Review: Apple Watch Series 2 | iLounge

Review

Review: Apple Watch Series 2

B+
Recommended

Company: Apple

Model: Apple Watch Series 2

MSRP: $369-$1,399

Compatible: iPhone 5 or later

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Phil Dzikiy

Pros: Series 2’s fitness tracking abilities give the Watch a more focused path. The awaited built-in GPS is accurate and adds another dimension to the smartwatch. Swimproof water-resistance will be welcomed by all, but swimmers will also appreciate the detailed swim tracking. Expelling water from the speaker by using the Digital Crown is smart and cool. The display is brighter, and better in direct sunlight. The processor, GPU, and vital watchOS 3 update all help the watch run quicker and smoother than ever before. Microphone performance has improved. Apple apps and features are still strong.

Cons: Though the Watch’s appeal has broadened, it’s still relatively narrow with no true “wow” feature. No notable gains in battery life or charging ability. watchOS 3 and an upgraded processor offer a great benefit to first-gen Apple Watch users as well, at a lower price. We saw some Bluetooth connection issues when playing music straight from the Watch, though they may be sporadic. Though watchOS 3 makes the watch a bit more intuitive, there’s still a bit of a learning curve for non-users. We’ll still have to wait to see how many third-party apps will prove to be truly worthwhile. Lack of elevation tracking may frustrate hikers.

If you’re not at all interested in fitness tracking, Apple Watch Series 2 is likely about as appealing as the first-gen Watch was when it was first released. That being said, if you are a runner or swimmer this may be the push you need to get an Apple Watch. And if you already wanted an Apple Watch, this might push you to be a runner or swimmer. It’s nice to see more of a focus for Apple’s smartwatch, and this was a smart — and obvious — direction for the device.

Now, if you’re considering both Apple Watch Series 1 and Series 2 at this point, it’s not so cut-and-dry. Workout warriors will undoubtedly want the Series 2. But are the other upgrades — swimproof water-resistance, a brighter display, and a smoother experience — enough to justify the $100 premium? If you’ve got the money and you were waiting to see what Apple did with the second generation of the device, we think the new Watch is worth the extra dough. If you mainly want an Apple Watch for notifications and apps, Series 1 is still a solid choice, especially when considering watchOS 3 and its upgraded processor. Apple Watch Series 2 may not be a massive leap forward, but it offers a smarter, more refined package.

(Editor’s note: Some of the language in this review has been changed to clear up confusion between the original first-gen Watch, and the Series 1 Apple Watch.)

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Editors' Note: iLounge only reviews products in "final" form, but many companies now change their offerings - sometimes several times - after our reviews have been published. This iLounge article provides more information on this practice, known as revving.

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