New Video: Apple Watch Series 5: The Esquire Review
The Apple Watch 4 was already one of the best smartwatches on the planet, and the fifth version is an update on that. You get a compass, more cellular band options to call emergency services and – the big thing here – an always-on display.
Yes, the screen now never switches off. Instead, it dims to ambient, always-on display when you have not raised it up and looked straight at it. That by far is the hero feature of this new device, and goes a long way to solving one of the biggest gripes about smartwatches in general.
Personally, that always-on screen is super useful. And you’ll quickly get used to glancing at the watch face, instead of having to jerk your wrist, to tell the time. And even though it’s dim, it’s more than bright enough to be seen in both dark and light rooms.
The watch design is pretty much exactly the same as last year’s model, which isn’t surprising. Last year’s Apple Watch 4 showcased a new design, so we don’t expect another one for a few years. But there’s nothing wrong with that. There are new ceramic and titanium options in the new 40 and 44 millimeters watch sizes.
While the new watch hasn’t garnered any new fitness capabilities, the Watch 5 still makes a pretty ace fitness tracker. The heart rate monitor is accurate, and ECG feature gives you even better heart health monitoring, and the built-in GPS is very accurate. It also works underwater, and will track interval training, cycling and even yoga.
You get more space in the watch this time around at 32 gigs (last year’s was just 16) which means you can load up more Apple Music or Podcast programs so you can leave your phone at home.
Apple also updated the operating system. WatchOS 6 adds some nifty features including a noise meter and cycle tracking for women. And this time around you can also access the app store straight from the watch, although you might find the screen a tad small for proper browsing.
The Watch 5 may be an evolution over a revolution, but that’s no bad thing. And while we’d still have liked a slightly tweaked design, the fifth version of Apple’s smartwatch is by far its most competent. Throw in that always on screen, and we can safely say that this is still the best smartwatch currently available.