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Review: Apple Watch Series 2

With price, hands-on analysis and live photographs.
by Simon Neo on November 3, 2016
Positives

Water-resistant up to 50 metres
Brighter Display
Built-in GPS

Negatives

No changes in appearance from its predecessor
No significant improvements in battery life; only up to 18 hours of battery life

When the first Apple watch was launched in the previous year, it generated a lot of hype and also a lot of questions.

It was viewed by many as a risky maneuver by Apple because they were trying to compete in an entirely new market segment but they proved the doubters wrong. Apple received a backlog of orders and sold an estimated 3.6 million units in the first quarter of its launch.

What made the Apple watch so successful initially was mainly due to the reputation the company had in innovating and redefining what a product can do, making it look simple along the way. The Apple watch had many great features to offer:  the ability to communicate through quick touch, health tracking functions and the ability to house apps within the watch. It was almost like an iPhone, all squeezed into the size of a watch packed with many useful functions. This year, we see the release of an upgraded version, the Apple Watch Series 2.

Being an Apple Watch user myself, I could not tell on first look, the difference between the Apple Watch 1 and 2. The only visible difference was the user interface which was slightly different from the first series. As a whole, we can see Apple innovating and repackaging the features of the Apple Watch 2 to suit people with an active lifestyle.

 

The Apple Watch Series 2 bears a similar resemblance to its predecessor.

The Apple Watch Series 2 bears a similar resemblance to its predecessor.

Features & Design

The Apple Watch Series 2 shares an almost identical dimension to its predecessor, the only difference lies in the thickness of the casing where Series 2 measures at 11.4 mm and Series 1 was at 10.5 mm, 9 percent thicker. In terms of case offerings, Series 2 offers the standard aluminum and stainless steel versions but for those looking for a unique finishing, the ceramic option is available.

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Since there are only digital equivalent dials and hands on the Apple Watch, let us take a look at the display properties between Series 1 and 2. In terms of resolution and display type, we do not see any changes where resolution remains at 326 ppi and display type still being OLED. The only noticeable difference we could see was the brighter display of Series 2 which Apple claims to be twice as bright as Series 1.

 

The Apple Watch Series 2 features a brighter display, twice as much as the original version.

The Apple Watch Series 2 features a brighter display, twice as much as the original version.

 

According to a survey conducted by Fluent, 80% of Apple Watch Series 1 owners said they used the watch for fitness tracking. As such, Apple had to include new features which would appeal to the majority of these users. For Apple to do that, they needed to create a game changer for Series 2 and this came in the form of making the Apple Watch water resistant up to 50 metres on top of having a built-in GPS. From our perspective, we felt these changes were more than enough to convince many to buy the watch because it had everything one would need for almost any fitness activity; be it running, swimming or cycling.

The Apple Watch Series 2 may seem to be the perfect smart watch to acquire but when you compare it to the likes of other brands such as Samsung, it falls short in certain departments. First of which is its battery life, Series 2 much like Series 1 can only offer up to 18 hours of battery life whilst Samsung’s Gear S3 can offer up to 4 days of battery life. The shortfall in this department is significant because much like any smart devices, battery life is essential to maintain functionality of the device. The next area of contest would be having an Always-on display like Android watches which Series 2 still could not offer and this was partly because Apple wanted to retain the dimensions of the Apple Watch.

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Caseback of the Apple Watch Series 2.

Caseback of the Apple Watch Series 2.

Concluding Thoughts

At the end of the day, we can still expect to see Apple Watch Series 2 to do well regardless of the shortfalls it may have when compared to its nearest competitor. There are several reasons why we feel as such and first of which is the network effect. Apple products are so widely used by the majority; iPhones, iPads, iMac and Macbooks, there is no denying that an Apple Watch would be more desirable as compared to that of a Samsung or an LG. This is given the fact that an Apple Watch could readily be a part of a user’s Apple ecosystem with the ability to synchronise data and provide more value in terms of smart responses.

The Apple Watch Series 2 would also prove to be a worthy upgrade for existing users like myself who lead an active lifestyle. The water-resistant feature and built-in GPS makes a lot of difference in terms of convenience and practicality which all adds up to driving up the efficiency of workouts with readily-available data on hand.

Priced from S$269 for the Aluminum case and from S$549 for the Stainless Steel case, the Apple Watch Series 2 is reasonably priced for a smartwatch and the wide variety of strap options available would also make the watch appealing to most. The Apple Watch Series 2 may look similar in appearance but we believe the new features has its merits and definitely warrants a trip down to the Apple store to check this new gadget out and giving it a try.

Read also:   Spot the Watch: Watches of the Silicon Valley

 

apple-watch2-oblique

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