Apple unveiled its all-new Apple Watch Series 3 last week alongside the iPhone 8 and iPhone X, and while they were clear that it would become the flagship model of their popular smartwatch, they weren’t clear about how it stacks up to the current Apple Watch Series 2.

In this piece, we’ll go over the tech specs of each so that you can compare them side by side and choose what one is right for you.

Apple Watch Series 3 vs Series 2 tech specs

Models

Apple Watch Series 3

  • GPS + Cellular
    • Apple Watch
      • Aluminum case with Sport Band or Sport Loop
      • Stainless steel case with Sport Band or Milanese Loop
    • Apple Watch Nike+
      • Aluminum case with Nike Sport Band or Nike Sport Loop
    • Apple Watch Hermès
      • Stainless steel case with Hermès leather band
      • Additional Sport Band included with purchase
    • Apple Watch Edition
      • Ceramic case with Sport Band
  • GPS
    • Apple Watch
      • Aluminum case with Sport Band
    • Apple Watch Nike+
      • Aluminum case with Nike Sport Band

Apple Watch Series 2

  • Apple Watch
    • Aluminum case with Sport Band or Woven Nylon band
    • Stainless steel case with Sport Band, stainless steel band, or leather band
  • Apple Watch Nike+
    • Aluminum case with Nike Sport Band
  • Apple Watch Hermès
    • Stainless steel case with Hermès band
    • Additional Sport Band included with purchase
  • Apple Watch Edition
    • Ceramic case with Sport Band
    • Magnetic Charging Dock included with purchase

Dimensions

Apple Watch Series 3

  • Aluminum case – 38mm
    • Height: 38.6mm
    • Width: 33.3mm
    • Depth: 11.4mm
    • Case Weight (GPS): 26.7g
    • Case Weight (GPS + Cellular): 28.7g
  • Aluminum case – 42mm
    • Height: 42.5mm
    • Width: 36.4mm
    • Depth: 11.4mm
    • Case Weight (GPS): 32.3g
    • Case Weight (GPS + Cellular): 34.9g
  • Stainless Steel case – 38mm
    • Height: 38.6mm
    • Width: 33.3mm
    • Depth: 11.4mm
    • Case Weight: 42.4g
  • Stainless Steel case – 42mm
    • Height: 42.5mm
    • Width: 36.4mm
    • Depth: 11.4mm
    • Case Weight: 52.8g
  • White Ceramic case – 38mm
    • Height: 39.2mm
    • Width: 34.0mm
    • Depth: 11.8mm
    • Case Weight: 40.1g
  • White Ceramic case – 42mm
    • Height: 42.6mm
    • Width: 36.5mm
    • Depth: 11.4mm
    • Case Weight: 46.4g

Apple Watch Series 2

  • Aluminum case – 38mm
    • Height: 38.6mm
    • Width: 33.3mm
    • Depth: 11.4mm
    • Case Weight: 28.2g
  • Aluminum case – 42mm
    • Height: 42.5mm
    • Width: 36.4mm
    • Depth: 11.4mm
    • Case Weight: 34.2g
  • Stainless Steel case – 38mm
    • Height: 38.6mm
    • Width: 33.3mm
    • Depth: 11.4mm
    • Case Weight: 41.9g
  • Stainless Steel case – 42mm
    • Height: 42.5mm
    • Width: 36.4mm
    • Depth: 11.4mm
    • Case Weight: 52.4g
  • White Ceramic case – 38mm
    • Height: 39.2mm
    • Width: 34.0mm
    • Depth: 11.8mm
    • Case Weight: 39.6g
  • White Ceramic case – 42mm
    • Height: 42.6mm
    • Width: 36.5mm
    • Depth: 11.4mm
    • Case Weight: 45.6g

Chips

Apple Watch Series 3

  • Faster dual-core processor
  • Apple wireless chip

Apple Watch Series 2

  • Dual‑core processor
  • Built‑in GPS

Features

Apple Watch Series 3

  • GPS + Cellular
    • Built-in GPS and GLONASS
    • Barometric altimeter
    • Water resistant 50 meters
    • Heart rate sensor
    • Accelerometer
    • Gyroscope
    • Ambient light sensor
    • Siri speaks
    • Capacity 16GB
    • Ceramic back
  • GPS
    • Built-in GPS and GLONASS
    • Barometric altimeter
    • Water resistant 50 meters
    • Heart rate sensor
    • Accelerometer
    • Gyroscope
    • Ambient light sensor
    • Siri speaks
    • Capacity 8GB
    • Composite back

Apple Watch Series 2

  • Built-in GPS
  • Water resistant 50 meters
  • Wi-Fi (802.11b/g/n 2.4GHz)
  • Bluetooth 4.0
  • Heart rate sensor
  • Accelerometer
  • Gyroscope
  • Ambient light sensor

Connectivity

Apple Watch Series 3

Apple Watch Series 2

  • Built-in GPS
  • Wi-Fi (802.11b/g/n 2.4GHz)
  • Bluetooth 4.0

Display

Apple Watch Series 3

  • GPS + Cellular
    • Second-generation OLED Retina display with Force Touch
    • 2x brighter (1000 nits)
    • Sapphire crystal (stainless steel and ceramic cases)
    • Ion-X glass (aluminum cases)
    • 272 by 340 pixels (38mm)
    • 312 by 390 pixels (42mm)
  • Series 3 GPS
    • Second-generation OLED Retina display with Force Touch
    • 2x brighter (1000 nits)
    • Ion-X glass (strengthened glass)
    • 272 by 340 pixels (38mm)
    • 312 by 390 pixels (42mm)

Apple Watch Series 2

  • Second-generation OLED Retina display with Force Touch
  • 2× brighter (1000 nits)
  • Sapphire crystal (stainless steel and ceramic cases)
  • Ion-X glass (aluminum cases)
  • 272 by 340 pixels (38mm)
  • 312 by 390 pixels (42mm)

Power & Battery

Apple Watch Series 3

  • Built-in rechargeable lithium-ion battery
  • Up to 18 hours
  • Magnetic charging cable
  • USB power adapter

Apple Watch Series 2

  • Built-in rechargeable lithium-ion battery
  • Up to 18 hours
  • Magnetic charging cable
  • USB power adapter

Apart from a few marginal upgrades like the faster dual-core processor, barometric altimeter, Bluetooth 4.2 support, and LTE support, there isn’t much setting the Apple Watch Series 3 apart from the Series 2. Nevertheless, for some that’ll make all the difference.

Will you be making the upgrade this year? Share below!

  • nodnarb1129

    It would help if the info was side by side. It makes it easier to read and compare. Just my two cents.

    • mahe

      But this would be more work than just C&P …

    • DD™

      Totally agree. Almost useless going up and down.

  • Alan Roberts

    I’ll stick with my series 2.

    • That is probably what I am going to be doing also. I only just got mine last year, and these spec upgrades really aren’t too “noticeable” to me. The big selling point will be those upgrading from Series 1 or those who absolutely need LTE.

      • Alan Roberts

        I agree. It’s the main reason ,I suspect, the series 2 has been discontinued. There wouldn’t be any incentive to buy a series 3 if Apple kept the series 2 on sale.

  • Lost_Fan

    A side-by-side would have been easier to read.

    Edit –
    oops..didn’t see someone already said this.

  • nova12

    just got the v2 Nike lab version a couple/few months ago and it does everything I need it to do. So I’ll sit this one out. The added cellular doesn’t do much for me bc I have my phone with me always, and another $10/mo isn’t worth it to me.

  • Jamessmooth

    I upgraded to the LTE version from a series 0. Can’t wait for Friday. There really aren’t any issues with the 0 imo. Battery life is still about what it was on Day 1, watch doesn’t show any significant signs of wear and tear. If I had a series 2 I probably wouldn’t upgrade tho.

  • Daniel Campbell

    Not enough change for me. I will stay with my Series 2 watch, and look forward to the new software coming tomorrow. Agree that when comparing items, reporting 101 says put them adjacent to each other.

  • Diniesh

    Apple Watch series 2 aluminium models all came with ceramic back but series 3 only cellular model. Shame on you Apple!!! Why can’t you give ceramic back for all models?

  • Teddie Danh

    I just bought the series 2 Sport Aluminum Gold yesterday and so far so good 😀

  • Rotate

    You didn’t mention the best upgrade .Series 3 has Glonass now .

  • kabomber

    Glonass is irrelevant in the continental USA fyi due to our military infrastructure providing equivalent gps accuracy.