Apple Watch Series 3 reviews: The good, the bad, and the ugly

Out, out damned dot.

Credit: Apple

It turns out the third time isn’t the charm for Apple Watch. Early reviews for the Series 3 model with cellular have landed and let’s just say there are some concerns.

Most of the problems result from LTE connectivity issues, the major new feature on Apple Watch. While the woes weren’t universal, enough reviewers had issues that Apple is investigating a fix that will be included in a future software update. In a statement to the Verge, one of the outlets that experienced severe issues, Apple says it has pinpointed an issue where Apple Watch Series 3 joins unauthenticated Wi-Fi networks without adequate connectivity (like a public Wi-Fi hotspot), which in turn prevents the watch from using the cellular connection. With the first wave of shipments due to arrive Friday, here’s hoping that update arrives sooner than later.

The Wall Street Journal’s Joanna Stern (subscription required) also suffered from sporadic LTE connectivity. She used the watch with both AT&T’s and T-Mobile’s networks and experienced several dropped connections.  Her issues with connectivity and battery life were so major, she went so far as to not recommend buying the device at all.

Other reviewers also had issues with battery life when using the cellular connection for extended periods of time, and Stern noted that her watch got warm during lengthy calls. And we couldn’t find anyone who liked the Digital Crown’s red dot.

But not everyone had such a negative experience. Over at Daring Fireball, John Gruber writes:

“Apple Watch Series 3 with cellular networking completely alleviates this anxiety. It is not a replacement for a phone, and is not supposed to be. But it lets you leave your phone at home when you go for a run, or in your locker while you’re at the gym, or in your hotel while you go to the beach, and not worry in the least that you’re out of touch.”

Gruber also praises the audio quality on the watch, a point also made by The Loop’s Jim Dalrymple: “I had the watch about chest high when I was speaking, but he said he could hear me ‘clear as day.’ I could also hear him clearly from the Apple Watch speaker.” And 9to5Mac’s Zac Hall had a similarly pleasant experience, saying, “The built-in speaker … is plenty loud for moderate noise levels, and the person on the other line would never guess you’re calling from your watch.”

Finally, Brian X. Chen at The New York Times was one of the few to praise both the versatility of the cellular chip and the battery life, but he questioned the value of LTE. “AT&T and Verizon Wireless, for example, charge a network access fee of $10 a month to share your phone plan’s texts, minutes and data with an Apple Watch. That’s about the same as a Spotify subscription, but with the exception of avid joggers and gym rats, people may not use the cellular features frequently enough.”

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

Tags Apple watch

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Michael Simon

Macworld.com
Show Comments

Cool Tech

SanDisk MicroSDXC™ for Nintendo® Switch™

Learn more >

Breitling Superocean Heritage Chronographe 44

Learn more >

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Panasonic 4K UHD Blu-Ray Player and Full HD Recorder with Netflix - UBT1GL-K

Learn more >

Stocking Stuffer

Razer DeathAdder Expert Ergonomic Gaming Mouse

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?