In the five years since its first introduction into the market, the Apple Watch has evolved from the earnest introductory model we first saw in 2015 into the golden standard of modern smartwatches. The newly announced Series 6 continues that trajectory. Although Apple also announced the latest iPad Air during its annual September event this month, the most eye-catching products were the new entry-level Apple Watch SE and the updated Series 6.
The Series 6 features the largest number of watch colors in the product’s history, including blue, (PRODUCT) RED, graphite, and gold. It also contains the device’s first blood oxygen sensing function, a feature that’s becoming a standard in the smartwatch market, and has been highly anticipated by Apple enthusiasts.
But what other improvements have been made to Apple’s latest smartwatch? Is it worth the upgrade from any previous iterations? To help you decide, we at HYPEBEAST break down the pros and cons of the Apple Watch Series 6.
The Apple Watch Series 6 has fast app animation and a fluid interface, most notably due to its new A14 processor and Apple’s sleek new WatchOS7. The operating system is so smooth that when we compared the speed of the Apple Watch Series 6 against the Apple Watch Series 5, there were virtually no differences between the two. As such, it’s hardly noticeable in what ways the A14 speeds up the device. Maybe the upcoming Apple Fitness+ app due at the end of the year will need the horsepower to interact with the workout sessions it’ll provide. However, that remains to be seen.
The new Typograph Faces offer a more artistic look for your smartwatch. More often than not, the options are big graphics that creatively showcase the time. For example, artist Geoff McFetridge designed a Watch Face that tells time through a character’s eyes, with each blink representing a second that goes by. However, these artistic expressions come at the cost of adding Complications that show further information. Although we personally prefer the new GMT, Count up and Chronograph Pro Watch Faces that display as much information as possible, the Typograph look adds personality to an already deeply customizable device. Complications are highly configurable, especially with the added ability to use third-party apps. As such, the smartwatch can be tailored and “at-the-ready” for any user’s specific needs.
The Apple Watch Series 6 has the same 18-hour battery life as the Apple Watch Series 5, Series 4 and Series 3 before it. However, if the always-on display is turned off and the brightness is reduced to its most minimal, the battery life drastically improves. After a full charge at the top of the afternoon, the battery lasted three afternoons and two full nights before dying. We also made sure to use the smartwatch as we typically would throughout the day. The Apple Watch 6 can also be charged fully in just 90 minutes, a nearly 30-minute improvement over its immediate predecessor.
Although a bevy of new hardware and updated software has been introduced in the Apple Watch Series 6, we feel indifferent about most of it. While its Blood Oxygen sensing feature is impressive, we can’t find any use for it as an average consumer. However, it does provide another layer of information alongside its ability to provide an ECG test and workout tracking, which is in line with Apple’s growing emphasis on providing health data.
The newly introduced Solo and Braided Solo Loop are welcome editions to the Apple Watch band ecosystem. The $50 USD Solo Loop bands are made of solid-colored liquid silicone rubber and stretch on the wrist without the need for clasps or buckles. The $100 USD Braided Solo Loop is a stretchable recycled yarn interwoven with silicone threads, which also stray away from buckles and clasps.
Although the Braided Loop is obviously the best-looking band, it’s also the most uncomfortable. It was the loop we went for when assembling our Watch the first time, but we immediately switched over to the more comfortable Solo Loop. The Braided Loop is very tight, even in the suggested watch size. It also doesn’t wear like the Solo Loop once it gets accustomed to your wrists. It’s unfortunate that the most expensive band is the worst of the two because its eco-friendly material and aesthetic truly fit the Apple brand.
It’s also disappointing that the Apple Watch Series 6 does not have force touch capabilities found in previous iterations. In a recent teardown from iFixit, it was revealed the Apple Watch has had its pressure gasket completely removed. Although the part was “fragile” and “damage-prone,” it was still a useful feature we would have loved to see perfected in this iteration.
The Apple Watch Series 6 does not feature a hefty upgrade worthy of upgrading beyond the Series 3, but it does build on the health data aspects highlighted in the device with its new Blood Oxygen feature. It’s also the most colorful release yet, and with so many finishes to choose from, Watch Faces to explore, and Complications to lockdown, there are more options than ever before to let users put their style and preferences on display.