The Apple Watch Series is one of the most popular wearable technologies that ever came out of Cupertino in the last 10 years. A lot of Apple fans use the smartwatch as a statement piece, but for health and fitness enthusiasts, there’s more to it than just being a treat to the spectator’s eyes. We use it day in, day out to track our steps, monitor our heart rate, and a host of other functionalities to help improve our health.
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However, the device has evolved into a more useful health and fitness companion ever since the first Apple Watch was released in 2015. The most recent models have tons of advanced features incorporated into them, but they cost an arm and a leg. Having said that, you don’t really need to spend hundreds of dollars just to get the more expensive model. Here are the best Apple Watch models you can get to suit your needs and budget.
Apple Watch 7
The Apple Watch 7 is the latest smartwatch in the series released in September 2021, which has the most functionalities. A brand-new piece costs around $339 (~€333) which is a bit pricey for a piece of wearable tech. But if you have the budget, go for it. The Apple Watch 7 houses an electrocardiogram (ECG) for monitoring heart activities and a blood oxygen (Sp02) sensor. Its third-generation optical heart sensor allows for more accurate heart rate tracking, while the fall detection feature comes extra handy if you are active, especially in the outdoors.
Apple Watch 6
Released in September 2020, the Apple Watch 6 is pretty much like its successor, the Apple Watch 7. It rocks an ECG, a blood oxygen sensor, a third-generation optical heart sensor, and a fall detection capability into the bargain. The most notable difference is only the screen display. The price of Apple Watch 6 starts at $210 (~€206).
Apple Watch SE
Debuted in September 2020, the Apple Watch SE is a more affordable smartwatch which retails for $188 (~€184), less than half the price of the Apple Watch 7. The Apple Watch SE is suitable for those who only need the core health and fitness and watch functionalities. It does not have the fall detection capability of the Apple Watch 6 and 7, their optical heart sensor as well as their bigger screen size. The Apple Watch SE does have the second-generation optical heart sensor and an electrical heart sensor. Not bad at all!
Apple Watch 5
The Apple Watch 5 is a decent model released in September 2019. It has an ECG like the Apple Watch 6 and 7, fall detection ability as well as an electrical heart sensor. It’s using a second-generation optical heart sensor like the Apple Watch SE. This model retails for $279 (~€274).
Apple Watch 4
The Apple Watch 4 is pretty much like its successor. Released in September 2018, the model is armed with an ECG, electrical sensor, a second-generation optical heart sensor, and the fall detection feature. The obvious difference lies in the electronics inside. You can get the Apple Watch 4 for $183 (~€180).
Apple Watch 3
The oldest Apple Watch available is the third generation model, which was launched in September 2017. The Apple Watch 3, although seemingly old, is still a nifty smartwatch you can get. It has all basic fitness functionalities like heart rate monitoring and activity tracking. With the watchOS 9 update, the model comes with a sleep-tracking capability, the last device in the series qualified for this functionality. The Apple Watch 3 is available for $150 (~€147).
Apple Watch Series Comparison Chart
This quick comparison chart shows the Apple Watch models head to head based on their health and activity features. After having found the model with the right combo of health tracking capability, you can move on choosing the most suitable display size, cellular connection, memory capacity, color, and so on.
One of the common health and fitness features you can find among all Apple Watch Series models mentioned above include the ability to send notifications when the user experiences low and high heart rates as well as irregular heart rhytms. Sleep tracking capabilities for Apple Watch 3 and later is available in watchOS 9, though very limited. They have GPS, altimeter, emergency SOS, and international emergency calling (except for the Apple Watch 3).
Overall, the health and fitness functionalities of the Apple Watch models don’t have much of a difference. The Apple Watch 6 and 7 have almost the same functionalities and sensors, while 4 and 5 share common things too. That said, you should consider looking at other things as well that make these models differ, including screen display and size, cellular capability, memory capacity, and more.
Apple Watch Alternatives
Apple Watch might be the most advanced and admired wearable for a health and fitness companion. However, it's not a fit for every budget. There are more affordable , high-quality smartwatch alternatives though. One of them is Fitbit, the iconic brand that has been making great activity tracking wearables since 2009. Read our Fitbit comparison - it compares four Fitbit devices which we think cover the most user requirements with flying colors while retailing for less than Apple Watch!
Garmin has an endless portfolio of robust, high-quality, good looking watches, which could offer a perfect Apple Watch alternative for those outdoors savvy, active users. Our two recent blogs give a quick overview of five Garmin smartwatches and the best Garmin fitness trackers that have a ton of health, fitness, and activity features and could easily substitute an Apple Watch!