Best Apple Watch iMore 2020
As Apple fans, there is nothing we won't do to test every single one of the company's products to ensure that it does everything we want it to. We've owned every single version of Apple Watch since Series 0 and know which one is just right for most people. The Apple Watch Series 5 with GPS is the most advanced Apple Watch the company has ever made. It's got the largest screen, the best quality display, and the most sensors of any previous model. It's a life improver and a lifesaver.
- Best Overall: Apple Watch Series 5 with GPS
- Best Value: Apple Watch Series 3 with GPS
- Best for Runners: Apple Watch Series 5 GPS + Cellular
- Best Status Symbol: Apple Watch Series 5 Hermès
- Most eye-catching: Apple Watch Series 5 Ceramic Edition
Best Overall: Apple Watch Series 5 with GPS
Because Apple's 2019 model Apple Watch features an always-on display, it replaces the Series 4 as our pick for the best Apple Watch of all time. Because of the price, the aluminum-bodied Apple Watch Series 5 with GPS is our pick best all-around model. It doesn't have cellular, but from our personal experience with all models of Apple Watch, the average user doesn't need cellular (we almost always bring our phones with us anyway). It's positioned as the Apple Watch that everyone can use without costing as much as one with more advanced features (or materials).
- Best display
- Fastest processor
- Heart rate sensor
- Fall detection
- ECG monitor
- Longest battery life
- Always-on display
- Series 3 is cheaper
- Tethered to iPhone
The perfect Apple Watch for most people at the best price.
Whether you're just getting started with wearables or are upgrading from a previous model Apple Watch, the aluminum Series 5 with GPS has the most features for the best price.
Best Value: Apple Watch Series 3 with GPS
The Series 3 was the best Apple Watch until the Series 4 knocked it off its podium last year, and I don't mean that just because of the year-over-year upgrade. The Series 3 is a solid foundation for anyone that wants an Apple Watch and doesn't want to pay a premium price. It's got a super-fast S3 chip, all the sensors of the Series 5 (except ECG, always-on display, and fall detection), same battery life, same water resistance rating, and same connectivity. It's got a smaller display and 2mm smaller casing and doesn't support super complications, but it's also $200 cheaper.
- Least expensive model
- Fast processor
- Incredible value
- Doesn't support super complications
- No ECG, always-on display or fall detection
The least expensive Apple Watch you can buy, but is still a fantastic beast.
If you're looking for a first step into the Apple Watch ecosystem or just want to spend as little as possible, the Series 3 is a great option.
Best for Runners: Apple Watch Series 5 GPS + Cellular
Cellular data is a great addition to the Apple Watch, letting you leave your iPhone behind when going on a run, visiting the grocery store, working outside, swimming, and more. It's also the only Apple Watch that you can stream Apple Music and Radio on, which is ideal when you want to go on a long run but don't want to bring your iPhone with you. This 2019 model also has an always-on display and international emergency calling (even if you don't have an active cellular plan).
- Untethered from iPhone
- Comes in Stainless Steel option
- Streams Apple Music directly
- Always-on display
- International emergency calling even without a cellular plan
- More expensive
- Additional monthly cellular cost
Best for Runners
The Apple Watch Series 5 GPS + Cellular has everything great about the GPS-only model without needing your iPhone nearby.
If you have the extra cash and want cellular, Apple Music on your watch, the stainless steel material, and more band options out of the box, check out the Series 5 GPS + Cellular model.
Best Status Symbol: Apple Watch Series 5 Hermès
The Hermès line of Apple Watch is incredibly exclusive and will definitely let the world know that you know luxury. The only way to get the exclusive Hermès-designed watch face is to buy from the series directly (no cheating and buying an after-market Hermès band). Each band is crafted from quality leather and comes in a variety of eye-catching colorways. The casing material is only available in stainless steel, and all Hermès Apple Watches are GPS + Cellular.
- Beautifully designed bands
- Exclusive Hermès-designed Apple Watch face
- Only comes in cellular model
Best Status Symbol
You've got the money, and now you've got the look to prove it. Let your rich flag fly.
If money is no object, and you want people to know that, investing in the Apple Watch Hermès series will show off your status, while also giving you all the benefits of the best Apple Watch around.
Most eye-catching: Apple Watch Series 5 Ceramic Edition
Though Apple now offers two different Edition Apple Watches, titanium and ceramic, we think the ceramic Edition is the best-looking of the two materials because of it's eye-catching design. Let's face it; the titanium Edition is only barely noticeably different than the stainless steel model. With a ceramic case, you can really make those colors pop when you add a beautiful Meyer Lemon leather loop or a Pride Edition rainbow sport loop. It's like candy on your wrist.
- Bright white color
- Immediate head-turner
- 4x harder than stainless steel
- Most expensive Apple Watch
- Only comes in cellular model
Save your pennies for this pretty, pretty wrist party.
If your wallet can handle it and the Hermès just doesn't tickle your fancy, the Ceramic Edition will give you that "wow factor."
Because of its entry-level price for the most advanced features, the aluminum-bodied Apple Watch Series 5 with GPS is the best all-around model. It doesn't have cellular, but from our personal experience with all models of Apple Watch, the average user doesn't need cellular (we almost always bring our phones with us anyway). It's positioned as the Apple Watch that everyone can use without costing as much as one with more advanced features (or materials).
Credits — The team that worked on this guide
Lory Gil is the Managing Editor at iMore and has been wearing an Apple Watch since 2015. She currently owns the Series 4. She never leaves home without it and loves those new super complications.
Rene Ritchie is iMore's resident Apple analyst. He owns every single version of Apple Watch and every single model. He's also one of the few people that got the ceramic Series 3. If there's anyone in the world with more Apple Watch bands out there, we'd like to see it.
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