When you already have the best product in the world it’s hard to not get complacent but Apple Watch is an example of what Apple wants to achieve in the wearable space. Utter and complete domination.
Regardless of what the competition is doing, the Apple Watch just keeps chipping away the raw edges and refining its functionality. So what does the Apple Watch Series 5 offer that is so different than the S4.
Well, to be honest, not much but to be absolutely blunt, it did not need to change a lot. All day wearability factor is still intact and it is still the one wearable that I would forget to remove from my wrist voluntarily.
So besides looking identical to the watch series for the watch series 5 basically has two new features to talk about. The always-on screen and a built-in compass. Always on screen is a feature that many wanted on an Apple Watch and honestly that is the only real feature that Android Wear had as a one up to Watch OS. Using a new type of LTPO OLED screen that consumes very little energy, Apple has been able to preserve the same all-day battery life.
Of course the always on feature makes sense if you have watch faces to show off and the new watchOS 6 comes with bolder new watch faces that look good even on a lazy wrist. The selection is not as vast as you would find on an Android Wear device for example, but for an Apple Watch user it increases the fun factor exponentially.
Apple claims that this has not affected the battery life but in our tests we found otherwise. On the Watch Series 4, I would Charge the battery once every two days or at least after a day and a half of use but now with the Series 5, it begs for a juice up after every 12 to 14 hours of hard use which includes using the workout app, playing music off it, and occasional short phone calls. Does this affect the usability of the watch? Well, that depends if you have been an existing Apple Watch user or not. If you are an existing user of the Apple Watch, you probably have already trained yourself to charge the watch overnight, every night. So if that involuntary action has already been embedded in your daily routine you won’t find anything out of the ordinary. But if you are a very active person climbing peaks in the morning and digging up dirt in the evening, you will long for the extra few hours of battery life.
Having said that, the display itself is fantastic and the 44mm screen size is used very well to accommodate a lot of complications which give it the edge over any other Android competition. Just with a fleeting glance, you can gather information on the weather, your upcoming appointments, your circles of motivation, your stocks, your email and messages, and practically anything else your iPhone is capable of notifying you of.
The speaker now is much louder too and that helps in everything from taking instructions from a Drill Sergeant during the 7-min workout app to having a phone call via the Apple Watch while your wrist still rests on the laptop typing away.
Watch OS6 adds a ton of features that only enhance the Series 5 Watch such as the Noise-level meter, raise wrist to speak to Siri, the ECG feature that has finally made it to India, cycle tracking for women, Devanagari script as a watch face and of course, the Compass amongst others.
If you have an Apple ecosystem, the virtues of the Watch are a no-brainer. From controlling your Apple TV to unlocking your MacBook, the Watch seems to add functionality to every other Apple product you own and that is an area that Android Wear still struggles. The increased 32GB on-board storage and eSIM makes it a truly independent gadget too, especially now that you can access the Watch app store and download software updates directly through the Watch.
While Apple doesn’t import the new Titanium or Ceramic finishes in India yet, they say the Hermes edition might be available in certain Hermes stores. So the standard fare will include the aluminium and stainless steel cases in various shades of Space Grey, silver or gold. I’ve been wearing the stainless steel version carelessly for the past few days and inadvertently been hitting the Watch on door sills, knocking it against the refrigerator and generally exposing it to more knicks than it would appreciate but there’s not been a single dent or even a scratch on the display or body. This really is one tough piece of glass and worthy of being worn as an adventure watch.
Apple has wisely discontinued the S4 and now you only have the option of the much cheaper S3 or the new S5 with the bigger, full screen displays. There is a significant upgrade in processor speed which affects how fast Siri responds when you raise your wrist, how fast Shazam opens to detect a song, how fast voice converts to text when you’re messaging hands free, how fast…you get the point. It’s fast all around, so if you are a power user, you should look at the S5 no doubt. But, if you just want to tip-toe into the smart watch world and own an iPhone, the S3 makes for an affordable entry point into the world’s smartest wearable platform.