Reviews of the Apple Watch Series 3 — which includes GPS and optional cellular connectivity for placing phone calls on the go — are out.
The consensus seems to be that it's convenient to have a watch with a connection when you don't have a cellphone, but that the battery life is pretty bad when you're using it in those situations. Most reviewers don't see the cellular model as a worthy upgrade.
The Wall Street Journal's Joanna Stern said users will be "lucky if the battery allows you to roam on cellular for longer than half a day — especially if you're making calls." Stern also experienced dropped calls when using the watch on AT&T and T-Mobile. Stern ultimately recommends sticking with a Series 2 or, if you have to make the choice, picking the GPS-only Series 3 model until cellular connectivity improves on the connected option.
CNET's Scott Stein said it's the "best phone watch" he's ever tested. Stein also didn't seem as bothered by the call quality, but did complain about poor battery life when it's being used as a phone and with GPS on. Stein said the added cost required to pay for service with a cellular carrier keeps it from being a "must have upgrade."
The Verge's Lauren Goode opens with: "You should still call me on my cellphone." Goode said cellular connectivity made interacting with Siri and sending messages difficult, since there wasn't always a reliable connection. Apple explained to Goode this is because the watch might be auto-connecting to Wi-Fi networks and a fix is in the works. Battery life was also a problem for Goode, who said the watch fell below 30 percent battery before noon. Goode ultimately says she "can't recommend buying it."
Wired's David Pierce said performance was "dramatically better" than his older Apple Watch and that battery life was about five hours on LTE or a full day when he wasn't connected to a cellular network. He also seemed to have no issue using the watch for phone calls and pulling up Siri. He called it the best workout gadget "of its kind." Pierce said this is the first Apple Watch "that really works" but cautioned that you should be aware of battery life limitations. He just wishes it had an always-on display.
The New York Times' Brian Chen liked the watch but said the "value of the cellular capabilities on the Apple Watch is questionable considering the price you pay each month." Chen said this is the first smartwatch he can "confidently recommend people buy" but says most people don't need the connected model.