Goodbye 42mm Apple Watch, hello 38mm!

As much as I liked the 42mm Stainless Steel Apple Watch initially, it ultimately proved to be a bit too big and heavy. So I switched to a 38mm Space Grey Sport model with a woven nylon band, and I couldn't be happier!

Quite a while back I wrote a post that explored why I switched from the 38mm Stainless Steel Apple Watch to the 42mm version. Back then the Apple Watch was still quite new, and I wasn't sure which size would work best for me.

After having my 42mm Stainless Steel watch for quite a while, I recently bounced back in the other direction and I’ve moved to a 38mm Space Grey Sport model. I got the smaller watch a few days ago while I was at the local mall, and I wanted to share some of the thoughts behind why I switched. 

What got me to switch to the smaller Apple Watch?

Apple’s recent announcement of woven nylon bands caught my attention, and I started wondering if they were lighter than the regular sport bands. And yes, it turns out that the woven nylon bands are considerably lighter than the sport bands.

The weight of the band mattered to me because I use my watch for various kinds of workouts, and I’ve felt for a while that the 42mm Stainless Steel with Classic Buckle model felt a bit hefty on my wrist. And I’ve also noticed that I tend not to want to wear it for long periods of time after my workouts because it feels a bit uncomfortable after a while.

So I started thinking about getting a 38mm watch again, particularly after Apple announced the price reduction of $50. I found that the 38mm Space Grey case weighed only 25 grams, that’s half of what my 42mm Stainless Steel watch case weighs (50 grams).

But what about the band? Well, after getting my 38mm model with a woven nylon band, I weighed it and found that the band and case together only weighed 35 grams (thus it’s clear now that the 38mm woven nylon band weighs approximately 10 grams). That’s just about half of what the 42mm watch and classic buckle leather band together weigh (69 grams).

It might not sound like much of a difference but cutting the weight in half really did feel better on my wrist. I found myself leaving the 38mm Sport watch on all day and it's so light that I almost don't notice at all. That's in stark contrast with the 42mm Stainless Steel model, the weight of which is quite noticeable as soon as I put it on and for entire time that I'm wearing it.

38mm space grey apple watch woven nylon band

The 38mm Apple Watch looks more like a watch

Another thing I noticed after getting my 38mm watch is that it looks more like a watch on my wrist. The 42mm version sort of screams “smartwatch!” in a way that the smaller version simply does not. So aesthetically I found myself liking the 38mm version better while wearing it.

Of course this notion is completely subjective. Other folks think that the difference is totally insignificant and I can understand their perspective. Like many other things, watch beauty is truly in the eye of the beholder. Some folks love larger watches, and more power to them.

But I really prefer how the 38mm Apple Watch looks on my wrist much more.

Adjusting the size of text on the 38mm Apple Watch

One thing I noticed was that I needed to increase the size of text on the 38mm. This is quite easy to do in the settings. I did this because my eyes aren’t quite as good as they used to be, and larger text is easier for me to see.

Of course there’s a trade-off for this larger text. I can’t see quite as much on the screen so I have to scroll a bit more. But I’m fine with that since the larger text is so much easier to read.

Should you switch to the 38mm Apple Watch from the 42mm?

As happy as I am with my 38mm Apple Watch, I don’t want anybody to get the impression that I’m putting down the 42mm version. The larger watch is definitely the right choice for some users. The larger screen might work better for them, and the bigger Apple Watch also has a larger battery that can come in handy for some people.

But for me the 42mm Apple Watch ultimately proved to be just a bit too big and heavy. If I had to do it all over again, I would have just stuck with the 38mm version. But I would have gotten a Sport model right from the start and skipped the Stainless Steel model altogether.

Sometimes smaller and lighter really is better than bigger and heavier.

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