Apple Watch GPS vs LTE: Which One Should You Buy?

Apple Watch is one of the most popular smartwatches in the market, offering a range of features and functions that can enhance your lifestyle, fitness, health, and productivity. However, when you decide to buy an Apple Watch, you may face a dilemma: should you go for the GPS-only model or the GPS + Cellular (LTE) model?

The GPS-only model is cheaper and lighter than the LTE model, but it requires you to have your iPhone nearby for some tasks. The LTE model allows you to use your Apple Watch independently from your iPhone, but it costs more and has a shorter battery life. So, which one is better for you? Let’s compare the two models in terms of connectivity, carrier support, battery life, design, and price.

Apple Watch GPS vs LTE: Connectivity

The main difference between the GPS and LTE models is the connectivity. The GPS model uses Bluetooth and Wi-Fi to connect to your iPhone and the internet, while the LTE model can also use cellular data to access the internet without your iPhone.

This means that with the LTE model, you can make and receive calls, send and receive texts, stream music and podcasts, use Siri, access maps and navigation, and more, even if you leave your iPhone at home or in another location. This can be useful if you want to go for a run, a swim, a bike ride, or any other activity where carrying your iPhone may be inconvenient or impractical.

However, with the GPS model, you need to have your iPhone within Bluetooth range (about 10 meters) or connected to the same Wi-Fi network for most of these tasks. Otherwise, you will only be able to use some basic functions such as tracking your activity, checking the time and date, setting alarms and timers, controlling your music playback on your iPhone, and using Apple Pay.

Apple Watch GPS vs LTE: Carrier Support

Another difference between the GPS and LTE models is the carrier support. The LTE model requires you to have a compatible carrier plan that supports Apple Watch cellular service. This means that you need to pay an extra monthly fee (about $10) to activate the cellular feature on your Apple Watch. You also need to have the same carrier as your iPhone.

The advantage of having a carrier plan for your Apple Watch is that you can use the same phone number as your iPhone for calls and texts. You don’t need to get a separate SIM card or phone number for your Apple Watch. You can also switch between your iPhone and your Apple Watch seamlessly without missing any notifications or messages.

However, not all carriers support Apple Watch cellular service. You need to check with your carrier if they offer this service and what are the requirements and costs involved. You also need to make sure that your Apple Watch model is compatible with your carrier’s network bands. 

Apple Watch GPS vs LTE: Battery Life

Another difference between the GPS and LTE models is the battery life. The LTE model consumes more power than the GPS model because of the cellular chip and antenna. This means that the LTE model has a shorter battery life than the GPS model.

According to Apple’s official website, both models have an all-day battery life of up to 18 hours with normal use. However, this may vary depending on how you use your Apple Watch and what features you enable or disable.

For example, if you use the LTE model without your iPhone and make calls or stream music over cellular data, the battery life will be significantly reduced. Apple estimates that the LTE model can last up to 1.5 hours of talk time or 7 hours of audio streaming over cellular data. On the other hand, if you use the GPS model with your iPhone nearby and make calls or stream music over Bluetooth or Wi-Fi, the battery life will be longer. Apple estimates that the GPS model can last up to 3 hours of talk time or 10 hours of audio streaming over Bluetooth or Wi-Fi.

Therefore, if you want to maximize your battery life, you may want to choose the GPS model over the LTE model. However, if you don’t mind charging your Apple Watch more often or carrying a portable charger with you, you may prefer the convenience and flexibility of the LTE model.

Apple Watch GPS vs LTE: Design

Another difference between the GPS and LTE models is the design. The LTE model has a distinctive red ring around the digital crown (the side button) to indicate that it has cellular capability. The GPS model does not have this red ring.

The LTE model also has more options for materials and finishes than the GPS model. The LTE model is available in aluminum, stainless steel, titanium, or ceramic cases, while the GPS model is only available in aluminum cases. The different materials have different weights, durability, scratch resistance, and prices.

The LTE model also has more options for bands than the GPS model. The LTE model can be paired with any band that matches its case size (40mm or 44mm), while the GPS model can only be paired with bands that are compatible with its case material (aluminum). The different bands have different styles, colors, materials, and prices.

Therefore, if you want to customize your Apple Watch to suit your personal taste and preference, you may want to choose the LTE model over the GPS model. However, if you don’t care much about the appearance and variety of your Apple Watch, you may be satisfied with the GPS model.

Apple Watch GPS vs LTE: Price

The final difference between the GPS and LTE models is the price. The LTE model is more expensive than the GPS model because of the additional cellular feature and the premium materials and finishes.

The price of the Apple Watch depends on the model, size, material, and band that you choose. You can check the current prices of the Apple Watch on Apple’s official website or on other online or offline retailers.

However, as a general reference, here are some examples of the prices of the Apple Watch Series 8 (the latest model as of writing this blog) in the US:

As you can see, there is a significant price difference between the GPS and LTE models, especially when you consider the different materials and finishes. You also need to factor in the monthly fee for the cellular service if you choose the LTE model.

Therefore, if you want to save money or have a tight budget, you may want to choose the GPS model over the LTE model. However, if you don’t mind spending more or value the cellular feature and the premium materials and finishes, you may want to choose the LTE model over the GPS model.

Conclusion

In conclusion, there is no definitive answer to which Apple Watch model is better for you. It depends on your personal needs, preferences, lifestyle, and budget. You need to weigh the pros and cons of each model and decide which one suits you best.

Here is a summary of the main differences between the GPS and LTE models:

  • The GPS model is cheaper, lighter, and has a longer battery life than the LTE model.
  • The LTE model allows you to use your Apple Watch independently from your iPhone, but it requires a compatible carrier plan and an extra monthly fee.
  • The LTE model has more options for materials, finishes, and bands than the GPS model.
  • The LTE model has a red ring around the digital crown, while the GPS model does not.

We hope that this blog has helped you understand the differences between Apple Watch GPS and LTE models. If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to leave them below. We would love to hear from you!

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