THERE ARE A NUM­BER OF NEW FEA­TURES IN WATCHOS 5, BUT IT FEELS WEIRD TALK­ING ABOUT THEM HERE BE­CAUSE AS A PLAT­FORM IT’S GO­ING TO COME TO MUL­TI­PLE OLD MOD­ELS FROM AP­PLE

ONE OF THE BEST SMARTWATCHES JUST GOT BET­TER

TechLife Australia - - WELCOME - [ GARETH BEAVIS ]

THE AP­PLE WATCH 4’s key fea­ture is re­ally its de­sign - we say that be­cause while the ex­tra health ben­e­fits are some­thing that are wor­thy and re­ally make this an at­trac­tive de­vice for those in need of them, the pool of peo­ple this is rel­e­vant to is smaller than just those look­ing for a new watch. We weren’t able to re­ally test was the new fall de­tec­tion, as you have to go down a cer­tain way and re­main there for a while to ac­ti­vate the fea­ture. We did try to fall, but it was get­ting a lit­tle em­bar­rass­ing and per­haps we need to com­mit harder to the test­ing. How­ever, one thing that did worry us a lit­tle about this fea­ture is bat­tery life - while it’s great to see that fall de­tec­tion ex­ists, and will be set up au­to­mat­i­cally for those over 65, the fact that you re­ally need to charge the iPhone once a day is go­ing to be harder to re­mem­ber for some users and that could mean their safety blan­ket (or for those that bought the Watch 4 in the first place to safe­guard a loved one) is re­dun­dant if the Watch has no power. There’s also a set of heart rate no­ti­fi­ca­tions, in­clud­ing one that’s look­ing out for atrial fib­ril­la­tion (AF), mean­ing you’ll get a pop-up if there’s any­thing that looks sketchy with your heart with re­gards to this con­di­tion, which could lead to life-threat­en­ing com­pli­ca­tions.

The Watch 4 also comes with an alert sys­tem if your heart rate goes too low or high: should your heart rate spike or fall hard for no rea­son for a long enough pe­riod (around 10 min­utes) you’ll get an alert telling you all is not well, and maybe your should see a physi­cian. We have a rather low heart rate from reg­u­lar run­ning train­ing, and the up­date did ping in from time to time to ref­er­ence to us that the heart rate test­ing was work­ing. There are sweet touches like a (vir­tu­ally) click­ing Dig­i­tal Crown that feels like it’s clock­ing through lists on the wrist. It even makes a slight noise, and the whole sys­tem is in­cred­i­bly pleas­ing.

WATCHOS 5

There are a num­ber of new fea­tures in WatchOS 5, but it feels weird talk­ing about them here be­cause as a plat­form it’s go­ing to come to mul­ti­ple old mod­els from Ap­ple, pos­si­bly all the way back to Se­ries 1 of the Ap­ple Watch. The main one that we’re most impressed with is the fact that you can now use the Ap­ple Watch 4 for a num­ber of dif­fer­ent ex­er­cises - and there’s au­to­matic ex­er­cise track­ing too.

That’s not to say there aren’t loads of cool new fea­tures in the new Watch soft­ware - we most love the WalkieTalkie mode. One of our best pals was also test­ing the Watch and we in­stantly be­gan send­ing them short voice mes­sages, the way that some peo­ple don’t talk but send short voice mes­sages in a slightly more con­fus­ing race.

Rais­ing your wrist to your mouth in or­der to have that con­ver­sa­tion with a friend does feel like a real Dick Tracy mo­ment - it feels partly ridicu­lous, but also quite fun - and thanks to the im­proved speaker and mi­cro­phone place­ment (now sep­a­rated left and right), much eas­ier to use.

DE­SIGN

If you’re go­ing to no­tice some­thing about this watch though, it’s that it looks bloomin’ dif­fer­ent. Per­haps not to some­one who has never seen an Ap­ple Watch be­fore, but to those who have will in­stantly see that the screen is big­ger - 30% big­ger, in fact. While it’s nowhere near edge-to-edge as some are sug­gest­ing it is, it’s cer­tainly a lot larger and more rounded, giv­ing the im­pres­sion of a rounder time­piece with­out los­ing the ben­e­fit of a square dis­play. The over­all chas­sis is thin­ner too - not no­tice­ably so over pre­vi­ous mod­els, but the weight is min­i­mal on the wrist and re­ally is hard to no­tice some­times - this is not a weighty dig­i­tal time­piece.

FIT­NESS

The Ap­ple Watch se­ries has slowly be­come more and more about fit­ness over fash­ion, and that’s an ex­cel­lent move in our opin­ion. The alerts are there to help you close the ac­tiv­ity rings on your watch - if you’ve never used one of Ap­ple’s time­pieces be­fore, this will be the cen­tral tenet of how you get prod­ded when us­ing the de­vice. The stand prompt hap­pens around once an hour, but more re­cently the Ap­ple Watch 3 and now Watch 4 learn your ac­tions, mean­ing they’ll be able to spot when you’re most ac­tive and when you’re likely to fall be­hind your goal.

With au­to­matic ex­er­cise de­tec­tion, we’re look­ing at a de­vice that can eas­ily keep up with you when you for­get to start some­thing. It’s not per­va­sive through­out the ex­er­cise spec­trum - you won’t get alerts that the Watch has no­ticed you’re cy­cling, for in­stance (although we’re not sure if we should, as there’s no list we can find), but if you’re start­ing to run or walk briskly you’ll get an alert telling you that there’s an ex­er­cise in progress and ask­ing if you want to track it. The Ap­ple Watch does do a lot of ex­cel­lent op­tions for fit­ness, but it isn’t a de­vice any­where nearly as ac­com­plished by the likes of ded­i­cated run­ning watch mak­ers like Po­lar or Garmin. It’s more a jack-ofall-trades, rather than some­thing that ex­cels any­where.

BAT­TERY

The bat­tery life on the Ap­ple Watch 4 far ex­ceeds Ap­ple’s 18-hour claims - we need to find out the con­di­tions the brand is bas­ing this us­age pat­tern on - as far as we can tell you’ll some­times get two days’ use out of this watch if you’re a bit lighter on us­age. We should say it’s im­pres­sive that Ap­ple has man­aged to thrust so much tech­nol­ogy and track­ing equip­ment into the small frame and still main­tain the bat­tery as it has, but the new S4 chipset in­side cer­tainly makes things zip along faster than be­fore as well as be­ing that lit­tle bit more ef­fi­cient too as a re­sult.

VER­DICT

Ap­ple clearly be­lieves smartwatches are here to stay - the Watch 4 ut­terly proves that. The de­sign alone is a big up­grade, with the screen of­fer­ing far more vis­i­bil­ity, and while the health ben­e­fits are only go­ing to help a sub­set of users, they’re wel­come and show the di­rec­tion Ap­ple is head­ing. If it had bet­ter bat­tery life, and thus able to track sleep, the Watch 4 could have been the per­fect smart­watch.

THERE ARE A NUM­BER OF NEW FEA­TURES IN WATCHOS 5, BUT IT FEELS WEIRD TALK­ING ABOUT THEM HERE BE­CAUSE AS A PLAT­FORM IT’S GO­ING TO COME TO MUL­TI­PLE OLD MOD­ELS FROM AP­PLE

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