Apple Watch Series 3 vs. 6: Six Must-Know Facts
- Both smartwatches are water-resistant to 50 meters and can be used in wet conditions.
- You’ll pay more for the newer model, but it has more features than ever. The Apple Watch Series 6 is $200 more expensive than the Series 3.
- You can use both watches to make payments with Apple Pay on a wide range of websites and apps, including eBay, Uber Eats, and Starbucks.
- The Series 3 comes in silver or space gray, while the Series 6 comes in space gray, blue, red, silver, and gold.
- Series 6 is the newer version and has more advanced features compared to Series 3.
- Apple Series 3 lacks crucial health trackers like Electrocardiogram, Blood Oxygen, and SpO2.
- Apple Watch Series 6 has Wi-Fi and cellular connectivity, which means you can use it for calls, texts, and more when you leave your phone at home or in another room. By contrast, the Series 3 does not have the cellular option.
The Apple Watch Series 6 is one of the newest versions of Apple’s iconic smartwatch, but if you’re not in the market for such an expensive device, you might wonder how the Apple Watch Series 3 vs 6 comparison looks. Series 3 is a step forward in technology, as well as a leap forward in usability. It looks pretty, sports some cool new features, and has the same form factor as its predecessor.
The Apple Watch Series 6 has more advanced features, including an always-on display, ECG monitor, fall detection, and SpO2 tracking, which makes it more attractive and more functional at the same time. Below are some key differences and similarities between Apple Watch Series 3 and 6 so you can choose wisely between these two devices.
Apple Watch Series 3 vs. 6: Side-by-Side Comparison
|Apple Watch Series 3||Apple Watch Series 6|
|Date of Release||September 22, 2017||September 18, 2020|
|Size||38mm, 42mm||40mm, 44mm|
|Colors||Silver, space grey||Silver, gold, space grey, red and blue|
|Sensors||Optical heart rate sensor, accelerometer, altimeter, ambient light sensor, gyroscope, GZSS, Galileo, GLONASS||Electrocardiogram, Blood Oxygen, GPS, heart rate sensor, barometer, always-on altimeter, SpO2, sleep tracking, fall detection, accelerometer, gyro|
|Battery/Power||18 hours||18 hours|
|Processor||S3 chip||S6 chip|
|Compatibility||iOS/iPhone only||iOS/iPhone only|
|Water resistance||Up to 50m||Up to 50m|
Apple Watch Series 3 vs. 6: What’s the Difference?
The Apple Watch Series 3 and Apple Watch Series 6 are both great smartwatches. They have similar features and capabilities but offer slightly different options depending on your lifestyle and needs. Here are the key differences.
- Leave your phone in your pocket: The Apple Watch Series 3 GPS Model lets you call, text, and get directions from your wrist
- Features a large retina OLED display.
- Loaded with features like Apple Pay and voice-activated Siri.
- Water-resistant up to 164'.
- Track your workouts
- Listen to Apple Music
For the smaller 40mm version, the Apple Watch 6 costs $399, while the larger 44mm model costs $429. Your cost will increase if you choose expensive Apple Watch bands, and it will also increase if you add LTE.
Apple reduced the Series 3’s entry price for the 38mm model to a reasonable $199. You can typically find it for a cheaper price by taking advantage of the best Apple Watch offers. LTE, however, was the death knell for the Apple Watch 3.
The Apple Watch SE is a fantastic alternative if you require cellular support. And the new mid-range device only costs an additional $50 with LTE, compared to an additional $100 for LTE on the Apple Watch 6.
(Please note: As of July 17, 2023, this product is listed as being out-of-stock on Amazon. If you are unable to find this product elsewhere, please check back with Amazon at a later date.)
Design and Display
The Series 3 comes in 38mm and 42mm case sizes, which are smaller than the Series 6 and SE. Your material options are also restricted to silver or space-gray aluminum. The Series 3 has a Retina display, although it is square and smaller than the Series 6 display. What’s more, the display isn’t as bright as the one on the Series 6.
The Watch Series 6 case, available in 40mm and 44mm sizes, is 11% thinner and thus lighter than the Series 3 case. Your case can be made of titanium, stainless steel, and aluminum. Each material is available in various colors: aluminum in silver, gold, space gray, blue-red, stainless steel in silver, graphite, gold, and titanium in space black.
In addition, the Series 6 has an always-on rounded LTPO OLED Retina display that is 30% larger than the Series 3’s display. The display is brighter than prior Watch models, allowing you to view it better in direct sunshine.
Regarding health and safety features, the Apple Watch 6 outperforms the Apple Watch 3. Although the Series 3 appeared to be rather capable compared to the Series 5, the addition of a blood oxygen sensor in the Series 6 is a game changer.
Blood oxygen levels can provide information about sleep quality and respiratory health. Some of the better fitness trackers already include SpO2 monitors, so it’s wonderful to see Apple finally include one.
The Apple Watch 6 also includes on-demand electrocardiograms (ECG), fall detection, and international emergency dialing. These promises are not included with the Apple Watch 3.
Although like the Apple Watch 6, the Apple Watch 3 is swim-proof up to 50 meters, it falls short in other outdoor features. Yes, it has GPS, but it lacks a compass and an altimeter that is constantly on.
Inside, the Watch 3 will continue to receive software updates, including new exercise modes for Cool Down, Core Training, Dance, and more. It will also work with Apple Fitness Plus.
Processor and Storage
- GPS + Cellular LTE lets you call and text without your phone
- Connectivity options include Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, NFC, and 4G LTE
- Always on retina display
- ECG app can generate an ECG similar to a single-lead electrocardiogram
- Fitness tracking
- Stream Apple Music without your phone.
The S3 dual-core processor in the Watch Series 3 is significantly less powerful than the CPUs in the Series 6 and SE. Likewise, the Series 3 has only 8GB of storage.
An S6 64-bit dual-core processor powers the Watch Series 6, which according to Apple is up to 20% faster than the S5 chip used in the Series 5 and Watch SE, and twice as fast as the chip in the Series 3.
The U1 Ultra Wideband chip, another new feature of the Series 6, also offers more accurate position tracking and spatial awareness to help your watch better understand its surroundings. In addition, the Watch Series 6 has 32GB of internal storage, so it can hold a large number of apps.
Apple’s current Series 3 comes with GPS alone and no cellular connectivity. The wi-fi is 2.4GHz 802.11b/g/n. Hence it does not support the 5GHz spectrum. Bluetooth 4.2 is pre-installed. The watch does not have a compass; it does have an altimeter, but it is not constantly on, as it is in the Series 6.
The Series 6 is available in both GPS-only and GPS+Cellular configurations. The Wi-Fi is 802.11b/g/n with 2.4GHz and 5GHz band capability. Bluetooth 5.0 is also included in the kit. A compass and an altimeter that is always on are also included to keep track of your elevation.
Apple Watch Series 3 vs. 6: Which One Is Better? Which One Should You Use?
The Apple Watch Series 3 is significantly cheaper than the Apple Watch Series 6, but you get what you pay for. That’s because the Series 3 is not as capable as the Series 6. You may want to consider buying the more expensive watch if you care about health, fitness, and navigation features. If you’re just looking for an activity tracker, buy the less expensive one.
The Series 3 also does not have cellular capabilities, so there’s no way to use it without your phone being nearby. By contrast, the Series 6 can be used independently from your phone.
The version of Bluetooth on the Apple Watch Series 3 is 4.2, while on the Series 6, it’s 5.0, which will result in a more stable connection between your device and any external devices connected to it, such as Bluetooth headphones. Additionally, the storage space in the Series 3 is 8GB, while the Series 6 has a larger space of 32GB.
You might also want to upgrade to the Series 6 if you care about GPS mapping, sleep monitoring, blood oxygen monitoring, fall detection, and better heart rate and electrical activity monitoring. Otherwise, if you are new to the Apple ecosystem, go with the Series 3 because of its affordability.
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The image featured at the top of this post is ©Photo by Raagesh C on Unsplash.