Apple Watch Series 5 review

The Apple Watch Series 5 is so far ahead of anything that professes to be a peer, there’s only one reason not to buy one: You want multi-day battery life. Otherwise, you’re not going to find a smartwatch with a better screen, more advanced sensors, nicer design, or stronger app support.

I’ve tested smartwatches from just about every manufacturer—Samsung, Fitbit, Fossil, LG, Huawei, Mobvoi, Withings, etc.—and nothing really comes close to the polish and performance Apple has delivered. Apple haters will scoff at that notion, but the truth of the matter is, if Apple offered an iPhone-free version of the Series 5 watch, it would instantly become the best selling Android wearable. Nothing under the Wear OS umbrella even comes close, and even Samsung’s Tizen-based watches pale in comparison to the seamless, frictionless experience the Apple Watch brings. If anything, it’s so good it’s becoming old hat at this point, and its deficiencies are becoming more glaring.

Always On makes all the difference

While the new Apple Watch looks identical to the model it replaces, there is some new tech inside. Apple has added a compass to power the new app, as well as twice as much storage for music and apps:

ECG

Optical heart (2nd gen)

GPS/GNSS

Barometric Altimeter

50M water resistance

Accelerometer

Gyroscope

Compass

Capacity 32GB

While the compass and extra storage is nice (Series 4 is 16GB), the only advancement over the Series 4 watch worth talking about is the always-on display. The Apple Watch’s blank screen when resting has been its biggest shortcoming since its debut in 2015, but—and I can’t believe I’m writing this—it was actually worth the four-year wait.

Depending on the face you choose, the always-on display acts differently, sometimes dimming, sometimes inverting, and sometimes leaving only the vital ambient bits. Like the faces themselves, Apple has carefully considered how each always-on screen looks and functions, giving each ambient face a unique style. And the carefully calibrated OLED display means you can read it in direct sunlight at any brightness level.

Battery life is still an issue

While other smartwatches issue warnings that using the always-on display will negatively impact battery life—for example, the Fitbit Versa 2 will last for three days with the always-on display active versus five days with it off—the Apple promises that the Series 5 watch gets the same 18 to 20 hours of battery life that the previous five generations of watches got with or without the always-on display.

But nowhere is the Apple Watch’s battery life more aggravating than while sleeping. Apple doesn’t offer native sleep tracking on the Apple Watch, a feature I assume is coming with Series 6. Much like the always-on display, Apple isn’t going to deliver half-baked sleep tracking, nor is it going to help third-party developers deliver a good experience.

Have App Store, will travel

If sleep tracking isn’t important, however, the Apple Watch Series 5 is basically the perfect smartwatch. Along with the fall detection and ECG sensor that came with the Series 4 watch, WatchOS 6 introduces several new apps and watch faces that add to the excellent library that’s already in place.

Even small features such as International emergency calling—where your watch will recognize where you are and automatically call local emergency services if you’re traveling—are leaps and bounds ahead of what’s offered on other smartwatches.

Finally getting a calculator is nice, but Apple’s watch apps are at their best when they’re doing things you won’t need as often. Noise and Compass, as well as Series 4’s ECG, all drive home just how advanced the Apple Watch is, not to mention the thousands of apps that are available to download right on your wrist.

Bottom line

There’s no question that the Apple Watch Series 5 is the absolute best smartwatch money can buy. It has an incredible screen, excellent app support, and the strongest set of sensors and features you’ll find anywhere. It’s expensive for sure, but when you consider Tag Heuer sells a $1,700 Wear OS watch without LTE, the price doesn’t seem quite so outlandish.

That might be the best Series 5 feature of all. Apple has made it easier than ever to pick the watch you want by letting you combine any body and band. You’re no longer limited to the pre-selected combinations. When you buy one, you’ll get two boxes, one with the watch body and another with the band. Presumably that’s how all Apple Watches will be sold going forward, and it makes a lot of sense. From day one, Apple has positioned its Watch as the ultimate fashion accessory for iPhone users.

Abigail Smith is an inventive person who has been doing intensive research in particular topics and writing blogs and articles on  Printer Customer Support and many other related topics. He is a very knowledgeable person with lots of experience. If you’re not running A/V protection right now and you want more than what Windows Defender offers, this is a great buy.

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