How To Find The Perfect Apple Watch For You

The new Apple Watch models can make choosing the right model confusing

Apple Watches
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If you’re thinking of buying an Apple Watch, then sifting through the different models can be a daunting task. Whereas you used to only have two real options for the wearable, now there are quite a few more, with different models perhaps being a better “fit” for some users than others.

Important to note: currently every single Apple Watch is compatible with all the same Apple Watch accessories. That means that whether you buy a first generation Apple Watch from someone on eBay for a few hundred dollars, or spend several thousand on one of the designer models, you’ll still be able to use the same watch bands on any model you choose as well as all the same docks, charging stands, and cables.

If you’re shopping for a new Apple Watch for yourself or for a loved one, here’s a rundown of the models that are currently available and who they’re good for.

Apple Watch

The original Apple Watch is no longer sold by Apple, so in order to get one of these you’ll likely have to pick one up at a discount retailer or second hand from somewhere like eBay or Craigslist. Apple stopped making the original Apple Watch in September 2016, so these are any Apple Watch models that were made or sold before then. If you buy something new at the store, it's likely an Apple Watch Series 1 or 2.

If you’re just looking to try the Apple Watch out, then this can be a great choice. The first generation Apple Watches are selling for huge discounts depending on where you buy them, and functionality-wise the wearable offers the exact same features as the new models. thinking of it like buying an iPhone 6 when the 7 came out.

You're getting a very similar experience, but at a fraction of the cost.

With the original Apple Watch you’re able to make and receive phone calls and texts, run apps, and track your movement and heart rate. This model can be updated with the newest version of Apple’s watch software, WatchOS, and you’re able to interact with others through the watch literally exactly the way you can with the newer models.

The original Apple Watch came in three different versions: the Apple Watch Sport, Apple Watch, and Apple Watch Edition. The Apple Watch Sport was the “budget” version of the watch and is made out of aluminum. The Apple Watch was made out of steel, and the Apple Watch Edition was made out of 16k gold. The biggest deals are going to come into play with the Apple Watch Sport.

The original Apple Watch used a single core processor and was “splash proof,” meaning you could probably wear it in a rainstorm, but you should avoid wearing it places like the shower or pool.

While these are getting harder and harder to come by, the original Apple Watch can be a great purchase for collectors that want to own a piece of Apple history, as well as those who want to give wearing an Apple Watch a try, but don’t want to spend a ton of cash to get a brand new one. You can always pick up this model, and if you enjoy it decide to upgrade to a new one down the line, or when Apple offers a new version.

Apple Watch Series 1

For all intents and purposes, the Apple Watch Series 1 is the same watch as the original model but with a next-generation processor (see below). Apple is selling this version of the Apple Watch at a discount, and it offers the same functionality as both the previous models as well as the more expensive ones.

The Apple Watch Series 1 has a new dual-core processor, making it run faster than its predecessor. The Series 1 does not have a GPS antenna and is not swim proof, it’s just splash proof like the previous model. That means you can’t take it in the pool, but it can handle getting wet while you’re washing the dishes or the like.

If you want to purchase an inexpensive Apple Watch right now that’s new, then this is pretty much your only option. A new 38mm version of the Apple Watch Series 1 runs $269, while the 42mm version is priced at $299.

If you’re not a swimmer and don’t see yourself using the GPS capabilities in the Apple Watch Series 2 for runs, then this is a solid pick.

For people who aren’t using the Apple Watch to track those types of workouts, the difference is specs is negligible to a point that it’s likely not worth you buying the more expensive model. That said, if you do see yourself ultimately wanting to swim with it or training for a marathon down the line, then you might want to go ahead and pay the extra the next version up of the Watch. It’s not a ton more expensive and will ensure you don’t end up wishing you’d gotten a different model a few months down the line.

Apple Watch Series 2

The Apple Watch Series 2 is the new standard Apple Watch model. That model starts at $369 ($100 more than the Apple Watch series 1) for the 38mm Sport model..

Unlike the Apple Watch Series 1, where your only choice is whether you want the 38mm or 42mm version, the Apple Watch Series 2 comes in a number of different types, including a ceramic Apple Watch Edition, a Nike+ model, and a design Hermes model with special watch bands.

The Apple Watch Series 2 uses the same dual-core processor as the Apple Watch Series 1, and adds a GPS antenna, increasing its functionality for runners that might want to workout using a GPS watch rather than just something that serves as essentially a step counter.

The Apple Watch Series 2 is swim proof down to 50 meters (150 feet), and has a built-in “direct fire”speaker that helps shoot the water out of the speaker when you’re down swimming. The display is brought with the Apple Watch Series 2, bumping the screen up to 1000nits rather than the 450 nits found on the Apple Watch Series 1 and original Apple Watch. All of the Apple Watch Series 2 models have ceramic backs, which make them more durable over time.

The Apple Watch Series 2 is a great purchase for anyone who plans on using their Apple Watch for workouts like swimming or running, or who plan on using a ton of apps on the Apple Watch that might benefit from the extra processing power.

Apple Watch Edition

For the original Apple Watch, Apple created what they called the Apple Watch Edition. It was made of various gold, came in unique colors, and sold for what most people would consider an exorbitant amount of money. This time around, the gold models are gone replaced by a new model made of ceramic. This model starts at $1,249.

The Variations

Remember when I said there are different versions of the Apple Watch Series 2? Depending on your needs, there are a few more Apple Watch options out there that might make sense. All of the variations of the Apple Watch 2 use the exact same hardware inside the watch casing and the exact same software, so functionality-wise you’re not getting anything “extra” from buying one of these, with the exception of the Nike+ model which offers a few interesting workout features. Beyond that, the other versions of the Apple Watch are more for looks than functionality.

The Nike+ Apple Watch offers motivating messages to encourage you to go out for a run rather than sitting at home and has a bright neon look to it, which gives it a distinct "runner" feel. Like the other versions of the Apple Watch Series 2, it has a built-in GPS to help track your pace. It has built-in integration into runs, and offers a few unique watch faces designed specifically to match the Apple Watch bands and provide more fitness information than some of the other Apple Watch models. 

In contrast, the Apple Watch Hermes is designed with fashion-conscious Apple Watch users in mind rather than those looking for a workout. “The culmination of a partnership based on parallel thinking, singular vision, and mutual regard, Apple Watch Hermès is a unique timepiece designed with both utility and beauty in mind. The latest collection features finely handcrafted leather bands from Hermès and Apple-designed watch faces based on the iconic Clipper, Cape Cod, and Espace Hermès watches. Its artful simplicity makes Apple Watch Hermès the ultimate tool for modern life — and an elegant way to live a better day,” reads Apple’s page for the watch. the Watch comes in both 38mm and 42mm sizes, and offers unique leather cuffs that give the watch a bit more of a fashion-forward look than some of the other options. Each Apple Watch Hermes comes with a leather band as well as a Hermes-specific Sport Band for when you do decide to workout with the watch (or take it on that swim). The watch also comes with a Hermes-specific watch face not found on other versions of the watch.

When to Buy

Like most Apple products, you will have a hard time finding the Apple Watch on sale. many retailers will occasionally run promotions with the watch; however, where you can get a gift card along with your purchase, or perhaps a discounted or free Apple Watch accessory when you buy. If you're in the market for an Apple Watch, check out retailers like Amazon, Best Buy, and Target around holiday sale times to see what promotions you might potentially be able to take advantage of.