Apple Watch Series 3 (38mm) Versus (42mm) – What’s The Difference?

The Apple watch series 3 is a fantastic smartwatch to have, even though there are newer models now available. The series 3 comes in two sizes – 38 and 42mm and both have the availability in GPS only or GPS and cellular.

Apple Watch Series 3 (38mm) vs (42mm) – What’s the Difference?

Although you might struggle to see what the differences are due to their huge similarities, there are some areas for consideration that a buyer should know before going out and purchasing a series 3. So, what are the differences between a 38mm and 42mm Apple watch series 3?

Display Size

The height and width of both watches displays are different which may affect your decision when buying an Apple watch. The 38mm has a screen height of 38.6mm and a width of 33.3mm, whereas the 42mm has a height of 42mm and a width of 35.9mm.

Additionally, the resolution changes as a result of the size, making it easier to read things on the screen.

Needless to say, if you require a bigger screen for vision or for your fingers – the 42mm is the best bet.

Strap Size

Although you can source some different sizes of straps, generally the 42mm will have a longer strap – this is great for people with bigger wrist sizes, but if you wanted a larger screen but you have a smaller wrist, you might find yourself with extra costs trying to find a strap that works for you.

Weight Of The Watch

One of the ways to get the most out of your Apple watch is to wear it as much as possible, as if it were constantly attached to you. For people who are used to not wearing a watch, the feeling of a heavier watch on their wrist for most of the day is uncomfortable and may end up being a waste of money.

If this is the case, you’re better off purchasing the 38mm as it is lighter and can ease you into a smartwatch life.

It’s also worth noting that the watches offer different finishes which affect the weight of them, including a stainless steel or aluminum finish, the former being heavier.

Aside from being heavier, stainless steel feels completely different to an aluminium finish – so it’s worth trying them both out if there is a style you particularly like the look of.

Battery Life

This is a contentious issue. Apple has never been praised for its battery lives, regardless of what product you’re talking about. Many people argue that the 42mm Apple watch has a larger battery and therefore can last up to 25% longer, but there is not much in the way of substantial evidence to support this.

The length of battery life will depend solely on the use of the watch. Assuming you’ve charged it to 100%, if you use it most of the day for its intended purposes, then you may run the battery down to around 20% by the end of the day (See also ‘How Long Does An Apple Watch Take To Charge‘). However, you may use the watch seldomly and could have nearly 80% left at the end of the day.

As the watch can track your sleep, many people choose to wear it in bed while they sleep. Of course, this will mean the battery will continue to drain throughout the night. It’s more likely that these activities will affect the battery capacity rather than the size of the watch – but that’s up to you to judge.

What Aspects Are The Same?

Besides the above, you can expect everything else to remain the same on the Apple watch series 3 despite its size.

Both watches offer Apple Pay, control of things like sport and fitness, Spotify, find devices, notifications, calls and messages. Everything you could want in a smartwatch is available with both versions of this series.

Are There Any Cons With The Watches?

Both of these watches hold up to today’s standards even though they have been overtaken by their successors in the 4,5 and 6 series. Probably the biggest problem with these watches is that, to get the most out of them – you should also own an iPhone.

Android users can still buy and use these watches, but they’d be advised to purchase a smartwatch of their phone’s brand, such as the Samsung Galaxy watch or Sony watch. Moreover, these watches are still costly, even when they’re used.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is The 42mm Too Big For A Woman?

No, it depends on your wrist size. As said, you can still purchase different straps for the two sizes anyway. If you’re looking for a bigger screen, the 42mm is better for you but if you need a different strap, that will be a separate purchase.

Is The 38mm Too Small For A Man?

In reference to the previous FAQ, it all depends on your wrist size. The watches typically come with 2 strap sizes anyway, but if you need a different one – you can find them in some stores or online.

If your wrist is particularly small, you’d be better off buying this watch size – but a larger wrist does not mean the larger watch would be better. Whatever is most comfortable for you is what is recommended.

Is There Really Much Difference Between These Two Watches?

Functionality? Not really. However, the differences that have been discussed are big enough to note for certain people to make an informed purchase.

The display on the 42mm is larger with a better resolution – which means people that need bigger screens for reading words or people with large fingers can use the device to its full potential and feel comfortable while doing so.

Additionally, if you’ve never owned an Apple or Smartwatch before, the 38mm is a better option because, along with being slightly cheaper, the 38mm is lighter on the wrist and can ease you into using and wearing a smartwatch as a normal part of your daily routine.

Needless to say, the choice is yours!

Have The Watches Moved On?

Yes. New series of Apple watches are now available along with a multitude of competitors that offer smartwatches as part of their range.

Some watches now have the ability to monitor blood oxygen levels, perform an ECG, faster chips, always-on-displays and more accurate trackers such as stair flights climbed, steps taken and heart rate.

There have also been reports that Samsung may release a smartwatch with a camera, rolling back the years to their original in 2013. Apple at this time have not released any such plans for their Apple watch models, although time will tell on that one.

Garrett Jones