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Is an Apple Watch worth it?

Apple Watch 3 on Gareth's wrist
(Image credit: Future)

Deciding whether or not an Apple Watch is worth your time and money can be complicated. While it's obvious to most people that they need a smartphone or laptop to stay in touch with the world, a smartwatch feels more like a fun, optional extra. 

Ultimately, it kind of is, but it also offers some crucial benefits that soon make it a must-own for many people. The problem? Working out if you're one of those people or not. 

The Apple Watch 7, Apple Watch SE, and Apple Watch 3 are all available to buy at varying prices, but none are exactly cheap, impulse purchases. At a time when money is tighter than ever, you really don't want to spend too much on something that's unnecessary for your way of life.

If you're trying to weigh up whether or not to buy an Apple Watch or not, read on. We've taken a look at use cases for which the stylish timepiece is worth the investment – and some reasons why you might want to give it a miss. 

It's worth it if...

Apple Watch Series 7 images of watch on test

The Apple Watch Series 7 (Image credit: TechRadar)

...you exercise regularly

The Apple Watch offers plenty of ways to track your workouts. You can either leave it to do its thing automatically or set it for a specific workout with the watch able to track everything from walking, running, swimming, to tai chi and even dancing. 

It's a great way to check on your progress and see how you're doing each time. Rather than noticing the differences over time, you can always check your Apple Watch stats to see how your running pace is coming down or how you're burning more calories each day.

...you need motivation 

Tied into the above, the Apple Watch is a fantastic source of encouragement. Thanks to its Activity ring system, it gives you targets each day on how many calories to burn, how much exercise to partake in, and how many times you should stand up. It might sound gimmicky but in a matter of a few days of owning one, you'll soon find yourself wanting to complete those rings every day, no matter what. 

Alongside that, the system also dishes out monthly targets and awards, encouraging you to walk, run, or simply complete a specific workout like dance for a time. They're targeted to your abilities so they're fairly achievable even if you're just starting out. You can even set up competitions with Apple Watch-owning friends to further encourage you.

...you like wearing a watch 

Watches fell out of fashion when smartphones rose up, but they're making a comeback. Like any fashion item, some of us like dressing up our watch, depending on the occasion. The Apple Watch offers plenty of different strap options so you can easily find the style that suits you. Easy to swap out, you can have one band for the office, another for the gym, and a third for meals or dates. It's a nice extension of you. 

...you rely on notifications 

Apple Watch 6

The Apple Watch 6 (Image credit: Future)

Are you the type of person that only remembers a meeting or appointment because you've set a reminder for yourself? While your phone can help here, having reminders sent straight to your wrist helps impart a sense of urgency. It means you don't have to keep checking your phone worrying you've missed something. Notifications come through for calls, messages, meetings, and almost everything else that normally shows up on your phone, so the Apple Watch can be a fairly powerful source of information right on your wrist. 

...you want to monitor your health 

No gadget like the Apple Watch offers more information than a doctor or lab test results, but it can offer some insight into how your body is doing. It’s not like you’re going to have a professional medical scanner available on your wrist at all times, but the latest Apple Watches offer an ECG feature that monitors your heart rate and looks for any irregularities. 

While not perfect, there have been cases of this feature spotting issues early on, leading the wearers to pursue official medical opinions. Also, the Apple Watch's blood oxygen sensor, available on the Apple Watch 6 and above, allows you to gauge blood oxygen levels. Again, these features aren’t essential for everyone but if you suffer from certain health issues, assessing whether you’re doing too much via the Watch can give you some peace of mind. 


It's not worth it if...

Apple Watch SE review

The Apple Watch SE (Image credit: TechRadar)

...you can't afford it 

The Apple Watch is great but it's far from essential. If you can't afford it, don't buy it. Apple Watches are slowly getting cheaper, especially if you buy an older model like the Apple Watch 3, but they're still far from cheap. But it’s important to note that an older model can work out as poor value for money since you might get a subpar experience because of an aging processor and fewer sensors. Don't overstretch your spending for a fun, but rarely essential, device. 

...you don't have an iPhone 

The Apple Watch only works with an iPhone. If you have an Android phone, you're going to miss out. A lot. Don't even try it. Consider instead one of the best Android smartwatches around, provided this is the only reason why an Apple Watch is no good for you. While you could technically set up an Apple Watch with an iPhone but then use it without an iPhone for the most part, the few features you gain are not really worth the hassle. 

...you hate wearing watches 

Apple Watch 3

Apple Watch 3 (Image credit: Future)

Not everyone likes wearing a watch. The Apple Watch is a comfy device to wear once you find the right watch strap for your needs, but if you prefer your wrist to feel more liberated, you're never going to find the right fit for you. That also goes for if you're someone who simply forgets to put a watch on. After all, it is a habit you need to establish. 

...you don't exercise 

The Apple Watch's greatest strength is how it monitors your exercise and daily activities. That doesn't mean you have to be a gym addict or someone who is constantly going for runs, but it really helps if you like seeing your progress. If you have zero interest in being held accountable to what you do each day, the Apple Watch is not much more than a pretty (but expensive) regular watch. 

...you forget to recharge things 

The Apple Watch offers a better battery life than it used to. The Apple Watch 6 and 7 last a couple of days between charges. However, that's far from as good as a regular watch – and even some smartwatch models can last longer. If you're the kind of person that repeatedly forgets to recharge your gadgets, you may find your Apple Watch usage dropping fast as you keep realizing too late you’re very low on juice. 

Jennifer Allen
Jennifer Allen

Jennifer is a roving tech freelancer with over 10 years experience. Having graduated from Swansea University with a degree in Media and Communication Studies, and later with a diploma from Staffordshire University with a post graduate diploma in Computer Games Design, she's written for a huge number of publications, including T3, FitandWell, Top Ten Reviews, Eurogamer, NME and many more. 


Her main areas of interest are all things B2B, smart technology, wearables, speakers, headphones, and anything gaming related, and you'll find her writing everything from product reviews to buying guides. In her spare time, she enjoys the cinema, walking, and attempting to train her pet guinea pigs. She is yet to succeed.