The Apple Watch Series 2 is the newest smart watch by Apple. While the new watch doesn’t have a new design it still has quite a few new perks. The major changes under the hood are a faster processor and GPU, built-in GPS, increased water resistance for swimmers and a dramatically increased battery life. The Apple Watch Series 2 is also available in a new white ceramic finish as well. Now the main question that arises is that is the new Apple Watch 2 worth the upgrade. In this review, we are going to discuss if the new edition of the smartwatch is just another novelty gadget or could it be an essential wearable for daily use.
Apple Watch 2 Price & Release Date:
The Apple Watch 2 launched officially on September 16, 2016. Since then it has created quite the hype. The Apple Watch Series 2 is available at various different prices. The cheapest model, the 38mm version of the Apple Watch 2, is priced at $369 in the US, £369 in the UK and AU$529 in Australia. Apple has made the Apple Watch 2 quite expensive so it isn’t for everyone. The cost of the Apple Watch Series 2 rises in other models with the 42mm base model costing $399 / £399 / AU$579. This continues all the way up to the highest-priced ceramic Edition model, which is priced at $1,299 / £1,299 / AU$1,799.
Furthermore, Apple is also selling the original Apple Watch as well. The manufacturer has upgraded with the same faster processor that’s in the Apple Watch Series 2, for a cheaper price. It is now called the Apple Watch Series 1, it will cost $269 (£269, AU$399) for the Sport-Edition.
The Apple Watch Series 2 is pricey so it will be a hard sell to anyone who isn’t a fitness fan and obsessed with getting that GPS chip in their smartwatch.
Apple Watch 2 Design:
When it comes to design the new Apple Watch Series 2 has a simple and minimalistic design. There aren’t many design changes compared to its predecessor. The same rectangular design is featured in the new watch so if you are a fan of a round dial then you might be disappointed. However, the watch is still a pretty stylish and attractive wearable.
Like all Apple devices, the new watch is of premium quality. It features the iconic curved edges and the quality of the spinning digital crown gives it a nice feel. Nonetheless, even the premium build of the watch doesn’t justify the hefty price of it, but it comes close.
The Apple Watch Series 2 is also not too light or too heavy. It is designed to fit comfortably in your hand and has a solid feel. When it comes to straps the standard ones are still pretty much the same. The strap release button is still too hard to press so changing the bands hasn’t got much easier.
Furthermore, the new smartwatch is equipped with a heart rate monitor. There is a collection of four LEDs that pulse light below your skin to work out how fast your heart is pumping.
Apple has not manufactured the pricey Gold Edition of the Apple Watch Series 2 like its predecessor. Instead, it has been replaced with the ceramic version, which is still three times the cost of the standard model at $1,299 / £1,299 at the cheapest point.
Apple Watch 2 Display:
The new Apple Watch series 2 has pretty much the same dimensions as the previous model of the smartwatch with only slight modifications. The new Apple Watch 2 is equipped with the same 1.65-inch display as its predecessor. The resolution is also the same 390 x 312 OLED. However, the key upgrade in the display of the new smartwatch is the brightness of the screen. The Apple Watch Series 2 can now generate the display with up to 1000 nits of brightness. This makes the Watch 2 significantly brighter than the original one.
Moreover, because of the OLED display, there is additional power saving since the black backgrounds are turned off when the smartwatch is not in use. This results in improvement of the brightness of other elements on the display and also saves battery life.
The Apple Watch Series 2 now also has been augmented with a “wet mode”. The mode locks the display and disables touch functionality so as to avoid accidental input when you are underwater. Because water can conduct electricity, the screen could sense the water as an input and order an Uber when you’re in the swimming pool. The wet mode ensures that no such thing ever happens. It is also set to turn on automatically when you activate swimming tracking.
Additionally, after you get out of the water the way the Watch 2 unlocks is also pretty cool. What you have to do is rotate the digital crown, and when it’s fully clear of water the speaker emits a pulse of a certain frequency that removes any water left in the speakers.
The display of the Apple Watch Series 2 isn’t the most intriguing thing about the new smartwatch. The resolution is still not as high as some of the best devices in the market but the display is still quite sharp and vibrant. The brightness improvement is also significant and makes the smartwatch viewability better in sunlight.
Apple Watch 2 Performance:
The Apple Watch Series 2 has gotten a big specification upgrade that highly affects the performance of the smartwatch. The Watch 2 is now equipped with an S2 dual-core processor inside. Combined with a half GB of RAM the new smart watch is leaps ahead of its predecessor when it comes to performance. However, the watch still isn’t as speedy as one would like. Switching between apps has gotten faster but, opening the dock with the apps could use a little more speed. That said the upgraded specifications really make a difference and the new operating system is also quite stable.
The new Watch also features the awake on raise. So, the action of raising your arm to fire up the screen. Unfortunately, Apple hasn’t added an always-on display feature to save battery life. The Watch 2 is also equipped with Haptic feedback engine. It is a vibrating system that feels more like taps on your wrist that simple buzzes. To modify the Apple Watch 2 you will need to pick your iPhone and open the immensely complex Watch app. You can modify a lot of setting from here but very little can be done on the watch itself.
The WatchOS 3 is the latest platform that the Apple Watch Series 2 has been equipped with. It is just the right blend of hardware and software and comes with some amazing tricks and features that really make use of the additional hardware of the Watch 2. The Breathe app is also a great addition to an already amazing OS. Every few hours it prompts you to just focus on your breathing, and the haptic feedback will buzz as you need to breathe in, allowing you to exhale easily. After the breathing session is complete the app shows you your heart rate.
However, there are still quite a few annoying limitations. Mainly, you can’t see WhatsApp photos on the smaller screen, Facebook updates are just notifications that you need to look at your phone, and you can’t properly browse tweets.
While the app experience in the new Apple Watch 2 has improved it is still far from being indispensable. You can now order an Uber from you smartwatch but not all the third party apps are native. So you can’t open Google Maps, or message through Slack or order an Uber if your iPhone isn’t around, even when connected to Wi-Fi.
However, aside from all that the app experience is still great thank to Force Touch technology. It offers most of the stock apps some clever functionality when you hard press the display screen. Additionally, the WatchOS 3 also allows you to call an emergency SOS number that can be called right from the power-off screen.
Apart from the Breathe app and the dock the WatchOS 3 is pretty much just a clean-up of the previous operating system, with a few little tweaks to make it feel a bit more intuitive. Introducing Homekit to the Apple Watch will add some serious value to it.
The main major upgrade of the Apple Watch Series 2 is undoubtedly the GPS tracking. The addition of GPS allows runners to track their runs without having to carry their smartphones wielded on their arms. Not only does the new smartwatch have GPS but it also hooks up to Glonass, the Russian variant of the global positioning satellite system. This allows more precise tracking of your location.
When it comes to heart rate monitoring not much has improved in the new Apple Watch Series 2. In the new smartwatch, the same technology has been used as the original one has been used. It is not very accurate, especially when running so if accurate heart monitoring is what you are looking for than the Apple Watch 2 might not be the one for you. But still comparing to other smartwatches, Apple Watch has the most powerful heart rate mechanism.
When it comes to distance accuracy and battery life the Apple Watch 2 is well off in that department. The GPS accuracy is amazing and the battery life is stronger than expected. As a running watch, the Watch 2 has a lot to offer. It might still not be perfect but it is on the right track.
While the Apple Watch Series 2 has gotten a lot better at tracking steps. Now it can also track other tasks and fitness activities as well. The new smartwatch is capable of tracking a wide range of activities from cycling to elliptical machines to ‘other’ workouts, which gives you the equivalent calorie burn to a brisk walk. The fitness-modes are limited but they are there. All these new changes make Apple Watch Series 2 among the best activity trackers.
Swimming tracking is the major addition to the Apple Watch fitness tracking. Now that the Watch 2 is swim-proof you can easily dive into the pool and track your swims. The tracking is only limited to telling you how far you swam and for how long but it is still quite useful. Apple has also coded the accelerometer and gyroscope to be able to tell when you’re changing lengths. After entering the length of your pool at the beginning of you swim the Watch 2 can easily track your workout.
Unfortunately, there aren’t a lot of fitness dedicated apps in the Watch 2 adding in tailored programs designed to get you fitter or faster by varying the styles of workout you can do. There is already a variety of fitness tracking functionality in the new Watch so it would be beneficial if Apple had added a few apps that could analyze that data better. The Apple Watch Series 2 also features the ability to compete against your friends. While it is nothing new it is going to be a really exciting feature in the future if enough people sign up.
Smartwatches these days are mostly considered a novelty than an essential accessory. However, the new Apple Watch Series 2 might just change that. The waterproofing and GPS tracking makes it one of the best fitness trackers around. While it does not do anything exemplary it is still pretty amazing. Compared to its predecessor the Apple Watch 2 Series is a great upgrade. Unfortunately, it is only limited to Apple users.
Apple has also significantly improved the speed of the Watch 2 as well. It is a little pricey but if you can afford it then it is worth it. The Apple Watch Series 2 is ideal for the average Joe. Serious athletes or fitness fans might find it lacking in some aspects compared to a few other dedicated fitness options. But, as an all-rounder smartwatch, this is the best there is.
However, it is still not as good as it should be. It still lacks quite a few things. Mainly a better battery life, an always-on display, and a better design. But, it is still a significant step forward and by the looks of it, Apple is heading in the right direction.
While the smartwatch might not be something that you need it is still quite useful in several different aspects of your daily life. The best thing about the Apple Watch 2 is that it is an all in one device. You can track your fitness, operate your iPhone camera remotely, browse through your music, or just simply check the time. The Apple Series 2 has gotten a lot better and hopefully in time smartwatches will become an essential accessory.