Is Stainless Steel Worth It?

Discussion in 'Apple Watch' started by Ellen, Jun 13, 2018 at 8:32 AM.

  1. Ellen, Jun 13, 2018 at 8:32 AM
    Last edited: Jun 13, 2018 at 8:39 AM

    Ellen macrumors regular

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    Nov 3, 2007
    #1
    Hi, I hope you don't mind my asking this Newbie question.

    I purchased an Apple Watch S3 in aluminum last week and while I am in the 14 day return window am trying to decide whether to keep it or buy the stainless steel model instead.

    The big price bump is a negative. But, am I right that the stainless steel model provides more protection? I am concerned, even with AppleCare+, about scratches and other possible damage to the watch. I plan to wear it all day (including dealing with a young and exuberant puppy and going to the gym), so it is not like I will be operating heavy machinery but I will still be active.

    On the other hand I don't have a large wrist and gather the steel one is heavier.

    Have any of your owned both models and have you detected a difference in durability etc?

    Thanks in advance!
     
  2. Closingracer macrumors 68030

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    Jul 13, 2010
    #2
    I have a medium sized wrist the the SS didn’t feel that heavy it bothered me. I never got scratches on mine at all before I lost mine . I would get the SS because of the sapphire glass and SS can get polished while if you scratch aluminum that’s it.
     
  3. Ellen thread starter macrumors regular

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    Nov 3, 2007
    #3
    Is the SS available in GPS only? I just noticed that online it's just GPS + cellular.

    Odds are I will go with the less expensive option but I have another week to obsess before my 14 days runs out....
     
  4. Closingracer macrumors 68030

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    #4
    Not sure. I had a series 2
     
  5. Scratch4 macrumors newbie

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    Jan 1, 2009
    #5
    Never had the aluminum; I went straight for the SS Series 3 for my wife and myself (space black for me) specifically for the extra durability and sapphire glass. As careful as I try to be, I know I will knock my watch on something without thinking. During the 6 months I had it, I only have 1 small nick on the steel. My wife's watch is still blemish free. We wear it almost daily.

    My wife has the tiniest wrists.. it fits her fine and she likes the weight. This is definitely a subjective thing.. whatever your preference is.

    The only con that I would consider (and I do dread) is knowing that I will probably have to upgrade this thing within a couple of years (along with my phone, and my ipad, etc).. sigh
     
  6. parseckadet macrumors 6502a

    parseckadet

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    #6
    I think it really depends on how you approach gadgets in general. Do you want the latest and greatest all the time, and thus will feel the itch to upgrade every year? Then the aluminum is the way you should go. Do you plan to keep it for at least three years? Then the steel is worth considering, but realize that even if you don't buy a new one three years from now you'll probably need a new battery, regardless of which model you get. Apple charges $80 for a battery replacement.

    The steel is more durable, especially the screen. On the steel version it's sapphire glass, which is super tough (I think only diamonds are harder). I've had my stainless steel series 0 watch since June 2015. In that time it has been on my wrist every waking moment, even while working on my car, doing yard work, using chain saws, packing/unpacking for a cross-country move, taking care of 4 dogs, etc. This watch has seen a lot of abuse, yet the screen doesn't have a single scratch, and the steel still looks flawless after using a polishing cloth. Meanwhile, my wife has had her aluminum series 2 watch for just over a year, doesn't abuse it to nearly the same degree I do, and yet she has a couple of scratches on her screen.

    As for the weight, that's something only you will be able to decide, and will probably require going to the store and trying one on. Personally, before the Apple Watch I used to wear an expensive steel watch that probably weighed twice as much, so the Apple Watch felt weird because it was too light. There is something oddly satisfying and reassuring about wearing a heavier watch. But you will probably get used to whatever you decide after a little bit and won't think twice about it afterward.
    The SS is not available in GPS only, but you don't have to activate the cellular plan if you don't want.
     
  7. Relentless Power macrumors Core

    Relentless Power

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    Jul 12, 2016
    #7

    With the weight of the stainless, it’s 40% heavier Over the aluminum, but you adjust to the weight rather quickly where you won’t notice it after wearing it a while.

    In terms of durability, I think both of the Apple watches are durable, the aluminum model does fairly well against scratches, but the Ion-X glass isn’t nearly as protective as the Sapphire display on the stainless model. You could always offer a screen protector with your Sport model if you want to.

    Also with the stainless model, you can polish out the scratches on the casing with a polishing cloth, where as the aluminum if it’s scratched, it’s permanent.
     
  8. MrGimper macrumors 601

    MrGimper

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    Andover, UK
    #8
    I have the SS series 2 and had an SS series 0, and will get an SS series 4,5,6 etc.

    All bands match it
    Sapphire Crystal
    Any scratches on the casing can be buffed out with a Cape Cod cloth

    When I bought my S2, I sold my S0 for a great price as it was pristine after a quick buffing.

    And no, the SS isn't available without LTE, which is why I haven't upgraded to an S3. I don't want LTE and I don't want to pay a £50-60 premium for a feature I don't want (the equiv difference between a aluminium LTE and non)
     
  9. Closingracer macrumors 68030

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    #9

    Honestly if I could add it to my plan with no cost I would get a series 3 SS. I lost my first SS series 2 last year and bought a new one but then returned it because I bought a Note 8 at the time. I do have a fossil watch I like which I prefer the body but would want a Apple Watch as well for fitness stuff.
     
  10. venom600 macrumors 6502a

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    Los Angeles, CA
    #10
    I am a fairly wide guy so I tend to bump into things more than most... I had to replace my series 0 watch two times due to cracked glass because I bumped or scraped it against something without realizing it. Now I won't wear it if it doesn't have a plastic cover on it to protect it. It isn't easy to see but I hate that it's there. I'll never get another one that isn't stainless or ceramic.
     
  11. afd macrumors 6502a

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    #11
    I went for an aluminium S0 because I didn’t think the extra cost was worth paying for something that would be obsolete in 3 or 4 years. I wouldn’t have worried about the extra weight as I wore a biggish stainless Seiko chronograph for 25 years. The S0 is still in good condition despite being worn every day for 3 years.
     
  12. Relentless Power macrumors Core

    Relentless Power

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    #12
    I agree with this as well. I’m tempted by the ceramic model, but the price point is significantly higher. But being that the watch I would expect would last me three years, I think over time it pays for itself. I’m curious to see which type of offerings Apple has for the Series for hopefully this fall.
     
  13. goobot macrumors 603

    goobot

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    #13
    Unfortunately this isn’t true about the black model.
     
  14. Relentless Power macrumors Core

    Relentless Power

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    #14
    I never commented on the _black_ stainless, Only the regular. The reason you can’t polish the black stainless is due to the DLC coating.
     
  15. Mabus51 macrumors 6502a

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    Aug 16, 2007
    #15
    I bought the S0 in Stainless Steel and the S3 in Stainless Steel. Honestly with the battery being irreplaceable and the Watch non upgradable. It's best to just go with the aluminum model. The watch doesn't really hold any resale value. So just pitch in the trash after you remove the band when you're done with it and buy the latest model. The bands are still compatible with the newer models so that's a plus, until they decide to change the band connections.
     
  16. Relentless Power macrumors Core

    Relentless Power

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    #16
    You’re right about the watch not holding value, especially the stainless model. You think it would hold value more, but actually the aluminum model is vastly more popular just because it’s more affordable and I think others really don’t want the weight of the stainless for the majority.
     
  17. MJ22 macrumors regular

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    Oct 3, 2017
    #17
    I have only owned the aluminum but FWIW I consider myself very very active. I have a desk job but it often involves carrying boxes and digging through files and filing cabinets and things like that. Fitness wise I wear my watch for running 5 days a week, playing softball 2 days a week, and lifting weights when I can squeeze it in. I have two dogs I play with and walk every day and my downtime hobbies are active as well—fishing and riding ATV’s and anything outdoors. Aside from an active occupation, I think I’m as active as they come. I’ve had my SG aluminum since the series 3 LTE came out and it’s in perfect condition (knock on wood). I only have a thin flexible film screen protector on it which looks fine and I don’t even notice. I don’t like how stainless steel often gets micro scratches on it. If you’re active, the aluminum IS in fact totally fine and I see no reason to spend the extra money.
     
  18. Baldrake macrumors 6502

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    Great White North
    #18
    I have an aluminum S0. It's three years old. I've never taken care to avoid trouble - I remember really smacking it one day while moving furniture, for example. If you look at it closely, it has numerous scratches on the screen and the case. But if you're not looking closely, you wouldn't notice. Bottom line, unless you're unusually sensitive to the odd scratch, I think you'll find the durability of the aluminum watch to be just fine.

    On the other hand, there's no question the SS watch looks much nicer. To me, it's only worth paying more if the beautiful looking SS case is worth the extra dollars to you.
     
  19. Mabus51 macrumors 6502a

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    Aug 16, 2007
    #19
    Honestly that is the only thing the SS model has going for it. I love the look of the black model which is why I own two of them. But looking back at the value over time, it's not really worth it for what you get. Even with the money to burn. The next version I get from here on out, if I continue buying an Apple Watch would be the Aluminum model. If you could upgrade the SS or Edition's chipset or even battery over time that would be one thing. But you really can't and these batteries only last 2 years at peak performance, you're lucky to get 3 years out of them. The Apple Watch is really a throwaway watch when it comes time to buy a new one. Which is silly given that it's a watch it should last longer than 2 to 2.5 years for the cost. They did right in my book with the bands though.
     
  20. Relentless Power macrumors Core

    Relentless Power

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    #20
    ^ Some don’t understand that’s the nature of technology. You can’t really complain about something that’s not lasting over three years for in terms of an Apple Watch. Some users first generation Apple Watches are well over the three year Mark and still holding strong. Battery usage is completely variable based on how somebody’s using it, how often they charge, etc. If you factor the cost of how often somebody uses an Apple Watch, it likely pays for itself, by a certain point, somebody wants to upgrade to have the latest features/model anyways. Not to mention, as software progresses, it will supersede the hardware that will be dated inside the watch. Again, its the evolution of technology.
     
  21. Mabus51 macrumors 6502a

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    #21
    Has nothing to do with the nature of tech. Has to do with the device, it's purpose, and general functionality of what it is. Fact is you throw the watch away due to the battery being dead more so than the tech being outdated. It's bad design to make a device with limited functionality such as a watch with a non-replaceable battery. More so than it is over a phone or tablet which has more functionality, use, and actually has a reason to be upgraded more often.
     
  22. Relentless Power, Jun 15, 2018 at 10:28 AM
    Last edited: Jun 15, 2018 at 10:37 AM

    Relentless Power macrumors Core

    Relentless Power

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    #22
    So, how do you explain those who have decided to replace the batteries in a first generation Apple Watch? Plenty have done so and they’re not throwing it away, it still is supported. What you’re saying is simply not true. You don’t just throw it away because the battery is dead (Unless one does not care), and by that time anyways if the battery was starting to fully deplete after a certain amount of years (As all lithium ion batteries age), I’m going to believe a newer model has been released and that user likely would consider upgrading to a specific model.


    This is a really bad analogy. You can’t compare an Apple Watch in terms of functionality to an iPad or even an iPhone for that matter.

    Also, If it’s such a bad design, but why is it the number one selling smart watch in the world? And the functionality offers more than enough that I think supersedes the Apple Watch potential as it is in terms of being a Multi-tool, especially how it’s grown over the last two generations of features with hardware and software capabilities. I will say it again, I think if someone can achieve a minimum of three years out of an Apple Watch, I think that’s a decent run assuming that it doesn’t have any hardware issues, a lot can change in three years in terms of technology, which the Apple Watch has proven for those who have upgraded even from a first generation Apple Watch to a Series 3.
     
  23. parseckadet macrumors 6502a

    parseckadet

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    #23
    The space black SS model is far less likely to scratch than the regular SS model.
    The battery CAN be replaced, you just have to take it to an Apple store to have it done. Cost is $80. The notion that you should just throw your old watch in the trash is wrong. For my first generation SS Apple Watch, Apple will give me $50 for trade-in, Best Buy will give me $70. Sure it's not much, but it's more than if I threw it in the trash.
     
  24. Mabus51 macrumors 6502a

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    #24
    The aluminum model is the #1 selling smartwatch. To stay on topic, if you bothered to actually read any of my posts was simply about buying the aluminum vs the stainless steel. The aluminum model is worth it's value more so than the stainless steel. As I originally stated I have the S0 stainless steel model and the S3 LTE stainless steel model. I know all about them. It still is an impractical value over time for the devices limited use to not have a non friendly replaceable battery. In mint condition the stainless steel watch is worth $50 to $75 used. $80 to replace a dead/dying battery costs more than its value. The aluminum watch is better for the starting price over time. Which is what the OP was asking, and I provided reasons why they should stick with their aluminum version.

    Also it absolutely is worth comparing to a phone or tablet when dealing with starting price, value over time & device practicality. It's a watch, would you like me to compare it to an ereader? An ereader last longer, gets more value over time, and has about the same usability as the watch. Should you buy an expensive stainless steel ereader? Sure it will last you longer than 2.5 years as you're not charging the device daily and won't hit the 1,000 cycle count a Lithium battery has as fast as you will with the Apple Watch. So it's value over time would be more practical in terms when it comes to aluminum vs stainless steel.
     
  25. Relentless Power, Jun 15, 2018 at 11:52 AM
    Last edited: Jun 15, 2018 at 1:38 PM

    Relentless Power macrumors Core

    Relentless Power

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    #25
    Not sure why you’re trying to create a strawman argument. Tim Cook said back in September 2017 the Apple Watch was the number one selling smart watch in the world. I don’t think we need to dissect specifics, being that he didn’t even elaborate on that during this interview.

    https://www.cnbc.com/amp/2017/09/12/apple-watch-is-now-the-number-one-watch-in-the-world.html

    Speaking of reading, did I not just comment on the aluminum versus stainless four posts above? Not sure why you’re suggesting for me to ‘read your posts’, when I literally just posted the same thing prior. Perhaps I wouldn’t suggest to re-read if you’re not even remarking on things that was already iterated in post #16.

    For reference:


    Not Sure how this is relevant. I’m _not_ questioning your knowledge on the Apple Watch specifications , I’m questioning your general understanding of the evolution of how the Apple Watch started and where it is today. I think your conflating two different things.

    Two things:

    1.) Can you list any other smart watch that has a ‘friendly replaceable battery’? None of them do. I’m not sure why this is even a gan argument worth noting. Again, it’s a disposable tech item, just like the iPad, iPhone, ect. They Don’t have user-friendly battery replacements either. Case in point.

    2.) Yes, it wouldn’t be the most logical thing to spend $80 on a battery, assuming that the Apple Watch first generation is considerably deappreciated by that time. But if you’ve read throughout these Apple Watch threads, which I’m assuming you have, then you would see that there is a plethora of members who have no issues with the first generation Apple Watch still performing fine, but again, I think it really is depending on usage and how often somebody charges there watch, ect. But it goes back to my original point, I think when the user decides to move on from the first Gen Apple Watch, they likely interested in a newer model.

    No, it is not. And this is where I think your post really falls apart. You cannot compare an Apple Watch to a phone or tablet. First off, you mentioned about the functionality in a prior posts between them, which has no relation terms of how somebody is using it. They all serve different purposes, resell value, usage. It’s not even worth really going to much detail, because I just don’t see the logic behind any of what you’re posting here.

    Again, another irrelevant example that has nothing to do with the Apple Watch. Just like when you said the Apple Watch was A “Bad design.” Are you going to compare a MacBook Pro or HomePod next? Literally, that’s how unified your examples are. It’s all tech related, but the Apple Watch is such a multi tool that serves complete different functionality and everybody will use it varyingly.

    Overall, Value is perceived by the user. I think your complaints in general over these last two posts are to an extreme where most consumers will never view it the way you do, specially being that you said the Apple Watch such a bad design. That alone is not true, its just you’re differing opinion . I think some of your examples are poorly thought out, However; you make some interesting points about the value of the Apple Watch when considering replacing it with a battery that would likely supersede the overall cost of the Apple Watch (Assuming its a first Gen Watch), but a lot of what you’re saying isn’t relevant to the Apple Watch, contrary to what you believe.
     

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