Apple Watch Series 4 hands-on: Small changes add up


It’s rather unbelievable that out of all the smartwatches that have come into existence in the last several years, the only one deemed to be a success has been none other than the Apple Watch. That’s particularly strange when you think about how its design hasn’t changed all that much since its inception, which also doesn’t have the same chic look of some other offerings. Well, the Apple Watch has built one incredible reputation from the ground up, with Series 4 readying itself to prove it’s going to be the smartwatch to beat in the foreseeable future.

Design


Despite going with a very familiar square shaped design, which at this point helps to make the Apple Watch distinguishable from the rest of the competition, we’ll certainly give Apple kudos for the subtle changes with the new design. While we’re still dreaming for the day when we get a circular round face design, the Apple Watch Series 4 features a more agreeable design – attributed mostly to its larger screen with rounded edges. It just no longer feels like you’re wearing dorky square shaped watch around your wrist. On top of that, the entire frame is slimmer, while the underside no longer has much of a significant protrusion.

Display


Not surprisingly, the most eye-catching thing with the Apple Watch Series 4 is the larger screen it’s rocking this time around, which now has a skinner bezel outlining it. Yes, the increase in screen size is due to the larger cases used by the Apple Watch this time around – 44mm and 40mm respectively, versus last year’s offering of 42mm and 38mm. What’s even more impressive is how the screen looks sharper and clearer, thanks in part to the LTPO (low-temperature polycrystalline oxide) OLED Retina displays they’re rocking with Force Touch.

It’s something that commands attention because whatever way or angle you’re looking at the display, it retains its clarity – so there’s no distortion of any kind. Colors are equally rich and vibrant, ensuring that your eyes will never get weary looking at them. Seriously, even though square watch faces aren’t the most flattering looking, the Apple Watch Series 4 definitely makes for a solid case with its dazzling qualities.


New Features


What sets the Apple Watch apart from the competition is the depth that WatchOS 5 provides. Sure, the core experience hasn’t changed all that much, like the visuals or navigation, but Apple continues to tweak and refine WatchOS to make it the most advanced smartwatch platform around. New features include things like fall detection, a second-generation optical heart sensor, and an ECG (electrocardiogram) feature.

Unfortunately, we’re unable to check out the new ECG feature because we’re told you’re required to set up a unique profile. Still, it’s something that’s expected to enhance the lives of users by monitoring your heart for signs of atrial fibrillation. For individuals that have been diagnosed with heart related issues, the information gathered and monitored by the Apple Watch can potentially help to save their life. Considering that the Apple Watch already does a lot to enrich our lives through entertainment and productivity, it’s truly amazing that it continues to have a strong focus with health and wellness.

Performance


Powered by a new S4 dual-core processor, which is alleged to be “up to 2x faster” than the previous generation, the Apple Watch Series 4 performs just as smoothly and responsive as its predecessors. Honestly, the Apple Watch has always been super speedy with its performance, which again has been a constant for the series. Navigating around the interface was no problem at all in our short time checking it out, so you can expect nothing but a tip-top rate of performance!


Battery


Factoring the larger display, upgraded hardware, and additional sensors packed into it, we’re interested to see what kind of battery life we’ll get out of the Apple Watch Series 4. The company says that you can anticipate “all-day” battery from it, but what we really want to see is a performance that would get users a couple of days at least. Battery life, even now, continues to have little headway.

Expectations


With a starting price of $399 for the base Wi-Fi only model, the Apple Watch Series 4 will still be seen by many as a premium offering. That’s no chump change when you really think about it, so it’s going to take a lot to convince some people to pick it up. Then again, when you combine the fact that the competition is significantly lacking and that the Apple Watch offers the richest experience out there, it should be no surprise to anyone that Apple wants to keep its price unchanged.

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21 Comments

1. Wazupmrg

Posts: 157; Member since: Apr 10, 2017

"we’ll certainly give Apple kudos for the subtle changes with the new design" Any other company has subtle changes would be slammed as not revolutionary, boring, not enough new items to buy. Bias once again

2. darkkjedii

Posts: 30972; Member since: Feb 05, 2011

I’m already in love with mine. Can’t stop looking at it, and I set up the 8 complication modular screen, man it’s nice. The Walkie Talkie feature works really good, once you figure it out (press and hold to talk). Very nice job by Apple, and highly recommended by Darkk.

3. errnope

Posts: 43; Member since: May 23, 2018

Too much to look at. It looks a huge mess with everything trying to grab attention at once. Complications should be subtle.

5. darkkjedii

Posts: 30972; Member since: Feb 05, 2011

Welp, just select another face bro, just that simple. Apple did an outstanding job on the Series 4, and I’m all in with it. Oh and one more thing, complications should be the way the owner of the device wants them to be.

9. errnope

Posts: 43; Member since: May 23, 2018

Except that is not Apple's ethos. The design is an abomination for an Apple device.

19. thxultra

Posts: 451; Member since: Oct 16, 2014

Been using this face since I got my series 4 on Friday and it very well laid out and still easy to read. Haters gonna hate but Apple did a really nice job with the series 4.

4. crnamrlja

Posts: 3; Member since: Nov 17, 2017

Theme has several colors too many, eh?

6. Mdw21

Posts: 7; Member since: Sep 23, 2018

Not really digging mine the new shape looks funny I'm thinking about returning it and going back to my 3

7. darkkjedii

Posts: 30972; Member since: Feb 05, 2011

What made you buy it, if it’s the shape that’s bothering you? You knew the shape before purchasing. The shape is one of coolest things about it to me.

8. Mdw21

Posts: 7; Member since: Sep 23, 2018

I preordered it and the apple store was so busy I wasnt able to look at them side by side until I got home. The pictures online look very different than it does in person. I've had a few people comment on it also saying it looks more oval than square

10. maherk

Posts: 6775; Member since: Feb 10, 2012

I'm sorry, but I call bs on this one. It looks exactly like the Apple Watch 1,2, and 3, only with bigger screen and smaller bezels. So you want us to believe that you haven't seen an Apple Watch in the last 3 years, yet went ahead and spent $450+ on a smartwach you don't know how it looks like?

11. Mdw21

Posts: 7; Member since: Sep 23, 2018

You can call bs all you want its just how I feel I was just making an observation. So I ordered a 450 dollar watch without seeing it big deal I ordered a 1000 dollar iphone x without seeing it too just like millions of others. You are very wrong if you think they look the same, the 4 is rounded its not just the bezel size that is different, if you read the apple build specs not the sales specs, it is not the same as the 3 and below also if you read what I said I have a 3 and I love it and the shape much better for me. How would someone see the watch in person if the apple store didnt put one on display until the day you could pick up the preorders?

13. darkkjedii

Posts: 30972; Member since: Feb 05, 2011

LMAOOOOO!

12. Jrod99

Posts: 716; Member since: Jan 15, 2016

Just got back from trading my series 3 and had a 40 mm space grey in stock. Cool. Got to keep Chargers and now have 3 bands. Nice upgrade.

14. darkkjedii

Posts: 30972; Member since: Feb 05, 2011

How do you like it so far? I have the 44mm, super nice watch.

15. Jrod99

Posts: 716; Member since: Jan 15, 2016

Yeah. Really like it. Try the 44 on also but have small wrist but the 40 is a nice improvement over the 38. Use a extra 38 screen protector for now. Don’t like cases on my watch but always seem to bang them on something.

16. darkkjedii

Posts: 30972; Member since: Feb 05, 2011

The 44 fits my wrist nicely. I’m really digging this watch, and my wife bought me a 256 gig Max as an anniversary gift, so I do have one.https://youtu.be/O2xCeV0BEsE I sold my X today for $550, so I’m killing it android and iOS wise.

17. ecmedic4

Posts: 520; Member since: May 02, 2013

Now that’s an awesome wife. I’ve come to the decision I’m going to get a Xs Max myself in 256gb. I currently have an iPhone 7 Plus so it’s time to upgrade. And quite a bit bigger screen in the same size phone as I have now is awesome. Im still thinking on the series 4 watch, but I’ll prob end up with one.

18. darkkjedii

Posts: 30972; Member since: Feb 05, 2011

Today was my first workout with my series 4, and it was great. The readout is much better in the larger screen, really great fitness features too. Loving it big time. And thanx for the complimenting my wife, she’s a great girl, lucky to have her, and I was shocked. I think she wanted to outdo me, cause I broke the bank on her lol.

20. thxultra

Posts: 451; Member since: Oct 16, 2014

Worked out with mine over the weekend also and the new display is amazing for working out. The watch doesn't feel any bigger on my wrist either which is amazing. Everything seems to run a bit faster also. Really like the workout detection in watch os 5 also.

21. darkkjedii

Posts: 30972; Member since: Feb 05, 2011

100% agreed. Love the fit, and the fitness features are very nice.

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