Apple Watch Series 2 vs Series 1: Everything you need to know


With the announcement of a new generation of Apple Watches — comprised of two base models, called Series 1 and Series 2, as well as sub variants for the latter — we now have a duo of Apple smartwatches on our hands that look very similar on the surface, but are quite different on the inside. Since the visual similarities and numerous sub models are likely to cause some confusion when choosing a new Apple watch, we've decided to take a detailed look at all of the available choices and outline all their differences.

Apple Watch Series 2 ($369)

The Apple Watch Series 2 is the bigger deal here, no doubt about that. It is faster than the original, thanks to an all new dual-core processor, and packs a handful of much-welcomed features, all the while remaining visually identical to the first Apple Watch. One of the most exciting new additions is, perhaps, the inclusion of a built-in GPS, which somewhat frees the Series 2 Apple Watch from the shackles of the iPhone. This is good for fitness, as it allows you to track your location, without the need to carry your iPhone with you at all times. If, say, you are going out for a run, or a bike ride, you may not necessarily want to have a phone with you, and the Apple Watch Series 2 allows you this freedom with its built-in GPS.

Another big feature of Series 2 is the improved water resistance. Unlike the original Apple Watch and Series 1, Series 2 offers full water resistance of up to 50 meters, which makes it okay to go for a swim with your fancy new gizmo. Still, Apple warns that Series 2 watches should not be used for scuba diving, or other activities in which the device is submerged below recommended depth or exposed to high-velocity water. This includes water skiing, and perhaps more importantly — and disappointingly — some of the more extreme attractions found in water parks.

Other than that, Series 2 will have the same sensors found in the original Watch and Series 1, as well as the same promised 18 hours of battery life. This model, however, will sport a second-generation OLED Retina display that is two times brighter than the one found on its siblings.

As far as dimensions go, the Apple Watch Series 2 will retain the same case sizes we know from the original — 38 mm (1.5 in) and 42 mm (1.7 in) — while bumping up the overall thickness of the device with 0.9 mm (from 10.5 mm, to 11.4 mm).

Apple Watch Nike+ (from $369)

Apple has teamed up with Nike to create a device geared mainly toward runners with this model. The Nike+ Series 2 Apple Watch sports an aluminum case (in Space Gray and Silver) and comes with two exclusive watch faces that offer quick access to the Nike+ Run Club app.

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Four interchangeable Nike-branded straps, available in different two-tone color combinations, will be sold exclusively for this model. 

Apple Watch Hermès (from $1,299)

Retaining all the new features and added durability of Series 2, this model is a collaboration between Apple and French high fashion luxury brand Hermès that's all about looks. And is it a looker! The Apple Watch Hermès collection features handcrafted leather straps and watch faces based on the iconic Clipper, Cape Cod, and Espace Herms watches. There are four types of leather bands available, featuring distinctive designs, such as the Double Buckle Cuff, the Single Tour , and the Double Tour. There's also a fifth, exclusive Hermès sports band for this model, available in orange and included with every purchase.

Fortunately, if you want to get the premium fashion look on your non-Hermès Apple Watch, you can absolutely do so, as the leather straps are compatible with other Apple Watch models (pricing and more info for each one in the gallery to the right). Keep in mind, however, that these bands can set you back as much as $689.00, and that the classic watch faces are exclusive to the Hermès model.

Apart from the stainless steel case, this watch also sports a sapphire crystal display, instead of the Ion-X one found on aluminum models.

Apple Watch Edition (from $1249)

Apple has discontinued the previous 18-karat Gold and Rose Gold Apple Watch models, which started at $10,000 and went as high as $17,000, replacing them with a new, ceramic top-of-the line offering, this time around starting from $1249.

The Series 2 Apple Watch Edition sports a sleek ceramic case, which, Apple promises, is as strong as it is beautiful. More specifically, it is said to be “more than four times as hard as stainless steal”, with a lustrous finish “that won't scratch or tarnish”. Wow, color us impressed! However, we will have to wait until people begin wrecking the Apple Watch Edition on YouTube before we pass any judgment on its sturdiness.

This model is compatible with all the standard Apple Watch Accessories and features a sapphire crystal display, just like the Hermès.

Apple Watch Series 1 ($269)

The Apple Watch Series 1 is the more basic of the two new offerings and serves as a replacement for the original Apple Watch. Series 1 is, in essence, a “refreshed” take on the old model with some added oomph, thanks to the new a dual-core processor (same one found in Series 2 watches). Other than that, the Apple Watch Series 1 features no built-in GPS and bares the same IPX7 water resistance rating as its predecessor, which makes it merely splash proof. It retains the same dimensions for both case sizes, as well as the same 18 hours of promised battery life. The original Apple Watch is no longer available in Apple's online store.

Watch OS 3

Both the Apple Watch Series 1 and Series 2 will come with Watch OS 3 out of the box, which, combined with the refreshed hardware inside both, will amount to a smoother, overall better user experience. Original Apple Watch users should not despair, however, as Watch OS 3 hit first-gen devices on September 13, along with the official launch of iOS 10. Watch OS 3, which was showcased for the first time at WWDC this year, brings substantial performance improvements to the original Apple Watch, as well a plethora of new features.

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