Apple Watch Singapore Price Guide 2019 — Series 3, Series 4 or Series 5?
One of the most popular buys during the year-end sale season — be it 11.11, Black Friday or Cyber Monday — is the Apple Watch.
Not because everyone is starting to feel guilty about those alcohol-sodden office parties and calorie-laden log cakes and wants to get back in shape next year, but because, well… it’s Apple.
I have to give mad props to Apple. Somehow, they managed to make people who haven’t worn a watch since primary school, actually pay hundreds of dollars for a freaking timepiece.
So before you blindly rush to get the latest Apple Watch Series 5 during the Black Friday sale, here’s a look at the options.
Apple watch Singapore price guide 2019 — Series 3 & Series 5
I’m sure you can get a better deal during 11.11 / Black Friday / Cyber Monday, but for reference, here are the official retail prices for the most basic Apple Watches:
|Apple Watch Series 3||GPS||38mm||$299|
|Apple Watch Series 3||GPS||42mm||$349|
|Apple Watch Series 3||GPS + Cellular||38mm||$449|
|Apple Watch Series 3||GPS + Cellular||42mm||$499|
|Apple Watch Series 5||GPS||40mm||$599|
|Apple Watch Series 5||GPS||44mm||$649|
|Apple Watch Series 5||GPS + Cellular||40mm||$749|
|Apple Watch Series 5||GPS + Cellular||44mm||$799|
Wondering why the Apple Watch Series 4 is not on the list? That’s because Apple has discontinued it, replacing the Apple Watch 4 with Series 5.
So right now, Apple has 2 main models: Apple Watch 3 (cheaper and fewer functions) and Apple Watch 5 (newer and more premium).
The 3 main factors that affect Apple Watch prices are:
- Series: Apple Watch Series 3 vs Series 5
- Connectivity: GPS vs GPS + Cellular
- Watch size: Smaller vs bigger
I’ll cover those in turn, but first, the question is: Why would you even consider buying an Apple Watch in the first place?
What does the Apple Watch do, anyway?
The Apple Watch is basically a glorified FitBit — its primary purpose is as a wearable fitness tracker.
To that end, the Apple Watch has this snazzy “3 rings” setup which lets you visualise your activity in 3 main areas. The goal is to “close the rings” by making sure you hit your targets in all 3 areas, which you can set yourself.
You probably don’t need me to tell you that there are cheaper fitness trackers out there that do pretty much the same thing, albeit with a less sexy interface and watch design.
So why would you pay $299 or more for an Apple Watch?
Well, because the Apple Watch can be used as an extension of your iPhone (and only iPhone 6S and later). It can perform some basic functions, such as:
- Making contactless payments via Apple Pay
- Getting reminders, alarms and checking your calendar
- Listening to Apple Music, Spotify or podcasts (if you pair with bluetooth earphones)
- Reading and possibly replying SMSes or iMessages (no Whatsapp though)
- Answering emergency phone calls
- Using the Calculator app (okay, you can do this with a $30 Casio watch too, but it’s not as cool)
Using the Apple Watch obviously won’t be as easy or full-featured as using a phone — for example, the call quality is severely limited by the crappy inbuilt microphone and speaker — but it’s probably really nice to have if you dislike pulling out your phone every 2 seconds.
Apple Watch Series 3 vs Series 5 — why the $300 price difference?
Both Apple Watch 3 and 5 are able to support the functions I mentioned above to more or less the same extent. But if you looked at the table above, you’ll notice a standard $300 price difference between them.
Here’s another table that makes it easier to understand the price difference between Apple Watch Series 3 and Series 5, comparing the equivalent models:
|Apple Watch||Series 3||Series 5||Price difference|
|GPS + Cellular (small)||$449||$749||+67%|
|GPS + Cellular (large)||$499||$799||+60%|
I did some poking about tech blogs but couldn’t find a compelling reason to pay up to 2X the price for an Apple Watch 5.
Okay, granted, the Apple Watch Series 3 (right) is more basic in design. The Apple Watch 5 (left), on the other hand, is decidedly more stylish and customisable, with a whole lot more case and strap options to choose from. See the difference?
Looks aside, the 2 Apple Watch versions are really quite close. Both support watchOS 6, so the list of apps supported is the same. The hardware features seem to be about the same as well.
Supposedly, the best new feature in the Apple Watch 5 is its “always on” display, so the screen is on all the time, as opposed to the Apple Watch 3 screen which only turns on when you lift it up to look at it. But seriously? Who cares.
Apart from that, the Apple Watch Series 5 has a slightly larger watch face and more storage than the Series 3, but again, those are pretty irrelevant.
I say stick to the Apple Watch 3 and save that $300, and trade up only when Apple releases something worth upgrading to.
That said, if you die-die must have the latest wearables, Apple has a trade-in programme for older Apple Watches — you can track its trade-in value here.
Is Apple Watch Series 4 available anywhere?
As mentioned, Apple Singapore no longer carries the Apple Watch Series 4, preferring you to opt for Series 5 instead. The Series 4 is very similar to Series 5; the key difference is that the Apple Watch 4 does not have an always-on display.
You can still buy the Apple Watch 4 in Singapore, but since it’s discontinued, the remaining stock is very limited. You can check out the Singtel, Starhub and the Apple Store on LazMall to see what’s left.
Here’s how much the Apple Watch 4 costs in Singapore:
|Apple Watch Series 4||GPS||40mm||$599|
|Apple Watch Series 4||GPS||44mm||$649|
|Apple Watch Series 4||GPS + Cellular||40mm||$843.30|
|Apple Watch Series 4||GPS + Cellular||44mm||$799|
Notice that the Apple Watch Series 4 costs about the same as Series 5, so you might as well get the latter.
GPS vs GPS + Cellular Apple Watch — what’s the difference?
The other big decision, apart from Series 3 vs Series 5, is whether you would opt for the GPS only, or the GPS + Cellular version of the Apple Watch.
For every model, you would have to pay an extra $150 for Cellular support. Here’s a table to show you the relative price difference in each case:
|Apple Watch version||GPS||GPS + Cellular||Price difference|
|Apple Watch Series 3 (small)||$299||$449||+50%|
|Apple Watch Series 3 (large)||$349||$499||+43%|
|Apple Watch Series 5 (small)||$599||$749||+25%|
|Apple Watch Series 5 (large)||$649||$799||+23%|
So what’s the difference between GPS only, and GPS + Cellular?
First of all, all Apple Watches have GPS built in. It’s there so that your Apple Watch can track your location and speed independently, instead of constantly tapping on your iPhone to do so.
But if your Apple Watch is GPS only, it needs to be physically near your iPhone for phone calls, messages and apps to work. The 2 paired devices are connected by Bluetooth + Wifi (think AirDrop) so they have to be within range.
As for the more expensive GPS + Cellular Apple Watch, it’s able to function as a mini iPhone, even if its paired iPhone is not nearby. This means you can leave your iPhone at home and still be able to use those phone-type functions like calling, texting and accessing apps.
So it all depends on how you plan to use your Apple Watch. If you’re just using it as a day-to-day extension of your iPhone because you’re lazy to dig it out of your backpack, then the cheaper GPS-only version would suffice.
But if you’re prone to leaving your phone at home, then that extra $150 might be quite worth it.
Hidden costs of getting a GPS + Cellular Apple Watch
If you’re tempted to spring for the GPS + Cellular of the Apple Watch — as I am! — it’s important to note that it’ll cost you a bit more than just the $150 “surcharge”.
First, you can’t just purchase a SIM card off the shelf for your Apple Watch. Your iPhone has to be on a Singtel, Starhub or M1 plan, and then you have to activate NumberShare. This allows you to “share” your data, talktime, etc. with your second device, i.e., your Apple Watch, for a monthly fee.
|Telco||NumberShare subscription fee||Other costs|
|Starhub||$6/month (additional 1GB)||—|
|Singtel||First 3 months free, then $6.90/month||$10.70 for eSIM|
|M1||First 6 months free, then $6.90/month||$37.45 for eSIM|
$6 to $7 a month is not really that expensive, but this will add on to your costs — as if the Apple Watch isn’t expensive enough already.
If you’re on Circles.Life, Giga, Gomo or the other new telcos? Tough luck. Even though Giga and Gomo belong to Starhub and Singtel, there’s no way (as far as I know) to activate NumberShare. Urgh.
So to get the most out of the Apple Watch, you’re basically forced to sign up for one of the Singtel/Starhub/M1 plans and then pay them an extra monthly subscription plus whatever “eSIM fees” they tack on.
Should you pay more for a bigger Apple Watch?
The final factor that affects the price of an Apple Watch is size. I know, it’s pretty self-explanatory, almost not worth discussing.
But for completeness, here’s the usual comparison table anyway. The 2 prices in each cell are for GPS / GPS + Cellular versions of the Apple Watch.
|Apple Watch||Case size||Display area||Wrist size||Price|
|Apple Watch Series 3||38mm||563mm²||130mm to 200mm||$299 / $449|
|Apple Watch Series 3||42mm||740mm²||140mm to 210mm||$349 / $499|
|Apple Watch Series 5||40mm||759mm²||130mm to 200mm||$599 / $749|
|Apple Watch Series 5||44mm||977mm²||140mm to 220mm||$649 / $799|
Long story short, the larger version of the Apple Watch always costs $50 more. If you’re exceptionally large you might want to pay that extra $50 for a better fit; otherwise, I think it’s safe to not bother.
True, a larger case size also means a slightly larger display area, but the Apple Watch isn’t meant to display much anyway. I don’t see how it would matter.
Are there cheaper alternatives to the Apple Watch?
It depends on what exactly you want an Apple Watch for. Are there cheaper fitness trackers out there? Hell yeah. You can even get a basic fitness tracker from the National Steps Challenge for $0.
If you want a fitness tracker that’s dolled-up enough for you to call “wearable tech”, there are also options ranging from Xiaomi to Fitbit to Garmin.
In particular, Fitbit has a near-clone of the Apple Watch: Fitbit Versa 2. At around the $300 mark, it’s hardly cheap, but it’s really very pretty.
Features-wise, it looks like Fitbit is also catching up. You can use Spotify to listen to music and Fitbit Pay for contactless payment (only OCBC and UOB cards for now though). But it has to be within range of your paired phone to work.
If you’re looking for a smartwatch that lets you ditch your phone, the only alternative I’ve found is the Samsung Galaxy Watch LTE.
It has an entirely different aesthetic from the Apple Watch: While the Apple Watch (and other fitness trackers) tend to look a bit kiddy and Casio-ish, the Samsung Galaxy Watch looks more like the traditional, grown-up, Rolex-type watches you see on the covers of the Horology Herald.
Though not an Apple product, the Samsung smartwatch is not cheap either, costing about $450 to $600 for the LTE version (the one that can stand alone without being in range of your phone) compared to $449 to $799 for an Apple Watch with Cellular service.
Ready to buy the Apple Watch? Here’s the game plan
If you’re planning to buy the Apple Watch online to take advantage of 11.11 / Black Friday deals, here’s what you should know before buying.
First, the Apple Watch is actually not that widely available online. The main retailer is the Apple Singapore e-store (not sure if they will have a discount on the day), but Apple also has a LazMall store on Lazada. The Apple Watches on the LazMall store are eligible for 11.11 deals, but there’s no Series 3 available.
If you’re planning to buy from Lazada, don’t forget to collect whatever Lazada vouchers you’re eligible for before making the purchase. These come out weekly and there’s a different one for each bank’s credit cards.
Finally, you can “stack” the 11.11 voucher + the Lazada credit card voucher with a credit card that gives you miles or cashback for online purchases.
For cashback, our pick is the DBS Live Fresh Card or the OCBC FRANK Card for 5% or 6% cashback respectively. They do come with some annoying T&Cs though, so if you want to keep things simple, there’s the Citibank SMRT Card for 3% rebate.
- 5% cashback when you shop online
- Additional 5% cashback for the first 6 months with S$600/month min. spend; Cashback cap at S$60/month
- 6% rebate on online shopping
- 0.3% rebate on everything else
- S$60 monthly capped rebate with monthly offline min. spend of S$400 (excludes online and NETS FlashPay Auto Top-Up spend)
- Up to 3% savings on Online Shopping*. 2.7% + 0.3% (if monthly card spend is at least $300)
- *Excludes all travel-related merchants worldwide - Airlines, Air Carriers, Car Rental Agencies, Lodging, Travel Agencies & Tour Operators, Passenger Railways, Taxicabs & Limousines, Bus Lines, Steamship & Cruise Lines and Other Transportation Services, Direct Marketing Travel-Related Arrangement Services
- Savings awarded in SMRT$, capped at 600 SMRT$ every 12 month period
Otherwise, you can opt to earn miles with your purchase (though it’s not really a massive purchase so you can’t earn much). The best miles cards for online shopping are the Citibank Rewards Card and the OCBC Titanium Card, both of which give you 10 miles per $1 spent:
- 10X Rewards (10 points or 4 Miles) for every S$1 spent on Shoes + Bags + Clothes at Online, Retail or Department stores, locally and overseasEnjoy discounts of up to 50% at Foodpanda, Lazada, Zalora, Reebonz, and more
- S$1 spent = 1 Rewards point (All other spend)
- 10x OCBC$ (10 points or 4 Miles) for every S$1 spent on clothes, shoes, bags, department stores, kidswear, electronic gadgets, online, offline, locally and overseas
- Enjoy e-commerce coverage of up to USD 200 per year with min item of USD 50
Of course, your choice might also be influenced by which bank has better Lazada vouchers. It’s pretty hard to go wrong with DBS and Citibank, in my personal experience.
Are you planning to buy the Apple Watch? Tell us your reasons.