Apple Watch Series 5 – To Buy or Not To Buy?

Sep 12, 2019

Do You Want the New Apple Watch Series 5?

Apple just announced the Apple Watch Series 5. The question is: Do you want to buy one? Or, should you save some money and buy the older Apple Watch Series 4? This post provides you with all the information that you need in order to make the right decision for you.

What’s New in the Apple Watch Series 5

The Apple Watch Series 5 has the same form factor as the Series 4, but includes several new features that don’t exist on the Series 4.

Always-On Display

The major innovation in the Apple Watch Series 5 (and the most surprising feature since there were no rumors about this) is the new Always-On Display. Until now all Apple Watch screens turn off after a period of time (15 or 70 seconds).

On the new Apple Watch Series 5 the display never sleeps. It merely dims, so that you always see the time on your watch face while providing the same, all-day, 18-hour battery life as previous models. 


The Apple Watch Series 5 has a built in compass. The compass will come in handy for those doing any navigation with their Apple Watch when they don’t have their iPhone with them.

This means it’s more useful to those who have the GPS + Cellular model, since they are more likely to be using the Apple Watch without an iPhone.

The compass can come in handy for any outdoor workouts, like hiking, biking, running, walking and swimming.

Faster Processor

The Apple Watch Series 5 uses the all new S5 dual-core processor compared to the S4 that is used on the Series 4. There are no benchmarks available, but the S5 processor is definitely faster than the S4. As new, more complex apps are developed, there will be an advantage to having a faster processor.

Twice as Much Storage

The Series 5 has 32 GB of storage compared to 16 GB on the Series 4. The extra storage is most useful for those who don’t have the Cellular version. While the cellular version can stream data when being used without the iPhone, the GPS only version is limited to data that’s on the watch itself when it’s used without the iPhone.

The extra storage will allow the Apple Watch Series 5 to have more songs stored and also will have more room for downloading books in the AudioBooks app that is included in watchOS 6. watchOS 6 has a new Voice Memos app that will also benefit from the additional storage.

Emergency Calls in Foreign Countries

With the Apple Watch Series 4 with Cellular, if there’s an emergency situation, the Apple Watch can make emergency calls without needing the iPhone. These emergency calls can only be made in the country where the watch is connected to the cellular network.

With the Apple Watch Series 5 with Cellular, emergency services can be called from almost anywhere in the world, even if you’re not connected to the foreign cellular network. This is a good insurance policy for those who do a lot of international travel. 

New Case Options

The Apple Watch Series 4 was available in Aluminum and Stainless Steel cases. These cases are available in Silver, Gold and Gray or Black. The Apple Watch Series 5 has the same Aluminum and Stainless Steel options, but has two new options – Titanium and Ceramic.

The Titanium case comes in brushed silver or black, and the Ceramic case comes in white. The Hermes model of the Series 4 was available only in polished stainless steel. The Hermes version of the Series 5 adds a space black stainless steel option in addition to the polished stainless steel.

What’s the Same as the Series 4

All of the innovations that were introduced in the Apple Watch Series 4 are still supported in the Series 5. This includes:

  • High resolution screen
  • Improved heart rate monitor
  • EKG hardware
  • Enhanced motion detector which provides fall detection
  • Improved speaker and microphone

So, Which One Should I Buy??

Clearly the Apple Watch Series 5 provides many advantages over the Series 4. The Series 3 is in a completely different class.

Apple is no longer selling the Series 4, but continues to sell the Series 3 as a low cost option. The Series 4 is still available from many 3rd party resellers, including Amazon, and others.

It’s not clear how long it will be available. That depends on how many devices are still in stock. It’s pretty clear that Apple will not manufacture any more Series 4 devices.

The answer to the question is: It depends on what I need and want!

I Don’t Own an Apple Watch

If you’re looking to buy an Apple Watch for the first time, the most obvious choice would be the Apple Watch Series 5. You’ve already read about the enhancements that were added in the Series 5.

Since you never owned an Apple Watch, you will probably want to have the Always-On Display. That is one of the most requested features since the Apple Watch was first released in 2015.

If you’re trying to save a few dollars, then you may want to check out the Series 4. You can probably get the Series 4 for $50 – $70 less than the equivalent Series 5 model. If that’s important to you, go for it. Otherwise, get the shiny new Apple Watch Series 5 and all of the new features that come with it.

If you’re not too sure that you want to buy an Apple Watch, but you’re curious, and want to try it for a low price, then go for the Series 3. You can save about $200 compared to the price of the Series 5. The Series 3 is only available in the Silver Aluminum case.

You may find other models and different prices for the Series 3 at 3rd party resellers, such as Amazon. So, if you want a Series 3, look around for the best deal, before buying from Apple.

I Have a Series 4

If you currently own a Series 4, there’s no question of which one to buy, but rather: Should I buy a new Series 5 or not? That’s a tough one. 

The most compelling reason to buy a Series 5, if you already have a Series 4 is that you have been waiting (probably impatiently) for the Always-On Display. If that’s important for you – don’t hesitate – just do it. If there are other new features that are appealing, and you like the idea of the Always-On Display, then the Series 5 is waiting to be ordered.

If you want any of the new case options – Titanium, Ceramic, Hermes Space Black, then you have no choice, you’ll need to buy the Series 5.

If you’ve decided to take the plunge, then perhaps you have someone who you can pass your Series 4 on to – a spouse, child, parent, or a really special friend. That’s a great way to justify getting yourself a new Series 5. Otherwise, you can sell it, or trade it in. Apple offers up to $110 for a trade-in on the Series 4. Before you do that, check out the Cult of Mac trade-in program. They offer significantly more money back than Apple does.

I Have a Series 3 or Earlier

If you have a Series 3 or earlier Apple Watch and you’re ready for a new one, it probably makes most sense to buy a Series 5. You’ve had your watch for a while, you’ve gotten good use out of it, and you probably don’t want to buy last year’s model. It’s time for an Apple Watch Series 5 with the Always-On Display and all of the other new features and enhancements.

Enjoy your new Apple Watch Series 5 (you know that you want it)!!!

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