Thu. Jan 20th, 2022

The Apple Watch Series 6 is a great device, I can’t say it enough, but it’s not a huge upgrade over the Apple Watch Series 5, except for the Blood O2 reader.

Brand: Apple

Product: Apple Watch Series 6

Key specs: Blood oxygen level and ECG monitor, Always-on Retina display, gyroscope, accelerometer, altimeter, GPS, GNSS, compass, 50 meters water resistance, S6 SiP with 64-bit dual-core processor, W3 and U1 chip (Ultra Wideband).

Price: Starting from 40,900

Rating: 4/5

The Apple Watch is hands down the best smartwatch you can buy today, at least for iPhone users. The app support is great, the ecosystem is all hooked up, and Apple keeps adding these features – both on a software and hardware level – making this device worth spending on.

However, if you were to ask yourself why you need a smartwatch in the first place, and your answer is – well, you don’t – then frankly, you don’t need an Apple Watch either.

However, if you think you want one, this is the one to go for. That’s great news for Apple, as most users believe in and often invest in the entire ecosystem. And since things “just work” at Apple, it all makes sense as long as you have the capital.

The Apple Watch Series 6 isn’t a huge upgrade over what the Apple Watch Series 5 had to offer. Sure, this has the Blood Oxygen monitor and another sensor array on the back that can measure O2 levels in the blood. But other than that, the other “upgrades” are so minimal you won’t even see them.

The Solo Loop is the new addition to the Apple Watch band repertoire, but you need to make sure you get the right size.

The Solo Loop is the new addition to the Apple Watch band repertoire, but you need to make sure you get the right size. (Jhinuk Sen/HT Tech)

For example, the OLED Retina Display is 2.5 times brighter on the Apple Watch 6 compared to the Apple Watch 5. This theoretically makes it easier to read the screen better under sunlight.

Next up, the Apple Watch 6 comes with a new processor, the S6 SiP (system-in-package), which is 20% faster than its predecessor. This makes everything on the watch super easy to use – from opening and closing apps to navigating through them, along with all the other actions the wearable allows.

Both improvements make sense on the spec sheet, but make no noticeable difference. The Apple Watch 5 already worked so well that it’s actually hard to understand how to make a special case for the Apple Watch 6. For those using the Apple Watch 3 or 4, the Apple Watch 6 is a recommended upgrade, due to its EKG and Blood Oxygen monitor.

A case needs to be made for the health features of the Apple Watch. We know it saved lives. We spoke to a gentleman whose father’s life was saved thanks to the EKG measurements on his Apple Watch 5, you can read the full story here.

Given the current pandemic, if a wearable can remind us or alert us to a health issue that needs to be monitored, that’s fantastic. A feature like a blood oxygen meter is useful if you take measurements often enough and know what to do with the data.

Blood oxygen readings below 95% are a sign of trouble and an indication that you should see your doctor.

Unlike the EKG and heart rate sensors, the Blood Oxygen monitor on the Apple Watch 6 hit the mark. To track the levels, hold your wrist flat on a surface and give the app 15 seconds. I found that the app told me a few times that it couldn’t measure and that I had to try again. It also requires precise placement of the watch on your wrist and will fail if the position is changed.

There are four new sensors on the back to measure the O2 level in the blood.

There are four new sensors on the back to measure the O2 level in the blood. (Jhinuk Sen/HT Tech)

If you own a pulse oximeter that is used on the finger, the readings between that and the Apple Watch 6 are only fractionally different. However, like the EKG readings on the watch, the oxygen levels in the blood are also not medically certified. You can use these measurements to contact the doctor, but proper medical testing should be done after that. To be fair, Apple has said that the watch is not a medical device.

But since we can’t just stroll into a doctor’s room these days unless absolutely necessary, wouldn’t you be warning about health issues, would you?

There is an inherent problem with health data on smartwatches, including Apple’s. The casual user will never know what to do with the data – be it heart rate during a workout, calories burned versus active calories, EKG readings or the new blood O2 values. Even sleep data.

You need a trainer or a doctor to tell you how and what to read this data and use it to your advantage. Many of us have smart watches, but not many of us have private trainers or doctors/physicians that we can often turn to for help.

Speaking of sleep data, I really wish Apple would give a little more in-depth metrics like light sleep, heavy sleep and REM like Garmin does (even the Mi Watch Revolve for that matter) – but then it’s like you have data and have no idea what to do with it. However, I rarely wear my Apple Watch (or any other smartwatch) to sleep because I find it uncomfortable.

The Apple Watch 6 worked for me on a single charge for almost two consecutive days, but during those two days I didn’t use the Fitness app as I usually do, nor do I use the always-on screen. With that on and a session at the gym, the Apple Watch gave me about a day of battery life — and that’s how it’s supposed to be.

The review unit I received was the Product (RED) 40mm version and I swapped out the normal silicone straps it came with for the Deep Navy Solo Loop. The Solo Loop is the new addition to Apple’s band repertoire this time around and is available in a ton of colors.

The Solo Loop is super useful in many ways, as it allows you to choose your exact wrist size before getting one, which allows the Apple Watch to sit better on your wrist and thus better track vital signs. I’ve found the Solo Loop to be more comfortable than the normal silicone strap simply because it wasn’t too tight.

De Apple Watch is niet goedkoop, de prijzen beginnen dit keer vanaf <span class=₹40,900 for the Series 6. ” class=”lazyload”>

The Apple Watch isn’t cheap, prices start this time from 40,900 for the Series 6. (Jhinuk Sen/HT Tech)

It’s best that you go to a store to check the size before purchasing one, and since this isn’t possible at the moment, Apple has a tape measure that you can print and use – use it. The Solo Loops sale for 3,900 a pop so it’s wise to get your size right. You can also use the Solo Loop on older Apple Watches, it is not exclusive to the 6.

Apple introduced the Family setup alongside the new Apple Watch that allows you to buy an Apple Watch for a child or an older family member, even if they don’t have an iPhone. Those watches can be linked to your iPhone and you can also set restrictions on them. It also makes the whole business cheaper. In this case, however, I see parents/guardians opting for older (and cheaper) Apple Watches or the Apple Watch SE which is cheaper than the Apple Watch 6.

This makes you wonder if Apple is looking at a future where a watch can be used completely without an iPhone, also a future where it’s more about extra minor software upgrades rather than major hardware/design upgrades. According to reports, Apple is looking at features that help with anxiety and even PTSD-related nightmares. For a smartwatch that can already do SO much and so smoothly, this gets even better.

However, the Apple Watch is not cheap, this time prices start from 40,900 for Series 6 and from 29,900 for the Apple Watch SE. Not everyone can afford one, even if it’s arguably the best smartwatch out there. And it will never become very affordable.

So if you’re going to ask me if you should buy the Apple Watch 6 or not, I’d say, sure, if you 41,000 left. If you want the latest watch just because it’s the latest, go for it. It’s a great device, I can’t say it enough, but it’s not a huge upgrade over the Apple Watch 5, except for the Blood O2 reader. Buying a finger-based pulse oximeter is cheaper if that’s all you need.

If it’s a no for you on these two points and you have the Apple Watch 4 or 5, the Apple Watch 6 won’t change your life.

How do you make something good, better?

You really don’t, not even Apple.

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