LTE vs GPS on Apple Watch

HALE101

macrumors regular
Original poster
Mar 17, 2018
137
56
Im on the fence between the two different options . Im on a budget and would preferably want to get the GPS only version I have a 2017 MacBook Pro, iPhone 6s and AirPods. Is there any benefits to include this into the Mac eco system? Also, anyone here have the GPS version and satisfied with it?
 

maflynn

Moderator
Staff member
May 3, 2009
66,782
33,739
Boston
Is there any benefits to include this into the Mac eco system?
None, the Apple watch's benefit is that it extends the interaction of your iPhone not your Mac. Well there is one benefit, you can unlock your mac with your watch.

The LTE vs. GPS can be boiled down to the fact that you can take calls with watch w/o having your phone with you. This benefit will mean a 10 dollar fee being applied to your cell phone bill.

If you don't have a need to make or take calls on the watch (without your phone), then the GPS version is a better fit imo.
 

Shirasaki

macrumors G3
May 16, 2015
9,987
3,870
If you are ok with composite pack, you can choose series 3 GPS only. Much better future proof. Otherwise used series 2 is also nice.

For the LTE part, it really depends on your usage case. For me, I go for a shopping with nothing but watch and a bag. I can even go for some events without phone at all. I can listen to music, look up next public transport and do simple map search, all without iPhone. LTE is also great when you exercise a lot.
 

Resqu2

macrumors 6502a
Apr 23, 2011
764
177
I got an LTE model but will never activate it as my Verz bill is high enough without adding about $15 more to it. I wanted the LTE model for the nicer back and more storage.
 

squirrrl

macrumors 6502a
Sep 11, 2013
855
270
San Diego, CA
If you are ok with composite pack, you can choose series 3 GPS only. Much better future proof. Otherwise used series 2 is also nice.

For the LTE part, it really depends on your usage case. For me, I go for a shopping with nothing but watch and a bag. I can even go for some events without phone at all. I can listen to music, look up next public transport and do simple map search, all without iPhone. LTE is also great when you exercise a lot.
With nothing but a watch and a bag? :oops: I've been shopping in the wrong places.
 

skillwill

macrumors 6502
Feb 12, 2008
450
529
I've had the GPS-only version since launch day, and have yet to have a single moment where I would have needed LTE. It literally comes down to will you use it anywhere away from your phone or wifi?
 

waw74

macrumors 68040
May 27, 2008
3,440
310
I have the GPS version since launch day, really haven't missed the LTE.

The LTE gains you a sapphire screen, and 16 GB over the Ion-X screen and 8GB
The storage will probably only come into play if you want to store more music on the phone.

as far as operation, If you're close to your phone, or in a place with a known** wi-fi network, the 2 will operate exactly the same.
The LTE version will allow you to connect if you're away from your phone, and there's no wi-fi

**You can't browse or select wifi networks to join or enter a wi-fi password on the watch, but it will join networks you've previously joined and stored the password for on the phone. The watch also is not able to present a wi-fi log in screen for you to click on, like you would find in a hotel.
 

Matz

Contributor
Apr 25, 2015
868
1,219
Rural Southern Virginia
My GPS-only S3 is my second AW. I considered the LTE version, but after thinking through how I’d use the LTE, I came to the conclusion that I didn’t need it, and really didn’t want it.

It’s nice that it’s available for those who want it and/or need it, but since purchasing it and using it every day, I have not wished I had LTE on my AW.

I’d be interested to know which way you decide to go.

Edit: Just remembered: Apple Pay works with the GPS version even if you leave your phone in the car or at home.
 

The Game 161

macrumors Core
Dec 15, 2010
22,060
11,599
UK
i have the LTE series 3 and i have to say I rather use the LTE on it as i do have my phone with me pretty much at all times. That said it's nice to have I must admit knowing it's there when you need it.
 

sdilley14

macrumors 65816
Feb 8, 2007
1,238
197
Mesa, AZ
I bought the LTE Series 3 with the intention of adding the watch to my cell plan. I'm a couple weeks in and still haven't been in a scenario where I "needed" LTE on my watch. Keeping it attached to your phone might not be 100% ideal, but I have my phone near me 95% of the time so it's not a big deal. I can't justify paying $10/mo for that 5% of the time when my phone isn't on me.
 
  • Like
Reactions: potentmf

potentmf

macrumors regular
Oct 6, 2016
163
99
I'm getting the LTE version as a gift but I don't think I'll activate it. I can't wear the watch to work, I'll only be wearing it during the weekend.
 

dave006

Contributor
Jul 3, 2008
3,382
696
Just West of East
The LTE gains you a sapphire screen, and 16 GB over the Ion-X screen and 8GB
The storage will probably only come into play if you want to store more music on the phone.
Just one correction. The base Series 3 (GPS + Cellular) does not have the Sapphire crystal, it still has the Ion-X glass the same as the GPS only model. You have to move up to the Stainless Steel model to get the Sapphire crystal.

In addition to double the storage of the GPS model, the LTE model adds the ceramic back instead of the composite (plastic) back of the GPS model.

Dave
 

Lennyvalentin

macrumors 65816
Apr 25, 2011
1,429
783
In addition to double the storage of the GPS model, the LTE model adds the ceramic back instead of the composite (plastic) back of the GPS model.
I suspect this is because Apple announced they added a dogshair of thickness to the backpiece to fit the cellular hardware. By giving alu LTE watches the ceramic back they avoid having to change any tooling for the manufacturing of the alu version watch, and still get the costcutting benefit of the plastic back for those who pick the GPS-only version.
 
  • Like
Reactions: squirrrl

redkamel

macrumors 6502
Aug 29, 2006
432
28
Im on the fence between the two different options . Im on a budget and would preferably want to get the GPS only version I have a 2017 MacBook Pro, iPhone 6s and AirPods. Is there any benefits to include this into the Mac eco system? Also, anyone here have the GPS version and satisfied with it?
the only reason to get the LTE is if you think you will go out with your Apple watch only...perhaps for a run then to breakfast or something like that.

IMO its not really worth $10 a month. I usually have my phone on my at all times
 

tobefirst

macrumors 601
Jan 24, 2005
4,087
1,236
St. Louis, MO
The LTE vs. GPS can be boiled down to the fact that you can take calls with watch w/o having your phone with you. This benefit will mean a 10 dollar fee being applied to your cell phone bill.

If you don't have a need to make or take calls on the watch (without your phone), then the GPS version is a better fit imo.
Also, sending and receiving messages and receiving notifications.
 

Lee_Bo

macrumors regular
Mar 26, 2017
248
241
Greenville, SC
My wife and I both got s3 watches to replace our original Apple Watches. We went ahead and bought the LTE model because we knew we knew we were going to initially use them on wifi only but wanted the option of LTE "down the road". Well "down the road" lasted 2 weeks after we bought them. And I must say it's very nice and convenient to be able to go run errands, go on my walks and bike rides and leave my phone at home and just take my watch and airpods.

Is it worth the additional $20/mo for both of us? Yep.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Lennyvalentin

iamasmith

macrumors 6502a
Apr 10, 2015
590
183
Cheshire, UK
Running with just the watch and being able to use Apple Music streaming is very nice.. but to be honest I quite like to listen to nature most times running so I don't usually play the music.

Knowing that you can get in touch or be reached whilst not carrying the phone is probably more useful to me and I DO like the fact that I feel like I don't need the phone but also have those 'damn if only I had the phone' moments when I wanted to photo something. Having said that I don't think they should ever add a camera to the watch as that's going to just create all sorts of Google Glass like bans for cinemas and swimming pools etc.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Lee_Bo

cynics

macrumors G4
Jan 8, 2012
11,586
1,885
I've been very happy with my GPS only version. I just don't have a need for the LTE version since my phone is always nearby or I'm at the gym which has wifi the watch can connect too. Oddly my favorite thing about the LTE version is the red accent on the crown.
 

Relentless Power

macrumors Nehalem
Jul 12, 2016
33,415
34,499
I've been very happy with my GPS only version. I just don't have a need for the LTE version since my phone is always nearby or I'm at the gym which has wifi the watch can connect too. Oddly my favorite thing about the LTE version is the red accent on the crown.
The Red digital crown never bothered me, but surprisingly there was a thread that started last year that had a large amount of pages of those complaining about a red little dot. You don’t even physically see the red dot on the watch, as its on your wrist anyways, but apparently was an issue for others.

I said, as far as LTE, I don’t think it’s a mainstream a service yet. I don’t think its because it’s not useful, however; I think carriers need to come up with a better implementation of what they can structure for the customer that would make it affordable and to want to get them to try to LTE service to stay committed. They were offering a free trial when the Apple Watch launched through various carriers last year, but I think carriers (And) Apple need to work together to have a better designation of trying to reach out to the customer why they would want to use LTE on a regular basis.
 

cynics

macrumors G4
Jan 8, 2012
11,586
1,885
The Red digital crown never bothered me, but surprisingly there was a thread that started last year that had a large amount of pages of those complaining about a red little dot. You don’t even physically see the red dot on the watch, as its on your wrist anyways, but apparently was an issue for others.

I said, as far as LTE, I don’t think it’s a mainstream a service yet. I don’t think its because it’s not useful, however; I think carriers need to come up with a better implementation of what they can structure for the customer that would make it affordable and to want to get them to try to LTE service to stay committed. They were offering a free trial when the Apple Watch launched through various carriers last year, but I think carriers (And) Apple need to work together to have a better designation of trying to reach out to the customer why they would want to use LTE on a regular basis.
Its definitely useful, just not for me. Carriers that support “calling from iCloud devices” make it pretty much a phone in and of itself. For outdoor activities that make having a phone on you a hassle (sports, working out, water activities like kayaking, tubing etc) I would consider it invaluable. But I goto an indoor gym and hike with a pack I can keep my phone in and can’t swim to save my life it’s a useless feature. Lol
 

Nell

macrumors 6502a
Jun 25, 2012
563
249
London
I have the LTE watch. I always have my phone with me except when I forget, the watch brings peace of mind when that happens. I look after my elderly mother and knowing that I’m still contactable if I’ve accidentally gone out without my phone is worth the money to me.
 

bflowers

macrumors 6502a
Jul 19, 2006
625
130
I went with the GPS, because I didn't want an extra $120/year cost of ownership. I've only wished for the LTE once, when I forgot my phone at home. It was a short period without it, so I don't regret skipping the LTE.
 
Last edited:

cbronfman

macrumors 6502
Feb 24, 2008
432
15
Washington DC
I have both. I started with the GPS version, but recently bought the LTE version with no plan to use it I haven't been using the LTE option but I do find the battery better on the LTE which is nice. When i swim, the battery drains fast and I can still get close to 24 hours on the LTE where as on the GPS, I usually find it's low by the evening on swim days. On non-swim days the LTE version easily gets 33, 36 - the other day I got close to 40. Even on days I don't swim, I do long workouts but nothing drains the battery like swimming.
 

Relentless Power

macrumors Nehalem
Jul 12, 2016
33,415
34,499
I want with the GPS, because I didn't want an extra $120/year cost of ownership. I've only wished for the LTE once, when I forgot my phone at home. It was a short period without it, so I don't regret skipping the LTE.
For some, I think $10 a month for the additional service of LTE is too much, which actually it’s slightly more with taxes and fees. But in any case, I really would like to see Apple and the carriers work together to come up and devise a plan that would be more attractive prices/plans for the consumer for a reason why they would _want_ LTE. If Apple wants to sell the LTE service, they need the carriers to participate as well.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Trin813
Register on MacRumors! This sidebar will go away, and you'll see fewer ads.