Which Apple Watch Should You Buy?

Do you need cellular? All Apple Watch Series and SE models can be purchased with GPS alone. Adding cellular capacity raises the sticker price by about $100, plus the roughly $10-per-month fee for a wireless plan. The Ultra models can only be purchased with cellular capacity, but you don’t have to activate it.

Most people probably don’t need a watch with cellular. If you’re a runner and you want to leave your phone at home but want to stream your favorite workout mix and be reachable for calls and texts, the cellular option is a sensible upgrade. It might also be useful to an older person or anyone depending on the fall protection features, which would otherwise rely on keeping a smartphone within range.

But many users are rarely out of Bluetooth range of their smartphones, which makes a cellular watch redundant.

Is bigger better? Regardless of which model you’re considering, most women will probably gravitate toward the smaller sizes. While most men tend to buy the bigger size (which costs a little more), some find the smaller watch to be just right.

Fancy finishes: The starting prices listed in this article are for the basic aluminum finish. But on the Series 9, you can indulge your inner fashionista with a more expensive silver, gold, or graphite stainless steel finish, though you’re likely to see little functional difference. Apple also offers top-of-the-line Hermès designs with fashion-forward straps and hefty prices.

Beyond the Apple Watch: Yes, Apple’s smartwatches are great, especially if you own an iPhone or other Apple devices, but we also recommend models made by companies like Google, Fitbit, and Samsung. As always, Consumer Reports members can consult our smartwatch ratings for full test results on more than 60 models.

And if you’re more into counting steps than reading email, making calls, or checking the latest news, you might want to consider a fitness tracker. They have fewer features, but they’re often significantly cheaper than smartwatches.