The Apple Watch Series 4 does all of the things Series 3 does — faster and better — but it’s the smartwatch’s quiet role as a medical device that helps safeguard your health with features like fall detection and an ECG sensor that makes it a compelling device you want to own.
Is having your fitness tracking, notifications, music, and phone and messaging today, plus the small promise of a better-monitored and healthier future worth paying at least $399 for the 40mm (GPS) and $499 for the 44mm (GPS + Cellular) Apple Watch Series 4?
Series 4 is Apple taking the kid gloves off and saying, “We’re serious about helping you live a healthier life” at a time when we’re all busier than ever before, paying more attention to what’s happening through our glass phones and tablets and computers, it’s good to have the Apple Watch, which is almost like your mom or dad reminding you to take care of yourself.
My review unit didn’t come with the feature loaded, but I did get to see a real demo of the ECG reader on a Series 4 Apple Watch at a press briefing a week after Apple’s fall event, and it looked promising.
Above all else Apple has emphasized fitness and wellness, and with the new Apple Watch Series 4, the company is going even further, positioning it, at least partially, as a medical device that watches your health so you can live a healthier (and hopefully happier) life.
Apple Watch Series 1, 2, and 3 users will get the low heart-rate notifications if they update to watchOS 5, and the irregular rhythm notifications will come later this year for U. S. users also running watchOS 5.
With larger screens and even more advanced health and fitness tracking, the Apple Watch Series 4 is still the smartwatch to beat.
After a week of wearing the Apple Watch Series 4, I now understand why Apple’s smartwatch stole the show from the iPhone XS, XS Max, and XR.
Fantastic and full-featured as the Apple Watch Series 4’s health and fitness capabilities are, it lacks one thing: sleep tracking.
But before we get into all of the reasons why the Apple Watch Series 4 is such a great smartwatch — the best there is at the time of this writing — I need to address the elephant in the room: pricing.
Together with the larger screen, which makes watchOS 5 more enjoyable to tap and swipe at, the software really glides on the Series 4 Apple Watch.
I never fancied the aluminum models (the one and only Apple Watch I bought was the original “Series 0” in stainless steel), but the space gray Series 4 paired with the indigo sport loop band is a fire combo.
Thanks to bigger screens and more advanced sensors for things like fall detection and ECG readouts, the Apple Watch finally has a real purpose in your life as opposed to being a mere accessory to your iPhone.
As I shared on Twitter, the Apple Watch still had an impressive 52 percent battery life after 22 hours of receiving hundreds notifications for emails, Instagram DMs, and other apps during a complete workday.
I’m usually itching to take off my smartwatch as soon as I get home (even if it doesn’t need to be charged up), but I found myself leaving the Apple Watch Series 4 on until right before bedtime or not even removing it at all.
However, with Series 4 and the dual-core S4 chip, the Apple Watch finally feels like it’s almost instantaneous.
WatchOS 5 is compatible with all Apple Watches from Series 1 to Series 4 (the original Series 0 Apple Watch isn’t supported).
That said, the fact the Apple Watch Series 4 supports Bluetooth 5. 0 is probably a good sign that the next version of the wireless earbuds will probably support it as well.
Whereas it usually takes about 10-15 minutes for Fitbit’s with SmartTrack to auto-detect workouts, the Apple Watch Series 4 only takes a couple of minutes.
Right off the bat, it’s obvious the Apple Watch Series 4 has changed.
By far the one Apple Watch Series 4 feature that has everyone excited the most is its ability to take an electrocardiogram (ECG or EKG).
Apple told me it field-tested fall detection on over 1,000 users and determined one minute was a good amount of time before having the Apple Watch contact for help.
Just like I predicted after my first hands-on with the new Apple Watch, I found myself spending an extra couple of seconds interacting with notifications — I actually used quick replies because they weren’t slow or janky to scroll through — and wanting to open apps because I knew I wouldn’t have to suffer wait times.
Apple CEO Tim Cook announced the smartwatch as "the next chapter in Apple’s story" at the tail end of its iPhone 6 event in 2014, and at first it seemed like the Apple Watch would be a tiny iPhone for your wrist.
Killed off is the Apple Watch Edition, which sported a ceramic case on Series 3.
The Series 4 Apple Watch is water-resistant up to 180 feet.
The Apple Watch Series 4 isn’t cheap.
After inviting friends who have an Apple Watch that’s running watchOS 5, you can press and hold a big yellow button to send a voice message (about 25 seconds — yes, I timed it) and they’ll receive it on their smartwatch as an incoming transmission.
Nevertheless, the Apple Watch Series 4 is just gorgeous.
It’s almost as if the Apple Watch is insurance — if something unfortunate were to happen to you in the future, you’ll be glad you have it to call an emergency service or nudge you to go to the doctor because of an irregular heartbeat.
Whether that’s being less sedentary and standing up every hour, taking a few minutes to breathe and de-stress, closing your activity rings, or keeping tabs on your heart rate, the Apple Watch has a tool for it.
I was a tad too excited after getting the Apple Watch that I forgot to charge it up to 100 percent and note the battery life.
If the Apple Watch thinks you’ve fallen and need help after a minute of no response, it’ll call an emergency service and then contact your own emergency contact with a text message that includes your location.
That’s significantly more surface area and more pixels on the OLED screen (394 x 324 on the 40mm and 448 x 368 on the 44mm) to display content, despite being in watch cases that are roughly the same dimensions as the old Apple Watches.
It’s all the more sad when the Apple Watch (at least the aluminum model I tested) is so comfy to wear to during sleep (something I can’t say the same for the Galaxy Watch or many Fitbits).
All older Apple Watches that support watchOS 5 get the new Breathe, Fire and Water, Liquid Metal, and Vapor watch faces.
The Apple Watch has an optical heart-rate sensor (underside) and electric heart-rate sensor (in the Digital Crown) for advanced health monitoring.
Apple added the ability to stream Apple Music directly to the Apple Watch earlier this year and while that’s really easy to do, I wish they’d let other music services do the same.
By just placing your finger on the new Digital Crown for 30 seconds, the Apple Watch can get a readout of your heart’s electrical signals and then compile that info into a graphed waveform PDF document you can then share with your doctor.
A balance is obviously important to manage battery life on the Apple Watch.
With these powerful measurements, all crunched by the S4 chip in real time, the Apple Watch elevates itself beyond just a notification and fitness-tracking wearable.
On the Apple Watch, that mostly comes down to how much you use it for working out, streaming music, and receiving notifications.
The original Apple Watch had a SiP (system-in-package) chip, but since then Apple’s sped up its wearable tech considerably.
By the time I passed the 42-hour mark since removing the 100-percent-full Apple Watch from its charger, it still had 20 percent juice left.
With each new Apple Watch model, Apple started to key in on what differentiates the smartwatch from an iPhone.
Series 3 and older Apple Watches can only detect up to 16 g’s, which makes them not accurate enough for fall detection, Apple told me.
The Apple Watch has always come with a built-in heart-rate sensor, and the company’s marketing over the years has leaned more and more into fitness.
As a result, these watch faces are more visually stunning to look at. (Fun fact: Apple actually shot real fire, water, and vapor; they’re not CGI.
This is exactly what the original Apple Watch should have been and no doubt what Jony Ive and the rest of the design team at Apple wanted to achieve but couldn’t because of technology limitations.
In hindsight, it’s clear Apple at first didn’t know what it wanted the Apple Watch to be.
Apple’s also improved virtually every part on the Apple Watch.
The original Apple Watch did all of these things and more, but none of them really well — certainly not to the point where you couldn’t just shrug and live without it.
Like a baby learning how to walk and talk, the Apple Watch can finally stand on its own two feet and proudly say "Look world, I’ve arrived!
I didn’t even feel the Apple Watch on my wrist during the night.
Apple Watch Series 4 review: Sidekick no more https://t.co/ZxoURleXSM— Mashable (@mashable) September 3, 2020