In September, Apple launched its latest batch of smartwatches, introducing the first-ever Ultra ($799) alongside the Series 8 ($399) and a new Apple Watch SE ($249). Each wearable has its own pros and cons associated with it, but the introduction of the high-end Ultra also means there are now more Apple Watch models on the market before than ever before — and a lot more deals to be had.
But with all of those options, which one should you pick? Generally speaking, you want to buy the newest watch you can afford so that it continues to receive software updates from Apple. The latest update, watchOS 9, launched on the Apple Watch Series 4 and newer models in September, though no one can say with certainty whether the Series 4 will get the next big software update. Also, keep in mind that, unlike some Apple products, the steepest discounts are typically happening on the newest models, not the last-gen ones.
Picking up a watch from the latest (or a recent) generation ensures you’re getting a smartwatch with an updated design, a robust number of features, and plenty of sensors. And thankfully, now that the Series 3 is officially out of commission (it was long overdue), it’s harder to end up with a watch that will quickly feel outdated.
Now, let’s get into the deals.
The best Apple Watch deals
The Apple Watch Series 8 represents the latest wearable in Apple’s flagship Series lineup. It brings a new chipset (that our colleague Victoria Song says isn’t faster than the previous iteration), new temperature sensors that enable menstrual tracking, Crash Detection, and a host of other enhancements. While the subtle improvements are welcome, the Series 8 isn’t all that different from the prior model, the Apple Watch Series 7.
We recently saw the starting price of the base Apple Watch Series 8 drop to $349, however, the 41mm model with GPS is currently on sale at Best Buy, Amazon, and Target for an all-time low of around $329 ($70 off). As for the larger, 45mm model, it’s also available for $70 off at Best Buy and Target, where you can pick it up for around $359.
If you’re looking to pick up an unlocked LTE-equipped model, Best Buy and Target are offering the same $70 discount on both the 41mm configuration (Best Buy/Target) and its 45mm variant (Best Buy/Target), which start at $429 and $459, respectively.
The latest smartwatch from Apple features watchOS 9 along with Crash Detection and temperature sensors that enable menstrual cycle tracking — something you won’t find on any other model.
The Apple Watch Series 8 doesn’t represent a drastic departure from the Series 7, but it does offer Crash Detection and a number of iterative improvements that will make it the go-to model for many.
The best Apple Watch SE deals
The Apple Watch SE received a refresh in late 2022. It has the same chipset as the Series 8, which is great, but with fewer sensors, no always-on display, and a slightly outdated design compared to the Series 7 and Series 8. Those omissions might take this out of the running for some people, but it still may be exactly what you’re after. Best of all, it starts at $249 for the 40mm Wi-Fi / GPS model, which is $30 less than the previous generation’s baseline cost. Opting for cellular bumps up the starting price to $299 for the 40mm size (44mm adds $20 to each configuration).
Right now, the 40mm Apple Watch SE with GPS is available at Best Buy and Target for around $219, which is about $30 off and the wearable’s lowest price to date. The GPS-only model is also available in the 44mm sizing for as low as $249 ($30 off) at the same retailers (Best Buy/Target), or in the LTE-equipped configuration at Amazon, Best Buy, and Target starting at $269 ($30 off).
If you’re cool with getting the last-gen model, Walmart even has the 40mm, GPS-equipped SE for $199, which is a total of $80 off.
The new SE for 2022 borrows a few features from the Series 8, including the same chipset and Crash Detection feature, but it’s an otherwise subtle upgrade from the last-gen SE.
Apple’s entry-level wearable represents a minor upgrade when compared to the prior SE, though it does introduce a faster chipset and make use of many watchOS 9 features.
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Apple’s big, thick, and capable Watch Ultra is launching at $799 with GPS and LTE support, and in case you aren’t in the know, it has the most features, sensors, and ruggedness of any Apple Watch model available thus far. Its 49mm case houses a screen that can get brighter than the Series 8, it has a longer-lasting battery and more precise GPS tracking, and it’s loaded with sensors that essentially turn it into a swimming and diving guide.
On the deals front, we recently saw the Apple Watch Ultra drop to an all-time low of $749 at multiple retailers. Right now, however, it’s only on sale for $779.99 ($20 off in medium and large band sizes) at Amazon, or for its full retail price of $799 at Target, Best Buy, and other retailers.
The Watch Ultra is the most rugged and capable Apple Watch available. It has a thicker, bigger build than the Series 8, precise GPS tracking, and sensors that can measure metrics for diving. It only comes in one size and configuration, and it supports both GPS and LTE.
A note on the more premium models
While all of the Apple Watch models and colorways covered here are encased in aluminum (with the exception of the Ultra, which has a titanium build), Apple does make a more premium range built out of stainless steel and titanium. These offerings are functionally and aesthetically similar to their aluminum counterparts, with slightly refined colors and finishings — polished for the stainless steel and brushed for the titanium. However, they start at much steeper prices of $749 and above. They, too, can often be found on sale, but they’re never discounted as low as the standard base models, so we don’t include them here.
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