Difference Wiki

38mm Apple Watch vs. 42mm Apple Watch: What's the Difference?

Edited by Aimie Carlson || By Janet White || Published on February 12, 2024
The 38mm Apple Watch has a smaller display and case, ideal for slender wrists; the 42mm version offers a larger display and case, better for larger wrists.

Key Differences

The 38mm Apple Watch is designed for users with smaller wrists, offering a more compact and comfortable fit. In contrast, the 42mm Apple Watch is better suited for those with larger wrists, providing a more substantial presence on the wrist.
With its smaller screen, the 38mm Apple Watch might be less convenient for users who prefer larger text or have difficulty reading smaller displays. The 42mm version, with its larger screen, offers better readability and more space for app icons and text.
Typically, the larger size of the 42mm Apple Watch accommodates a slightly larger battery, potentially offering longer battery life compared to the 38mm model, which may be a consideration for users who prioritize longer usage between charges.
The choice between 38mm and 42mm often comes down to personal style preferences. The 38mm Apple Watch tends to look more subtle and less obtrusive, while the 42mm model makes more of a statement and can be more visually prominent.
In some cases, there might be a price difference, with the 42mm Apple Watch being slightly more expensive due to its larger size. However, both models generally have similar features and capabilities beyond their size differences.

Comparison Chart


Smaller case and display
Larger case and display


Ideal for smaller wrists
Better for larger wrists


Smaller screen, compact interface
Larger screen, improved readability

Battery Life

Slightly shorter
Potentially longer

Aesthetic Appeal

More subtle and less obtrusive
More prominent on the wrist

38mm Apple Watch and 42mm Apple Watch Definitions

38mm Apple Watch

The 38mm size appeals to users seeking a more classic watch size.
Her 38mm Apple Watch complemented her business attire with its classic look.

42mm Apple Watch

Ideal for those who prefer a larger, more noticeable smartwatch.
The 42mm Apple Watch stood out on her wrist, making a bold fashion statement.

38mm Apple Watch

This model is suitable for those preferring a smaller, less intrusive wearable.
The 38mm Apple Watch looked elegant and discreet on his wrist.

42mm Apple Watch

The 42mm Apple Watch offers a larger display for better readability.
He appreciated the larger screen of his 42mm Apple Watch for reading texts.

38mm Apple Watch

The 38mm Apple Watch offers all the smart features in a smaller size.
Despite its size, the 38mm Apple Watch tracked her fitness activities accurately.

42mm Apple Watch

It's designed for comfort on larger wrists, offering a proportional fit.
His larger wrist was perfectly suited for the 42mm Apple Watch.

38mm Apple Watch

It's designed for users who prioritize comfort and a lighter feel.
He chose the 38mm Apple Watch for its comfortable fit during long runs.

42mm Apple Watch

This version caters to users seeking more screen space for apps.
Using maps on his 42mm Apple Watch was easier thanks to the larger display.

38mm Apple Watch

The 38mm Apple Watch is a compact version of Apple's smartwatch.
She wore her 38mm Apple Watch daily because it fit her slender wrist perfectly.

42mm Apple Watch

The 42mm size may offer slightly better battery life due to its size.
The 42mm Apple Watch lasted longer on a single charge during his hiking trips.


Which Apple Watch size is more popular among women?

The 38mm size is often more popular among women due to its smaller size.

What's the primary difference between 38mm and 42mm Apple Watches?

The main difference is the size of the watch case and display.

Does screen size affect the readability of texts and notifications?

Yes, the larger screen on the 42mm model can make texts and notifications easier to read.

Do 38mm and 42mm Apple Watches have different battery capacities?

The 42mm model generally has a slightly larger battery, offering potentially longer battery life.

Can both sizes access the same apps and features?

Yes, both sizes offer the same functionality and access to apps.

Do both sizes come in the same color options?

Color options are generally the same for both sizes, though availability can vary.

Is the 38mm size suitable for men?

Yes, the 38mm size can be suitable for men, especially those with smaller wrists.

Can both sizes use the same type of charger?

Yes, both sizes use the same type of charger.

Which size is more comfortable for sporting activities?

Comfort during sports activities depends on personal preference and wrist size.

Is there a significant weight difference between the two sizes?

The 42mm Apple Watch is slightly heavier than the 38mm due to its larger size.

Are the bands interchangeable between the two sizes?

Bands are specific to the size of the Apple Watch and are not interchangeable between 38mm and 42mm models.

Do both models support Apple Pay?

Yes, both the 38mm and 42mm Apple Watch models support Apple Pay.

Does either size have an advantage in terms of software updates?

No, both sizes receive the same software updates and support from Apple.

Is there a price difference between the two sizes?

The 42mm model is typically slightly more expensive than the 38mm.

Which size is better for users with larger hands?

The 42mm Apple Watch is generally better suited for users with larger hands.

Which size should I choose if I prioritize battery life?

If battery life is a priority, the 42mm model might be a better choice due to its larger battery.

Can I swap the bands I already own if I switch sizes?

No, you would need to get new bands that match the size of your new Apple Watch.

Are the health monitoring features the same in both sizes?

Yes, health monitoring features are the same in both the 38mm and 42mm models.

Does the 42mm size have a better resolution?

The 42mm size has a larger display, but resolution quality is comparable in both sizes.

Are replacement parts equally available for both sizes?

Yes, replacement parts and accessories are widely available for both sizes.
About Author
Written by
Janet White
Janet White has been an esteemed writer and blogger for Difference Wiki. Holding a Master's degree in Science and Medical Journalism from the prestigious Boston University, she has consistently demonstrated her expertise and passion for her field. When she's not immersed in her work, Janet relishes her time exercising, delving into a good book, and cherishing moments with friends and family.
Edited by
Aimie Carlson
Aimie Carlson, holding a master's degree in English literature, is a fervent English language enthusiast. She lends her writing talents to Difference Wiki, a prominent website that specializes in comparisons, offering readers insightful analyses that both captivate and inform.

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