Apple Watch Series 6 review: a minute update

The Apple Watch Series6, is the best smartwatch by a country mile by five miles. But then last year’s, Series5 was the best smartwatch too. So Apple would have had to have really screwed that up to change it. And Apple didn’t, but the newfeatures this year compared to last year Series 5,just aren’t that major. Even the headline feature,blood oxygen monitoring. Isn’t what some peoplemight be hoping it will be. So it’s an iterative update, but there are a lot ofiterations to talk about. Including the Apple WatchSE, older other model, Family Setup and these newstretchy solo loop bands. (band snapping) Let’s review the Apple Watch. (upbeat music) Instead of one major updatefor the Series 6 this year, Apple has put in a bunch of little ones. Honestly, I think the new feature that will drive the mostsales are the new colors. There’s blue and then there’sthis very red product red and there’s a graphitestainless steel model. And all the rest. The big update is a blood oxygen monitor, which means that thatsensor right at the bottom is a little bit different.

And you know, we should takesome more time on blood oxygen. So let me come back to that. All of the rest of theupdates are super minor. There’s a brighter standbyscreen, slightly faster charging. It’s the easiest bit thinner. And there’s a new processor inside even though the oldprocessor was already fast. Oh, and there’s an always on altimeter and there’s no more forcetouch, reports touch. I don’t miss you basically, I’m saying that if you have a Series 5, there’s no need to upgrade. The bigger question is ifyou have an older Apple Watch or if you’re thinking aboutthe new Apple Watch SE there’s also still theSeries 3 hanging around you could get a refurbed Series 5. We could matrix out which Apple Watch is right for you all day long. It is starting to feel a little bit Samsungy just how many optionsof Apple Watch there are. But the reality is thatthe things that make the Apple Watch great are available across pretty much any recent model. And part of the reasonwhy all that stuff is good is that watchOS 7 is really good. The new watch spaces aren’t bad either. I still can find one watch face that I love using all of the time, but I have started switchingbetween different watch faces for different tasks. So I have a biking watch face, and a workspace, and a cooking face.

I need the cooking face because Siri can’t set multiple timers and I get one extra timerwith the cooking watch face which means that watchOS 7is pretty good but Siri still is not and because I know alot of people are wondering a couple more words about battery life. I didn’t notice any differencebetween the Five and the Six, I suppose that you turnedoff the always-on screen. The Six could get you to afull two days, but I never did. As far as charging speeds, it is faster but not by that much. The Five would get the 80% when the Six would get to100% at about the same time. So it’s a pretty subtle difference. watchOS 7 also add sleep tracking. You get pushed into using full on sleep scheduling the system, which has you set bedtimes and so on. It’s too much for me, but it works. Now the data it provides isn’t as detailed as what you can get froma third party app though. Like even my Withings HR watch gives me more detailed rundowns of restless sleep or whatever, but as anincluded feature, I’ll take it. And if you want more granular data you can still use a thirdparty sleep tracking app.

But the most important new feature in watchOS 7 is this newthing called Family Setup. It lets you set up a watch for a kid, even if they don’t have an iPhone. And look, my actual only real dad thing is making dad jokes on Twitter. So I wanna talk to an actual dad. Who’s been testing this feature. So we’re gonna call Dan Seifort. So Family Setup, how does it work? – Hi Dieter, well, essentially it’s lets youset up a managed watch from your iPhone andthen you can set limits on it for your kids,like who they can message and what apps they can use. It’s a lot like those bigchunky GPS tracker watches that Verizon or T-Mobile sell. – Right, but those suck. How did, how does theAppalachian family model work? – Well, the thing that like,I couldn’t help but notice is that the overall experienceis basically the same as an Apple Watch. It’s a full, real smartwatch,it’s the same user interface. It isn’t customized or dumbed down at all. I figured there might be somekind of simple mode for kids when you put it on theFamily Setup, but Nope, same thing as before. And it does take a little bitof work for me as a parent to figure out how to doall of this controls, whether it’s limiting theirapps or their contacts or what content they can access.

And then it’s kind ofan expensive solution. ‘Cause you have to get acellular model of the Apple Watch and then you have to make sure that your kid’s not gonna break it. And then you have to pay amonthly service fee on top. – Right, well okay. That all doesn’t sound super great, but at least if you get the SE model, it’s a little bit lessexpensive to set all this up and even testing the SE model. And I’ve only got the Series Six. So what’s SE like? – Yeah, so the SE it’sbasically a Series 4 from 2018. It doesn’t have the always-on screen. It doesn’t have an ECG and it doesn’t have a blood oxygen monitor but if you don’t care about that stuff, it’s a really great smartwatch, and it’s a lot less expensivethan the Series Six. – Yeah, I think that sounds great. I personally care aboutan always-on screen but maybe I’m a littlebit fiddly about that, but that’s what I would liketo get on an Apple Watch which is why I wouldprobably wanna get a Series 6 or maybe I prefer Series 5. Okay, look, you you’rebusy, you got to go parent parent, parent, the kidsgo go dad, the kids. I don’t, I don’t knowhow raising kids works. –

Yeah, you really know. Bye then. – Bye. – Okay, so Family Setup turns out to be a somewhat small step thatreally isn’t for everybody. And that’s kind of thestory of the Series 6, a bunch of small steps thatwill matter to some people but will feel prettyminor to everybody else. Oh yeah, these sololoops they’re really good but the sizing isn’t aseasy as Apple makes it seem. I use it a little sizing tooland I figured I was a seven or an eight, but I thinkI’m actually like a 6.5. If you could find agood fit it is amazing, but don’t force it. So let’s finally talk aboutthe blood oxygen monitor in the Apple WatchSeries 6 it’s like I said it’s not what I think a lotof people were hoping for. Here’s how it works. There are these lights on theback that light up the blood under your skin andthen determine its color and thus your blood oxygen level. Anything over 95% isusually considered fine. And anything under that issometimes considered worrisome.

There are two ways to use it. The first is to check itmanually and to do that, you need to make sure thatyou’ve got the watch set up just right it needs to be pretty snug and up on your arm a little bit so they can get a clearreading of your blood. Then you need to restyour arm horizontally hit the little fiddly buttons and wait 15 seconds and itshould give you a result. Probably I got a lot ofunsuccessful readings unless I followed theinstructions exactly. And that brings me tothe second way to use it. It just tries to read yourblood oxygen in the background. But I think a lot of the time, it’s just not able toget an accurate reading. I don’t wear my watch this far up my arm. And in fact, when it was tryingto read it in the background sometimes I would get readings that were like worryingly low. Like, I didn’t know if Ishould call a doctor or not but I have this finger monitorright here when I use it at the same time, ittells me that I’m fine. So the truth is this isnot a medical device. Apple, isn’t saying it’s a medical device. You should think of it as a medical device or a diagnostic deviceor anything like that. It’s like a wellness device. It’s for, I don’t know, highaltitude endurance runners as it stands, blood oxygendetection isn’t as useful as a heart monitor or even the ECG.

And I want to be very clear on this. The Apple Watch Series 6 isnot an early COVID-19 detector. Yes, Apple is doing astudy, but we should wait for the actual scientificresults of that study to come in before we say anything about that. If you’re experiencing symptoms beyond what this thing is telling you, please go get checked out. But again, Apple is not eventalking to the FDA about this blood oxygen feature yet. I sort of feel like it’shere so that Apple could say that it’s on the spec sheet because it’s already coming outon a bunch of other watches. It’s really not Apple’s emo. What I would have done is wait for the results of those studies before I put it in amass-market consumer device. But look, if you are aquantified self kind of person who thinks that blood oxygen would be another interesting stat toadd to the list of things that you track, then go forth. If you’re not, then don’t worry about it. (upbeat music) I started this review bysaying that the Apple Watch is the best smartwatch by a country mile. And I wanna remind you why that is. I think it has the bestcombination of the three things that most people want from a smartwatch. So one for fitness and health,

it does a great job for the basics and Apple’s Health appis both comprehensive and it keeps your private, unless you choose to shareit to some other service. Now I’m not impressed withthe blood oxygen monitor but I trust the rest of whatthese sensors are saying for basic fitness stuff. For connectivity andcommunication that has LTE options and integrates health iMessage. It’s good for phone calls and it manages picked up fairly easily to Bluetooth headphones. Plus it also has thisnew Family Setup thing. And for basic smartwatch stuff, there’s really no comparison. It’s fast, it’ll last, just over a day. And it has a pretty goodset of apps and services that is all true for theApple Watch Series 6, but it’s also true for theless expensive Apple Watches. The second, third andfourth best smartwatch are the Series 5, the AppleWatch SE, and the Series 3. Basically what I’m saying is if you need an Apple Watch getthe one that fits your budget and don’t sweat the upsell. It’s really not as goodas data as you could get from a tinted, bloop, ala-lap, ♪ Whoo, whoo, whoo papa! ♪ ♪ Zig zigbit zig zigbit uh, wapo wapo uh ♪ Hey everybody, thanks so much for watching you know who wants you tosubscribe to the verge? This cat right here, hitthat subscribe button.

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