The Apple Watch Series 4 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 life saver.

Our pick

Apple Watch Series 4 with GPS

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 4 with GPS has the most features for the best price.

Who should buy the Aluminum Apple Watch Series 4 with GPS

Because of its entry-level price for the most advanced features, the aluminum bodied Apple Watch Series 4 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).

Is it a good time to buy this Apple Watch?

It sure is. Apple just updated the Apple Watch to Series 4 in mid-September 2018. Not only is it the latest greatest, it's also been completely redesigned with a larger edge-to-edge display and a larger casing, though it's designed to still fit the same Watch bands of earlier models.

Reasons to buy

  • Least expensive of the Series 4
  • Best display
  • Fastest processor
  • Electrical heart sensor
  • Fall detection

Reasons not to buy

  • Series 3 is cheaper
  • No cellular

The aluminum Apple Watch Series 4 with GPS is the best for most people

Since its launch in April of 2015, Apple Watch has become the single most popular smart watch, and in 2017, became the number one selling watch in the world — of all watches, smart or not. It's an amazing bit of advanced technology squeezed into a case small enough to fit on your wrist, but designed well enough to be comfortable to use as more than just a watch.

The aluminum cased Series 4 with GPS is the best option for most people for its price. At $399, it's the least expensive of the latest model Apple Watch. If you're new to the wearable world, it's going to be more than enough watch for you. If you're upgrading from an earlier model, the physical design difference will blow your mind.

The Series 4 sports a 40 or 44mm case and the screen itself is near bezel-less. Though the case is only 2mm larger than its predecessor, the display looks enormous by comparison. It also has an LTPO OLED Retina display with Force Touch, the most advanced screen of any Apple Watch so far. The backside of the Apple Watch is also made from ceramic and sapphire crystal, something that only the cellular model previously had.

Probably one of the most important new features on the Series 4 is the electric heart sensor.

The Series 4 is equipped with Apples fastest S4 64-bit dual-core processor and W3 wireless chip. It also has double the storage capacity of any previous model Apple Watch at 16GB. It's faster than any other Apple Watch and has more room for storing music, podcasts, and more.

Probably one of the most important new features on the Series 4 is the electric heart sensor. Though the ECG app is not ready at this time, Series 4 is capable of monitoring your heart similar to the way a single-lead electrocardiogram works. It's poised to help with early detection of heart irregularities.

Another important new feature of the Series 4 is fall detection. Thanks to the sensors in the Apple Watch, if you fall, it will detect it and trigger a notification stating "It looks like you've taken a hard fall." If you fell, but you're OK, you can tap "I'm OK" and go about your business. If you're injured, you can slide to call emergency service. If you're injured and not moving (like you've been knocked unconcious), after one minute, your Apple Watch will automatically call emergency services for you. It will also automatically call your emergency contacts and share your location so that a friend or family member can come to your aid.

GPS only vs. GPS + Cellular

All of these amazing features are what makes Apple Watch Series 4 the must-have model for most people, but why not the cellular option?

Let me remind you that we've had all versions and all models of Apple Watch, GPS only and GPS + Cellular. From our experience, the cellular addition, while costing $100 more, is really only for a handful of lifestyles. If you're a long-distance runner and want to leave your phone at home, for example. If you work somewhere outdoors and you can't have your iPhone in your pocket, but you still want to be able receive notifications, check text messages, and even make phone calls, you might be the type that would benefit from the cellular option. For the rest of us, it's just an added monthly expense (usually about $10 per month on top of your normal carrier fees). We tend to keep our phones with us wherever we go, and the Series 4 with GPS-only can do just about everything the GPS + Cellular model can do if your iPhone is on the same Wi-Fi network. The non-cellular model even has the same 16GB storage capacity.

The real limitations to choosing the GPS model over GPS + Cellular is style. The GPS-only model only comes in aluminum and only comes with a Sport band or Sport loop. The GPS + Cellular model comes with either an aluminum or stainless steel case and you can choose from the Sport band or loop or the Milanese Loop (for the stainless steel model). The band issue is easily remedied by your ability to purchase a number of different Apple Watch bands either made by Apple, or from third party sellers.

If you're trying to decide between the 40mm and 44mm, the bigger version features a bigger screen and larger battery, but it also comes at a $30 price increase and larger footprint on your wrist. The 40mm has a slimmer, lighter fit and definitely looks better on smaller sized wrists, while the larger size has a bit more gravitas, more screen tapping room, and looks more proportional on larger wrists.

Alternatives to the aluminum Apple Watch Series 4 with GPS

Just because the aluminum Apple Watch Series 4 with GPS is the best for most people, doesn't mean it's right for you. If, after reading everything I wrote above, you don't think it's the right model for you, here are our favorite alternatives.

Runner-up

GPS + Cellular Apple Watch Series 4

The Apple Watch Series 4 GPS + Cellular has everything great about the GPS-only model with the added bonus of not 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 4 GPS + Cellular model.

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 pretty cool when you're having a backyard barbecue and don't want to keep your iPhone in your pocket.

Budget model

Apple Watch Series 3 with GPS

The least expensive Apple Watch you can buy and still a fantastic beast.

If you're looking for a first step into the Apple Watch ecosystem or you want to spend as little as possible on upgrading, the Series 3 is a great option.

The Series 3 was the best Apple Watch until the Series 4 knocked it off its podium, 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 4 (except ECG 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 $120 cheaper.

Bottom line

Because of its entry-level price for the most advanced features, the aluminum bodied Apple Watch Series 4 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.

Serenity Caldwell contributed to an earlier version of this guide. She was formerly the Managing Editor at iMore, and now works for Apple. She's been talking, writing about, and tinkering with Apple products since she was old enough to double-click. In her spare time, she sketches, sings, and in her secret superhero life, plays roller derby. Follow her on Twitter @settern.

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