The holiday shopping season is upon us. And one of the hardest things for consumers to sort through is old vs. new models of high-demand electronic items.
One of those items that you might have trouble deciding between is the Apple Watch. Specifically, I would like to focus on the new Series 2 Apple watches that were released a few months ago, with the goal of providing you a breakdown of the differences between this year’s model and the Series 1 models—and let’s not forget about a price comparison too!
Read more: How to get the Apple Watch for $25
What is new in the Series 2?
The Apple Watch Series 2 offers a number of upgrades from the Series 1 model, including waterproofing, upgraded exercise features and expanded options for style.
The Series 2 watch is waterproof
All Series 2 watches offer waterproofing for up to 50 meters of depth, which is equal to the Fitbit Flex 2. If you like to swim or just like to wear your watch at the pool in the summer, this is one of the new features you might consider most beneficial.
New exercise features
There isn’t so much a complete overhaul of the software, as much as an upgrade to the various sensors used to detect movement and heartbeat. The Series 2 offers an improvement to the overall ability of the watch to track what you’re doing during your exercise routine. The watch now offers internal GPS so that users will no longer have to keep their phone with them to track distance and location. Also, the heartbeat sensor, which was less than accurate in the original model, has been revamped to provide accurate readings on the fly.
Additionally, the Series 2 provides tracking options for swimmers, including lap count and pace. It even detects stroke type.
New casing options
While Apple has done away with the gold casing (I’m sure you’re all devastated), they have brought back the Apple staples: Silver, rose gold, space gray and stainless steel, plus the new ceramic white.
New designer styles
Apple is also expanding their partnerships by recruiting additional designers to provide more cosmetic options in the form of alternative bands, including Hermes and Nike. Like the Series 1, these bands will come as upgrades to the standard watch piece, and have a wide range of prices (see approximate prices below).
Improved screen quality
Additionally, The Series 2 will feature an upgraded screen, which improves the display from 450 nits to 1000 nits. And if you’re wondering what that means, just know that Apple claims this means that the Series 2 will have their brightest screen on any device. Depending on which Series 2 model you choose, you will have the option between a sapphire crystal glass screen included with the ceramic watch, and the ION-X strengthened glass for the Standard Series 2.
Also, the Series 2 will include Force Touch to make navigating the interface easier.
An upgraded processor
The Series 2 will have an upgraded dual core S2 chip processor for 50% faster processing, and an upgraded GPU for twice the graphic capability.
New Series 1 models will also have the S2 processor, but not the GPU. And, both watches will be able to run the new watchOS 3 software.
How big is the price gap between models?
Maybe you aren’t much of a swimmer and the closest you get to water with your watch is washing your hands. And maybe you really want an Apple Watch, but you don’t feel the need to have the latest and greatest. If that’s the case, you might be able to get a great deal on a Series 1 Apple watch during the Christmas shopping season.
Apple Watch Series 2 price
The cost of the Series 2 ranges from $369 – $1,099 for the standard series, $1,249 for the ceramic white series, and $1,499 for the Hermes series.
Apple Watch Series 1 price
Brand new Series 1 standard models range from $269 – $299, but could cost as much as $988 depending on the choice of wrist band. (Yes, that is correct. There are actually bands that cost more than the watch!)
Refurbished models can be found on Amazon for as low as $224.
eBay has the previous generation of the Series 1 watch pieces (wristband not included) for as low as $160, but prices on complete pieces fall within the same range as other major online retailers. Also, while the price for the watch piece may sound appealing, understand that these versions are not the same as the new Series 1 models, which have the upgraded processor.
Finally, Newegg offers refurbished first generation Series 1 watches for as low as $184, but like eBay, they will not have the new processor.
If the recipient of this gift doesn’t have an Apple Watch already, buy the Series 2 model. You will be getting quite a bit more for your money (waterproofing alone is a pretty sweet deal), and the differences in cost between the Series 1 and 2 are just too minimal to warrant an older model.
While there is no doubt in my mind that Apple will release a Series 3 model in the near future (the rate of iPhone releases should be a clear indication of this), you should not let it deter you from making someone happy this holiday season.
If you are choosing to simply upgrade to the latest model, I would urge you to wait—unless you are an emphatic technophile. Although the upgrades certainly are appealing for new buyers, they are not dramatic enough to justify dropping money on a brand new watch. Instead, use that money on some sweet accessories or other really cool tech gear. Another option is to start saving up for the next version of the acclaimed smart watch now!