With each generation, the Apple Watch's purpose has seemed to shift. The first one demonstrated what Apple thought a wearable should be, and the second tried to be the perfect workout companion. When it came time to build the Series 3, though, Apple took everything it got right with the fitness-friendly Series 2, polished it up, and threw an LTE radio inside.
And lo, the $399 Apple Watch Series 3 became the first of a new breed of Apple devices -- it straddles the line between smartwatch and phone, with a dash of iPod thrown in for good measure. For those who'd rather play it safe, Apple also built a $329 Series 3 with just GPS and no cellular connection. In fact, that safe bet will probably pay off for most people -- the cellular Series 3 is a little too inconsistent for my taste.
Watch Series 3 (LTE) Watch Series 3
All told, the Apple Watch Series 3 feels like two separate devices. When it’s used as a traditional smartwatch — by which I mean it’s connected to, and in range of a phone — it’s the best wearable Apple has ever made. Performance is much improved, battery life is strong, and watch OS 4 feels notably more thoughtful than earlier builds. Some of that polish fades when using the Watch as a standalone device, though. When everything works the way it’s supposed to, the Series 3 is a capable watch-phone hybrid. Unfortunately, wireless performance can be inconsistent and the toll it takes on the battery can be tough to swallow, especially when the feature will cost you $10/month.