When it comes to wearable tech, Apple seems to have no match. With the new iWatch recently released, some things have improved, some have remained the same, and some… Well, some are a bit worse.
Read on to discover all there is to know about the new Apple Watch and decide if Apple is still the best there is, and if this device suits your needs.
Price and availability
For the past few years, Apple has made an extra effort to attract new customers and lock them in the Apple ecosystem.
Just like its predecessors, the latest Series 6 Watch only works if you have an iPhone to pair it with. On the plus side, during its special event on September 15th, Apple has introduced both the Apple Watch Series 6 and the Watch SE, which is a cheaper alternative. Both models are available from 18 September 2020.
The Apple Watch Series 6 will start at $399 in the US and £379 in the UK. The Apple Watch SE will start at $279 in the US and £269 in the UK. Simultaneously, the Apple Watch Series 3 will still be available and cost $199 in the US and £199 in the UK.
You can get the new watch from Apple directly or at your local Apple store or dealership. It is also sold at Currys and at other selected retailers.
Design and looks
At a glance, the new models seem indistinguishable from the previous range of Apple Watches. Even your old straps will work with the latest generation of iWatch. What’s new is the Solo Loop and Braided Solo Loop strap that has no buckles or pins.
The Watch Series 6 comes in several finish options, including aluminum, stainless steel, and titanium. There are also Nike and Hermes models.
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The Always On option that makes your Apple Watch act more like… Well, a watch introduced with the previous generation has been upgraded and is now 2,5 times brighter. Extra upgrades have been made in the “always-on” ambient mode that is particularly noticeable outdoors.
Five and Six share the same Retina display, while the display on SE is the same as the one on Series 4 watches. Both new watches are also water-resistant for up to 50 meters and come in 40 and 44 mm options.
Features and software
The Apple Watch Series 6 can take an ECG. It also comes with fall detection and International Emergency Calling, along with high and low heart rate notifications and irregular heart rhythm notifications. What’s new is blood oxygen monitoring, as well as real-time elevation tracking with the always-on altimeter.
The Apple Watch SE model doesn’t offer the ECG app or the blood oxygen monitoring app, but it does have the real-time elevation tracking like the Series 6.
Both models and all watches start from Series 3 and newer run on the new WatchOS 7 software build. It has many new and improved features, including:
- More customizable and shareable watch faces
- Cycling turn-by-turn directions in Maps
- Activity app now rebranded as Fitness app
- Ability to track Dance as a workout, as well as cool down and functional strength training
- Sleep tracking
- Silent alarms
- Wind down mode to help you get ready for bed
- Siri enhancements, including translation
- Hand-washing tracking with 20-second countdown timer
- More hearing protection features
- Family Setup
You can also buy The iWatch Series 6 with the option of 4G that requires an eSIM and compatible phone plan add-on. Of course, the price will vary depending on whether you have this feature or not.
Battery and performance
The Series 6 comes with Apple’s latest S6 chip, which is fast, fluid, and beats even the best performance from rival smartwatch makers. In theory, it should be up to twenty percent faster than last year’s model, but the difference is not that noticeable in practice. Perhaps the future WatchOS updates will be able to get the maximum out of the new chip.
When it comes to battery life, with the always-on display active and sleep tracking on overnight, the Series 6 lasts more than 36 hours between charges. The Series 6 goes from zero to 100% in as little as 83 minutes and hits 80% in only 56 minutes using a 2A USB power adapter, much faster than the Series 5.
The new iWatch isn’t a massive upgrade over Series 5 or even Series 4. Still, if you are just entering the exciting world of smartwatches, it can be the right one for you, especially considering that it is cheaper than the previous version was at launch.
It’s a great piece of wearable tech for those who are into fitness and health tracking, not to mention Apple enthusiasts. If you are in no rush to get a new piece of tech, though, wait a bit till the apps and firmware get a bit sturdier.