Apple Watch Series 1 vs. Series 2, how they compare

Apple Watch Series 2 water 50m

As expected, Apple launched a new version of the Apple Watch last week. While many rumors pointed to an Apple Watch 2, Apple made incremental improvements and dubbed the latest product Apple Watch Series 2. The company also surprised many fans by upgrading the processor in the original Apple Watch and continuing to sell this model at a $100 discount. While the two models are ever so slightly different on the outside, when it comes to size and weight they are virtually the same. So what are the key differences between the Apple Watch Series 1 and the Apple Watch Series 2?

Waterproof to 50m

The Apple Watch Series 2 adds one key feature: it is water resistant up to 50 meters. This means you can swim with the Series 2 in up to 164 feet of water without a worry. Watch OS also has built-in fitness tracking designed specifically for swimmers.

The Series 1 retains the same water resistance found in the original Apple Watch. In other words, occasional splashes and brief encounters with rain are the limit of its capabilities.

Built-in GPS

To date, the Apple Watch relied on a paired iPhone for geolocation information. Series 1 will continue to need extra help in this department. By contrast, Apple Watch Series 2 adds on-board GPS inside the watch. Runners and cyclists can benefit with real-time tracking done right on the watch, no iPhone required. Maps will also get much better using the built-in GPS.

Brighter display

The Apple Watch Series 2 clocks 1000 nits, which is a measure of brightness. According to Apple, this is the brightest display they've ever manufactured. In any case, the Apple Watch Series 1 display measures 450 nits, less than half of the latest generation watch.

The brighter screen on the Series 2 improves visibility in sunny, outdoor situations.

Apple Watch Nike+

Apple Watch Nike+ is a collaboration between Apple and Nike to produce an Apple Watch Series 2 with special features designed for running. Special bands as well as custom-designed faces and Nike running apps are featured with the Nike+ model. This version is not available in the Series 1.

New bands

Along with the release of the Series 2, Apple has discontinued a few Apple Watch bands and added some new flavors to the mix. Some models of the Apple Watch Series 2 will ship with different band combinations compared to the Series 1 version. Those purchasing a Series 1 watch today are limited to the new band colors.

Ceramic case

Buying a Series 1 today means you are limited to the aluminum case in silver, gold, rose gold, or space gray. When it comes to the Apple Watch Series 2 interested parties can also choose from stainless steel.

The Apple Watch Series 2 also comes in an exclusive white ceramic case. The ceramic model ships with a "cloud" sport band, which only comes with this particular watch.


Apple Watch Series 1 starts at $269
Apple Watch Series 2 starts at $369


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