Ahead of the release of the Apple Watch Series 6 tomorrow, the first hands-on of the wearable from major publications have hit the internet. At first glance, the Apple Watch Series 6 does not seem to pack any major changes compared to Series 5 but what do the publications think about it? Find out in our roundup.
The publication’s hands-on with the Apple Watch Series 6 makes it pretty clear that the Series 6 is an iterative upgrade over the Series 5. The biggest highlight of the Apple Watch Series 6 is the new blood oxygen monitor and while it works, it should not be used as a medical device. The new colors and finish that the Apple Watch Series 6 is available in is perhaps the biggest highlight of the new lineup.
One thing that’s not subtle at all is the color of the review unit Apple sent: red. It is very pretty, and there’s a depth and complexity to the color’s finish. I don’t know that I’m a red watch kind of guy, but I like that it’s not shy. It also comes in those shy colors (gray and silver), plus one more bold color (blue).
The 2.5x brighter Always-On Display is also another change that’s immediately apparent.
My favorite new feature that I’ve been able to test might simply be the always-on screen. Apple claims it’s 2.5 times brighter in its always-on default mode than the screen on the Series 5, and looking at them side by side, I believe it. It is very bright.
Another subtle but important change on the Apple Watch Series 6? The addition of fast charging. The wearable can now charge from 0 to 80 percent in an hour, with 100 percent taking an hour and a half. That’s about 40 percent faster than the Series 5 — an improvement that’s bound to be noticeable in daily use.
Engadget’s experience with the blood oxygen sensor on the new Apple Watch Series 6 was less than ideal as it took them a number of tries initially to get an accurate reading.
Like measuring ECG, measuring blood oxygen requires only a few taps on the Watch’s screen, but you need to wear the Watch in a certain way to get a successful reading. It took roughly seven attempts of fiddling with the placement before I got it to work. Data came most often when the Watch was as far up my arm as my small/medium sports band would allow when secured on the third notch.
The publication also got their hands on the new Solo Loop and it seems to be pretty comfortable.
My solo loop came in a size 3 and, while it takes a bit of finagling to get it on and off, it’s more comfortable than I thought it would be. Most importantly, it keeps the Watch flush against my skin so it can take accurate blood oxygen readings.
The performance improvement brought about by the S6 chip is also noticeable when opening apps.
The Series 6 is definitely faster than the Series 5 and the increased snappiness is most noticeable when launching apps and swiping between watch faces.
The publication also highlights the striking bold colors that Apple is now offering the Apple Watch Series 6 in and how they stand out from other colors.
At first glance, the newest watch looks like every other Apple Watch released in the last few years. The 40mm red aluminum model I’m using is a little flashier than the silver, gold, or space grey options Apple normally offers, and if you want the world to know you have the Series 6, this candy apple red or the fetching blue shade Apple also introduced with this year’s model are the way to go.
The brighter always-on display is also another major change that’s immediately noticeable and helps usability.
The Series 6’s other noticeable design tweak is an always-on display that’s brighter when it’s not in use—2.5 times brighter than the Series 5’s inactive display, Apple claims. The change is obvious, particularly when outside or working out. Raising my arm to activate the display is a little unintuitive when exercising, but with the brighter screen, I could easily see my heart rate and calorie burn during a cardio dance class.
The new S6 chip also brings about a noticeable performance improvement.
The Series 6 sports the new S6 system-in-package, which definitely feels zippier than the Series 4 I’ve been using all summer to test watchOS 7. Summoning Siri, launching apps, and downloading Apple Music playlists for offline listening was quick and easy, though I’ll have to do more testing to see how the speed compares to older watches.
Check out some videos of the Apple Watch Series 6 first impressions below.
What are your thoughts on the Apple Watch Series 6 based on the first impressions? It does not look like a big upgrade over the Series 4 and Series 5 to me.