SS Series 4 vs Aluminum Series 5?

jazzer15

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Oct 8, 2010
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Thoughts? This would be my first AW. Price is the same, so it really comes down to newer tech vs. better build quality? I've been using a Fitbit Versa, so I don't know that the AOD is a huge deal. The SS model has cellular which is a nice option, but I doubt I will pay the monthly fee to use it. I am not the type to upgrade annually, so perhaps the SS build quality would be beneficial.
 

Relentless Power

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Jul 12, 2016
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Thoughts? This would be my first AW. Price is the same, so it really comes down to newer tech vs. better build quality? I've been using a Fitbit Versa, so I don't know that the AOD is a huge deal. The SS model has cellular which is a nice option, but I doubt I will pay the monthly fee to use it. I am not the type to upgrade annually, so perhaps the SS build quality would be beneficial.
The materials wins for the stainless in terms of the sapphire display and the 316 L stainless looks really nice, but, if you don’t upgrade that often and you want the most longevity with software support out of your Apple Watch, that would be the Series 5.

[I personally don’t care for the aluminum/ion-X Glass, I find the sapphire display to be superior and I prefer the stainless. But my use cases might be different from yours.]
 
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Hal~9000

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Sep 13, 2014
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The materials wins for the stainless in terms of the sapphire display and the 316 L stainless looks really nice, but, if you don’t upgrade that often and you want the most longevity with software support out of your Apple Watch, that would be the Series 5.

[I personally don’t care for the aluminum/ion-X Glass, I find the sapphire display to be superior and I prefer the stainless. But my use cases might be different from yours.]
Since both the CPU / GPU are identical in the Series 4 & Series 5, I really hope that Apple gives the same amount of software support to both as time goes on🤞

Who knows if Apple will be stingy though, but based on their software support of older hardware I have hope for either model 🙂

As for my choice I’d also go with SS Series 4 Cellular on sale for $399 unless you needed the always on display or compass of the Series 5. The Stainless Steel version is more durable and IMO looks / feels nicer. Plus even if you don’t have a cellular plan on the Apple Watch it’s still nice to have in a pinch in case you don’t have your phone and need to call emergency services.
 

jazzer15

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Oct 8, 2010
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As for my choice I’d also go with SS Series 4 Cellular on sale for $399 unless you needed the always on display or compass of the Series 5. The Stainless Steel version is more durable and IMO looks / feels nicer. Plus even if you don’t have a cellular plan on the Apple Watch it’s still nice to have in a pinch in case you don’t have your phone and need to call emergency services.
Thanks for the replies. What color stainless do you have?

And just to be clear, you can call emergency services on a cellular model even if you don't have a cellular plan and your phone is not nearby? I'm not sure I appreciated that and it is indeed a helpful feature if that is the case.
 

bbednarz

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Nov 16, 2017
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I'd go stainless. I have the Space Black S4 and it looks as good now as the day I bought it. I had a SS S2 and it had some scratches on the surface, but all of them could have been buffed out if I really wanted to. Heck I would go aluminum S4 over aluminum S5 unless you REALLY want AOD.
 

Hal~9000

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Sep 13, 2014
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Thanks for the replies. What color stainless do you have?

And just to be clear, you can call emergency services on a cellular model even if you don't have a cellular plan and your phone is not nearby? I'm not sure I appreciated that and it is indeed a helpful feature if that is the case.
For me my color preference was the black SS version and its extremely durable DLC coating. Every reddit user with a black version seems to say how there’s no scratches on it whatsoever even years later. The silver SS is very prone to micro abrasions which, while they can be polished away, seem like an annoyance I’d rather not have to deal with.

As for the calls to emergency services without a cellular plan there’s better information on it than I can give via Reddit: Apple Watch Series 3 LTE Can Call Emergencies Services Without Associated Cellular Plan
 
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jazzer15

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Oct 8, 2010
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I'd go stainless. I have the Space Black S4 and it looks as good now as the day I bought it. I had a SS S2 and it had some scratches on the surface, but all of them could have been buffed out if I really wanted to. Heck I would go aluminum S4 over aluminum S5 unless you REALLY want AOD.
Very helpful, Thanks. I was leaning toward the Space Black S4 w/black sport band and these responses confirmed that. I figure I can always return it if I change my mind, although I did notice that Best Buy's holiday return policy doesn't apply to cellular wearables and that they charge a $45 restocking fee if opened.

So, I guess I am going to have to make up my mind relatively quickly (14 days), not open the box and check the stainless out in person somewhere. I would also like to see what other sales might be brewing between now and Black Friday before committing. I should have enough time to do that.

I would love the 44mm for the larger screen but I am going to go for the 40mm because I have a skinny wrist and the larger watches don't look good on me. But at least there is more screen real estate than on the Series 3.
 
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wolfboy

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Sep 28, 2010
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The S5 is basically the S4 + AOD. If you don't care about AOD, go for the SS S4.

I'd personally go for the SS solely for the sapphire display, because the screen on the aluminum will scratch.
 
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jaybar

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Dec 11, 2008
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@jazzer15

I find the AOD to vastly improve the user experience for the AW. If you plan to keep the AW for several years, and if finances are not an issue, I would suggest spending the extra money and getting the SBSS S5 from Apple. Buying from Apple with also give you a two week return option with a fee.
 
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justiny

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Jul 28, 2008
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I was considering an upgrade to my S2 aluminum a couple weeks ago and jumped on the SS S4 $399 sale. Hard to pass up that price for the sapphire display and steel case. I figured in two years I can upgrade and the AOD will be more polished along with a faster processor and better battery life.
 

staggerlee41

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Sep 25, 2017
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Based on your comments I'd think the SS model would be perfect, especially given the current sale prices. It's a tremendous value in my opinion. So much so I purchased one despite the fact that I own an Aluminum S4. My Aluminum watches have held up incredibly well, they are in pristine condition so if you're concerned about build quality I wouldn't worry too much. Up until recently, I've never used Raise to Wake as I just never really thought much of having to tap the screen. I've been using Raise to Wake lately and for my needs either of these ways are just fine.

All things being equal, if I had a choice to get a SS version or an Aluminum at the same price I'd take SS all day long--even with the S5 being aluminum. AOD, compass and disk space 16 on S4 and 32 on S5 are the differences.
 
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iamasmith

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Apr 10, 2015
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Depends on your use case of course, mine was a no brainer going from SS S3 to SS S5 because I wanted always on whilsy doing my swimming and running workouts as it's much easier to get feedback.

I would stick with SS and upgrade only when compelled to personally.. the always on was the clincher for me :)
 
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jazzer15

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Oct 8, 2010
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It seems that most are in favor of the SS model whether it be S4 or S5. As this is my first AW and I am testing the waters, so to speak, I am not really prepared to spend more than the cost of either the SS S4 (on sale) or, alternatively, the aluminum S5. The AOD would be a "nice to have", but I don't think it is essential for me.
 

Ludatyk

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May 27, 2012
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As this is my first AW and I am testing the waters, so to speak, I am not really prepared to spend more than the cost of either the SS S4 (on sale) or, alternatively, the aluminum S5. The AOD would be a "nice to have", but I don't think it is essential for me.
I would advise going with an Aluminum S4 due to the two points you stated... first AW and AOD isn’t a huge deal to you.

I’ve been a AW user ever since the 1st generation, but as soon as Apple released the Aluminum model.. I decided on that for S1, but went back to SS models for S2 and S4. But no need to go for the high end Apple Watch... wait until later.
 

Relentless Power

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Jul 12, 2016
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It seems that most are in favor of the SS model whether it be S4 or S5. As this is my first AW and I am testing the waters, so to speak, I am not really prepared to spend more than the cost of either the SS S4 (on sale) or, alternatively, the aluminum S5. The AOD would be a "nice to have", but I don't think it is essential for me.
The majority of Series 4 owners are not upgrading strictly for the AOD with the Series 5. Raise to wake is still plenty sufficient and probably convenient for the majority of situations. The gripe I still have with AOD, it’s still somewhat too dim, which for me, it can be a problem depending on the lighting conditions.
 
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Otflyer

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Nov 14, 2017
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The majority of Series 4 owners are not upgrading strictly for the AOD with the Series 5. Raise to wake is still plenty sufficient and probably convenient for the majority of situations. The gripe I still have with AOD, it’s still somewhat too dim, which for me, it can be a problem depending on the lighting conditions.
Unless your coming from an even older watch what other reason would someone upgrade from S4 to S5?
 
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Relentless Power

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Jul 12, 2016
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Unless your coming from an even older watch what other reason would someone upgrade from S4 to S5?
Apple fanatics like us on here who upgrade to the latest model every year. Keep in mind, we (Tech enthusiasts) are not the norm, average Consumers don’t upgrade a smart watch annually.
 
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mlody

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Nov 11, 2012
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I was silver SS S2 user and upgraded to silver SS S4 last week (Best Buy deal). I was also considering switching to aluminum due to cost, but the $399 deal convinced to stay with SS as I don't care for AOD and compass and honestly dont like the cheap feel of aluminum once you get used to the SS.
If I hadn't purchased the SS S4 I would had kept my SS S2 for another year, but since I did I also made my 16 years old daughter very happy when she got my SS S2 out of blue! Cant go wrong with two wins :)
 

cambookpro

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Depends on what you prioritise. I briefly owned a steel S2 and an aluminium S3 and was deciding which one to sell - in the end I'm a tech enthusiast more than a fashion enthusiast, so went with the newer model. I'd still pick the aluminium S5 over a steel S4, as the AOD and compass is more appealing than a shiny case. But on the flip side I can completely see why someone would prefer the S4, just depends on your priorities.
 
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jazzer15

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Depends on what you prioritise. I briefly owned a steel S2 and an aluminium S3 and was deciding which one to sell - in the end I'm a tech enthusiast more than a fashion enthusiast, so went with the newer model. I'd still pick the aluminium S5 over a steel S4, as the AOD and compass is more appealing than a shiny case. But on the flip side I can completely see why someone would prefer the S4, just depends on your priorities.
I totally get that. I tend to be more into the tech as well. I wouldn't be getting the stainless for fashion reasons. I just figure it would hold up somewhat better over time and at the same cost as the aluminum S5.
 

cambookpro

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I totally get that. I tend to be more into the tech as well. I wouldn't be getting the stainless for fashion reasons. I just figure it would hold up somewhat better over time and at the same cost as the aluminum S5.
One thing I found about the stainless is that the body will show small scratches a lot more due to the shiny finish (apart from the DLC-coated one), whereas I've never had a visible scratch on three aluminium watches. The screen of course is a different story as it's glass vs sapphire.

(On a slightly related tangent, I'd love a Pro iPhone with an aluminium band. It's lighter and less prone to small scratches - I get that steel is "premium", but honestly I feel like aluminium is far more practical.)
 

Relentless Power

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Jul 12, 2016
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One thing I found about the stainless is that the body will show small scratches a lot more due to the shiny finish (apart from the DLC-coated one), whereas I've never had a visible scratch on three aluminium watches.
Except....the difference being with your experience, The 316L stainless scratches can be entirely removed with a Cape Cod cloth versus the 7000 Series aluminum, whereas if scratched, is completely permanent. There’s no comparison to the stainless.
 

melman101

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Sep 3, 2009
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I personally would get the SS series 4. I bought a series 5 for my wife and i stainless steel but for half price I would have gotten two series 4. I feel like I could have definitely done that this year. While the AOD is nice, I definitely don’t need it. Nor do I need the compass.
 
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