Which Apple Watch Should I Buy? Cellular or GPS only

by Robb Sutton

When you go to buy the Apple Watch, there are several different options to choose from. There are two different sizes, several different colors and a range of materials. Outside of that…the Watch and OS are the same throughout the options except for one feature that is the hardest to choose because it isn’t about style…cellular or GPS only.

Who much does getting a cellular Apple Watch cost?

Before we get into which one you should choose let’s talk about cost. How much extra does it really cost to own a cellular version of the Apple Watch over just the GPS?

If you are going with the most popular Apple Watch, the aluminum case, you are going to have the option to get cellular or not. That difference is a flat $100 no matter which model, size or color you choose. If you are looking at getting the stainless steel version that starts at $699, you are going to get the cellular version no matter what so this article is really geared towards the aluminum one. That said…you could choose not to activate the cellular feature to save the monthly fee.

Speaking of the monthly fee…each of the carriers have a little bit different rules regarding the Apple Watch.

  • AT&T – $30 setup fee then $10/month
  • T-Mobile – $20 setup fee then $10/month
  • Verizon – $30 setup fee then $10/month
  • Sprint – $10/month

So if you add the one time setup fee to the extra $100…we are at $130 extra plus $120 per year to have cellular added to you Apple Watch.

What do you get by adding cellular to your Apple Watch?

Basically the ability for your Apple Watch to act as a standalone device independent of your phone. As it stands with the GPS only version of the Apple Watch, once you get out of bluetooth range there are a lot of things that go dormant. You are not able to do several things. Here are some key ones and I am sure there are others…

  • Make and receive calls
  • Make and receive text messages
  • Get any notifications from any web based apps (Facebook messenger, email, etc)
  • Stream any music services like Spotify

Should I buy a celluar version of the Apple Watch?

This really comes down to specific use cases and whether that adds enough additional value to you to offset the first year cost of $250 and $120 additional each year after.

Do you find the need for data in situations where you do not have access to your phone or are out of bluetooth range? Here are some examples…

  • Working out at the gym but wanting to leave your phone in the car.
  • Running the neighborhood and leaving your phone at home.
  • Floating in the lake and leaving your phone in the boat.

I have found that I can solve the running issue for me with a simple band that I bought off of Amazon that holds my phone. I don’t even notice it is there but I am also a recreational runner not worried about extra weight. The same can be said about using the band at the gym although it can get in the way during certain exercises.

As you can probably tell, I could not justify the extra cost. The boat part for me can be rather annoying when a song comes on I don’t like or I am waiting on a phone call/text…but it isn’t $250 annoying.

What about you? Which one did you order?

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