Best Apple Watch for Swimming iMore 2020
Current generation Apple Watches all offer water resistance up to 50 mm. Because of this, any model is appropriate for swimming. Our favorite, however, is the flagship Apple Watch Series 5, which offers the newest features in the largest number of styles. We've also included other options to help you make a better-informed decision.
- Best Overall: Apple Watch Series 5
- Best Alternative: Apple Watch Series 5 Nike+
- Best Value: Apple Watch Series 3
- Best Premium: Apple Watch Edition
Best Overall: Apple Watch Series 5
The Apple Watch Series 5 carries over the design from the now-discontinued Apple Watch Series 4. It includes a larger display, thinner bezels, and more rounded corners than previous versions. New this year is an always-on display and built-in compass. With an S5 64-bit dual-core processor, the Apple Watch Series 5 doubles the performance of the previous model, the Apple Watch Series 3.
This Apple Watch version also features an electrocardiogram (ECG) system that's capable of detecting whether you're experiencing cardiac abnormalities such as atrial fibrillation. There's also a built-in fall detection tool that automatically contacts emergency services if you fall. The Apple Watch Series 5 also includes a louder speaker, which is ideal when receiving calls, ceramic and sapphire crystal back, and increased storage capacity. The last of these is great for loading up your wearable device with podcasts and audiobooks.
With that new Apple Watch Studio, you can create your wearable device online and select the size, case, and band to match your style. Just make sure to get a waterproof band!
The Apple Watch Series 5 is available in 44mm and 40mm with GPS only and GPS + Cellular. Prices differ depending on the size of the display, material of the case, and type of watch band. And yes, these can get pricey very quickly, depending on the options.
- Large display
- Two times faster than Apple Watch 3
- Includes always-on display
- Some configurations are very pricey
The current flagship
The Apple Watch Series 5 is available in various styles and price points. Create the one you want and enjoy!.
Best Alternative: Apple Watch Series 5 Nike+
The Apple Watch Series 5 Nike+ is the same as the regular Series 5 model in terms of features. However, this one also includes an already installed Nike Run Club app with audio-guided runs, and exclusive Nike+ Analog and Digital watch faces. The Nike+ version is only available with an aluminum case, and there's no gold finish option.
This model comes in a unique selection of sports bands and loops that change often, depending on the season.
- Same price, more faces
- Works with the same bands
- Only available with aluminum case
- No gold finish available
More watch faces
If you're indifferent to which Apple Watch Series 5 to choose from, you might want to get this one. For the same price, you'll get extra watch faces.
Best Value: Apple Watch Series 3
The Apple Watch Series 3 includes a smaller display area than the more recent model and older internals. However, it's still packed with many of the same features that make it worth considering. These include an onboard optical heart sensor, water-resistance up to 50m, a built-in rechargeable lithium-ion battery that lasts up to 18 hours between charges, and a barometric altimeter.
Unfortunately, the Series 3 version doesn't include the ECG system or fall detection tool. It's also missing a gold finish option and is no longer available with a stainless steel body. Despite this, look at that price.
The one drawback with selecting the Apple Watch Series 3: Apple could retire the model in fall 2020.
- Price is right
- Supports watchOS 6
- Great for swimming
- Limited selection
- No ECG, fall detection
- Could soon be retired
It still packs a punch
The 2017 Apple Watch Series 3 is still a great choice. Best of all, it's available at a steep discount.
Best Premium: Apple Watch Edition
If you like what the Apple Watch Series 5 has to offer but have grown tired of aluminum and stainless steel, consider the all-new Watch Edition for 2019/20. Offered in regular titanium, space black titanium, and white ceramic, the Watch Edition is sure to turn plenty of heads. Best of all, in most cases, it's not as pricey as the Hermès. Keep in mind, however, that inside, it's exactly the same as the regular Apple Watch Series 5.
- Premium materials
- Fresh look
- Same as regular Apple Watch Series 5
Whether as a gift or for yourself, the Apple Watch Edition is terrific. Choose your band wisely.
If you're looking for a wearable device for swimming, look no further than the Apple Watch Series 5, which offers the latest bells and whistles, including an always-on display. Available in multiple styles and price points, the Apple Watch Series 5 features the largest displays to-date on the wearable device and the best internals. Find the one that's perfect for you and have fun buying new bands to complement your purchase.
Credits — The team that worked on this guide
Bryan M. Wolfe is a dad who loves technology, especially anything new from Apple. Penn State (go Nittany Lions) graduate here, also a huge fan of the New England Patriots. Thanks for reading. @bryanmwolfe
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