aren't exactly renowned for decent battery life.
  • Would love to know if I can use two different i phones to work with the watch and ear buds? Currently cannot use the ear buds regularly (which I love) since I receive calls reguarly on both i phones.
    Thanks for any help!
  • Sort of
  • Bought 2 watch 3s one for jogging and the other for office.
    LTE works both but have to switch the setting every time use one or the other.
  • Serenity, your leading photo seems to have red eye. What am I missing?
  • My stupid mistake. When you said "with the W3", I thought the WE had a camera, and the red eye implied a flash.
  • My wife really wanted an Apple watch and the 3 series cellular sounded like a game changer once first released but in reality it it only debilitates the smart watch even more since charging the phone everyday was a pain enough but with cellular getting a third of a day (8 hours) in unacceptable. So the extra $70 to upgrade to cellular is very reasonable but the carrier restrictions and the $5-$10 extra charges and the cellular bugs make this a less reasonable decision. At then end of the day even with cellular connection the Apple Watch still requires a iPhone to do a lot of tasks so by no means is the LTE version trans formative. As per the 38mm v 42mm, the 38mm on LTE is worthless due to lack of battery. She decided on getting a 42MM GPS aluminum since she mainly just wants to wear it as jewelry/status piece and to track her runs (but not make calls)
  • I don’t think the Apple Watch has a bug. Perhaps your phone was set to remember wifi on the train and the train wifi was bad so then watch was using wifi rather than lte because that’s how it set. Maybe if you forget the train network in your phone’s wifi settings then you wouldn’t connect to bad train wifi.