The new Apple Watch Series 4 is here. Wondering if you should upgrade, or finally break down and buy one? Here’s what you need to know.
Apple Watch Series 4 review
The Apple Watch has been redesigned, and it does look quite different. The Series 4 is bigger —and that’s both when it comes to the smaller version and the larger. Where the Series 3 sizes were 38mm and 42mm, now the small one is 40mm and the larger is 44mm.
There’s also more screen real estate on the 4, and less bezel; Apple has made the screen bigger overall so everything is easier to see. The Series 4 has softer edges and it’s more rounded at the corners, Taking advantage of more screen real estate, there’s some sexy new animated watch faces too.
What’s new Apple Watch 4? Louder speaker
The speaker is 50% louder now too, meaning if you like to take calls on your watch, you can hear better too. There’s also haptic feedback in the Digital Crown, so if feels more responsive if you’re scrolling through something. And speaking of that digital crown, the red accent that denotes the Cellular enabled watches has also been toned down from a bright red spot on the side to a subtle red edge.
What’s new Apple Watch 4? More memory
There’s now more memory if you want to store music on the watch for long runs. You’ll now get 16GB, up from the Series 3’s 8GB.
What’s new Apple Watch 4? ECG will be coming soon to Canada
One of the big improvements to the watch is also the health tracking and health monitoring. The Series 4 watch has added a glass back, taking the heart rate sensor that was on Series 3 to another level—adding the ability to perform an EKG/ECG. While this feature is not yet available in Canada, one can hope it’s coming via a software update sometime soon.
With WatchOS 5, Apple Watch has improved its fitness and workout detection. Yoga and Hiking are new dedicated workout types that accurately track active calories burned and exercise minutes earned.
What’s new Apple Watch 4? Fall detection
Fall detection is also a biggie, and if you ask me, that combined with the ECG will make this a must have for seniors or the disabled. An accelerometer and gyroscope will detect if you take a hard fall and don’t move afterwards. If you don’t respond to vibrations, alarms and alerts from the Watch, it will dial emergency services for you. when you turn it on, the Watch will take note that more active types may inadvertently set off this alert. I tied my best to fake a hard fall and couldn’t set it off, so maybe you don’t have to worry so much.
How to turn on fall detection on Apple Watch 4?
Turn fall detection on or off, open the Apple Watch app on your iPhone, then look for the Emergency SOS. Click into it and toggle the Fall Detection feature on or off.
Apple Watch 4 battery life is disappointing
The battery life has been a constant complaint about the Apple Watch, and may be its biggest detraction. While competitors like Samsung have about 3-4 days of battery life depending on which size you have, the Apple Watch gets only about 18-24 hours, meaning you’ll still need to take it off to charge while sleeping or showering (though it is water resistant to 50 m making it swimproof; that’s the same as the 3)
Overall review Apple Watch Series 4
These changes might seem incremental to some, but there’s some big stuff here. I personally think most seniors should have an Apple Watch on to keep them connected in case of a fall, a drop or increase in heart rates, and the (coming soon?) ability for an on-band ECG.
When it comes to esthetics, the Series 4 watch is gorgeous. I love the redesign, from the bigger face, to the lower profile, the haptic crown and the softly rounded edges.
Of course, being able to make and receive calls, get and respond to texts, and emails, plus the health tracking and reminders like the Breathe app and those little nudges to stand all combine to create a Watch I really love.
Downsides? It’s that battery, hands down. The price is also significant for many. But if you’re immersed in the Apple ecosystem, and you’ve got the funds, you’re going to love the Apple Watch Series 4.
So if you have the Series 3 should you trade up? I’d say at this point, it’s mostly esthetic upgrades compared to what you have, though that fall detection and the (yup, coming) ECG might make it a worthwhile investment for some in the near future.
Series 4 sells for about $399 with white silicone band and the Series 4 With GPS + Cellular is $499.