The Apple Watch is here and it’s packed with powerful features and hardware. While it’s not a million miles ahead of the Apple Watch 5, it includes the new Blood Oxygen monitoring and a brighter always-on display.
We break it down in this video with an unboxing of the new Apple Watch 6 and we walk through the features of WatchOS 7.
Overall, it’s a titan that performs tasks with ease. The attention to detail in the unit, both the software and hardware is incredibly well thought through.
Apple Watch 6 Review by Video
I’ve spent the last two years with a Google Wear OS watch with cellular. I realised quite quickly that any apps worth having were already on the watch.
Sure, I tried to install other apps like Spotify and Maps but it slowed the watch down so much I resigned myself to the fact that there wasn’t a Wear OS watch on the market (at the time) that had the processing speed to make the watch function as it should
It was impossible to use Google Assistant so the best I could get was a watch with excellent health and fitness tracking abilities and phone-free running. For this I was grateful.
The Bluetooth worked well and paired with my earphones so I was set…but…I always knew there was so much more to life. The LTE phone calls worked but it was a bit hopeless as I couldn’t share the number with my phone on the provider I had.
Why didn’t I choose the Apple Watch earlier? Price and looks. I don’t love the small square watch and the price just felt too high for something that didn’t seem quite there.
With WatchOS 7 and the Apple Watch 7 processor, it’s there. It’s more than there.
It’s fast, it’s stable, its feature rich. The Siri voice assistant works and that’s only scratching the surface of all the cool things it does well.
I know Wear OS will get there and I LOVE the look of a lot of the Huawei, Garmin, Samgung, TicWatch watches etc. But for now, the Apple Watch does everything I need and more.
Here is what I get with the Apple Watch 6 and WatchOS 7
I’ll let you read the full sales page on the Apple site for all the features that are not listed here. Things like kid friendly and family integrations and connections which are very cool.
For this thing to really be worth owning to me personally, it had to tick these boxes:
- A Smart Assistant that had no latency and delays. Siri operates flawlessly on this unit and you don’t even need to say ‘Hey, Siri’. You just need to lift your wrist up and give commands.
- Fitness tracking that was intelligent e.g. if I forgot to start a run it would notice I was running and ask if I wanted to start the Run tracking
- Heart Rate monitor (ECG/EKG and Blood OX monitoring a bonus, but not really needed for me)
- Phone free phone call. The phone needed to handle phones calls with solid Bluetooth headset compatibility and also share the same phone number as my regular iPhone
- Messaging, that isn’t painful to work with. WatchOS 7 gives me really great options – I can dictate a response, write a scribble, an emoji/bitmoji and choose from pre-defined list of answers. And it’s all perfect for my finger to manage without hitting the wrong options
- Weather. It’s not that interesting but it is important to me.
- Music. I need to be able to stream music and download it so I can go offline and still have something to listen too. The Apple Watch 6 has an excellent interface (I have the 44mm (red) Edition)
- Maps. Real maps, not just suggestions. A map I can look at, zoom in on, get directions with and more. The maps on the Apple Watch 6 are awesome and if you don’t like Apple Maps you can install Google Maps.
Sleep tracking is nice but not really necessary. If I sleep well, I sleep well and if I don’t, I know it. I’m not sure seeing when I was awake in the night or how much sleep I had is helpful.
Regardless of this the Apple Watch has great sleep tracking and it’s such a nice, light and comfortable watch to wear when you sleep it’s really easy to leave it on.
Apple Watch 6 Hardware
This watch is slim, light and powerful. It feels delicate but it’s also clearly a very tough little unit.
The watch strap I bought was the Sports Band, which is good and also light and comfortable. If the watch didn’t need charging I’m not sure I’d bother taking it off.
The screen has an always on display and the amount of watch faces you can choose is huge, and, you can even make your own if you want.
The processor can handle everything I have thrown at it and hasn’t felt slow at any point in time.
The speaker quality on the watch sounds amazing, especially for phone calls, and the microphone in response to calls also sounds amazing. Very impressed with this.
This is the watch a trillion dollar company makes. They take their time, they apply huge resources to it and they buy the best of the best for their design and manufacturing teams.
It clearly shows in the attention to detail.
In the future I’d love to see less of a black bevel and I predict the Apple Watch 7 will have squarer, sharper edges to contrast the current build and design.
One of my favorite features? How you use the scroll wheel to adjust volume! One of the biggest frustrations I had with other watches is that you needed to change the volume with software.
This way I have fast and full control of volumes.
- 44-mm or 40-mm case size
- Always-On Retina display
- GPS + Cellular – A-GPS, GLONASS, GALILEO, QZSS
- Blood Oxygen
- 5 ATM – 50 meters water resistant
- 32GB 1GB RAM
- Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, dual-band
- Colors – Silver, Gold, Space Gray, Blue, Red
- 5.0, A2DP, LE
- Apple S6 Chip
It’s 8:25pm. I took the watch off charge at about 8:30am with about 98% charge on it. I used it a bit today and also used it for a fitness walk at lunchtime.
It still has 51% battery left.
So far, that has been enough for me to also sleep with it on for sleep tracking at night and have some spare in the mornings. I charge it when I wake up and remove it when I leave for work.
So, it’s as good as I need.
Do I long for a 7 day Apple Watch battery? Sure. I’d love it. But I can compromise battery to have access to all the features and functions the watch 6 gives me.
Like the Wear OS range, the best apps for the Apple Watch 6 are already included in WatchOS 7.
In saying that the Spotify integration is superb and lets me do everything I do on the iPhone app but on the watch.
The integrations with many other apps is well executed and far superior to that which I have experience on Wear OS but I have little need.
As you can see from my list above, I have a specific list of uses for this watch and they are all covered.
This weekend I’ll try the Slopes app compared to the downhill skiing app on the Apple fitness app. Just to see how they compare.
The Apple Watch is everything I’ve been waiting for. The ECG/EKG and Blood Oxygen monitoring combined with fall detection and similar features are great but very much on the periphery for me.
I’m not sure I’ll be checking my heart very often and my blood ox levels seem pretty consistent. 97%+ and 100% after I use the breathe app on the watch when it reminds me I need to take a minute to do some mindful breathing.
It’s the little things like reminding when I get home to wash my hands or just the simplicity of raising my arm to give Siri commands.
Having a functioning smart assistant on my wrist actually takes some getting used to. It’s easy to forget she (Siri) is there to do a lot of things I normally would pick my phone up for. Over time I will get better at remembering with a lift of my arm I can ask her to do all manner of things.
The processor is fast enough, the apps are intelligently and intuitively designed and the hardware is damn near perfect.
For these reasons I sadly leave my old Huawei Watch 2 with Wear OS and migrate to the Apple Watch.
While I love the Wear OS watch designs it might take a little longer before they catch up to Garmin, Samsung and certainly Apple.
I’ve never given a 10/10 for a product so I won’t start now, but this is bloody close.