Hey all, figured I'd write down a review on the Series 5 Apple Watch from the perspective of coming from a 4. This is also coming from someone that has every version of the watch so far.
Series 0 Was the original. It was slow, a bit buggy, and was not a great experience, more of an introduction to a new product.
Series 2 released, then they discontinued series 0 and released replaced it better version upgrading the processor in it called series 1 at a lower price than series 2. Series 2 added GPS and a better processor. They made the watch faster and more responsive.
Series 3 Added Cellular and an even faster processor. This allowed you to take the watch out without the iPhone and be able to make and receive calls, receive notifications,and listen to Apple Music independent of having the iPhone on you. Of course Cellular had to be activated. The faster processor made this watch so much more useful. There was little to no lag opening apps. Case size was slightly thicker.
Series 4 was the first redesign. They went from 38mm and 42mm displays to 40mm and 44mm giving us edge to edge display. Physical size difference of the previous versions of the Apple watch was minimal, but the screen size was incredible. The watch was very responsive, much faster processor and added ECG.
Series 5 is the same size and processor as the series 4, but they added Always on Display and a Compass.
The always on feature was what I was hoping for ever since Series 0, and I am so happy they finally gave it to us. Had they not offered it, I likely would had skipped the update. What I appreciate about Apple, is typically when they hold off on a feature, when they finally do it, they do it right. They accomplished this with a LTPO Display. Thats low temperature Poly-silicon and oxide. They are able to drop the refresh rates and power consumption to keep good battery life while the screen is always on. I am thinking this feature alone may drive people to the Apple Watch that may not had been fans specifically because it was not always on. Series 5 also added 2 colors of Titanium and a white ceramic option. They also released Stainless Steel options with Hermes leather straps that have Hermes Watch faces and continue to sell Nike versions of the Apple Watch with Nike Watch faces. I wish they would expand that to other brands.
I initially ordered the Space Black Edition version of the Titanium. The packaging was slightly thicker than the other models. This version included the custom straps you order with the watch, along with an extra set of Gray straps included only with packaging. Only the Edition version comes with these straps. Regular Titanium comes with Light Gray Sport Straps, Space Black Titanium comes with Dark Gray Sport straps, and White Ceramic comes with Soft White Sports straps. You can not purchase these color options separately.
The Titanium was a beautiful finish. The case was lighter than the Stainless Steel, but not the typical almost weightless feel that Titanium watches usually feel like. I assume that’s because of the inside tech. The Titanium versions are basically brushed versions of the polished Stainless Steel watches with different shaded colors. The natural Titanium is slightly darker than the polished Stainless Steel, and the Space Black is slightly lighter. I bought the Space Black hoping it would match perfectly with my Space Black Stainless Steel Link bracelet, and unfortunately the shading didn’t work for me. I think it would work for many, and if they put another layer of DLC coating on it making it 1 shade darker and true black, I likely would had kept it. Ultimately I returned it and purchased the Space Black Stainless Steel that I have had with ever version of the Apple Watch. I’ll link the Youtube comparison at the bottom of the post.
The DLC they use on the Space Black versions is strong! I don’t abuse my watches, but they will always get the occasional bump on a door or counter. The finish holds up perfectly on both Space Black Stainless Steel and Titanium. I haven’t owned the natural on either but I know from my own experience from owning anything Uncoated Titanium typically scratches so easy. The Polished Stainless Steel is easier to maintain but also scratches based on the feedback I see from many users.
I only had the original Series 0 version of Space Gray Sport with Aluminum case, and I was not happy at all with the durability on that case. It marked easily, and the mineral screen vs the Sapphire scratched pretty easy as well. I have found the Sapphire holds up great, <knock wood> no scratches ever, however if you drop the watch it is more susceptible to cracking or breaking.
Initially, I was not happy at all with the battery life and performance of the Series 5. I was used to easily getting a day and a half out of my Apple Watch batteries. This watch was getting me all work day, but was dead or almost dead by the time I was ready for bed. It also seemed to take forever to charge. The always on screen was a little slow to wake up. I would turn my wrist and look for a notification or slide down, and I found had to tap it to fully wake it up. This was not the payoff I was anticipating. A couple days later, they updated the watch to 6.0.1. That seemed to had straightened out the battery a bit, and the responsiveness. Battery is good, and does pass the advertised 18 hour mark, the lag is almost gone, I am thinking 6.1 that should be released at the end of the month should improve those even more based on feedback Ive read from beta testers.
Outside of those initial bugs, I am very happy with the always on display. I had primarily used info-graph modular full time previously. Having the always on I am playing around with numerous watch faces. One of the great things about the always on is if you use a white face, when not looking at the screen the display shows the black version and removes the second hand. When you raise the watch to look at it, the screen turns back to the white and the transition is smooth. If a notification comes through on the screen in powered down mode, it blurs the information so nobody can look and unblurs when you raise to look. You also have the option to block out complication info when powered down. The always on brightness also uses the light sensor that sets brightness when powered down. So when I am in a dark environment, it’s not lit bright like a flashlight. In the end, having this watch for over a week, that main feature alone has been so worth it. They have implemented this feature so well.
Compass is a nice feature. If I need walking directions using Apple Maps, it is helpful showing me the direction I am walking. Also good for campers or hikers. Its implemented in an actual app as well as built in to the maps app. Apple has opened the compass to developers too, so I am looking forward to seeing what they come up with.
This week I will be doing a video, and will do a review on Watch OS 6. Feel free to leave any questions in the comments. Thanks for reading.