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Review: Apple Watch Series 6

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Apple Watch Series 6: is it worth your purchase?

Punctuation: *****

The Apple Watch Series 6 has not revolutionized the market, but it is a fantastic smartwatch for the simple fact that Apple Watches in general are excellent and this is the latest model and the best of the range. It has all the improvements of the previous five generations and puts them in somewhat better packaging.

Retail price (RRP)

  • From $ 379

Apple Watch Series 6 Review

Apple does not excite us with the names of its  smartwatches , but it is the devices themselves that make them so attractive and popular. The last one, called “surprisingly” Apple Watch Series 6, was presented on September 15 at the Time Flies event and, also “surprisingly”, includes small and welcome improvements in a formula of success.

If you already have the Series 5 , surely you will not think it necessary to spend your money, but Apple watches are designed to last a long time. Thus, in our review of the Apple Watch Series 6, we will do our best to evaluate the device on its own merits and not only when comparing it with its predecessor (although a little yes).

We have tested the Series 6 for a week, testing its speed, ease of use, performance and battery performance to offer good advice. Our goal is to offer information that allows you to make a good purchase decision, whether you are one of those who have one from the Series 0 or you are a newcomer who barely knows how to differentiate the side button of the Digital Crown.

For more information, don’t miss our Apple Watch buying guide , which takes into account all currently available models.

Price and availability

The Apple Watch Series 6 can now be purchased, after it was announced on September 15 and will officially go on sale on September 18.

The Series 6 has a starting price of € 429 / MXN $ 10,999 for GPS-only models:

 
  • 40 mm: € 429 / MXN $ 10,999
  • 44 mm: € 459 / MXN $ 11,799

If you want to add mobile data, we have an initial price of € 529 / MXN $ 13,799:

  • 40 mm: € 529 / MXN $ 13,799
  • 44 mm: € 559 ​​/ MXN $ 14,599

Keep in mind that these prices are for the aluminum version, which is the one we would recommend as it is the one with the best value for money and also with the simplest straps. But if you have a flexible budget, you can go for the more expensive steel version, which has a selection of more elegant and daring straps .

You can buy the Series 6 directly from Apple , but you may find it cheaper at some other store. We recommend that you consult our article on best deals on Apple Watch for more information.

Apple Watch Series 6

Design and build quality

Over the last five years, Apple has basically released two different designs: the original, which lasted until the Series 3, and another with a somewhat larger screen that has been used in the Series 4, 5 and 6. And to be Honestly, beyond narrower bezels and more curved angles, there isn’t much difference between one and the other.

Thus, there are not too many surprises in terms of physical design. The Series 6 is an Apple Watch, and that tells you everything you should know when it comes to aesthetics. But that’s not necessarily a negative thing, especially if this is your first Apple smartwatch .

It is a slim square (or rather a cross between a circle and a square, supposedly Steve Jobs’s preferred shape), which fits perfectly on your wrist. The lower sensors stick out more than you might expect, but they dip well into the skin on your arm and don’t make the watch stand out.

Apple Watch Series 6

It is important that a watch is slim and elegant, especially one that you will use to track your sleep. It is important that the owner does not notice that he is wearing it. I have never noticed the Series 6, unlike the Fitbit (lighter but bulkier) that I sometimes wear at night. In fact, I woke up one morning with my cheek resting quietly on its soft screen. (I must clarify that this is not what woke me up. I have children.)

Having a square screen may seem like an illogical decision for a watch, especially if you want to use an analog face, but it is much more practical for other functions. Experts consider round smartwatches worse for displaying text, for example.

Apple Watch Series 6

Across Apple’s product range, designers like to find contrasts between matte surfaces and glossy surfaces, and the Series 6 is no exception: the display’s glossy bezel contrasts with the matte metal of the rest of the watch body. It’s a sleek, minimalist design that doesn’t grab all the attention.

Obviously, if you want people to look at you, you should go for the blue finish, new this year, a dark navy blue that looks fantastic and more importantly for those who are always in the latest fashion, it should go well with any color. of clothes.

The Series 6 can also be used when swimming. It is cataloged with a water resistance of 50 meters deep.

Apple Watch Series 6

Battery life

Battery life is more important than ever with the inclusion of sleep tracking features in watchOS 7, making it difficult to charge the watch at night, as many tend to do.

Apple claims it has a battery life of 18 hours, but in my experience it is much more impressive. With notifications and usual features turned on, it lasted one day, all night (the one used to track sleep), and then another day of normal use. Sold out after 36 hours of uninterrupted use.

In theory, it is considerably less than with the old Series 2, which managed to last up to 54 hours in our tests when new, but this device did not work at night. And Series 2 was the heyday of the entire series. Later models have had to give up battery life to incorporate larger or always-on screens, mobile data, and so on.

The Series 3 managed to last 39 hours when it was new, and the Series 4 lasted 31, but, again, neither of them was used at night. My partner Michael Simon got the Series 5 to last for 36 hours, but that was only because he disabled all on-screen functions. Otherwise, it only lasted 24 hours.

As for battery performance, the truth is that it has improved compared to the trend of recent years, although it remains, of course, behind other simpler fitness monitors that last several days. But the inclusion of sleep tracking makes me not entirely optimistic from a personal point of view.

I am not exaggerating to say that this sleep tracking complicates the routine of charging the watch at night, and in a week with the Series 6 I have encountered the energy saving warning more times than in a whole year using my previous model, the Series 4 . But make no mistake: the 6 has better battery life, but that’s because I want to track my sleep and not because of a hardware deficiency .

One last note regarding the battery: precisely because charging it at night is quite out of the question, charging speed is key. I charged my Series 6 unloaded for half an hour and managed to charge it to 50%. One hour of charging is enough to continue using it.

Apple Watch Series 6

Specifications and performance

The processor inside the Series 6 is an Apple-designed chip called the S6. That doesn’t tell you much on its own, although Apple claims it’s up to 20% faster than the S5 in the Series 5.

There are no speed benchmark tests for watchOS with which to scientifically prove this. But I can say that the Series 6 runs smooth and fast in my opinion, although I can say the same about the Series 4 I was using the week before.

The Series 6 comes with an impressive collection of sensors and health features, although most of them were already offered in one of its predecessors. It has fall detection, emergency calls, ECG and a heart sensor, and the ability to alert you when there are loud noises that could damage your hearing.

It also tracks your physical exercise. Throughout the day, it calculates the calories burned, the distance walked and the floors climbed, and reminds you to get up regularly. It can even help you a bit on mental health issues by telling you to take a few minutes to focus on your breathing.

It is a fairly complete offer. Apple’s problem is how to improve it, and the answer is found in the calculation of blood oxygen and the sleep trace.

Blood oxygen

Apple’s marketing strategy has been for the blood oxygen sensor to be considered the great addition of this year (in fact, it is the only novelty in terms of premium features that this product introduces), and a fact that not everyone knows for what works.

“Your blood oxygen level,” says Apple, “is a key indicator of your overall well-being.” Good to know, but what does it mean if the level is low? What am I just wrong, generally speaking? What should I do with this information? Go to the clinic and ask for the pill that will make you feel better?

Investigating a little immediately we see that knowing the oxygen saturation in the blood can often help to diagnose certain chronic conditions such as asthma or coronary heart disease, but these readings are usually more used to know if a treatment for these diseases is working or not. In any case, Apple has not done a good job of explaining to the average user how this measure is going to work in monitoring or improving their health.

Apple Watch Series 6

The new Blood Oxygen app is as easy to use as you would expect, and it simply shows you the last measurement and a button with which you can take one manually. Tap on it and wait 15 seconds.

You should follow on-screen instructions such as “Place your wrist on the table” if the device has problems when taking the measurement, as well as contemplate the sinister red and blue graphics with which it will seem that you are seeing your own veins. Then your blood oxygen level will be shown to you as a percentage.

Apple Watch Series 6

I was not very satisfied with the results. Sometimes the app didn’t show me any measurements, and other times it was a bit inconsistent. On one occasion, it showed me a 98% level, and then a 96% level a minute later.

You might think it’s only a small difference, but “normal” results are between 95% and 100%, which makes these two points of difference more significant. At other times, however, it was perfectly consistent, showing a 96% measurement up to three times in a row.

In fact, some discrepancy is normal even for medical tools in this area (I am told that a two-point margin of error is normal), but it is important to say that Apple’s oximeter is not medical, and is expressly made.

The company classified it as a health device and not a medical tool, because this means that it has not had to go through a lengthy regulatory process by the FDA (the US Food and Drug Administration).

So we have a tool to calculate a rare medical metric that many of us had not heard of before the Series 6, and that has been shown not to work accurately or according to medical standards.

It does not seem to make much sense, although perhaps it is better to see it as an addition that will contribute to the Health app. There is no doubt that, within a year, Apple will publish a video in which it will show the human lives it has saved by making diagnoses on time.

Sleep tracking

The tracking sleep is also new this year, but it is important to note that there is only limited to the Series 6: all compatible with Apple Watch watchos 7 have access to this feature. (It must also be said that only the standard feature is a novelty, as there were external apps before.) But the Series 6, with improved battery and specifications, should be the ideal model.

The first thing to say is that watchOS ‘built-in sleep tracking is far less informative than the Fitbit equivalent, which it used to use (and maybe again, considering performance).

Go to the Health app and you can see a weekly or monthly graph, with a bar for each night. But this bar offers very little information: it shows when the dream started and when it ended, but it does not indicate when it was interrupted during this period.

Apple Watch Series 6

When you use the Fitbit Inspire HR (which can get heart rate data that other Fitbit can’t access), you get a very different picture. It records all the time you were asleep, but divides it into deep, light and REM sleep, as well as the time you were stretched awake.

These categories are illustrated in a more complex graph of your nighttime activity, and you also get percentages, a 30-day average, and comparisons with the results of other people within the same demographic.

To show you the difference, and to show that the app is the problem, and not the sensor, here is how the Health app (left) and the Fitbit app (right) recorded data from the same night:

Apple Watch vs Fitbit

Being used to this level of detail, I am disappointed and surprised to receive so little information from an Apple Watch. It seems like it doesn’t even take into account that a person might be in bed without sleep, and going to my health results it seems like it thinks I’ve been sleeping a lot more than my Fitbit suggests.

(As a rule, I usually get one hour of no sleep each night in total. If I set my bedtime and my morning alarm 8 hours apart, I usually get seven hours of sleep. This gives an idea of ​​how important which is to differentiate between bedtime and sleep, dream.)

This is all especially confusing because we know that the Apple Watch has a heart rate monitor, and the Sleep page shows heart rate measurements throughout the night. But it doesn’t seem to use this information to determine when you were in various stages of sleep or directly when you were not sleeping.

Although it is confusing, the Health app does distinguish between the time you are in bed and the time you are sleeping. Top of the page Sleep, you have a weekly or monthly average of each one, but in my case it says that my average time in bed is 6 hours and 36 minutes, and my average sleeping time is 6 hours and 42 minutes. Unless you detected that you were sleeping out of bed, it doesn’t make sense.

For now, then, I’m going to continue to use my Fitbit at night to track my sleep while charging the Apple Watch. But I know I’m lucky to have two high-end wearables to switch to, and others will find watchOS’s sleep tracking limitations a hindrance.

Keep in mind, though, that sleep tracking is likely to improve in the future, as Siri and Apple Maps have improved after disappointingly entering the market. And when you get a good integration into the Apple ecosystem, it will surely become the best option.

Apple Watch Series 6

Verdict

In this review , I have tried to get away from the typical obsession of journalists to know what is new. But at the end of the day, it must be recognized that there are not many differences with the Series 5.

It’s okay to have a faster processor, and that ensures more future than the previous model. You can’t tell the difference right now though: it’s as fast and smooth as the Series 6 in everyday use, and the same could be said for the two previous watchOS 7 models as well.

And there is no video-editing app in watchOS, and no graphically demanding games that could put the processor on the ropes. In 2020, the Series 6 is more powerful than it would need.

As for the new features, the blood oxygen sensor can come in handy as part of all health features, but Apple hasn’t done a good job of explaining its value and we now know that the sensor itself is approved. medical.

That doesn’t necessarily mean it’s inaccurate (Apple may have wanted to make the feature available for the Series 6 launch), but you should surely have your measurements checked with a professional.

And sleep tracking is the big disappointment. The information it offers is very simplistic compared to a decent quality Fitbit, which makes it not worth using it at night but better to use this time to charge it as you did until now.

This all sounds very negative, but it shouldn’t be. You know, the Apple Watch Series 6 is still a good smartwatch , for the simple reason that Apple Watches in general are excellent and this is the latest model, and the best. It includes the improvements of the five (maybe six) previous generations and puts them in better packaging.

You have the bigger screen of the Series 4, and you can activate it all the time like with the Series 5, and it has a better battery (perhaps the only big improvement of this generation) to handle these two new functions. The oximeter is disappointing, but it joins the small improvements in the sensors and health features.

The fact that there are no significant improvements over the previous model does not mean that we do not consider it a good product, and for most people who do not have an Apple Watch Series 5, it is an excellent smartwatch .

Apple Watch Series 6


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