News: Get the Apple Watch Series 4 for Cheap with All of Series 5's Best Features

Get the Apple Watch Series 4 for Cheap with All of Series 5's Best Features

While we just called the Apple Watch Series 5 the "best lifestyle assistant and fitness wearable you can get," it doesn't mean that it's the model you should get. Whether you're shopping for yourself or someone else and are on a tight budget, the Series 4 offers the majority of features that the Series 5 does at up to $300 less than the newer comparable models.

If you compare the base features side by side, the Apple Watch Series 4 and Series 5 are nearly identical. Same display and case size, resolution, touchscreen, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, NFC, LTE, water resistance, battery life, and band styles. Even though the Series 5 has an S5 processor, its CPU and GPU are the same as in Series 4's S4 processor. They also have most of the same sensors, and both support watchOS 6.

The Series 5 only adds a compass, an always-on display, international emergency calling, more storage, and more body finishes. But for many, it's not worth the extra cost when the Series 4 models are solid enough without those things. And those features may not even be needed depending on who's going to be using it.

Best Deals on Apple Watch Series 4

GPS + Cellular (44 mm)

GPS + Cellular (40 mm)

Do You Need the Compass?

The compass on the Series 5 is the best new feature, in our opinion. Aside from the standard magnetic north, you can change it to true north when needed. Plus, the compass works with and without Wi-Fi or cellular connections. That's great if you're an avid hiker or outdoorsman, but if you spend most of your time in the city and rely on Apple Maps, do you really need a compass? Probably not. Especially if you already have an iPhone in your pocket, which also has a compass.

Furthermore, the type of band you use may affect the accuracy of the compass anyway. Apple states that the "Leather Loop, Milanese Loop, and earlier Sport Loop watch bands use magnets or magnetic material that might interfere with the Apple Watch compass." So if you like those bands, the compass is not very useful.

Do You Need an Always-on Display?

The next big addition that the Series 5 has that the Series 4 doesn't is an always-on display. It shows the time on the screen always, as well as anything else on your Watch face, and it can also show the most recent app instead. All without having to raise your wrist or tap the screen. Plus, it has a variable refresh rate, so it changes anywhere from 60 Hz (brighter) to 1 Hz (dimmer) depending on what's shown. That's how the Series 5 is able to claim the same battery life as the Series 4.

But there are issues with the always-on display. First, it's not technically "always-on." There are no second hands for analog clocks in the lower-powered always-on state since time only refreshes once per minute. And many complications, the processes that show up on the Watch face, aren't current when in always-on mode since they also only update every 60 seconds — or longer. So it may be slightly jarring to see different information on the screen when you raise to wake it versus the info shown in low-power mode.

Second, not all of the complications that show on the Watch face actually display useful information when in the low-power state. Many of the processes blank out, and some won't even work at all. For instance, the Compass and Noise apps aren't even active in always-on mode.

Third, there's battery life. Yes, the refresh rate helps with that, but some people have actually reported a faster-draining battery in comparison to the Series 4. The only way to solve the battery drain is to turn off the always-on mode completely.

The always-on display could be very beneficial for users who ride bikes a lot and perform other activities where they can't always move their wrist up to view the time. But is that you? Or the person you're shopping for? If you're not sure, why blow money on a Series 5?

Do You Need International Emergency Calling?

While the Apple Watch Series 4 lets you contact emergency services (911) in the US with a simple long-press of the power button, the Series 5 expands on it to also let you contact the local emergency services in foreign countries. That way, you're always a quick press away from help when you need it.

But if you or the person you're shopping for hardly ever travel outside of the States — or never do — it's a useless upgrade. So the Series 4 wins here too. Plus, if you have no intention of getting a GPS + Cellular model, which is usually $100 more than the GPS only version, the international emergency calling feature won't even work.

Do You Need More Storage?

All Apple Watch Series 4 models come with 16 GB of space, while all of the Series 5 models come with 32 GB. Is that extra space actually needed? Not unless you want to store tons of music and photos on the Watch.

You can only sync one Photos album with Apple Watch, and if it's a massive album, it'll take up a lot of space. But if you don't care about viewing photos on a tiny screen, you don't need an additional 16 GB of space.

If it's not photos eating up the storage, it's music. And unless you want a ton of playlists stored on your Watch for running or working out at the gym or hiking or whatever, the 16 GB Series 4 models are more than enough to handle your favorite and most-listened-to music.

Do You Need a Different Finish?

Aside from the features above, the last big thing to consider is the actual Watch case. For the aluminum and stainless steel bodies, they all have the same color options. The only significant change here is that the Series 5 aluminum body is made from 100% recycled 7000 series aluminum. Does that matter? For most people, probably not.

However, the Series 5 does have options for titanium and ceramic bodies, whereas the Series 4 does not. But if you're on the market for the best Apple Watch your money can buy on a tight budget, these case materials are a joke and will set you back anywhere from an additional $400 to $1,000, give or take.

So, Do You Need a Series 5 or Series 4?

Now that you know that there are really only five determining factors that set the Apple Watch Series 5 apart from the Series 4, is it enough to justify the extra cost? Likely not. Sure, the starting MSRP after each one's release is the same, but now that Apple is no longer even selling Series 4 models, you'll get a pretty good discount elsewhere. Even better when you think about Black Friday and Cyber Monday, where older models usually get the best deals over newer ones.

All Deals on Apple Watch Series 4

GPS + Cellular (40 mm)

GPS + Cellular (44 mm)

GPS (40 mm)

GPS (44 mm)

Cover image via Apple

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