What is the difference between aluminum vs. stainless steel Apple Watch? Though the technical features of these models aren’t that far away, the appearance, build quality, weight, and other factors are completely different.
You might have seen Apple Watches in different colors, but the core build often boils down to two materials. They are aluminum and stainless steel. Titanium is also used in some models, but the aluminum and stainless steel models are more common.
In this guide, we will take you through the nooks and crannies of aluminum and stainless steel Apple Watches to help you determine which material is perfect for you. Let’s begin.
The main Difference Between Aluminum & Stainless Steel Apple Watch
Be ready for a head-to-head battle between the Apple Watch models with these two materials.
Build Quality and Durability
The first thing you should focus on while choosing between these materials is the build quality. Aluminum Apple Watches have a matte finish, that makes the watch case look more premium. Aluminum cases aren’t scratch-resistant, so the case might catch some micro-abrasions upon use.
As aluminum is a soft material compared to stainless steel, the impact resistance of this material is also low. So, if you drop the Apple Watch accidentally, chances are the case will have a major dent. But it might not completely shatter even after the softness of the material.
On the other hand, the stainless steel Apple Watch comes with a glossy finish. The shinier look might make the Apple Watch look beautiful, but you will have problems with scratches. The glossy surface will quickly catch scratches and abrasions, and these are highly visible on the surface. The aluminum case does a bit better in terms of hiding such abrasions.
But as stainless steel is way tougher than aluminum, the durability of this model is splendid. Even if you drop the Apple Watch on the floor, there will be no major dents or cracks in your watch. So, the stainless steel version is a more durable option.
As stainless steel is denser than aluminum, it is expected that the stainless steel models will be much heavier. In fact, the weight difference between these two models is highly noticeable.
If we talk about the 41mm version of the aluminum watch, it weighs about 32.2g. But the stainless steel watch of the same size weighs about 42.3g, which is much higher.
Similarly, the 45mm version of the aluminum watch has a weight of about 39.1g. The 45mm version of the stainless steel watch weighs about 51.5g. These facts show that the stainless steel Apple Watch is way heavier than the aluminum ones.
So, if you have large wrists or like bulky watches, stainless steel versions can be suitable for you. Otherwise, aluminum watches are more lightweight and suitable for outdoor endeavors.
You might already know the difference between Apple Watch GPS and Cellular. The GPS-only version needs to be connected to your iPhone if you want to send or receive calls or text messages, track workout performance, or check the weather.
But the GPS + Cellular version is capable of doing these tasks without being close to your iPhone. As aluminum is a more basic option for the material, you will get this material with GPS-only and GPS + Cellular versions.
And if you opt for stainless steel watches, you must choose GPS + Cellular versions. The GPS-only variant doesn’t have stainless steel cases.
The display glass on the aluminum variant of the Apple Watch is more than basic. You get Ion-X glass on this variant, which is a strengthened glass for better protection. But still, the glass will catch scratches over time and look dull after long use.
But the display on the stainless steel Apple Watch is quite different. It has a sapphire crystal glass, which is one of the hardest materials in the world. As a result, the glass is extremely hard to scratch. And your Apple Watch will keep looking new even after long use.
Overall, the stainless steel variant is better in terms of display but you better be ready to pay the premium.
You get a plastic puck with the aluminum Apple Watch. The cable is thick and basic-looking. But the puck with the stainless steel variant is much sleeker and looks more premium than the plastic one.
As there are many models with these two materials, comparing the price is a bit challenging. And stainless steel isn’t available in all models of Apple Watches. If you look for something like the Series 3 or the Apple Watch SE, you will only get aluminum cases. These models may start from $399.
But if you choose the Series 7, both materials will be available. In that case, the price will start from $799. As you can see, the price is a great differentiator between these models.
Apple Watch Titanium Vs. Stainless Steel
Currently, titanium is only available for more premium models like the Apple Watch Ultra. The main difference between stainless steel and titanium Apple Watch is in the build quality. Titanium is far more durable than stainless steel, so your watch will last for much longer.
Also, the titanium variant looks much more elegant. It has almost similar weight compared to stainless steel watches, but titanium is more scratch and impact-resistant. The price of titanium watches is also much higher than the stainless steel variants.
Aluminum Vs. Stainless Steel Vs. Titanium: Which Should You Choose?
If you want something lightweight, colorful, and more affordable, aluminum is the right choice for you. But if you seek higher durability with a better display, the stainless steel version can suit you. And the titanium variant is only suitable if want the best-in-class Apple Watch.
Apple Watch has so many variations that it can be confusing for most consumers to choose between models. Besides the materialistic difference, these models have other noticeable differences. Aluminum and stainless steel are the most common materials used in Apple Watch.
As you now know the difference between aluminum vs. stainless steel Apple Watch, it will be more convenient for you to choose the model that fits your budget and swag.