Apple Watch Series 2 Review: Faster And Better.
, by Sona, 7 min reading time
The Apple Watch Series 2, the new smartwatch from Apple, is faster and has a much better operating system. It also packs a built-in GPS and has a brighter display. No changes were made to its battery life. The in-built GPS consumes a lot of battery.The always-on display is absent. Series 2 is a bit thicker as well as heavier. It cannot work independently and depends on the iPhone to work. Except for the addition of swim features and GPS which are helpful for sports, Series 2 is similar to Series 1. If you are not a sports enthusiast, you may not miss much if you dont buy this model.
The second-generation Apple Watch was launched a year and a half after the original Apple Watch. There are a few changes. The new one is faster, supports outdoor activities and the display is brighter. Some factors like design and battery life remain the same.The new software update to watchOS 3 is a great asset to Series 2. This update is available for the previous generations too without any additional cost. Series 2 comes in aluminium, stainless steel and ceramic materials. The partnership with Hermes and Nike brings unique straps and custom watch faces. But if you want a light fitness tracker, you better go for the basic aluminium model.
Most of the smartwatches are including more fitness tracking. Especially, waterproofing is gradually turning into a must-have feature for smartwatches. Series 2 has water resistance up to 50 meters. It can be taken for a swim in both freshwater and saltwater. Series 2 can track swimming activity and calculate calories burned. The data can be found in the Workout app.
The in-built GPS is a great advantage for more accurate activity tracking. The runs are tracked automatically by GPS on an Apple Watch. When the iPhone is not close by, it will start tracking your position and path of the run. GPS is pretty fast in acquiring the position. It will store the map of the run and you can later learn where you went and the distance you ran. This feature will free you from carrying the phone during your runs.The GPS function is seen in the Workout app and the data that is stored as a map can be accessed from the Activity app on iPhone. Colour codes on the map show the pace of your movement. In other apps like Night-Sky(app to locate constellation) or Viewranger(app to track hiking), GPS is not supported. Even though GPS on the Series 2 Apple Watch is highly useful for the runners, it drains the battery life quite fast. It is as low as five hours or less when you play music as well.Apples advice to save battery life is to keep the heart rate monitor deactivated when you have to use GPS for a longer time. But this is a downer since a few fitness trackers like the Fitbit Surge keeps the battery alive for a longer time with the GPS and heart rate monitor working.
From a 450-nit display, Apple has upped to 1,000-nit display on Series 2. So the screen is pretty bright and even when the sun is very intense, the screen is perfectly viewable. The always-on display, which is available on many Android Wear watches and Samsung Gear S2 and S3, is missing in Series 2. However, just with a tap on the screen or by raising the wrist, the display easily lights up.
Better performing WatchOS 3
WatchOS 3 is the new operating system from Apple. All the new watches come with this operating system preinstalled and can even be added to the older generation watches. This operating system has made the smartwatch smarter and a good companion for the wrist. It brings with it the ability to access apps quickly and there is no need for navigating through the complicated app-grid anymore to find an app.This is similar to the feature called Glances on Apple Watch, which is no longer available. Since the apps keep running in the background, the recently-used apps get loaded faster. However, some apps take time to load. But the app updates may improve the situation.
The most anticipated features of WatchOS 3 are HomeKit-connected Home app, expanded scribble-to-write and sticker responses in Messages and the handy dock for app shortcuts.The apps pinned to the dock are preloaded in the background, making the experience more fluid and reducing the startup time for frequently used apps. The upgrade will also feature a Reminders App, and a few new Watch Faces, which includes two most awaited fitness-based ones. Multiple data points like pace, heart-rate, time etc. are summarized in one screen during workout now - that means we need not keep swiping to see the data, minimizing the need to interact with the device.The Breathe is Apples new app that encourages you to breathe in a pleasant rhythm. It is similar to the Relax feature on Fitbit Charge 2. There are breathe reminders that will notify you to practice breathing every day.
A faster processor, too
The Apple Watch packs S2 processor which is Apples new custom watch chip. The loading speed of various apps and features are moderately snappier. Even though Apple has promised better graphics in its apps, the text-based apps with minimum graphics are simpler to use. Some improvements are expected in this in future.
Battery life gets a tiny bit better
Series 2 has a better battery life than its previous model. The battery on Series 2 runs GPS and fitness features. The larger battery survived a bit more than Apples conservative claim of 18 hours.
A decent fitness tracker
The wrist-based smart wearables are mostly sought after for fitness tracking. Even though not perfect, Series 2 comes with good fitness features. To save battery, the sleep tracker is not included. But there are a few third-party apps which can track your sleep. The Apple Watch Series 2 does not have an instant, at-a-glance function of heart rate tracker as seen on the Fitbit Charge 2.In workout mode of the Apple Watch, the heart rate monitor is always on. The fast access to the feature can be done once you start a workout. Even though not as large and active like the Fitbit fitness community, the Apple Watch with its watchOS 3 has a handful of communities for fitness functions. It is easy to engage in fitness challenges through this community. It is highly likely that the Apple Watch will also eventually have a stronger community through its dedicated fitness apps.The in-built heart rate monitor and accelerometer are proofs for this. The three rings that display the level of everyday fitness and activity is highly motivating. A few more weight management, nutrition and motivation tools included in the Activity app will be of great use.
Siri, a good listener
The Siri connection that is ever-ready to talk is pretty good. All you need to say is Hey, Siri to wake up Siri. Siri takes care of emergency situations by contacting people and setting alarms. It also gets music going with the help of the connected phone through voice command. The Siri on the Apple Watch allows quick hands-free voice commands. It would be nicer if it could speak back though.
Apple Watch PricingThe Apple Watch Series 1 is priced at 19,500 INR for the 38mm Sport version and 22,000 INR for the 42mm Sport version. The 38mm aluminium version costs 27,000 INR, 38mm steel costs 40,000 INR, 42mm aluminium costs 29,000 INR and 42mm steel costs 44,000 INR. The ceramic version which is quite expensive at 91,500 INR for a 38mm case and 95,000 INR for a 42mm case. The most expensive is the Hermes versions at 95,000 INR for the 38mm one and 1,02,500 INR for the 42mm one.The original Apple Watch is available even now. It has similar basic hardware and is as fast as Series 2. The newest features like an on board GPS, brighter display and waterproofing are missing in the original Apple Watch. The bonus is that it costs less and is frequently on sale.For those who are ready to compromise on the above-said features, this will be a better pick for a lesser price. Instead of buying a Series 2, you can in fact update the old Apple Watch and get a new band. Also, you need an iPhone to operate Series 2.
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