Apple Inc refreshes its smartwatch line-up every year, along with other hardware lines, including the iPhone, iPad and Mac computers. The annual refresh cycle brings upgrades to the Apple Watch Series in terms of technology and features. However, the last two generations of the Apple Watch have not seen too many major changes, and the company’s latest flagship smartwatch, the Watch Series 6, is no different. Being an iterative upgrade over its predecessor, can the Apple Watch Series 6 reign supreme in the smartwatch category? Let’s find out:
The Apple Watch Series 6 (44mm) looks identical to the Watch Series 5 and that is because the upgrades it brings are mostly related to hardware, not design. That said, the Watch still boasts a rectangular body reminiscent of the Watch Series 5 but with an always-on screen that is twice as bright. The boosted brightness aids the Watch’s sunlight legibility and makes it on-screen content easy to read in outdoor environments. Its benefit also extends to the always-on display, which is now bright enough to stay legible irrespective of ambient lighting conditions.
The display is protected under a curved scratch-resistant glass, which gives it a bezel-less look, despite featuring some empty spaces around. As part of its upgrades, the Watch gets a new sensor array at the bottom with a blood oxygen sensor for the newly introduced SpO2 measure feature. Though a much-needed health-related feature, it is not perfect and seems to have been incorporated in the Watch Series 6 in a rush. The blood oxygen level is best measured through the Watch Series 6 while sitting in a relaxed position with your hands resting on a flat surface near to your heart. That said, the blood oxygen level recorded in the background shows some anomaly in reading; there could be multiple reasons for the inaccuracy, including an unsuitable body posture when the SpO2 level is recorded and the watch’s incorrect fit on the wrist. Thankfully, there is a manual way to take blood oxygen reading and it works fine in most cases.
On the positive side, the Watch Series 6 comes with the WatchOS 7 operating system, which has several new features like watch faces, colour themes, extended support for third-party apps, and customisable watch face complications (widgets). Besides, the OS also adds native support for sleep tracking, complemented by Apple’s bedtime feature. There also are a couple of additional reminder features for handwash duration and drinking water. These might seem small additions but contribute in making the Watch Series 6 a robust smartwatch for health enthusiasts. Though most of the WatchOS 7 features are also available for the existing Apple Watch line-up, sleep tracking is exclusive to the Watch Series 6.
The health features are complemented by the Watch’s fitness-tracking capabilities, which cover a wide spectrum of fitness activities and register accurate data. In this, the Watch Series 6 has a lot to offer and it really helps how easily everything comes around without requiring too much effort. Moreover, the Apple Watch Series 6 offers a day of on-battery time with always-on display enabled. The on-battery time extends to around a day and a half without the always-on display.
Charging the watch takes around two hours, but it is disappointing that it does not support third-party wireless charging solutions. Therefore, you need to carry the supplied charging cradle everywhere. The supplied charging solution still uses USB-A, whereas the new iPhones come with USB-C to Lightening. So, you also need a separate charging adaptor to charge the watch, otherwise you will end up searching for a power source with full-size USB port to charge the watch.
Priced Rs 40,900 onwards, the Apple Watch Series 6 is an iterative upgrade over its predecessor, but it does well in the smartwatch category with its upgrades, howsoever small. It elevates user experience with new features and utilities that are not available on any of the watch’s previous iterations. Also, the Watch Series 6 works in perfect sync with iPhones and at no point does it feel like a liability, thanks to its intuitive WatchOS 7 operating system which is easy to use and operate. It is one-of-a-kind smartwatch that lets you do more with it and less with the iPhone. However, it is restricted to the iPhone only and does not work with any other smartphone operating system.