One fine day I was pondering over the ponds (thank Kenny Sebastian for this gem!) wondering whether to future proof myself and go with a GPS+cellular Apple Watch or be a basic bitch and get the GPS model to save those extra bucks and buy a house! If you like me are unable to decide between the two Apple Watch versions, here’s a showdown that might help you choose. Read on!
You may be falling too hard for the latest Apple Watch Cellular options in Series 3 and 4 but what about your iPhone? No matter how much you ignore it, compatibility matters! So, those who are eyeing the Cellular model will have to upgrade to iPhone 6 or later, and it must be running iOS 12 for Apple Watch Series 4 and iOS 11 or later for Apple Watch Series 3. And for those who are happy with simpler things in life (coz got no money honey!), the GPS variant of the Apple Watch works well with an iPhone 5s with iOS 12 or later for Watch Series 4 and iOS 11 or later for Watch Series 3
Obviously, the main difference between the two models is the presence, or absence, of the headline feature: cellular connectivity. Having the feature means that the watch can connect to the Internet even if its beloved iPhone is out of the Bluetooth range. The watch’s built-in LTE and UMTS radio switch automatically to cellular when you’re away from the companion iPhone. So you can answer calls, check your emails, read iMessages, read Maps, rock your socks off via Apple Music and more, all while you are out breaking a sweat. On the other hand, the GPS Watch variant also lets you send and receive text messages, answer phone calls, and receive notifications, etc. only when it’s connected to your iPhone via Bluetooth and Wi-Fi.
Yes, cellular connectivity is a cool feature for those who need to stay in touch at all times, but not everything is as rosy as it seems, it has downsides too. For, e.g., reduced battery life, the additional cost, the unnecessary hassle and ongoing cost of a contract. So take a deep breath and think about how often you’ll use it.
While Apple has bestowed the GPS watch model with better battery life, it decided to hold back on the storage front in Watch Series 3. They launched the Series 3 cellular version with 16GB storage whereas the Series 3 GPS-only came with 8GB storage. Thankfully Apple put an end to this discrimination and launched the Series 4 models (Cellular and non-cellular) with the same storage space – 16 GB.
Casings and Style
In terms of design, if you go for a non-cellular version, you’re stuck with the Ion X glass and aluminium body in the same old Silver, Gold or Space Grey, (or a Sports Band in Grey, Black, Fog or Pink Sand beautiful options). Whereas the cellular variant comes with a stainless steel option along with the aluminium and Nike+ casings in yup, you guessed it – Silver, Gold, and Space Grey.
Brace your hearts people because the verdict has been passed! Apple’s Cellular+GPS Watch Series has the worst battery back up ever! Even if you don’t go crazy with app usage. So, in case you are running a marathon, your reliable fitness companion is likely to die/give up halfway through the marathon! Don’t believe us? Apple’s own tests came out to be far less forgiving.
“All-day battery life is based on 18 hours with the following use: 90-time checks, 90 notifications, 45 minutes of app use, and a 60-minute workout with music playback from Apple Watch via Bluetooth, throughout 18 hours.
Apple Watch Series 4 (GPS) usage includes connection to the iPhone via Bluetooth during the entire 18-hour test. Apple Watch Series 4 (GPS + Cellular) usage consists of a total of 4 hours of LTE connection and 14 hours of connection to iPhone via Bluetooth throughout 18 hours.”
But these everyday activities aren’t battery killers on the Watch Series without LTE. So with the Cellular Series’ constant cellular connection, you can forget about it lasting 18 hours on a single charge. Just being connected to a cell network will drain the battery life with mixed use from 18 hours to about 8 hours.
Price And Availability
The final make or break question – how much are you willing to spend on this wrist computer, that any acts as your phone’s extension. Both the GPS and Cellular Watch Series variants are available in India. In terms of price, the GPS-only Series 3 starts at Rs. 28,900 for a 38mm aluminium casing, while the GPS + Cellular Series 3 starts at Rs. 37,900. The GPS-only Series 4 starts at Rs. 40,900 for a 40mm aluminium casing and the GPS + Cellular Series 4 with the same casing starts at Rs. 49,900.
If you’re stuck to your iPhone 24/7, go for GPS only option because there is no difference in terms of functionality and specification. If not, get ready to dig deep into your savings and take the Cellular Apple Watch bait.