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Apple Watch Series 3. First Impressions


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One more year Apple has celebrated today its event of presentation of new hardware. Among the new devices -iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus, iPhone X and Apple Watch Series 3- I am going to focus on the new clock, not because it is the one that brings more novelties, but because in this page it would not make much sense to talk about the rest of the devices.

The presentation on the Apple Watch focused on two fronts: firstly, highlighting some of the new features that have already been confirmed for Watch OS4 (the operating system for watches), and secondly, presenting the new watch model, the Apple Watch Series 3.

This is not a full test or anything like that, firstly because I obviously don't have any devices yet, and secondly because it would be too early. I'm still not clear whether it will be a watch that will be fully tested as I did with the Apple Watch Series 2Time will decide...

What's new in WatchOS4

I would like to stop first at the new version of the operating system, which is at the top of Apple's presentation list today, and also includes changes to the entire range, including the initial model.

The new version of the operating system was already announced a few months ago but it is now that the new features are being implemented. Apple continues to give a lot of emphasis to sport and health features. These are some of its new features in this aspect:

  • The training application has been completely redesigned
  • New mode for interval training (which will have to be seen for its complexity)
  • What Apple calls Smart Activity Coaching, simply a slightly more advanced way to encourage you to complete activity rings
  • Heart rate at rest - the watch used to constantly monitor the heart rate, now it also highlights the resting heart rateAlong with this, a heart rate graph is now available for the entire day.
  • Recovery heart rate, which is also calculated at the completion of a workout. Here is more information on that recovery heart rate
  • Ending with the heart rate, it will now also be displayed on the watch face and not only in the corresponding application
  • GymKit, a new function invented by Apple to display clock data on the machines in the gym or to count repetitions automatically. I don't think it's very important, because for this function to be operational the machines must also support it. Maybe in the United States, but in Europe I don't see much future
  • Separation of swimming in intervals instead of a complete exercise

Apple Watch Series 3

That's in terms of sports features, because there are also small health-related developments. Apple has announced an application, called Apple Heart Study, developed in conjunction with Stanford University. They will try to detect heart arrhythmia. But it's something they say will come in a few months, and they haven't defined much at the moment either.

Apple Watch Series 3

Finally, another new feature of the software in terms of health is the addition of an alarm to warn of a rise in heart rate when we are not performing an activity. Something that for the vast majority of athletes will go completely unnoticed, but in other segments of the population can be a detail of great importance and I am surprised that no other manufacturer has incorporated it before (especially Fitbit).

Apple Watch Series 3


I remind you that all these features have been introduced together with the Apple Watch Series 3, but they belong to Watch OS4 which will be available in all the Apple Watches launched so far and will be available from September 19th.

Apple Watch Series 3, more powerful and with 4G connection

Now we go to the new device presented that does not have much to highlight, at least in Spain, as the most interesting feature that can present as is the connectivity to mobile networks with an eSIM or virtual SIM. And is that at the moment in Spain no operator offers this functionality (and in countries where it is offered is an additional cost).

Apple Watch Series 3

And it's a shame because it's certainly the most interesting feature, especially the way Apple seems to have achieved the integration of all the services. It's not just about being able to receive calls on the clock, but to turn it into a mobile phone extension, but without having the mobile phone on top of it. Receiving messages, emails or even third-party applications like Whatsapp - all this anywhere without having to carry the phone.

Leaving aside the mobile connectivity function there are some things that can also be highlighted. The design is almost identical, increasing only 0.25mm in thickness. Technically it is something impressive, because it is taking the previous design and adding even more things inside it like the antenna for the mobile connectivity functions, the virtual SIM chip, etc.

Oh, and Apple has also taken the opportunity to add a barometric altimeter (which was already in the Apple Watch Series 2 but they never decided to activate it), which will allow them to count the floors climbed as the competition does and, as they have also said, opens the door to applications for skiing or snowboarding.

What's more interesting about this whole redesign is that Apple has moved the location of the antennas, specifying that the display itself is now the antenna. Could they have moved the GPS antenna there as well? This is certainly my main complaint regarding the Apple Watch Series 2.

Apple Watch Series 3

Of course all this has been rounded off with consequent improvements in processor, battery management, etc.

It will be possible to book from September 15th at a price of 369 ? for the version without mobile connection, which at the moment is the only one we will have in Spain.

Initial feedback on the Apple Watch Series 3

Apple Watch Series 3

There are no major new features in either the new version of the operating system or the new model of Apple Watch. Many will probably criticize me for saying this, but Apple has never been known to be the first in anything. Most of the things presented today we have seen before in one form or another on other devices.

Where Apple always does a fantastic job is when it comes to "packaging" and presenting it. It's what's called the user experience, and that's where Apple's work is always excellent.

This is precisely what makes their products so popular. They can do very powerful things with great simplicity, like no one else can offer.

What remains to be seen is whether the redesign of the training application or the developments with respect to the antenna are sufficient to correct the faults present in the second version of the clock (the first with GPS reception). As I say, I have not yet decided whether there will be a full analysis for this version. In the end my time is (very) short and it will all depend on what you, the readers, demand.

And with that... thanks for reading!

Eduardo Mateos

I've been surrounded by electronic devices of all kinds for more than 25 years. Using them, testing them, taking them apart and dissecting them. Long distance triathlete: I swim, run and cycle for a long time. Maybe too much.

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  1. Thank you very much for this first review. I was very happy with my Apple Watch series 2 until I started doing sports with it. For running it is very inaccurate, so much so that it is not poder to use it. I have sold it and am trying a Fenix 5S and very well programming workouts and using it for sports but for notifications it is limited. I have considered returning it and using an Apple Watch series 3 and a Polar M430 for sport. I would like you to do an analysis to know your opinion if it is really worth it as a sports watch. As you say Apple improves a lot what others do well and I do not know if it will now do the same with the sports part of the series 3. As you can see I'm a mess, what would you recommend?

    1. For training, Apple will not match the performance of more dedicated manufacturers. But mainly because it is not the segment in which Apple is interested in moving, but prefer to target the segment of the population that is not very active and wants to increase their activity or that exercises routinely but without any aspiration to compete. They more or less aim at the same target audience that Fitibit aims at and that is undoubtedly the broadest by far.

      1. Thank you very much Eduardo for your comment, one last question, between the Garmin Forerunner 235 and the Polar M430, which one would you take?

        1. The sensor of the Polar M430 is superior and within the range it perfectly fulfils everything that is asked of it. In addition, the Garmin is already at the end of its commercial life and it is never pleasant to buy something that is replaced in a matter of months.

  2. Thank you for the objective information about the Apple Watch. The truth is that it is difficult to find independent, unflattering opinions about Apple on the Internet.

    It would be interesting if you did an in-depth analysis of the watch to see if it is worth buying. I would especially like to know if the swimming behaviour is better than the series 2.

    1. There is no change in the swimming between Series 2 and Series 3. The news they include are related to the operating system, so it will also be received in Series 2.

    2. Hello,
      I've been using the Apple Wtach 2 for a year now, especially for swimming, since the update to OS 4, it's already something else and it's perfectly valid for me. Besides the counting of lengths, meters, time and heart rate (which it picks up very well from the wrist), now, it determines the style used, the strokes per length and, very useful for me, it makes the pauses or breaks automatic.
      In this sense, it has improved a lot. The information from Activity, is already good and comparable to others.

  3. If you want a complete revision of the Apple Watch 3 Series, please wait a month or two and get the one with a cell phone connection that I'm sure will arrive before Christmas in Spain, since many of us want to leave our cell phones at home while we train.

    1. I doubt that in two or three months it will be available, mainly because it is a matter for operators and not for Apple. First there has to be some company interested in offering the virtual SIM, which has been on the market for some time now and so far none of the four have shown any interest in incorporating it into their service catalogue.

  4. Here one who would choose before many other terminals than this dull Apple Watch, which serves more as a jewel than a sports device.

    1. If you want to be a Pro, there are other better options, for those of us who run or ride our bikes for Health, we have plenty of them.

      I'm waiting for the Apple Watch 3 Nike.

  5. Hi Eduardo, I have read several of your articles and as other users have commented your level of analysis is far above most. Thank you very much!
    Having said that, I'll tell you my particular case in case you can help me out.
    For a little over a year now I have had a Garmin Fenix 3HR (after retiring my more than worthy Scope 1).
    I would be happy with their performance if it weren't for my presbyopia (or eyestrain) problem.
    Half the time I do not see the indications of the clock (race pace, pulse, etc ...) and I despair a little guessing data and do not tell you WhatsApp notifications, mail, etc ...
    I usually do cross country 10 to 15 km and 4×1000 series. And I think about some average.
    The other day I passed by a store and took a look at the Apple Watch 3 and my surprise is that I was able to read all the digits and notifications on the screen, which is wonderful, but I don't know if it's a worthy watch to exercise on. I read your analysis of the Watch 2 and I'm back.
    Another option is the Spartan, it seems to have a better screen than the Garmin but does it get the clarity of the Apple?
    Excuse the toast. Greetings.

    1. The Apple Watch depends mainly on your use. It is more oriented to basic fitness than to more serious use. Another option is the Fitbit Ionic, but it also sins of the same.

      The Spartan has a bigger screen than the Fenix 3 and, above all, much higher resolution, but of course, it's up to your eyes to determine if you can read it.

      1. Thanks Eduardo, I don't know anyone with Spartan and in the stores they are always off. Let's see if I get to see an active one to evaluate the screen. From your comments I think it is the only option to evaluate. Thank you very much and best regards.

    1. If you are not competitive and occasional runner is valid. If you ask for a little more you will be short.

  6. I am a user of a Garmin 920xt of which I am very happy but I really do not get even the 50% of its possibilities, as much program series, pay attention to the theme of vo2 and theme of watches with sunrise time and the like, which is why I may be deicide by the Watch 3, lately I train for pleasure without pretensions and I would spare watch, plus the fact that you monitor the pulse 24 hours seduces me quite a lot. Besides the fact that as a watch I find it quite elegant. Anyway, waiting for review

  7. Hi, Eduardo.

    First of all, I want to thank you for the analyses you do. For many of us, they are material that you cannot find anywhere else.

    I'm a runner who trains daily, about an hour and a half, regardless of the level, the only thing I need from the watch is that it measures my pulse and rhythm correctly. I don't ask for more. Well, the optical sensors have never measured my pulse and gps of my 235 and my old ambit 3 well, I don't know what was wrong with it but going to rhythms below 4, it puts me at 5:15 even though then the lap does it well... (they are in km and well configured, but they fail me and I've had enough).

    As I said, I just need some basic parameters, I don't configure trainings or anything like that. I was very impressed by the possibility that I can sync with apple music and I can carry music without a phone (I had the tomtom but I couldn't sync with apple music).

    A couple of questions, you know if this watch is accurate by measuring the rhythm/distance and especially if it holds the battery for marathon preparations.

    Thank you!

    1. You can take a look at the Apple Watch Series 2 testThe new version of the operating system does not affect the behaviour of the watch when practising sport.

      I think that the Apple Watch is a fantastic option for those who want a smart watch and practice sport sporadically and to keep fit, but the truth is that to prepare a marathon and compete I don't think it's the most appropriate option. Be careful, it can do it perfectly and the available autonomy is enough, but I think that with a more specific watch you will be much more satisfied.

  8. Apple Watch series 3 Nike or the normal one. I would like to know if in running you can see at the same time q you practice the sport times of rhythm, of speed, Altitude, accumulated ascent etc. Yesterday I was in the English court and I saw q only in running it has the basics and m said the boy q everything else can be seen when you finish the activity. Then I realized q tb there was the Nike version but I could not ask. Very bad service about the watch where I went. They did not know how to explain me the functions of sport q has.
    You could help me.

    1. The Nike model is the same, but has a different layer of customization in addition to the specific application.

      There are no major differences between Series 2 and Series 3. You can see all the details in the test.

      1. Hello Eduardo, I am not a highly competitive athlete but I am an athlete and I'm left over with the Apple Watch 3, for many who have doubts, apart from being very complete as a Smart watch, I think the software that Apple manages allows the luxury of competing in whatever, greetings.

  9. Good job! I love your analysis!
    I'm going to ask you three questions, if I may:
    1- Do you know of any app or if there is a forecast that you can have training graphics in the computer for the 3 series?
    2- Can you download the nike app in a series 3 without the nike version?
    3- Do you have a stopwatch to calculate times without being in any activity?

    Thank you very much in advance!

  10. And if you'll allow me a fourth...
    4- I have seen that you can listen to music from the apple. Can you also do it from Spotify?

    Thank you very much! Your answers will make me decide whether or not to say yes.

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