Apple Watch Series 6 review: Smartwatch apex

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With over 100 million out in the wild, Apple’s smartwatch is unequivocally the best smartwatch and most popular watch in the world. The Series 5 is already so good, one would think there isn’t much for Apple to fix. Well, it turns out Apple can do more and the Series 6 culminates with being the absolute zenith of the smartwatch. 

What’s warped 

1.  The Apple Watch Series 6 was always going to be fast, but its real speed will actually show up in time. Apple’s new S6 SIP (processor) uses cores from Apple’s A13 Bionic chip which is at the heart of the iPhone 11. This makes Series 6 so fast that most apps wouldn’t be able to utilise it — but this extra headroom will come in handy increasing its age. It will last longer across multiple cycles of software updates. Apple’s gadgets boast ridiculous levels of horsepower but like the iPhone, all of this is headroom so that your gadget doesn’t get obsolete in one or two years. It should be able to handle updates for years and that’s what the Apple Watch Series 6 will do. 

2.  This watch is also far more efficient. It lasts easily more than 24 hours on a single charge — something that never happened with it. This is of course with the always-on display turned on and it could last for days if that feature was turned off. It also gets charged faster — Apple claims 20 per cent faster charging. In my tests, I found it would get juiced up within an hour which means you can wear it all day and then while getting ready and having breakfast you can charge it. I suspect this increased efficiency comes from the new S6 chip and the improved display. This improved battery life finally also makes the Series 6 a viable sleep tracking tool which it wasn’t before. 

3. The display may look the same — but it has been improved. It is brighter and more efficient which helps with battery life and readability something that’s very important on a wearable. It is easily the best screen I have seen on a wearable. 

4. Perhaps the biggest new features on this watch are the new sensors. There is a SpO2 monitor and always active altimeter. This builds from the ECG and heart rate monitor on the Apple Watch. The SpO2 monitor helps to monitor the blood oxygen levels using a sensor below the watch which shines a light on your wrist measuring the oxygen levels. It is a handy feature for COVID times. Using the health app you can also check your VO2Max levels. The altimeter makes elevation changes more accurate and generally if you are a fitness buff, it is something that’s going to be important. All this makes Apple Watch the most comprehensive smart-watch and personal healthcare gadget. 

5. Apple has added new braided and non-braided solo loops which are amazingly simple and easy to wear. These loops enhance the comfort of wearing a wristwatch as you don’t need to meddle around with wrist. I tested the 40mm casing which was coupled with a size 4 loop. Apple provides a measuring tool for these solo loops as you can’t adjust the size and fit. It is a nifty paper cut out which enables you to judge the optimal wrist size you’ll need. Apple has seemingly thought of everything here, including making the loops comfortable enough for wearing while sleeping. 

6. WatchOS 7 is perhaps the biggest feature of this year’s update — Apple has added a bunch of new watch faces which come with all kinds of complications, a new fitness app which supports even Bollywood dance moves, a SpO2 scanner app and for markets outside India a fitness-oriented service as well. It is a robust update which will hit older Apple Watch models too which is basically at the heart of the Apple Watch experience. You can also use the Apple Watch now without an iPhone with a feature called “family share” that enables one to leverage the iCloud account of a family or friend to use one. 

What’s not 

1. It is expensive. Very expensive for the cellular 40mm model at Rs 49,990 with the solo loops costing Rs 3,990. There is no getting around this fact, even though it will last for a very long time. Its added features may not make a lot of sense to young people who can stick with the Apple Watch SE. Though for everyone over 40 it is a must-have. 

2. Like always, if you don’t have an iPhone or have a close relative using an Apple product — using this watch will be hard as it needs tethering to an iCloud account at a bare minimum. You need to be an Apple user, there is no way of getting around that fact. 

3. SpO2 monitor can be finicky at times. It may also not provide the most accurate blood oxygen measurement. 

4. It looks the same — for those wishing for a new look, this may not be the generation of the Watch to invest into. 

Should you buy it?

Apple has pushed the absolute limits of the smartwatch with Series 6. It is fast, functional, helpful and motivational. But is it better than older Apple Watch models — I’m not sure if there is a right answer to this question. That’s a subjective call. Depending on your state of health and fondest for fitness activities the Series 6 will make sense or may not. But the one thing you can’t take away from is the fact that it is the absolute best smartwatch in the world — more powerful than many phones sold in the market. 

You can also watch the full review below!

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