Apple Watch GPS Vs. Cellular — Which One Should You Buy?
The Apple Watch has GPS + Cellular and GPS-only versions, both versions allow you to place calls, get notifications, text your friends and family, listen to music, and use supported third-party apps. However, the main distinguishing factor between them is that you can continually use the Cellular model even if you don’t have your phone with you. And, if you are planning to buy or gift an Apple Watch to a friend or a family member, it is important to note that the Family Setup works only with the Cellular model. This is but one of many differences between the two models.
Let’s conduct a detailed comparison of the Apple Watch’s GPS Vs. Cellular models.
Apple Watch Cellular vs. GPS: The Appearance
At first glance, differentiating between a GPS and a Cellular is difficult. It is only when you look closer, that you make out a difference like in the Cellular Model, there’s a red ring circling the Digital Crown. Other than that, both the models look exactly the same. The main differences are on the inside.
Does the Apple Watch Series 3 have GPS + Cellular?
After September 2020, Apple discontinued the sales of the GPS + Cellular model of the Series 3 Watch. Even though it supports watchOS 8, it is no longer a recommended purchase. If budget is a constraint, we recommend the Apple Watch SE instead.
Apple Watch GPS Vs. Cellular: Bands
Apple Watches have a plethora of band styles and case material options. However, if you are very specific and decide to go for the aluminum Apple Watch accompanied by a Milanese loop, you’ll have to purchase the band separately. Other than Apple’s official bands, there are plenty of affordable third-party options that you can purchase.
Apple Watch GPS Vs. Cellular: Carrier Restrictions
Comparing GPS vs. cellular Apple Watch, both support LTE connectivity. This allows you to use your current connectivity plan for some extra monthly fee, which is around $10. In return, you get phone connectivity and internet access even when you don’t have your iPhone with you.
The LTE coverage gives you the freedom to place calls, use Siri, receive messages, play with third-party apps, navigate via the Maps app, and do much more with your Apple Watch.
However, you cannot sign up for a different cellular plan for your Apple Watch from your iPhone. If you are using AT&T, you’ll have a separate number for your Apple Watch. However, it is not a usable phone number. It is merely an account assignment number.
Quick Tip: If you travel internationally and use a pay-as-you-go sim, we recommend not using your Watch because if you do, it will incur international charges.
Apple Watch GPS Vs. Cellular: Streaming
If you are using Cellular or connected to Wi-Fi, you can stream podcasts, music, and audiobooks without even touching your iPhone. What’s more? You can synchronize podcasts, music, or audiobooks from your iPhone to your Watch. You’ll also be able to play the content you want even if it is not connected to Cellular services or Wi-Fi.
Apple Watch GPS Vs. Cellular: Family Setup
Suppose you are planning or gifting an Apple Watch to someone, you don’t have to buy them an iPhone. Instead, you can use the Family Setup to set up the Watch initially and use it disconnected. Also, it is important to note that the Family Setup is only supported by Cellular + GPS watch. You may think that you don’t need the Cellular Watch right now, but you might want to pass it down to a family member or a friend someday.
Also, the family Setup works with Apple Watch SE GPS + Cellular and Apple Watch Series 7 GPS + Cellular.
Apple Watch GPS Vs. Cellular: Case and Screen
The GPS-only Apple Watch SE, Series 7, and Series 3 are available in Aluminum. However, the Series 7 Cellular version is available in stainless steel, aluminum, and titanium. Apple Watch SE is available only in aluminum.
The aluminum Apple Watches only have an Ion-X Glass display, but the titanium and stainless steel versions have a Sapphire Crystal display. The Ion-X Glass is soft and can absorb more impact as compared to Sapphire Crystal, but the Ion-X Glass gets scratched up easily. Sapphire Crystal is not prone to scratching, but it might crack if the Watch is dropped.
Apple Watch GPS Vs. Cellular: Battery Output
The GPS + Cellular Watch consumes more battery than the GPS-only Watch. Apple’s battery tests say that the current Models last up to 18 hours on average between charges. However, with all the tech, the battery life depends on how much you use Cellular or GPS. If you listen to music or place calls, it might lose battery faster.
Here’s how the Series 7 performed in Apple’s single-task test:
- 1.5 hour talktime w/ Cellular
- Up to 8 hours streaming with LTE and 11 hours playback from the Watch’s storage
- 11 hours during indoor workouts. It lasted seven hours during outdoor workout with only GPS. It lasted six hours during outdoor workouts with LTE and GPS.
Apple Watch Cellular Vs. GPS: Price
As we could guess from the beginning, the prices of both these watches are different. The GPS-only Apple Watch will cost you $279 for a 40mm aluminum case. The GPS + Cellular, on the other hand, will be around $329.
The Series 7 GPS-only Watch starts at $399 with a 41mm aluminum case whereas the Series 7 GPS + Cellular Watch is priced at $499. If you are willing to buy a Watch with cellular service, more storage, a better case material, Family Setup support, and Apple Music, the prices will bump up a bit more.
Concluding Thoughts: Which Apple Watch Should You Buy?
Ultimately, it all boils down to the usage of the Watch. If you plan to use it with your Wi-Fi and your iPhone, the GPS version is the right choice for you. However, the GPS version only comes in aluminum and doesn’t have Family Setup, but still, you can use some incredible features of the Watch. Besides, it is cheaper than the GPS + Cellular version.
If you plan to leave your phone behind and explore the world, the GPS + Cellular version is a brilliant choice. It has a lot of connectivity options and lets you listen to music, podcasts, and other streaming services, even if you don’t have your phone with you. It is available in stainless steel, aluminum, and titanium. Also, you have to pay a monthly fee for the cellular service.
Apple Watch Gps vs Cellular FAQs
1. What is the difference between GPS and cellular on Apple Watch?
Also, for the GPS + Cellular model, you’ll have to pay a monthly charge to your service provider, which is around $10. Also, this model lasts a little less than the GPS-only model. And then there’s the price. This model will cost you more than the GPS-only model.
2. Is it worth having cellular on Apple Watch?
3. Can you make calls on Apple Watch with GPS only?
4. Do you need to pay monthly for the cellular Apple Watch?
5. Can you answer calls on Apple Watch without cellular?
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