Apple Watch Series 6 Review
Even sans-iPhone 12, Apple’s September 2020 event was still a highly-anticipated one. In addition to the new iPad Air 4 that brings the iPad Pro’s edge-to-edge bezels to a more affordable pricepoint, there’s also the Apple Watch Series 6 that we’ll be exploring in this review.
The new Apple Watch comes with improved sensors, functions and capabilities – but whether you’re looking to take your first steps aboard the Apple Watch bandwagon or are seeking an upgrade, it’s important to know get acquainted with what’s new:
Blood Oxygen app on Apple Watch Series 6
Headline improvements to the Apple Watch Series 6 include the new Blood Oxygen app that provides pulse oxymetry or SPO2 measurements.
Essentially, it uses green, red and infrared LED sensors to detect the colour of your blood, which in turn indicate the concentration of haemoglobin blood cells circulating oxygen from your lungs to the rest of your body. The more the oxygen, the darker the blood.
Cold temperatures can cause poor blood flow near the surface of the skin, and some tattoos and markings can interfere with the readout.
Blood Oxygen readings require the user to remain absolutely still – Apple recommends a seated position with the wrist face-up and resting on your lap or a table.
Within the app, Apple says most individuals have a reading of between 95-100%, although they stress that it is common for individuals to consistently experience SPO2 levels of under 95%.
Where Apple Watch has ruled the roost as the preeminent smart watch with its litany of comprehensive features, hardcore hikers, trail runners and fitness enthusiasts have often embraced brands like Garmin and Suunto for their focus on navigation.
For most users with active lives confined to gyms, yoga studios and spin classes, the new Always-on Altimeter on the Apple Watch Series 6 wouldn’t make much of a difference. However, should boost the accuracy of fitness tracking for outdoor activities like hikes and runs.
Brighter Always On Display, improved processor
Apple Watch’s Always On Display, which debuted on the Series 5, receives an updated on the Series 6. Though I had no trouble checking the time on the previous model even under bright, direct sunlight, the new model boasts a peak brightness 2.5x over last year’s model, which boosts legibility nonetheless.
An improvement that will likely fly under the radar: users can now swipe between watch faces without having to tap out of Always On Display. That’s a boon for those like who like me, have multiple watch faces for different occasions throughout the day: one for work, weekends, runs, fancy events and after hours.
WatchOS 7: no need to upgrade, Series 5 users
With the exception of the brighter display, always-on Altimeter and Blood Oxygen app, Series 5 owners aren’t missing out much from the new Apple Watch release. Thanks to watchOS 7, you’ll get access to the latest faces and functions.
Of the many faces released with watchOS 7, GMT and Count Up are my absolute favourite.
While the strong health features and capabilities of the Apple Watch users have been sufficient for many non-watch wearers to adopt it, I’ve had to sacrifice the aesthetics and tactile functionality of diver watches and chronographs to don the Apple Watch each day.
Where GMT and Count Up might appeal to Rolex GMT Master and Submariner fans, the Chronograph Pro adds a nifty units counter, or a Tachymeter, to the Chronograph readout – a clear homage to the Daytona. Clearly, Apple’s brough on board a few watch geeks in the past year.
The new Sleep App on iOS 14 is also included on watchOS 7 another reason to keep your Apple Watch affixed to your wrist throughout the day.
Sleep tracking seems to be one of the main thrusts of Apple’s latest hardware and software updates, and you can easily monitor sleep trends on both your watch and phone.
More notably, you can set Bedtime and Wake Up timings including Wind Down for both your phone and devices. This darkens the displays and mutes notifications in the lead up to bedtime so you’ll turn in each evening distraction-free for a more stress-free snooze session.
Apple Watch Series 6 review: verdict
Apple Watch remains the absolute top dog of the smartwatch world, and Series 6 extends the lead a touch, letting it keep its edge over the competition.
Blood Oxygen comes in response to SPO2 sensors on other more health-centric wearables, while an improved Altimeter helps it keep its edge on activity and navigation-centric watches.
WatchOS 7 has made most of its main features accessible on the previous-gen Apple Watch Series 5, making an upgrade unnecessary. That’s a bold move, and perhaps as much of a good thing for the environment as Apple’s decision to exclude power adapters for the Apple Watch Series 6 this year.