Which Apple Watch is Best for Health and Fitness? October 2020
Apple recently released the Apple Watch Series 6 and SE. With these new models, the Apple Watch continues to lead the way as the best fitness tracker available.
The Apple Watch Series 6 has some new exciting features that will help you take your health and fitness to the next level. At the same time, the new Apple Watch SE provides a less expensive entry level model for those who are willing to give up some of the more advanced features that are on the Series 6.
With the Activity Rings, the Activity App and the Workout App, the Apple Watch provides you with everything you need to improve your health and fitness. You get a fitness tracker with an accountability partner and a built-in virtual trainer. Each new model of the Apple Watch has added more health and fitness features, making sure that Apple continues to lead the way in wellness technology.
Which Apple Watch is Best for Me?
Are you considering getting an Apple Watch or upgrading your current Apple Watch? Here’s everything that you need to know about the currently available models – the new Apple Watch Series 6 and Apple Watch SE, as well as the quite outdated Series 3.
Please note: while Apple is no longer selling the Apple Watch Series 4 and 5, these watches are still available for purchase at non-Apple retailers.
For the first time since 2016, when Apple introduced the Apple Watch Series 1 and 2, Apple has released two new watches at the same time. Apple also continues to sell the Apple Watch Series 3.
There is no question that the Series 6 is more advanced than the SE, but the SE can be bought for $120 less than the least expensive Series 6 GPS model, and $170 less than the Series 6 GPS + Cellular model. If cost is not an issue or you want to have the latest and greatest, then go for the Series 6. However, if you have a limited budget, the Apple Watch SE is a great, low cost way to get started. If you want a really low cost Apple Watch, the Series 3 is still available, but at this point, I wouldn’t recommend it.
Series 6 vs. SE
The Series 6 has the following features that are not on the SE:
- Blood Oxygen Saturation (SpO2) Sensor
- Faster Processor
- Always-on Display
- Brighter Display
- Fast Charging – Full charge in 1.5 hours
- Improved battery life for certain workouts
SE vs. Series 3
The SE supports the following features that are not available on the Series 3:
- Larger Display
- Additional Watch Faces
- Fall Detection
- Noise Monitoring
- Enhanced Heart Rate Monitor
- Always-on Altimeter
Apple Watch Series 6 Models
The Series 6 is available in the following models:
- Aluminum (Space Gray, Silver, Gold, Navy, Red) – The Aluminum case is the least expensive model of the Apple watch. Prices start at $399 for the 40mm and $429 for the 44mm. This is for GPS only. The GPS + Cellular option adds $100 to the price. The Aluminum model is lightweight, but not as durable as the other models.
All other models besides the Aluminum one, don’t have a GPS only option – they only come with the GPS + Cellular option. When comparing prices for the Aluminum case relative to the others, you should take into account that the Aluminum model with GPS + Cellular starts at $499 for the 40mm and $529 for the 44mm.
- Stainless Steel (Silver, Gold, Graphite (Black)) – The Stainless Steel case is heavier and more sturdy than the Aluminum model. It is also more expensive. Prices start at $699 for the 40mm and $749 for the 44mm. The Stainless Steel model comes only in GPS + Cellular.
- Titanium (Space Black, Silver) – The Titanium case was introduced in the Series 5, and is lighter than the Stainless Steel case, although a little heavier than the Aluminum case. It is even sturdier than the Stainless Steel case, and has a more elegant look. The Titanium model is a little more expensive than the Stainless Steel model. Prices start at $799 for the 40mm and $849 for the 44mm. The Titanium model comes only in GPS + Cellular.
The Series 6 also includes the Nike Collection and the Hermes Collection.
The Nike Collection is available only in the Aluminum (Silver, or Space Gray) case. Watches in the Nike Collection are available with Nike branded watch bands and watch faces that are exclusive to the Nike collection. The pricing on the Nike model is the same as the Aluminum model – starting at $399 for the 40mm and $429 for the 44mm.
The Hermes Collection is a more expensive collection available only in the Stainless Steel (Silver, Space Black) case. Watches in the Hermes collection are available with leather Hermes luxury bands and also have watch faces that are exclusive to the Hermes collection. Prices start at $1,249 for the 40mm and $1,299 for the 44mm. There are a wide variety of leather bands that you can choose for your Hermes Apple Watch.
Apple Watch SE Models
The SE is available only in the Aluminum case (Space Gray, Silver, Gold) – Prices start at $279 for the 40mm and $309 for the 44mm. This is for GPS only. The GPS + Cellular option adds only $50 to the price. On all other models, the GPS + Cellular option adds $100.
The Apple Watch SE is a great watch for younger family members, especially if you’re using Family Setup which allows you to manage additional Apple Watches from one iPhone. The Family Setup requires the Apple Watch to have the Cellular option, and this is the least expensive way to do that.
The Apple Watch SE is available in the Nike branded edition as well. This provides special Nike branded watch faces and bands. The pricing is the same as the standard SE, but it’s only available in Silver and Space Gray (no Gold option).
Apple Watch Series 3 Models
The Series 3 is only available in Aluminum (Silver, Space Gray). This model is now only available in GPS. The GPS + Cellular option is no longer available. Prices start at $199 for 38mm and $229 for 42mm.
While this model is $80 less than the SE, I don’t recommend buying the Series 3. For the additional $80, you get newer technology (the Series 3 was released in 2017).
The SE is much faster, has a larger and brighter display (with additional watch faces), Fall Detection, Compass, Noise Monitoring, an Enhanced Heart Rate Monitor and the new Always-on Altimeter.
The Series 3 is a good watch, and if the extra $80 makes a big difference, then go for it, but I think you’ll be much happier with the SE if you don’t want to pay the price of the Series 6.
GPS Only or GPS + Cellular: Which Do I Need?
The Cellular option that was introduced with the Apple Watch Series 3 was a major enhancement to the Apple Watch, especially for those who are using their Apple Watch for working out.
For the first time ever, you could leave your iPhone at home when you do an outdoor workout, and still be connected. With the Cellular option on your Apple Watch, you can make and receive phone calls, send and receive text messages, stream music or podcasts and access the web without having your iPhone with you.
Being able to workout without having to bring your iPhone along is extremely convenient, especially for those doing outdoor workouts.
Apple Watch Bands
There are a wide variety of watch bands that can be chosen when you purchase your Apple Watch. The prices listed above for the various Series 6 and SE and Series 3 models are for the least expensive bands that can be purchased with these models. These bands are either the Sport Band made from fluoroelastomer (synthetic rubber polymer), the Sport Loop (nylon weave) or the new Sport Loop (stretchable liquid silicone rubber), which come in a wide variety of colors and designs. These bands are great for working out, but they are not too dressy.
There are many options of Leather and Stainless Steel watch bands sold by Apple. There is also the new Braided Solo Loop that was introduced with the Apple Watch Series 6 along with the Solo Loop. These bands range from $99 to $539 when purchased separately, but many of them can be purchased with the watch when you buy it, instead of the Sport Band, Sport Loop or Solo Loop bands. If you want a leather or stainless steel band, it will be less expensive to get it with the watch. If you want a Sport Band, Sport Loop or Solo Loop in addition, you can buy those separately.
3rd Party Watch Bands
Besides the wide variety of watch bands that are offered by Apple, a whole industry of 3rd party Apple Watch bands was born when Apple made the design of the Apple Watch band connector available to 3rd party manufacturers.
By purchasing 3rd party bands, you can accessorize your watch for all different types of occasions. You can dress it up or down, or have different bands for different outfits.
There are many bands available that are imitations of the original Apple bands, but for a fraction of the price. Of course the quality of the low cost bands will not compare to that of the original Apple bands. There is a large selection of 3rd party bands available on Amazon. The lower quality of many of those bands didn’t stop me from picking up a few that I enjoy using with my Apple Watch.
On the other hand, there are many high quality 3rd party bands that are quite pricey. You can find some of them on Amazon, or just by doing a Google search.
What’s My Watch of Choice?
I’m currently on my third Apple Watch. I started with the Apple Watch Series 0, and upgraded to the Series 3 after 2 ½ years. At that time the Series 0 was running slow and the battery wasn’t holding its charge well.
I would probably still be using the Series 3 if its screen hadn’t cracked. This happened 2 months before the release of the Series 5, and I was able to use it with the cracked screen until the Series 5 was released. I ordered the Series 5 as soon as it became available and have been thrilled with it. I love the larger display, the watch faces that require Series 4 / 5, the ECG, the Fall Notification, and of course the Always-on Display – I never knew how much I’d appreciate that.
The Series 6 is very tempting, but for now, I’ll be sticking with my Series 5. I don’t need the Blood Oxygen monitor, even though it would be a nice addition. The brighter display would be nice, but it’s something that I can do without.
All of my watches have been the Aluminum model. Since I expect to replace my Apple Watch every 2 – 3 years, I never felt it was worth the extra price to get a more expensive model. That being said, almost everyone who buys the more expensive Apple Watches are extremely happy with them. That includes the Stainless Steel, Titanium and the Ceramic one, when it’s been offered.
I now have a collection of around 10 watch bands that I’ve accumulated since I got my first Apple Watch. Besides the Sport Band that I have gotten in different colors with each watch, I have not purchased any bands from Apple.
All of my bands were purchased from Amazon. They cost anywhere between $5.00 – $20.00. I have a few metal ones (Milanese Loop / Metal Link), Leather Loop (Blue and Tan), a classic leather band, a couple of Sports Loops, and even a Sport Loop Armband that I like to wear when working out.
When I want a more dressy look, I wear one of the metal or leather bands and choose a watch face with only a few complications. Until WatchOS 7, my favorite watch faces for a dressy look were the California face or the Gradient face with a rectangle dial. In WatchOS 7 we have the new Typograph, GMT, Count Up Face and the highly configurable Stripes face. These add lots of fun options.
What’s Coming Next?
When Apple announced the Apple Watch Series 6 and SE, they also announced the new Apple Fitness+ service that will be available in late 2020. This is just one more part of Apple’s commitment to health and fitness.
Apple Fitness+ is “a new fitness experience for everyone, powered by Apple Watch”. With Fitness+ you use the Workout app on your Apple Watch while you follow the workout video on your iPhone, iPad or Apple TV.
All of the metrics that are collected on your Apple Watch are shared in real-time on the screen of the device where you are viewing the workout. You can see all of this information without needing to look down at your watch while you’re working out.
The Apple Fitness+ service will be a monthly subscription service for $9.99 / month or $79.99 / year. If you buy a new Apple Watch, you will get 3 months of Fitness+ included for free.
Apple also announced the new Apple One service. Apple Fitness+ is included in the Premium Apple One plan that costs $29.95 / month. This plan can be shared with up to five other people, and includes all of Apple’s other subscription services:
- Apple Music ($9.99 / month or $14.99 / month for family plan)
- Apple tv+ ($4.99 / month)
- Apple Arcade ($4.99 / month)
- Apple iCloud 2TB ($9.99 / month)
- Apple News+ ($9.99 / month)
- Apple Fitness+ ($9.99 / month)
If you are already subscribed to a few of the above services, you can get Fitness+ for a low cost, or perhaps even without paying more than you’re paying today.
Apple Watch Series 7 Rumors
The Apple Watch Series 6 and SE were released in September 2020. This is being written in early October 2020, so right now we’re just at the beginning of those new models. There were many rumors of new features that would possibly be included in the Series 6, that were not, so those are top candidates for the Apple Watch 7, that will most likely be introduced in September of 2021.
These were rumors for the Apple Watch Series 6 that were not included:
- Sleep Tracking Hardware Enhancements
- Micro LED Display
- Fingerprint scanner
- Replace Side button with a non-mechanical button
- Improve Water Resistance
- Blood Sugar Measurement
- Blood Pressure Monitor
- Improved Battery Life
- Mental Health Features – Panic Attack Detection
There is an expectation that the Apple Watch Series 7 may include a complete redesign of the Apple Watch, and may feature a round watch. The Apple Watch Series 6 and SE are based on the design that was introduced in 2018 with the Apple Watch Series 4, so it may be time for Apple to come out with an all new design in 2021.
Stay tuned throughout the coming year, and we’ll keep you updated with all the latest news and rumors.
Apple Watch: The Best Health and Fitness Accessory
There’s no question that if you’re interested in improving your health and fitness, you should have an Apple Watch. Apple continues to show that they are committed to the Apple Watch being the best health and fitness accessory that is available.
If you don’t yet have an Apple Watch, there’s no better time than now to get one. Between the Apple Watch Series 6 and the SE, you have some great options. If you have an older watch, you may want to consider upgrading so that you’ll have all the new features that have been introduced since you got your watch.
Apple Watch – “It’s the fitness partner that fits on your wrist.”