The Apple Watch Series 6 was launched alongside an all-new iPad Air, a refreshed 10.2-inch iPad, and another more affordable smartwatch, dubbed the Apple Watch SE. It's the first time Apple has debuted more than one new smartwatch. The announcements came during the tech giant's Time Flies event, which happened to take place on the fifth anniversary of the original launch of the first Apple Watch.
Save for new case finishes that include blue and red aluminum, as well as a graphite stainless steel option, the Apple Watch Series 6 looks just like the Series 4 and the Series 5. Buyers can once again choose between a multitude of variants at various price points with a 40- or a 44-millimeter case.
I spent a week testing the Apple Watch Series 6 and firmly believe it's the best smartwatch money can buy. It has exciting new hardware and fitness tracking features — from a new chip to a blood oxygen sensor — while retaining the same timelessly cool design and impeccable ergonomics. Read on below for our Apple Watch Series 6 review to see why it deserves a spot on your wrist:
Next-Level Health and Activity Tracking
The Apple Watch Series 6 is the first with a blood oxygen sensor
It packs an accurate heart rate sensor with ECG capabilities
It can detect falls and notify emergency services, even if you’re overseas
The Series 6 is the first Apple Watch to pack a blood oxygen sensor. The feature monitors the oxygen saturation in the user’s blood via LED lights that are integrated into the back of the timepiece. Its technology is similar to the one found in commonly used fingertip pulse-oximeters.
The sensor can measure your blood oxygen levels on demand or in the background, including while you sleep. The process takes about 15 seconds and you need to keep your wrist still and on a flat surface. Your blood oxygen data and trends will be available in the Health app.
Blood oxygen levels can decrease because of changes in your body or surroundings (like traveling to a higher altitude, for example). Being able to constantly keep tabs on this takes the wellness-tracking capabilities of the latest Apple Watch to a whole new level.
It is important to note that, according to Apple, the blood-oxygen tracking of the Apple Watch Series 6 is not intended for medical use, but to help users better understand their overall health. Nevertheless, considering the times we live in, I feel much better knowing that my favorite wearable gadget offers access to such vital information.
The Apple Watch Series 6 has an accurate heart rate sensor with ECG capabilities as well. The sensor allows the device to not only track your activities, but also notify you of abnormal changes to your heart rhythm and pulse. This is a potentially life-saving feature and, yet again, one of the main reasons to purchase the product.
Thanks to a built-in GPS, compass, and always-on altimeter, the timepiece can also precisely track your outdoor activities, as well as help you find your way if necessary. The always-on altimeter is impressive, because it can even track elevation changes indoors. The feature, like the compass, has a fun watch face complication, too.
The Apple Watch Series 6 can also detect falls and automatically alert emergency services. Cellular models have support for international emergency calling for added peace of mind while traveling abroad, too.
Welcome Hardware Updates
The S6 chip makes the Apple Watch Series 6 speedier than older models
The Series 6 is the fastest charging Apple Watch to date
The always-on display feature is even more versatile
Based on the industry-crushing A13 Bionic of iPhone 11 and iPhone 11 Pro, the S6 chip of the latest Apple Watch brings significant performance gains over the previous generation. I switched to the Series 6 from a Series 5 and discovered that it’s noticeably snappier overall. Everything happened faster — from startup, through accessing the app grid and the multitasking interface, all the way to switching between open apps.
The new chip brings welcome battery performance improvements, as well as much faster charging capabilities. I really enjoyed being able to get the device’s battery up to 80% after about an hour. Fully charging the battery is 40% faster compared to Apple Watch Series 5.
A major highlight of the Apple Watch Series 5, the always-on display has been taken to a whole new level in its successor. In the Series 6, the feature can raise the display’s brightness up to 500 nits. This allows users to effortlessly glance at time and watch complications without raising their wrist even under bright sun.
The latest Apple Watch platform has fresh new features and clock faces
The hand washing timer is an amazing tool for the new reality we live in
Family Setup makes the Apple Watch accessible to users without an iPhone
The latest watchOS iteration is hands-down the best wearable platform available. It has a sleek and intuitive interface, an amazing selection of apps you can install directly from your smartwatch (there’s even a coloring book!), and cool new watch faces and compilations.
I particularly enjoyed the watchOS 7 hand-washing timer. By using the built-in Apple Watch sensors, it automatically begins a 20-second countdown when you begin washing your hands. There’s even an option to set the Apple Watch to remind you to wash your hands when you get home.
Family Setup is another noteworthy watchOS 7 feature, giving users the opportunity to set up an Apple Watch for a family member without an iPhone. It is ideal for kids and older adults.
The invisible hardware upgrades make the Series 6 the best Apple Watch to date. The enhanced health-tracking features and the power bump should prompt even Series 5 owners to consider making the switch.
Pricing of the 40-millimeter Apple Watch series 6 starts at $399 and $749 for an aluminum or a stainless steel case, respectively. The Edition model with a titanium case, on the other hand, starts at $849, and the luxe Apple Watch Hermès with gorgeous leather bands from the fashion powerhouse begins at $1,399. Once again, you can create a unique case-and-band combo in the Apple Watch Studio.
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