It might not have triggered off the sort of wearables revolution that some pundits had predicted, but the first Apple Watch remains the benchmark for most wearables in the market today (Android Wear seems to be nowhere in sight in comparison). And now Apple has released its second edition, with a new name tag (Apple Watch Series 2) as well. Just how much has it improved over its predecessor?
Those expecting a radical design makeover for the second Apple Watch are likely to be disappointed with the Apple Watch Series 2. No, it is not that it looks bad. It’s just that it is almost like its predecessor in most regards. Apple has resisted the temptation to fiddle with the design and those expecting a more “regular watch like” round dial will have to put up with a square one for some more time now. The “crown” for scrolling and zooming in remains on the right, along with a single button for switching the device on and off. We received the 42 mm edition of the Apple Watch Series 2 and it was only by glancing at the detailed specs that we realized that it was actually slightly larger than the original Apple Watch. It is also significantly heavier at 70 grammes as compared to the 50 grammes of the original Apple Watch, but we did not feel any significant increase in weight on our wrists when we first wore it. The watch still sports a premium look and remains easily the most distinct smartwatch out there by a mile – you cannot mix the Apple Watch with another watch.
But with boosted innards
Beneath all that familiar paint however is a fair deal of updated hardware muscle. Perhaps the most glaring difference between the Apple Watch Series 2 and its predecessor is the display – at 1000 nits, Apple claims that it is one of the brightest displays seen on an Apple device, and well, it certainly is brilliant and very visible even in the harshest sunlight. And while we had no issues with the performance of the original Apple Watch, the addition of a dual core processor certainly makes the Apple Watch Series 2 a noticeable snappy performer in comparison – apps just seemed to load and refresh a whole lot faster than in the original. And watching pictures was a whole lot more pleasing on the new Apple Watch. Then there are the two biggest changes in hardware terms – the water resistance and the inclusion of GPS. The water resistance means that the watch can now survive under upto 50 feet of water, unlike the first Apple Watch which was merely “splash proof.” The presence of GPS means that you can actually take the watch out for your strolls and runs and even leave your phone behind and still get details of the route you took, your speed and so on.
The original Apple Watch had impressed us with its performance, being the most consistent of the smart watches that we had used, and that does not change with the Apple Watch Series 2.
The watch remains one of the easiest to pair and use and while the installation process remains on the longer side, what cannot be denied is that the whole process is smooth, with the Watch automatically picking the apps that have watch version. Watch OS 3 seems sleeker and faster than its predecessor and while we are still waiting for the first real “killer app” for the platform, the fact remains that tasks like reading mails and even browsing news and following Instagram on the watch are easy. And thanks to a considerable speed boost given to Siri, interacting with the phone is a whole lot easier. We had concerns that the inclusion of GPS would adversely affect battery, but battery life seemed to be unchanged – we would have preferred it being more than a day and half but at even that, it is not so bad by smartwatch standards.
It might look the same but it comes with a number of new bells and whistles. The big question is whether these newbies justify the Rs 32,000 price tag that the Apple Watch Series 2 carries. Our answer is that if you are the kind for whom fitness is a major reason for donning a wearable, then the Apple Watch 2 with its GPS and water resistance is definitely a must-have. However if you are into wearables for the apps and notifications and already have the original Apple Watch, perhaps an upgrade does not make quite as much sense. Of course, if it is a wearable that you seek and want the best one in tech town, then the Apple Watch Series 2 remains the best option. By miles.
Still like a jewel, but no major change GPS is a worthy addition Faster and now dust and water resisant The UI remains one of the best Expensive but the best smartwatch around
- Dust and water resistant, GPS included, Faster processor
- Similar design to original, Apps still phonecentric, expensive