Torn between 38 and 42mm. Help appreciated!

Discussion in 'Apple Watch' started by NauCayuti, Sep 2, 2016.

  1. NauCayuti macrumors member

    Oct 19, 2014
    The rumors of the AW2 rekindled my interest, but I'm having a hard time deciding which size to buy. I tried both on in a shop ( and I have to say that both looked smaller IRL than on photos. Nevertheless I'm not fully convinced that 42 is the way to go.

    Based on the photos, which one would you say looks better?

    Unfortunately, both devices had empty batteries, so I couldn't judge how much more crammed interface elements and text are on the 38mm. Has anyone here compared them in depth concerning differences in usability?
  2. JayLenochiniMac macrumors G5

    Nov 7, 2007
    New Sanfrakota
    You're lucky as both look fine on you. In that case, I'd go bigger so you'll have more screen estate.

    Some members have said they can't handle the 38mm because the screen is too small/difficult to interact, but I didn't really have a problem wearing my wife's 38mm for a week (although the overall size does look too small on my wrist).
  3. Itsedstech macrumors 6502a

    Jul 24, 2011
    Had both. Ended up keeping 42mm. It would last me till bed time. The 38mm I would have to top off or it would die a few hours before bed due to the excercise app being used.
  4. Oohara macrumors 68020


    Jun 28, 2012
  5. mikzn macrumors 6502a


    Sep 2, 2013
    I think is a matter of personal esthetics and what you feel looks best on your wrist.

    Personally I find even my 42 mm small and looks like 70's style thin watch and also the screen is a bit small for my fingers when selecting icons for apps or navigation of menu's etc.

    I would welcome a bigger watch with more screen and a more robust housing.
  6. daviedave macrumors member


    Sep 1, 2016
    Looks like you have similar wrist size as i do. i think you can wear both but imo the 38mm looks less like a gadget and more than a watch. I own a 38mm and battery-wise i end up with around 40% at the end of the day. Hope this helps! :)
  7. perezr10 macrumors 6502a

    Jan 12, 2014
    Monroe, Louisiana
    Strictly based on looks the 38mm looks better.
  8. sean000 macrumors 68000


    Jul 16, 2015
    Bellingham, WA
    It really is best to go to a store where you can try both. About a year ago I assumed I would get the 42mm because I thought it would be more readable. When I tried them on in the store the difference in readability and usability for me was zero. For someone with thick fingers it might be easier to hit the targets on the 42, but there is no difference in readability. I was worried because I wear progressive bifocals and have my text size set a little larger than average on my iPhone. i keep my 38mm at 3 out of 6 for text size with bold text disabled. No problems.

    Ultimately I decided the 38mm felt better on my wrist. You might be wearing it 16 to 18 hours a day so comfort is the most important thing. If both are comfortable the go with the size that gives you the best feels.

    I have about 175mm wrists and I preferred the 38mm. After a year I would buy the 38mm again in a heartbeat

  9. Lockon macrumors regular

    Jun 7, 2010
    I would say 38mm. It looks more like a watch on your wrist, than a gadget. If you don't use it for working out, you'll have plenty of battery life. But, the 42mm one will be fine too. You can't go wrong with either.

    You can get some great deals on 38mm ones at Best Buy right now. Best deals are on the stainless steel ones. Also check out Swappa for a mint used one.
  10. Arran macrumors 601


    Mar 7, 2008
    Atlanta, USA
    Looking at the photos you posted, the 38mm on you looks like the 42mm on me.

    However, it's not just about looks. I had the 38mm from launch and thought it was perfect because it was the same size as the regular mechanical watch I'd worn for decades prior. At the time, the 42mm seemed abnormally large and I felt it would get caught on clothing, car doors, walls, etc., more often.

    Fast forward a year and I upgraded myself to the 42mm. I absolutely love the bigger screen. My eyesight is not as great as it once was and it's nice having bigger fonts whilst still having the same amount of info on the screen. Particularly when glancing at it while driving. The extended battery is a plus, not that I really need it - but it's nice to have it in reserve for overnight travel.

    And in terms of how it feels: The 42 feels much the same as the 38. It's not as bulky as I imagined. To me, at least.
  11. daijholt macrumors 65816


    Jun 14, 2013
    Wales, UK
    Take my word for it, 42mm is the beter choice. I bought a 38mm and was happy with it for over 12 months, then i was given a 42mm and after using that for a week, i genuinely couldnt go back to the smaller screen.

    That 4mm makes a huge difference to looking at and operating elements on the display, and youll be much better off for it.

    Case in point; typing a passcode is far easier with 42 than 38. The buttons are just so much bigger and its easier to hit them with my big ol' man fingers.
  12. LoveToMacRumors, Sep 3, 2016
    Last edited: Sep 6, 2016

    LoveToMacRumors macrumors 68020


    Feb 15, 2015
    Don't even consider the 38mm. The 38mm is way too small. I'm skinny af and i use the 42mm
  13. Easttime macrumors 6502a

    Jun 17, 2015
    The 42. Your wrists look same as mine. 42 much better for me.
  14. seattlecard macrumors member

    Sep 14, 2007
    38. Had both and prefer small more comfy fit. Ultimately it is a preference decision,
  15. Defender2010 macrumors 68030


    Jun 6, 2010
    Yes but the 42mm looks huge on most wrists. The 38mm is a better choice for a more discreet wearing experience. As you mostly probably know. This was all discussed to death at the launch. There is a lot more to differentiate between the two models than screen real estate.
  16. NauCayuti thread starter macrumors member

    Oct 19, 2014
    Well it seems that the diversity of the replies corresponds to my vacillation, haha. Thanks for the replies!

    After having the possibility to check out a few more watch–band combinations in person I'm leaning more towards the 42mm, although, as some of you mentioned, the 38mm would also look good. I realized that I am fine with the AW looking a little more like a "GPS-sport-watch". That will be my main use case anyway, so the extra battery life might prove to be useful.
  17. Network33 macrumors member


    Jul 9, 2013
    42mm all the way. If your buying AW2, you can always return it and get the smaller 38mm if you must. Extra battery life is worth the extra size.
  18. AppleRobert macrumors 603

    Nov 12, 2012
    Well I returned the 42mm AW and now I am trying the 38mm. As far as looks, the 42mm just didn't look that good on my wrist. While smallish, the 38mm looks way better.

    Now comes being comfortable utilizing it and its screen size. I am past the looks part but I need to be able to see things comfortably on the screen and doing things on it.
    --- Post Merged, Sep 6, 2016 ---
    And when I returned the 42mm, it was the sport model. The 38mm SS was a way better deal so now I am trying that one out.
  19. uiop. macrumors 68020


    Jul 22, 2008
    Grand Rapids, MI
    38. More subtle and less "Hey I'm wearing a smart watch". I've used both and didn't really see a big difference in the 42.
  20. JayLenochiniMac macrumors G5

    Nov 7, 2007
    New Sanfrakota
    Keep in mind that the 38mm can look a bit more bulbous compared to the 42mm. Despite being smaller, it's not that much thinner relative to the 42mm (hence more bulbous). For that reason, I don't think the 38mm looks more like a watch and less like a gadget than the 42mm.
  21. AppleRobert macrumors 603

    Nov 12, 2012
    Depends on the individual person, I am 5' 10", 160 lbs and have a small wrist. The 42mm was too Dick Tracy looking given my parameters.
  22. mattopotamus macrumors G5


    Jun 12, 2012
    I am in the 38mm camp. I really feel like the bigger size looks like a gadget as others have said. I had CNN on this morning and the one lady had, what looked like a 42mm, and it looked a gadget. I have always liked smaller watches though.

    I am shocked at the battery life comments. I end the day with around 50% left on the 38mm. I currently have 97% and I took it off the charger at 5:45am EST.
  23. mildocjr macrumors 65816

    I bought a 38mm, buyers remorse every day, wish I would have gotten the 42, it makes a difference.
  24. Kyle4 macrumors 6502

    Aug 14, 2010
    I personally started with the 38mm but it ended up being too small for my wrist and I returned it and got the 42mm (which I've now had for close to a year and a half). At first it seemed too large but I got used to it and appreciate the extra battery it has. I'm of the opinion that a majority of men's wrists are better suited to the 42mm.
  25. RansZ28 macrumors regular


    Sep 11, 2014
    Gilbert AZ
    I have had the 42mm since it was first launched. I use it for maps, messages, calendar, Carrot Weather, Workout and then for the notifications. I went with the 42mm so I had larger screen to use with my fingers. I also have Watch OS Beta, so I use messages a ton, and with the larger screen that I can select exactly what I want on the watch. I feel that if it were smaller, I would have a more difficult time using the watch apps resulting in me using the watch less. I tap on the watch probably like 100 times a day, so the larger screen for me was the correct decision.

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