affordable apple watch

Trying to think of the perfect Christmas present for that someone special? Ask yourself, what phone do they have? If the answer is iPhone, or you have an iPhone and want to treat yourself why not consider the Apple Watch? You’re first thought might very well be the price but we can shave €100 off straight away. Now is a great time to look at the cheaper and just as enticing, Apple Watch Series 1.

Why the Apple Watch Series 1?

While all the glitz and glamour of Apple’s 2017 product launch sang the praises of the latest Apple Watch, the California gadget giant is selling the Series 1 from €279. That’s for the 38mm watch, while you’ll hand over €309 for the 42mm watch size. Generally speaking, these watches are aimed at women and men respectively. You can pick up two variants of these models, available in a Silver aluminum case with a white sports band or the space grey aluminum case with a black sports band.

Why not go for the latest one? Well, the Series 3 will grab an extra €100 out of your wallet versus this earlier Series 1 with the Series 3 model starting at €379 for the 38mm and €409 for the 42mm.

See? Sometimes you can have your cake and eat it.

Appetite Whet? Meet the Apple Watch

The Apple Watch Series 1 was released in September 2016 as an upgrade to the original Series 0 watch released the year before. It was identical in all respects to the original model with the major exception that it came with a bumped up dual-core processor (called the S1P). This was a significant spec boost and helped overcome many of the speed issues which plagued the previous model (the updated WatchOS 3.0 also focused on performance).

Apple originally introduced the watch to the public as a fashion accessory, along with a top tier Hermés edition priced at over €10K. Oddly, this wasn’t a big seller beyond certain L.A. celebrities.

The relaunched Series 1 model came with a new marketing strategy and focus from Apple. It was now focused primarily as a fitness/sporting device, with the watch as a fashion accessory now playing understudy. Apple brought Nike onboard to produce special Nike branded watch faces and straps.

apple watch nike

The Apple Watch requires an iPhone to setup and work correctly, so if you’re an Android user, then you’re almost certainly better off sticking to Android Wear watches. You can still pick up the original Huawei Watch for a great price if you can live without contactless payments from your wrist.

What Don’t I Get With the Apple Watch Series 1

Externally there is no difference as Apple have not changed the design or form factor of the models over the years. Walking down the street, people won’t be able to tell which watch you have.

Internally is where you’ll find some changes as the Series 3 comes with various new features including:

  1. Series 3 has an inbuilt GPS and altimeter chips (climbers/skiers/hikers may like this).
  2. Series 3 runs on a faster processor i.e. S3 against the S1P on the Series 1.
  3. Series 3 is water resistant to 50 meters whereas the Series 1 only splash resistant (e.g. you can get it wet in the rain but that’s about it).
  4. Series 3 screen has a max brightness of 1000 nits. The Series 1 is maxed at 450 nits, i.e. half as bright outdoors.
  5. LTE option only on Series 3 (i.e. independent Cellular connection). However, no mobile operators in Ireland offer this service yet.

What Do I Lose By Going for the Apple Watch Series 1?

So looking at the list above you may well be thinking that that’s a lot of tech and you need all of it. Apple spends a lot of money on marketing to make beliefs like that come to mind you know. You should really stop and ask yourself if that extra €100 wouldn’t be better spend on some other gadgets. Of course, this will depend a lot on what you plan to use the watch for and your budget.

Firstly, let’s put aside the LTE Series 3 because none of the Irish mobile operators offer the eSim for this yet. So this leaves the choice between Series 3 GPS (non-LTE) and the Series 1 model – Apple doesn’t sell the Series 2 directly anymore.

Let’s take the typical reason Apple thinks everyone should have an Apple Watch; fitness. If you’re into running, swimming or climbing GSP and a water-resistant watch might be tempting. Well assuming you don’t plan to swim with your watch on, you can still track GPS data with a Series 1 model once you bring along your iPhone (which let’s be honest most would do anyway to receive calls/messages).

Some of the other Series 3 features are welcome, particularly the brighter screen and faster processor, however, they are really not that noticeable in day to day use so it’s hard to justify the extra €100 over the Series 1 on these features alone.

What can you do With an Apple Watch Besides Fitness Activities?

The big plus point for the Series 1 model is that it also comes with the same operating system as the Series 3 model. So this means that even if your not a fitness fan, an Apple Watch can still be a very useful and fun piece of technology using the built in apps, features and functionality while, most importantly, still being supported by Apple.

Apple’s own app highlights on the watch include the ability to receive and reply to messages, Siri (Apple’s AI talking virtual assistant), the ability to receive and make phone calls (aka Dick Tracy), Apple Pay, Workouts app, a heart rate sensor and the option to choose from a large selection of watch faces with configurable complications (i.e. app shortcuts).

Similar to the iPhone, there is an app store where you can download thousands of watch apps (200,000+ apps currently available to download e.g. Facebook Messenger and Instagram to name a few).

There are a wide variety of straps available on the apple store, ranging in price from €59 all the way up to €609 if you really want to splash out. Obviously, as we know, the internet is kinda big these days, so you can find a huge selection of cheaper straps for your watch online.

Am I Buying an Apple Watch Series 1?

Sure! Why not? Appearance wise the Series 1 and Series 3 are identical (both now only available in the aluminum case). The Series 1 has a stunning OLED screen, curved at each corner with Apple’s usual premium build quality to the fore.

apple watch series 1

Unless GPS, water resistance and some of the other features I’ve covered above are features you feel you can’t live without, then the Apple Watch Series 1 and an extra €100 in your pocket is a great choice and won’t disappoint. It also means you could use the money saved to buy a different watch strap of your choice and add a personal touch to your new watch.

Generally speaking, you’ll always pay around the same for Apple products, but don’t forget to check their UK store, and the value of Sterling where you could save a packet when ordering through Parcel Motel.

Closer to home, you can pick up the Apple Watch through a wide variety of places, including:

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Neal is a massive gadget and movie fan. If he’s not pushing his beloved Apple collection to the max or wandering around Skyrim on his PS4, you’re likely to catch him reading about tech or watching a Scorsese classic.

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