A Follow Up On My Apple Watch Series 6 Review

After posting my review of the Apple Watch Series 6, I got requests to do a follow up on that review because apparently, I didn’t cover all the bases when it came to the Apple Watch Series 6. I also got requests to do a story on the sleep tracking functionality. That will happen later this week. But for now, I’m going to take the questions that I got and answer them as best as I can:

Is the Apple Watch Series 6 physically different than the Series 5?: At first glance it isn’t. But I have since discovered that the Series 6 is slightly thinner than the Series 5. But it’s really not noticeable as I really couldn’t tell when I had a Series 6 and Series 5 side by side. Whatever thinness that exists is likely due to the removal of the Force Touch hardware. But it’s essentially the same.

What about battery life?: This is a difficult question for me to answer because I use it for sleep tracking, which means I recharge when I wake up, and again when I go to bed. But battery life is longer than what I was used to with the Series 5. For example, I charged the Series 6 to 100% this morning, I and have worn it for 2.5 hours thus far and the battery is at 98% as I type this. The Series 5 would be into the low 90% range by now. So clearly there’s an improvement. Another data point is that by the time I get to 5PM, I am at 50% or more on the battery gauge. So battery life is clearly better. Of note, iFixit tore down the Apple Watch Series 6 and found that the battery is a bit bigger. That combined with the new S6 processor which is apparently more power efficient likely accounts for what I am seeing. When it comes to recharging, it is faster than I am used to as I can get from 50% to 100% charge in under an hour. That’s well within what that Apple advertises. Which is 0% – 80% in about an hour, and 80% to 100% in 30 minutes after that. That’s a total of 90 minutes to fully charge your Apple Watch Series 6. That convenience is a total win.

Something that I didn’t expect is that the haptics are far more pronounced on the Series 6 making next to impossible to miss. That is likely due to the new Taptic Engine that iFixit found when they tore down the Series 6.

One other thing. Blood oxygen measurements became a whole lot more reliable after a day or so. After being a bit finicky when I first got it, it became very reliable as I can always get a reading when I ask for one via the blood oxygen app. While it does measure blood oxygen in the background at a rate of roughly once an hour, I found that it also doesn’t measure blood oxygen in the background while you work out or you are moving. That’s a bit disappointing as I would like to know what my blood oxygen is during a bike ride without having to manually having to do it. It would also be nice to tie blood oxygen to sleep tracking as I think that would be useful. But it doesn’t do that either. More on that when I do my story on sleep tracking.

What did you think Apple could improve on?: They could have pushed the envelope on battery life. It is marginally better, but there are wearables out there that get days of battery life. Though those wearables don’t do as much as the Apple Watch does. Apple could have also figured out how to make the Apple Watch roam on LTE. That would be a game changer. Qi wireless charging is one other thing that Apple could have done something about as it would make charging more convenient as there are Qi wireless chargers everywhere now. Oh, and finally there’s the fact that Apple only makes the Apple Watch work with iPhones. Meaning that Android users have to switch to get their Apple Watch fix. While it would expand Apple’s base of customers if they did deliver Android support, much like Android Wear watches have iOS support, I honestly don’t see that happening.

My bottom line hasn’t changed. The Series 6 an iterative upgrade. Which isn’t really a liability as we haven’t reached peak saturation of the smart watch market yet. Also the Apple Watch SE is going to provide it some competition. And existing Apple Watch users may have to think long and hard about whether an upgrade is worth it. But it’s hard to deny that Apple is likely to continue to lead the smart watch market with the Series 6.

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