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Review Round-up: What others are saying about the Apple Watch Series 3

Apple unveiled its new Apple Watch Series 3 on September 12 earlier this month. While the device has been well-received and gaining likes among consumers and critics alike, it's not free of issues. More specifically speaking about the LTE model, it has issues of its own that Apple must tend to.

The main feature of the new Series 3 smartwatch is the LTE capabilities. This capability gives you freedom to leave your phone behind while you're at the gym, out for a run, or just want to take a walk along the beach. Along with this comes improved performance.

Due to the introduction of LTE capabilities, it was speculated that the smartwatch may suffer from battery life issues, and even Apple has already acknowledged one problems that's already affecting the device, which is the LTE model automatically attempting to connect to unknown wifi networks instead of just using the cellular connection. This results in losing both voice and data capabilities.

In a statement to The Verge, Apple said that “We have discovered that when Apple Watch Series 3 joins unauthenticated Wi-Fi networks without connectivity, it may at times prevent the watch from using cellular. We are investigating a fix for a future software release.”

Here are some reviews and what they have to say about the new Apple Watch Series 3:

The New York Times

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 […]

Although I think most people can skip buying the cellular model, the Apple Watch Series 3 is the first smart watch I can confidently recommend that people buy […] The new Apple Watch is a well-designed, durable and easy-to-use fitness tracker for people who want analytics on their workouts and general health.

Important features like the stopwatch, calendar and Siri work quickly and reliably. And unlike its predecessors, the watch has impressive battery life — on average, I had more than 40 percent battery remaining after a full day of use.

So the final verdict? The Apple Watch Series 3 is the first sign that wearable computers are maturing and may eventually become a staple in consumer electronics.

The Wall Street Journal

Apple’s latest has all the ingredients of the future we were promised. Crammed inside that familiar flattened-marshmallow rounded square is the power to make calls from anywhere, connect to an always-listening personal assistant and check in on your health with biometric sensors—all without depending on an iPhone for connectivity.

Except, after I spent a week testing these new models—denoted by a red dot on their dials—the future feels even further away. You’re lucky if the battery allows you to roam on cellular for longer than half a day—especially if you’re making calls. And only a limited number of third-party apps work without the phone close by. (No Instagram, Twitter , Uber.)

Most worryingly, my colleague Geoffrey Fowler and I experienced cellular connectivity issues on three separate pre-production models, in two different states, on two different 4G LTE carriers.

CNET

The Good: Cellular connection works well for phone calls, email, Siri and messages. Music now syncs more easily. Improvements in fitness tracking and added watch faces. Adds barometer to GPS and swimproofing. Same overall size as last year’s watch.

The Bad: Battery life takes a major hit when making calls or during GPS workouts. 42mm cellular model is expensive, and that’s before monthly wireless service and Apple Music fees. Still requires an iPhone to set up and pair with.

The Bottom Line: The Apple Watch Series 3 is the best overall smartwatch you can buy, but battery limitations and add-on fees keep it from being a must-have upgrade.

Daring Fireball

With the addition of cellular networking in Series 3, Apple Watch gains something essential: independence. It’s not just a cool feature. It’s aimed smack dab in the middle of the two things people like best about Apple Watch: notifications and fitness. When are you separated from your iPhone? When you’re exercising. What do you miss most when you’re away from your phone? Messages and phone calls […]

Audio quality for phone calls on the watch is very good [and] Siri sounds great on the watch, too: crisp and clear […]

AT&T and Verizon are both charging $10 a month per watch. I don’t expect it to be free, but $120 a year feels like too much for a device that I’m using instead of the iPhone I’m already paying (a lot) for […]

I don’t get [the red dot]. It’s not that it looks bad in and of itself, but it draws unnecessary attention to itself. I would much prefer this watch if it were black. Also, red doesn’t go with everything, and a huge part of the fun of Apple Watch is swapping bands. Apple sells a lot of watch bands that clash with the red dot.

Forbes

It’s the arrival of the latest model, Series 3, that suddenly makes the Apple Watch a real contender, I’d say […] It means, at last, that you can use your Watch to make calls, send texts, get directions in Maps, talk to Siri even if your iPhone is nowhere nearby […]

I found making calls was easy and that call quality was much better than I’d experienced on previous Watches where you are dependent on the strength of wireless connection between iPhone and Watch as well as iPhone signal strength […]

Furthermore, for now at least, the Apple Watch only works in the country you bought it in, there’s no roaming possible. This looks like it’s a technical issue – it’s certainly not something the carriers have introduced. And as such it may change in time. For now, though, don’t buy and Apple Watch overseas, even if it’s cheaper, unless you plan to use it there.

The Independent

The LTE connectivity has changed the functions of the Watch hugely. Now, you can go running with your Watch, without your iPhone weighing you down, and when you’re done, make a phone call to hail a ride to get home. You can send a text, command Siri, navigate using Maps and more, all without your iPhone […]

Call quality has been consistently good – better than making calls before which relied on the strength of the connection to the iPhone nearby. There’s also the simple interface and the freedom of having my hands free which has made this a very good experience, even when I’ve felt self-conscious […]

The processor this time is lightning-fast. Apple claims a 70 per cent speed uptick compared to last year’s processor. Whatever the figures, this is a fast, responsive gadget […]

If you’ve been waiting for the right time to buy one, the addition of cellular connectivity means this may be the right moment.

The Loop

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.

Next, I dropped my arm and started walking, but continued my conversation with him. He said he could still hear me just fine, even though my arm was down by my side and I was walking at a normal pace. To be honest, I wanted to see what I could do so that he couldn’t hear me, but he kept saying it sounded fine […]

In the past week, I’ve gone out multiple times without my iPhone and still received messages, emails, and phone calls. I was still in touch with people, but I felt a little free not having my iPhone with me […]

I was disappointed that I couldn’t try out Apple Music streaming on my Apple Watch—it will be available in about a month with a software update. However, Apple intelligently adds a couple of your most listened to playlists to the watch so you always have some music with you, even if you leave your iPhone at home. I use this a lot. You can choose different playlists if you want using the watch app on your iPhone.

Mashable

Apple’s small change basically transforms the Apple Watch into a tiny smartphone.

Think about it. The Apple Watch Series 3 can perform many of the same skills as your iPhone, including email, messaging, phone calls, maps and directions, smart home control, health and fitness tracking, weather, Find My Friends, gaming, access Siri, and much more […]

Apple told me that any app that was updated for Apple Watch Series 2 should work with the watch-supplied data. Some, like Siri, Weather, and CNN did, but others like Slack, AP news and Twitter made it clear that the still needed that phone connection.

Realistically, I can only stare at that tiny screen for so long. That’s the main reason the Apple Watch Series 3 will never fully replace a phone, but with built-in LTE, it can do more on its own. Now Apple and app developers need to finish the vision.

Wired

Almost nobody will ever know you’re wearing the new one, unless they spot the little red button on the side. And yet, this is a completely different device. It now has LTE built in, and connects to the internet without needing your phone or even a Wi-Fi connection. For two years, the Watch was an iPod Touch. Now it’s an iPhone […]

The Apple Watch Series 3 is the first smartwatch I’ve ever used that felt like something more. Paired with a set of Bluetooth headphones (AirPods or otherwise), it becomes an awesome evolution of the iPod. Once you spend a few minutes culling your notifications, it’s a useful way to stay connected without being distracted. It hasn’t made me throw my phone out, but now I walk the dog and run out for coffee without it, because I can even pay from my wrist. I go to the gym without my phone, which means I actually work out now instead of just sitting on the bench staring at Twitter. The Watch finally does free me from my phone, at least sometimes.

That said, it’s still not a perfect device. The battery remains the biggest limitation, and the Watch still needs more and better apps, and a simpler interface. And, for the love of everything holy, Apple needs to make a Watch with a screen that’s always on. But whether you’re a hyper-connected hyper-marathoner, or just looking for a few minutes away from the attention-sucking din of your iPhone, this is the first Watch that really works.

Hamza Khalid

The Jolt Journal is your source for daily tech news, breaking, reviews, and insights.

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