If you hurry, you can put an Apple Watch Series 3 under the tree for $159 (save $40)

·5-min read

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The Apple Watch Series 3 is available in white or black, though you can choose from hundreds of third-party wristbands.
On sale for just $159, this is one of the most affordable Apple Watches ever. (Photo: Apple)

The best thing about a smartwatch isn't fancy faces or fitness tracking or even heart-rate monitoring. It's notifications. Never again will you miss an important call, text message, appointment reminder or the like because you couldn't see or hear your phone. Now those notifications will come right to your wrist, with a gentle tap to alert you.

For iPhone owners, there's no better smartwatch than the Apple Watch. That's because it's the only one that allows for two-way communication, meaning you can actually reply to text messages, talk to Siri and so on.

Current-generation Apple Watches start at $279, but for a limited time, Walmart has the Apple Watch Series 3 (38mm) for $159. It lists for $199 and sometimes goes on sale for $169; this deal represents one of the largest discounts to date outside of Black Friday. You can also get the 42mm for $189, also a $40 savings. At this writing, Walmart promises 2-day delivery — meaning you still have time to slip this under the tree.

$159 $199 at Walmart

It may be several generations old, but the Series 3 remains a very capable smartwatch. In addition to the aforementioned notification features, it offers heart-rate monitoring, fitness tracking and support for a huge variety of apps. It's also waterproof, meaning you can shower and even swim with it.

The Series 3 can run the latest version of Apple's WatchOS, too, though it remains to be seen how much longer this model will see that kind of support.

Consequently, there's an argument to made for the Apple Watch SE, a newer model that's currently on sale for $229 (save $50). It's not only a bit larger (40mm versus 38mm), it has more advanced features like fall-detection and irregular-heartbeat detection. It should also have a longer lifespan, at least in terms of OS updates.

If you're looking for an Apple Watch bargain, the Series 3 for $159 is hard to beat. If you can afford another $70, the SE is probably the smarter buy.

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