42mm or 38mm

Discussion in 'Apple Watch' started by spiritedcharm, Sep 20, 2016.

  1. spiritedcharm, Sep 20, 2016
    Last edited: Sep 20, 2016

    spiritedcharm macrumors member

    Feb 3, 2012
    I have the original watch 42mm in stainless steel that I'm selling to a friend so I can get the series 2 in gold aluminum and I'm torn between the two sizes. I barely considered the 38mm originally because I thought it would be harder to read (I pre-ordered without trying it on). I stopped in the apple store yesterday and tried on both. I REALLY like how the smaller size looks and feels on my smallish female wrist, but I don't like the band options offered with the smaller version. I also found the screen easy enough to read in my short time with it.

    If I go with the smaller watch, I'll be spending an extra $20 for another band off the bat (losing the $30 savings of the less expensive 38mm) and I won't even wear the band it comes with. I'll also be giving up two existing bands that I have for the 42mm (I'll throw them in on the deal for my friend without asking for more money).

    My questions are, if you have the 38mm now, are you happy with the size or do you regret going smaller? And, does the look and feel of the 38mm justify spending the extra money for additional bands? I have a $100 leather band that I would definitely replace if I get the smaller watch, but I would have trouble selling it since it's custom fit for me and not adjustable. Thoughts?

    Attached Files:

  2. Phil A. Moderator

    Phil A.

    Staff Member

    Apr 2, 2006
    Shropshire, UK
    I originally got a 42mm, but changed to a 38mm earlier in the year and it's the best decision I could have made: I've not noticed any difference in battery life or readability and it fits much better on my wrist. I do have small wrists though!

    Here's a pic of it on my wrist

  3. idealcheese macrumors regular

    Sep 18, 2014
    Tough call! I'm a 5'7" female I'm with normal wrists and I've had the 38 for a while now. I'm thinking of moving up to the 42 actually, as I kind of like the "boyfriend" look and it would be nice to have a larger screen. Totally on the fence. I guess I need to go to a store to try on the 42.
  4. spiritedcharm thread starter macrumors member

    Feb 3, 2012
    Here's a pic of the two sizes on my wrist

    Attached Files:

  5. CheesePuff macrumors 6502a

    Sep 3, 2008
    Southwest Florida, USA
    Wow the 42mm is a lot bigger.. I'm on the fence as well as to which to purchase.
  6. GC251114 macrumors 6502

    Jul 28, 2015
    IMG_3417.JPG Went to Apple Store yesterday to try both before I ordered. I have small wrists for a 5ft 11 bloke , but I have to say even though both felt very comfortable , in my opinion the 42 looked fine & felt very comfortable indeed so therefore opted for larger one.
  7. BlueMoon63 macrumors 68020

    Mar 30, 2015
    Always a personal preference thing. Still, 42mm looks fine and will have better battery.
  8. meanwoman macrumors newbie

    Sep 20, 2016
    female with small wrist here.. 38mm is too small for my taste, I like having more screen real estate. Also, you can't really tell that's its much bigger on the wrist but it's really up to you.
  9. Luba macrumors 65816


    Apr 22, 2009
    In my small sample I've concluded to my surprise that's there's a limited or correlation between height and wrist size.

    To the OP, IMO you look better with the 38 and even further up your arm the 42 looks too big. Also, I would spend the extra to get the band you want. It's an extra $30?? This is coming from someone who "paid an extra $300!" I like the Milanese which I felt required me to get the SS. If someone is in between the 2 sizes then I would recommend the 42.
  10. ibitegirls macrumors newbie


    Sep 17, 2016
    if you use the touchscreen a lot, i don't suggest getting the 38mm
  11. malandra macrumors regular

    Oct 1, 2003
    I'm 5'5" with tiny wrists. I had every intention of buying the 42mm anyway, because I don't mind the size, weight or price. I may even prefer the look of the giant watch on my small wrist. That said, after visiting Best Buy and trying both on, I ordered the 38mm SBSS. The larger watch just felt a bit cumbersome--more likely to bang into things as I go about my day, and it left no space for the watch band to curve around my wrist. It was a lot less comfortable.

    So we'll see how that goes, it arrives tomorrow. I don't think there's a right choice, and battery life is a compelling reason to choose the 42mm.
    --- Post Merged, Sep 20, 2016 ---
    As for the touchscreen? Not worried. My index fingertip is a stylus compared to most man digits out there.
  12. kevin_tron_taco macrumors member


    Mar 9, 2016
    Burbank, CA
    I just got the 42 and love it but do feel like it looks kind of big on me. I'm going to keep it but do know I'd love the smaller size as well.
  13. ManicMarc macrumors 6502

    Jul 1, 2012
    I'm a guy with a slender build and therefore thin wrists, so I went for the 38mm last time. I was seriously considering going up to the 42mm for the better battery life, but I haven't, I've ordered a 38mm Series 2. The reasons are: I don't want to feel self-conscious about wearing a massive watch, I have 4 bands for the 38 that wouldn't work on the 42, and the 38's battery has been fine except for long runs, but I charge it before a long run now anyway. I have switched from space grey to silver aluminium however, that was a regret of mine

    Attached Files:

  14. MarkB786 macrumors 6502a

    Sep 20, 2016
    Rocky Mountains, USA
    I have a 38mm SS now and love the size. I work at a professional services firm, so the smaller 38mm fits into my dress shirt cuff very well. Plus, I have a slightly smaller stature, so the 42mm might just look too big on me anyway. I can read the screen fine and battery life is great (still around 55% at bedtime).

    For my Series 2, I again bought the 38mm but went with the space black SS instead. I think I will like the subtle appearance of the 38 mm with this color.
    --- Post Merged, Sep 20, 2016 ---
    Do you mean you regret switching TO the silver aluminum from space gray?
  15. WLS macrumors 65816

    Jul 10, 2008
    I'm a guy and prefer the 38 inch - with my Spigen rubber case on that adds as much bulk as I care for. The fact that the S0 38mm are on sale for a great price was also a factor. I picked up a great deal on a Milanese apple band too. This way I can look forward to the Series3 next year. Plus the 38 looks better with dress shirts and suits.
  16. jsd79 macrumors member

    Nov 29, 2013
    I like how my 38 fits nicely under the cuff of a men's dress shirt. I haven't had any problems with battery life. I do wonder, however, if next time I'd prefer the silver aluminum instead of the space gray I got.
  17. KPOM macrumors G5

    Oct 23, 2010
    I'd go with the 38mm. It looks better on your wrist. Regarding your custom leather band, do you think it would fit on a set of third-party lugs designed for the 38mm watch or is it too wide?
  18. seattlecard macrumors member

    Sep 14, 2007
    I've had em both. I like em both. Can't go wrong with either. Ultimately I stuck with the 42 but also like smaller footprint of the 38. Bigger screen size simply has greater utility (battery life, easier to read / scribble).
  19. malandra macrumors regular

    Oct 1, 2003
    I'm really hoping the functionality of the 38mm is sufficient for my needs. Not sure I can even consider the 42mm, it eats up half my arm:/

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18 September 20, 2016