Apple Watch Sequence 6 (2020) – Evaluation 2020

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The Apple Watch has been our longstanding Editors’ Alternative for its glorious efficiency, unparalleled app choice, and ample well being and fitness tracking options. With the Sequence 6 (beginning at $399), Apple builds upon its flagship smartwatch with the addition of a blood oxygen saturation sensor that calculates your SpO2 stage on demand and captures periodic background measurements whenever you’re sleeping and inactive. Placing this know-how in a shopper wearable has by no means been extra essential given the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic, because it signifies how effectively your circulatory and respiratory methods are delivering oxygenated blood to your physique, and can assist you gauge whether or not a hospital go to is critical.

Past this, Apple’s modifications embrace a quicker processor, an always-on altimeter that permits you to see your elevation in actual time, and a bump in display brightness when your wrist is down. These enhancements, plus many new additions in watchOS 7, together with a 20-second handwashing timer and sleep-tracking capabilities, make the Apple Watch Sequence 6 the corporate’s greatest smartwatch but, and our new Editors’ Alternative.

Pricing

Apple launched two new smartwatches this yr—the flagship Sequence 6 and the extra reasonably priced Watch SE. The Sequence 6 begins at $399 for the GPS-only mannequin and $100 extra for the GPS and mobile model.

The Watch SE, which shares design components with the Sequence 6, together with key well being and security options like fall detection, begins at $279 for the GPS-only mannequin or $329 for the GPS and mobile model. It lacks an always-on show, in addition to blood oxygen saturation and electrocardiogram (ECG) readings—we go into element on the differences between the two watches here.

The GPS-only Series 3 stays on sale for simply $199 as one other budget-friendly possibility. All fashions require a paired iPhone, so Android customers are out of luck.

The Sequence 6 is available in 40mm and 44mm case sizes, and three totally different case supplies: 100 % recycled aluminum, polished chrome steel, or brushed titanium. Apple can be providing you with some new jewel-toned colours to select from this yr. 

WatchOS 7 contains a number of new clock faces, together with this one, referred to as Artist, which includes a dynamic portrait created in collaboration with artist Geoff McFetridge

The aluminum Sequence 6 is on the market in new navy blue and crimson hues, in addition to gold, silver, and area grey. The chrome steel mannequin is available in a brand new traditional yellow gold tone, a grayish-black referred to as graphite, and silver. The titanium mannequin is available in pure titanium and area black. 

Swapping out the strap is a giant a part of the Apple Watch expertise for lots of people, and this yr Apple debuted some good new choices, together with the $49 Solo Loop (which you’ll select to get with the watch as an alternative of the default Sport Loop) and the $99 Braided Solo Loop. Each characteristic no clasps, buckles, or overlapping elements, and can be found in a variety of colours. They stretch over your wrist and are available in 9 totally different sizes to make sure a superb match. The Solo Loop is product of liquid silicone rubber, whereas the Braided model is product of 100 % post-consumer recycled yarn that’s braided round a skinny silicone thread.

For this evaluate, I examined a 40mm GPS and mobile Sequence 6 with a blue aluminum case and a deep navy Sport Loop. Apple additionally despatched an identical Atlantic Blue Braided Solo Loop band in dimension 4, which inserts completely on my wrist. Between the $499 watch and the additional $99 band, the full value of the watch pictured under is $598. 

Image of the Braided Solo Loop

The brand new Braided Solo Loop appears to be like stylish, but understated and informal. It feels safe and is simple to get on and off, however its $99 value is difficult to swallow. For the sake of comparability, the flamboyant Milanese Loop can be $99. 

Within the field with the watch, Apple features a charging cable, however you do not get a USB energy adapter. Apple says it made this determination to assist the setting, and it’ll have the identical impression as eliminating 50,000 vehicles from the roads.

Design

Prefer it or not, the Sequence 6 has the distinctive squarish design with rounded corners the Apple Watch is thought for. The 40mm mannequin measures 1.56 by 1.35 by 0.42 inches (HWD), whereas the 44mm mannequin is a contact taller and wider, however the identical thickness, at 1.73 by 1.48 by 0.42 inches. 

Trying on the Sequence 6 subsequent to the Series 5, it is exhausting to see a distinction apart from the case colour and band. Certainly, Apple hasn’t made any modifications to the dimensions or decision of the show. To that finish, the 40mm mannequin has a 1.57-inch show with 394 by 324 pixels, whereas the 44mm Sequence 6 has a 1.73-inch show with 448 by 368 pixels.

Image of the Series 6 and Series 5 side by side
Left to proper: Apple Watch Sequence 6, Sequence 5

The Sequence 6 is gentle and cozy on my wrist, even after I put on it to mattress. The 40mm and 44mm aluminum fashions weigh 1.07 ounces and 1.28 ounces, respectively, with out the strap. The chrome steel fashions are the heaviest at 1.40 ounces and 1.66 ounces, and the titanium fashions weigh 1.22 ounces and 1.45 ounces. 

The Sequence 6 is water resistant to 165 ft. Apple says it is secure for shallow water actions like swimming (in a pool or within the ocean). You too can put on it within the bathe and sizzling tub. You should not, nevertheless, put on it whereas scuba diving, waterskiing, or “different actions involving high-velocity water or submersion under shallow depth,” Apple says. 

Image of the Series 6 in the box

Setup and Interface

The Sequence 6 comes partially charged, and as quickly as you’re taking it out of the field and switch it on, a display will seem in your iPhone asking if you wish to set the watch up for your self or another person utilizing Apple’s new Household Setup service. It then instructs you to placed on the watch, maintain it as much as your telephone’s digicam, and align the watch face with the viewfinder on display to pair it. As quickly as I did this, it stated the Apple Watch was paired and requested me if I needed to revive from a backup or set it up as a brand new watch. I often use the Sequence 5, so I selected to revive from that gadget.

Image of the Series 6 in the box

You’ve the choice to allow the Blood Oxygen app throughout the setup course of, which helps you to examine your blood oxygen saturation (SpO2) ranges and measure them all through the day (you can too flip this characteristic on later). Subsequent, you may optionally allow automated updates; for those who do, you will obtain a notification earlier than the replace is put in. It then asks if you wish to arrange Apple Pay.

Screenshots of the Series 6 setup process

Subsequent, it goes over the Emergency SOS and fall detection options. To name emergency providers, press and maintain the aspect button. Doing so will even ship a message to your emergency contacts. With fall detection enabled, the watch will robotically name emergency providers if it detects you took a tough fall. You’ll be able to disable this characteristic within the Apple Watch app for those who want. 

In case you have a mobile mannequin, it then goes into the mobile setup course of. With this characteristic, you can also make and obtain calls and entry apps utilizing mobile knowledge when your Apple Watch is not linked to your iPhone. Once you click on Set Up Mobile, it brings up a brand new web page that permits you to check in along with your cellular phone provider and add the Apple Watch to your plan (which is usually an additional cost per thirty days in your mobile invoice). Subsequent, it goes over watch faces, noting that you would be able to change them later within the app or on the watch itself.

Screenshots of the Series 6 setup process

As with different Apple Watch fashions, you navigate the Sequence 6 with swipes to scroll and transfer, and faucets to pick. To see your notifications, swipe down from the highest fringe of the display. To see your battery stage and entry extra controls like Do Not Disturb, swipe up from the underside of the display. 

The Sequence 6 additionally options Apple’s signature digital crown on the highest proper aspect. Press this button to return to the watch face; press and maintain it to speak to Siri; or flip it to scroll, zoom, or alter. 

Beneath the digital crown on the fitting aspect of the display is a button with varied features. You’ll be able to press it to rapidly entry your open apps; double-press it for Apple Pay; or press and maintain it for Medical ID, Emergency SOS, and energy. 

Image of the Series 6's digital crown and side button

Blood Oxygen Readings

The standout characteristic here’s a new sensor that may measure the oxygen saturation of your blood, often known as SpO2. This metric signifies how effectively your circulatory and respiratory methods are delivering oxygenated blood to your physique. Your SpO2 studying alone cannot diagnose COVID-19, however because the Yale School of Medicine advises, a studying under 90 % could warrant a visit to the emergency room. 

The Sequence 6 makes use of related know-how as a pulse oximeter—the gadget they clip onto your finger on the physician’s workplace—to measure your blood oxygen saturation. Its SpO2 sensor shines crimson and infrared gentle via your pores and skin, onto the blood vessels of your wrist, and measures the colour of your blood, which signifies the quantity of oxygen current. Vivid crimson blood is extra saturated, and darkish crimson blood is much less so. Adjustments in your physique or elevation can impression your blood oxygen stage. 

The watch can calculate your SpO2 stage in 15 seconds, everytime you need. The sensor additionally captures periodic background measurements whenever you’re sleeping and inactive. 

Image of the Series 6

The primary time you open the Blood Oxygen app on the watch, it takes you thru some useful tricks to get a superb studying. Apple says your watch band ought to be comfortable however snug, and to verify the watch is not too low in your wrist. It’s best to maintain the watch dealing with up and take a look at to not transfer throughout the studying. Resting your arm on a desk can assist. 

Once you begin a blood oxygen scan, you will see a 15-second countdown timer on the display together with a soothing blue and crimson graphic. After 15 seconds, your blood oxygen saturation proportion will seem onscreen. You too can view blood oxygen measurements within the Well being app in your iPhone. 

Image of the Series 6

The watch affords details about this metric that will help you interpret your knowledge. It says that most individuals have a blood oxygen stage between 95 and 100 %. The primary time I used this characteristic, the Sequence 6 stated my blood oxygen saturation stage was 99 %. The second time I took a studying, it was after a three-mile seaside run, and I used to be blissful to see my SpO2 stage was 100 %. 

Within the Well being app in your iPhone, you may view a file of all of your measurements and see graphs of your blood oxygen stage readings for the day, week, month, or yr. It additionally exhibits your vary and each day common, and you’ll filter the info to indicate simply your SpO2 stage in high-elevation environments or whereas sleeping. 

Image of SpO2 data in the Health app

This is not such a novel characteristic, as a number of different health trackers and smartwatches can measure your SpO2 stage, together with the Garmin Vivoactive 4, Samsung Galaxy Watch3, and Fitbit Sense. The Fitbit Sense, nevertheless, solely measures your blood oxygen saturation stage robotically whenever you put on it to mattress, and also you want a particular clock face enabled for it to work. It additionally takes a full two minutes.

Efficiency Enhancements

On the within, the Sequence 6 options 32GB of storage and Apple’s new dual-core S6 System in Bundle (SiP), which it says delivers as much as 20 % quicker efficiency than the S5 chip within the Sequence 5 and Watch SE. The S6 additionally permits for improved display brightness—the show nonetheless includes a most brightness stage of 1,000 nits, nevertheless it’s brighter in ambient mode whenever you look down at your wrist. 

Image of the Series 6 outside

Apple says it elevated the utmost brightness of the show from 200 nits to 500 nits when your wrist is down, which makes it simpler to see within the daylight. That is a welcome addition for me personally, as I reside in Florida and spend numerous time on the seaside. And I can attest that the Sequence 6’s display is noticeably simpler to learn after I’m exterior strolling my canine and look down. 

The Sequence 6 additionally includes a new antenna with double the spectrum of the Sequence 5 that permits it to help 5GHz Wi-Fi for the primary time. This can assist liberate congested 2.4GHz bands, whereas permitting entry to probably speedier 5GHz bands. 

Image of the Series 6 outside

In line with Apple, the Sequence 6 affords the identical 18-hour battery life because the Sequence 5, however drains much less battery when streaming music and monitoring sure exercises like indoor and out of doors runs. In testing, the watch surprisingly beat Apple’s estimate. After carrying it for a full 24 hours, it nonetheless had 14 % battery left. Throughout that point, I had the always-on show mode enabled and used the watch to trace a 37-minute run with GPS. I additionally had Do Not Disturb on more often than not, so I wasn’t getting notifications, which might have prolonged battery life. After almost 25.5 hours, I acquired a notification that the battery was right down to 10 %, so I lastly put it on the charger. 

The Samsung Galaxy Watch3 supplied related battery life in testing, however the Fitbit Sense lasted round three days. 

One good enchancment is that the Sequence 6 fees quicker than the Sequence 5, which takes round two hours to totally cost. The Sequence 6 fees to 80 % in about an hour and to 100 % in 90 minutes.

At all times-On Altimeter

The Sequence 6 options an always-on altimeter, which makes it straightforward to examine your elevation indoors and outdoor in actual time (it is also out there on the lower-cost Watch SE). This characteristic is particularly helpful for hikers and downhill skiers.

The watch makes use of knowledge from the barometric strain sensor, GPS, and close by Wi-Fi networks to find out your precise location and replace your elevation on the fly. You too can add your elevation as a complication on the watch face. 

Image of the Series 6 with the elevaton complication on the watch face

I discovered this characteristic helpful, even in flat Florida. I added the elevation complication to my watch face, and it was fascinating to see it change in actual time, particularly as I approached the seaside close to my home, which in sure areas is under sea stage, in keeping with the Sequence 6. 

I can see this characteristic being significantly helpful throughout hurricane season, and sooner or later after I’m out there for a brand new home. The Sequence 6 tells me my present house is round 35 ft above sea stage, so if a hurricane is headed my means with a predicted storm surge higher than that, I will know to get out of city. Once I begin home searching sooner or later, I will completely use the Apple Watch to examine the elevation of potential properties to make a extra knowledgeable determination. 

WatchOS7

The newest model of Apple’s smartwatch working system, watchOS 7, affords quite a lot of helpful options, together with automated handwashing detection with a 20-second countdown timer, sleep monitoring, new exercise varieties (dancing, core coaching, cooldown, and practical energy coaching), and biking instructions in choose cities (together with Beijing, Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco Bay Space, and Shanghai). WatchOS 7 additionally options a number of new watch faces. 

You do not want the Sequence 6 to make the most of these options. WatchOS 7 can be out there on Apple’s Sequence 3, 4, and 5 watches, in addition to the brand new Watch SE.  

Image of the handwashing countdown timer

After testing the beta model of watchOS 7 on my Sequence 5 for more than a month, the handwashing countdown timer has turn into a necessity in my life, particularly in gentle of COVID-19. The watch makes use of movement sensors to detect handwashing actions and the microphone to pay attention for the sound of working water. When it detects that you simply’re washing your fingers, it shows a 20-second timer on the display, so you do not have to silently hum Comfortable Birthday twice in your head. Once you’re performed, the watch barely vibrates and offers you a thumbs up on the display.

I actually like this characteristic, and after I’m testing different wearables, I miss it each time I wash my fingers. I discover that the countdown timer is usually by chance triggered after I’m washing fruit and greens within the sink, however I simply take it as an indication to scrub once more. 

Image of the Series 6 showing sleep tracking data

Apple is late to the sport with sleep monitoring capabilities, as most smartwatches and health trackers already supply this characteristic, and Apple’s model continues to be fairly primary. After you put on the Apple Watch to mattress, the Well being app in your iPhone exhibits whenever you fell asleep, awakened, and your complete time in mattress and asleep for the evening. It additionally exhibits a graph of your coronary heart charge, along with your most and minimal recorded beats per minute. It charts your sleep for the week and month, and exhibits your common time in mattress and common time asleep. 

Image of sleep data in the Health app

Many different wearables, together with the $150 Fitbit Charge 4, observe extra stats like your deep, gentle, and REM sleep; supply graphs exhibiting whenever you had been asleep and awake all through the evening; and provide you with a sleep rating that may allow you to rapidly gauge the standard and restorative worth of your shuteye. And for those who plan to make use of the Apple Watch to trace your sleep, you will doubtless want to change your charging routine given its battery life. As an alternative of charging it at evening, I like to recommend giving it a fast top-off within the morning whenever you’re preparing for work, or at evening whenever you’re preparing for mattress. 

Image of heart rate data in the Health app

One other notable addition to watchOS 7 is Household Setup, a characteristic that permits you to use your personal iPhone to arrange an Apple Watch to your little one or one other member of the family. Dad and mom can use Household Setup to approve the contacts with whom their little one can talk. The service additionally affords automated location notifications, so you may, as an example, obtain an alert when your little one will get residence from faculty. The person you are setting it up for could have their very own account and telephone quantity via a separate mobile plan (the characteristic is just out there on mobile watch fashions).

Extra Well being Options

The Sequence 6 has all the superb well being, security, and life-style options of its predecessor. These embrace ECG readings, excessive and low coronary heart charge notifications, irregular coronary heart rhythm notifications, menstrual cycle monitoring, fall detection, excessive decibel alerts, emergency SOS, and worldwide emergency calling. The watch’s Transfer, Train, and Stand rings are a private favourite, as they assist encourage me to remain energetic regularly and cheer me on after I do. 

Image of Apple Watch fitness data

Earlier than the top of the yr, Apple plans to launch Fitness+, a $9.99 month-to-month or $79.99 yearly at-home health service. Health+, which would require an Apple Watch Sequence Three or later paired with an iPhone, guarantees to carry a variety of exercises led by world-class trainers to the consolation and security of your property. When streaming a Health+ exercise in your iPhone or iPad, metrics out of your Apple Watch, together with your train period, coronary heart charge, and energy burned, in addition to your Exercise Rings, will seem on the display.

Image of Fitness+

Later this yr, Apple additionally plans so as to add a Low Cardio Health characteristic, which might notify you in case your VO2 Max (a metric used to measure cardiovascular health indicating the utmost quantity of oxygen your physique can use throughout intense train) falls right into a low vary. 

Apps

Extra Apple Watch options I discover helpful embrace Apple Pay for contactless funds, Siri language translations, and the general calling and texting expertise, together with the flexibility to dictate textual content replies and consider pictures in texts on the watch’s display.

Maybe the watch’s greatest energy stays the App Store, which helps you to browse and set up apps proper on the watch itself. With greater than 20,000 Apple Watch apps out there, it simply has the most important, highest-quality third-party choice of any wearable.

Image of the App Store on the Series 6

Along with downloading apps and swapping out the band, altering your watch face is a enjoyable method to customise your gadget, and Apple has some new choices to choose from. WatchOS 7 contains 7 new watch faces: GMT, which exhibits a number of time zones without delay; Depend Up, which helps you to observe elapsed time; Chronograph Professional, a stopwatch with a tachymeter speed-measuring instrument; Typograph, which affords three customized sort kinds; Artist, which includes a dynamic portrait created in collaboration with artist Geoff McFetridge; Memoji, that includes Apple’s animated characters; and Stripes; which could be personalized primarily based on what you are carrying, your help for a trigger, or your favourite sports activities group. 

Image of the Memoji watch face
The Memoji watch face options Apple’s cute animated characters

Comparisons and Conclusions

Because the Apple Watch made its debut 5 years in the past, one in every of its main features has been that will help you monitor your well being. The Sequence 6 delivers two key options that construct upon this drastically, and can assist maintain you secure within the age of COVID-19—an SpO2 sensor that permits you to monitor your blood oxygen saturation stage, and a countdown timer that retains you sincere when washing your fingers. The Sequence 6 additional impresses due to a quicker processor, a brighter always-on show, and an improved altimeter that may observe your elevation modifications in actual time. 

It simply outperforms Google Put on OS-based watches just like the Moto 360, and affords a way more absolutely realized smartwatch expertise than Fitbit’s extra health-centric fashions. For those who already personal a Sequence 5, the Sequence 6 is admittedly solely definitely worth the improve for those who completely will need to have the always-on altimeter or SpO2 readings. However between its superior well being and health monitoring capabilities, security and life-style options, and vast choice of downloadable apps, the Apple Watch Sequence 6 is one of the best smartwatch in the marketplace fingers down, and our Editors’ Alternative.

That stated, if the $399 beginning value is out of your finances, the brand new Apple Watch SE affords most of the similar options because the Sequence 6—together with a handwashing timer, sleep monitoring, coronary heart charge notifications, and extra—for $120 much less. It lacks an always-on show and a number of the Sequence 6’s extra superior well being options, nevertheless, together with the flexibility to take an ECG and measure the oxygen saturation of your blood. We’ll have a evaluate of it quickly, nevertheless it appears to be like to be a robust various to the Sequence 6 for those who do not thoughts a much less health-focused expertise.

Apple Watch Sequence 6 Specs

Telephone OS Compatibility iOS
Show Sort OLED
Watch OS watchOS
Processor Apple S6
Show Measurement 1.56 inches
Health Options Accelerometer, GPS, Coronary heart Price Monitor
Estimated Battery Life 18 hours
Separate App Retailer Sure
Telephone Name Capability Sure

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