The Apple Watch Series 3 (Rs29,990 onwards) doesn’t look very different from last year’s Apple Watch Series 2. This means any additional straps acquired for the Watch Series 1 or the Watch Series 2 will work seamlessly with the new watch too. It comes in 38mm and 42mm variants.The aluminum Watch Series 3 is available in space grey, gold and silver cases (the latter two colours match the reconfigured shades of the iPhone 8). 

The significantly upgraded hardware inside the Watch Series 3 includes the new S3 processor, which is up to 70% faster than the Watch Series 2's S2 processor, and the new W2 wireless chip adds faster Bluetooth and Wi-Fi, but consumes up to 50% less battery than before. The performance is snappy, apps open quickly and transitions are smooth. 

The OLED display adds improvements for better visibility, and is rated at a very high 1,000 nits of brightness (this is what most high-end HDR TVs manage). There is a comforting response accuracy to every touch, something missing in most other Android Wear smartwatch displays. 

The watchOS 4 has the stacked card interface which is slicker to use. The continued focus on fitness-tracking remains key. The new Heart Rate app does regular monitoring, and will also send an alert if it detects an unusually high heart rate. The Workout app can club multiple exercises together, while the Activity app makes suggestions to tailor your fitness targets based on what it learns over time. 

With the inclusion of the barometric altimeter hardware inside the watch, any activity that involves running uphill or elevation changes, will now result in a more accurate calculation of the calories burnt compared to running on a flat surface. 

In a comparative test, the Watch Series 2 with the same settings replicated (50% brightness, Theater Mode to prevent display from lighting up with random hand movements, select notifications and passive background activity tracking), lost about 9% charge after 4 hours, while Watch Series 3 lost only 6% charge in the same period. If you turn up the brightness to maximum and use it for extended activity tracking, you will still be able to get through a full day with ease. 

The LTE variant of the Watch Series 3 (identifiable by the red crown button) isn’t arriving in India just yet—the regulations aren't clear on how Apple and the operators would be able to replicate your mobile connection on the new watch. 

On the face of it, the Apple Watch Series 3 may look more of the same, but it does the behind-the-scenes work significantly better. The definitive smartwatch just pushed the goalposts further away from its already exasperated rivals.

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