Apple is currently touting six models of its Apple Watch, with materials and features that differ only slightly from each other. There are also numerous straps that can be bought separately, although not every Apple Watch model is compatible with every strap. Presently, the models available in the market are the Apple Watch Series 1, Apple Watch Series 2, Apple Watch Edition, Apple Watch Hermes, Apple Watch Nike+, and Apple Watch NikeLab. All of these actually only fall under Series 1 and Series 2—the last four having the same components and specifications as the Series 2, only with different appearances. Additionally, the NikeLab is available only at Nike stores and not in Apple stores.
The Apple Watch Series 1 comes only in an aluminum finish, while the Apple Watch Series 2 offers its aluminum and stainless model, with the latter being the more expensive one. The Apple Watch Edition and Apple Watch Hermes have distinct aesthetic features, with the former made with white ceramic, and the latter made from stainless steel with an exclusive strap and Hermes stamp on the back. The Nike+ and NikeLab are available only in aluminum, but offer different strap colors.
The Series 1 is much like the original Apple Watch, but with an upgraded dual-core processor that is not much different from Series 2’s. Unlike the Series 1, however, the Series 2 also includes built-in GPS, a screen brighter by 50%, and IP67 water and dust resistance. The Series 2 also comes with a more durable sapphire glass screen compared with the Series 1’s Ion-X glass. And to make things a bit more confusing, the aluminum model of the Series 2 and the Nike watches are not fitted with sapphire glass, but with the Ion-X glass instead.
Which Apple Watch is Ideal to Use
First-time buyers of the Apple Watch may find buying the Series 2 a better decision than going for the Series 1. Although if budget is a concern, choosing the Series 1 is not so bad too as long as GPS and water resistance are not a big deal. Those who already have an Apple Watch should carefully consider if an upgrade is necessary, or if it would be better to just wait for the Apple Watch Series 3.
The Apple Watch also comes in two case sizes of 38mm or 42mm. Preference for the size is comes down to which one would look better on the wrist, or simply which one feels more comfortable. However, it would still be best to personally try on the watch before making a decision.
Each Apple Watch comes with its own strap, and prices will slightly vary between different strap materials. Nevertheless, it is easy to purchase additional straps from numerous offerings from Apple and third-party suppliers.
Best Apple Watch Overall
The Aluminum Apple Watch Series 2 is not only the best Apple Watch model at the moment, but could possibly be the best smartwatch in the market today. It is a huge upgrade from Apple Watch Series 0, boasting an all-new onboard GPS, a water resistance feature, a brilliant OLED display, 5GB storage for music, better integration with iPhone, and watchOS 3.
The aluminum version of the Apple Watch Series 2 is the least expensive of three models, but doesn’t necessarily lack notable features that the other two models have.
Instead of a steel casing or sapphire screen, the aluminum model is fitted with the Ion-X glass that would still provide adequate protection in most situations. One good thing about the aluminum version is the wider range of choices when it comes to finishes. Currently, available colors are gold, silver, and rose gold.
Best Budget Apple Watch
The original Apple Watch Series 0 has been upgraded to the new Series 1. Many features are still very much the same like the aluminum finish, internal mechanism, and color choices. However, the battery life of the Series 1 improved markedly from that of the Series 0’s. But perhaps the most significant difference is the System-in-Package that has been upgraded to S1P.
This new system includes the same processor and GPU used by the Apple Watch Series 2, sans the GPS.
The Series 1 only comes in aluminum finishes of either gold, rose gold, silver, or space gray, and has only one combination of Sport band.
Nevertheless, this model will still be a great decision for those wanting to try out the Apple ecosystem, or those who simply want the best budget option for upgrading their Series 0.
Best Durable Apple Watch
The Stainless Steel version of the Apple Watch Series 2 may be pricier than other Apple watches, but it has a more classic look and offers the option of upgrading to Apple’s leather bands.
It shares standard features found in Series 2 watches, but a notable difference from the Aluminum model is the sapphire screen that offers further resistance to scratches and cracks.
The Stainless Steel model is a good option for those who want a longer-lasting Apple watch, or who prefer the stainless steel look.
Best Apple Watch for Nike Fans
The Apple Watch Nike+ also runs on the Series 2 specs, with the extra feature of being able to integrate with the Nike+ Run Club app. The silicone two-tone strap that comes with the watch is exclusive, and so are the two Nike watch faces.
This Apple Watch comes with a preloaded Nike+ Run Club app that uses exclusive Siri commands. Daily run and weather reminders are also exclusive to the Nike+ watch, with the extra notification if a friend has run more miles.
The strap that comes with the watch provides breathability with the holes, and offers a choice among color accents of yellow-green, white, and gray.
Best Fashionable Apple Watch
The Apple Watch Hermès Series 2 is a stainless steel version of the Apple Watch Series 2 with the add-on of a Hermès branding at the back and patented Hermès straps in the box. The also watch comes with an exclusive Hermès face. It comes with all the components and specifications of the Series 2, along with the sapphire glass. Although not for everyone, the Hermès Series 2 can be treated like a piece of jewelry with the functionality of a smartwatch.
Best Luxury Apple Watch
Apple came out with an exotic model of rich white elegance with their Apple Watch Edition. Featuring a ceramic body, this model is said to said to be harder than stainless steel. Certainly, the Apple Watch Edition is the most scratch-proof Apple product to date.
Beyond the gorgeous ceramic chassis of the watch is the same cutting-edge technology present in the Series 2, along with the tough sapphire glass.
Ideal for those willing to spend on such an elegant yet functional watch, the Apple Watch Edition may yet be the most premium smartwatch available today.