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Apple Watch Series 3 (GPS+Cellular) review: Leave your phone at home

Abhik Sen/New Delhi 18 May 18 | 09:22 PM

That morning, I felt free; freer than I have in a few years. As I breathed in the morning air and concentrated on the path ahead, what was missing was the tightly clutched contraption I was to carry on my jog. Yet the music flowed. 

That was the first jog/walk I had with the Apple Watch Series 3 GPS+ Cellular (Rs 41,120, for 42mm). And the exhilaration I felt at leaving my phone behind is difficult to describe. Yet one isn’t missing anything, I realised when my wife called to say that I was spending too much time on the jog. If I weren’t wearing wireless earphones that day, I could have lived my childhood dream of using a wrist-top communicator! 

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Pairing the watch to my iPhone and getting the connection running on the Airtel network had been fairly simple; the eSim on the watch registered with the network and was good to go — free of any extra charge. Besides Airtel, the watch also supports Reliance Jio. While I marvelled at the new features such as a custom “explorer" watch face, support for Apple Music, and the various apps, I was most excited at Siri being present on the watch itself. A caveat: Siri’s performance may be hampered in noisy environments, especially if you aren’t wearing earphones.

While this watch is nearly identical in terms of features to the GPS only version, it can be distinguished by the red dot on the crown. It has 16GB of memory on board, so you can pack in the apps and music. But then, transferring music and playlists to various devices is a chore, especially if you’ve been spoilt by Apple Music (I have been); and I have innumerable custom playlists as iTunes has been my default music player for close to 15 years now. That was one of the primary reasons I clutched on to my phone, often listening to the “Classical music for running" playlist. But now, there was no need to, since I could access all my music (including the playlists) on the watch itself.

The more I got comfortable with the watch, the more I ignored my phone; till a day I had to rush home to reply to an urgent message. One day, I discovered something accidentally: My iPhone’s battery was depleting fast; to preserve the charge, I switched off Bluetooth. Yet, the watch remained connected via cellular (as it indicated on the screen), even when I was carrying my phone. As a result, I could attend to the numerous calls. And since the watch automatically switches to the available connection, I ended up using cellular mode when I went out, and Wi-Fi mode when at home. A caveat: Since the watch consumes data, it makes sense to have an unlimited data connection. Despite using the cellular connection extensively, I was able to get through the day.

The Apple Watch Series 3 GPS+Cellular seems the most user-friendly smartwatch in the market for iPhone users and I daresay the one they should get if they, like me, love to be free of their phone, for some time.

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