Apple Watch Series 3 Excels, Even if You Don’t Need Cellular

An Overview

Like its predecessors, the Apple Watch Series 3 is a computer worn around the wrist, with a miniature touch screen.

The device requires an iPhone to set up and work properly. Notifications like text messages or social media alerts that come to your iPhone appear on the watch first if you are not actively using the phone. The watch runs apps, including some built-in software for fitness tracking as well as third-party widgets you can download from the App Store.

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The main difference with the cellular Apple Watch is that some important features, like placing calls, texting and streaming music, will work when you are not near your phone.

Credit
Jim Wilson/The New York Times

The main difference with the cellular Apple Watch is that some important features, like placing calls, texting and streaming music, will work when you are not near your phone; the watch shares the same phone number and cellular plan with your iPhone.

To help determine whether the cellular watch is right for you, I abandoned my iPhone to test the watch in a number of common situations. Here’s how that went.

Date Night

Over the weekend, my partner and I made plans to go to dinner at a sushi restaurant. I used the Apple Watch to summon a Lyft car to pick us up at home.

At the sushi bar, I liked that I didn’t have a smartphone constantly buzzing in my pocket, though I got a text that I quickly responded to on the watch using an emoji. My partner and I enjoyed 90 minutes of intimate conversation over omakase with minimal distraction, though I was a bit envious that she could Instagram our gorgeous nigiri. (Alas, the watch does not have a miniature spy camera.)

Verdict: I could have had roughly the same experience with just an iPhone put on Do Not Disturb mode — and a bit of self-discipline.

Dog Walks

For several days, I wore just the watch while walking my dogs. Not having a phone freed up valuable space in my pockets for other items, like my keys, my wallet, dog treats and bags. I liked that the Apple Watch tracked my steps and walking distance to make dog walking feel more like exercise than a chore. I placed a call to my partner with the watch to tell her where to meet me at a park; she said the call sounded crystal clear.

It was also nice that with just the watch, I could still be reachable via phone or text by my colleagues during…

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