Apple Watch 4 vs. Watch Series 3 and 2: What's new and different?

With various sales taking place before Prime Day, compare the specs between the Apple Watch Series 4, 3 and 2.

Lynn La Senior Editor / Reviews - Phones
Lynn La covers mobile reviews and news. She previously wrote for The Sacramento Bee, Macworld and The Global Post.
Lynn La

The Apple Watch 4.

Sarah Tew/CNET

With Prime Day approaching soon on July 15, sales of various tech products from various retailers are happening throughout the week. The Apple Watch and its many iterations, in particular, are being discounted by retailers like Amazon and Walmart. The Apple Watch Series 3, for example, is $200 at Amazon and starts at $230 at Walmart. You can also find several different types of Apple Watch bands to style your wearable, and they range from sleek and professional, to downright gaudy.

But figuring out what exactly each generation of Apple Watch is capable of can be confusing. For starters, the Apple Watch Series 4 is the most recent and most advanced. It has a bigger display and an ECG sensor for more accurate heart readings. The Watch Series 3 came out in 2017 and introduced LTE connectivity. The Series 2 before that featured GPS and water resistance.

With Apple unveiling the latest WatchOS 6 at WWDC 2019, we anticipate even more health features for the upcoming Watch Series 5, including a menstrual cycle tracker and a Noise app. There are also plenty of other unverified rumors that speculate a few other surprising features. Until Apple officially launches the wearable however, check out the chart to see how each Apple Watch differs from one another. And check out our in-depth comparison between the Series 4 and Series 3.

Watch this: The Apple Watch Series 4 delivers on its fitness promises

Apple Watch Series 4, 3 and 2 comparison

Apple Watch 4Apple Watch 3Apple Watch Series 2
Display 40mm: 1.57-inch OLED; 44mm: 1.73-inch OLED38mm: 1.5-inch OLED; 42mm: 1.65-inch OLED  38mm: 1.5-inch OLED; 42mm: 1.65-inch OLED
Resolution 40mm: 368x448 (369 ppi); 44mm: 324x394 (295 ppi)38mm: 340x272 (290ppi); 42mm: 390x312 (302 ppi)  38mm: 340x272 (290ppi); 42mm: 390x312 (302 ppi)
Dimensions 40mm (steel): 40x34x10.7mm; 44mm (steel): 44x38x10.7mm38mm: 38.6x33.3x11.65mm; 42mm: 42.5x36.4x11.65mm 38mm: 38.6x33.3x11.4mm; 42mm: 42.5x36.4x11.4mm
Protection All ceramic and sapphire crystal backIon-X glass; Sapphire crystal on Steel and Ceramic models  Ion-X glass; Sapphire crystal on Steel and Ceramic models
Strap size Proprietary; interchangeable    Proprietary; interchangeable  Proprietary; interchangeable
Finishes Aluminum and stainless-steelAluminumAluminum
Processor Apple S4Apple S3Apple S2
Storage 16GB16GB cellular, 8GB GPS only8GB (2GB for music)
Battery "Up to 18 hours""Up to 18 hours"38mm: 273 mAh; 42mm: 334mAh
Operating system Watch OS 5Watch OS 4 to 5Watch OS 3 to 5
Scroll wheel Yes with haptic feedbackYesYes
Microphone YesYesYes
Loudspeaker Yes (50% louder than Series 3)YesYes
Vibration YesYesYes
Wi-Fi YesYesYes
NFC YesYesYes
GPS Yes  YesYes
LTE Yes  YesNo
Fall detection YesNoNo
Heart-rate sensor Yes (electrical and optical)Yes (optical)Yes (optical)
Ambient light sensor YesYesYes
Water-resistant 5 ATM; 50 meters  5 ATM; 50 meters5 ATM; 50 meters

The Apple Watch Series 4 -- down to the tiniest detail

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