Apple Watch Series 4 – REVIEW

Apple Watch Series 4

9

Design

9.0/10

Screen

9.0/10

Performance

9.0/10

Pros

  • The new design is spectacular
  • New screen size
  • Significant increase in performance
  • Nuevos sensores y electrocardiograma

Cons

  • Apple still can not make the screen is always on
  • Apple Watch + watchOS is able to detect many situations where the behavior of the watch should change, but is not enough.

The Apple Watch Series 4 is the iPhone 4 of Apple’s smartwatch: new design, a bigger screen and the ultimate proof of the value behind a wearable that is always in touch with us.

Processor: Apple S4.
Sizes: 40 and 44 mm.
Connectivity: Bluetooth 5, Wi-Fi, GPS and 4G.
Finishes: steel or aluminum.

During the announcement of the original Apple Watch, in September 2014, Tim Cook described the three fundamental pillars of the product:

• A high precision watch
• A communication tool
• An activity and health monitor

Four years later – and just over three since its arrival in stores – the status of the Apple Watch is quite healthy; It has become the best-selling watch brand in the world, surpassing others that have been in the industry for decades, in high and low ranges. But as Microsoft has already taught us in the past, high sales do not always equal a good product.

So, is the Apple Watch the wearable fiance? Honestly, yes. The theory that Tim Cook exhibited has been fulfilled: the clock has been able to measure, better than any other, physical activity, as well as generate a reliable health record, adding data in an application, Health, which shows all those bits of information in an extremely simple format to read.

The Apple Watch Series 4 seeks to evolve and enhance all of the above, with a larger screen, a faster processor, a new sensor capable of making electrocardiograms and a new design.

One of the fundamental reasons for the success of the Apple Watch, no matter how much the nerds do not understand it, is in its design, in the almost unbearable attention to detail and in the fact that this is a product that, despite the passing of the years, it continues to look good.

Yes, those of us who are very interested in (or live on) technology, find it hard to understand. “It does the same as a Moto 360 but it costs twice as much! What do you think?” Many will think. However, nobody bought the Motorola smartwatch; nor did anyone with the watches of LG, Samsung or Huawei. I’m sorry, but it’s a reality that cannot be ignored. They are objectively ugly, lack taste and do not understand that in “wearable technology” the second word is as important as the first.

In fact, they are stopping buying normal watches in exchange for the Watch because the smart watch market, in reality, is the Apple watch market. I do not say it, the CEO of a luxury Swiss watch brand has explained it in detail:
“I feel that the Swiss watch industry has not yet understood how the Apple Watch is eating the market, especially affecting quartz watches,” he said in his blog.

Innovation and miniaturization

We lose perspective of how much has been achieved to miniaturize technology over the years. Now we have the ability to carry on the wrist a product of great computing power, constantly measuring steps, heart rate, activity, make and receive phone calls, run applications, connect to Wi-Fi networks and even operate over the cellular networks of the operators.

In that sense, the brain within the Apple Watch Series 4 is a revolution in terms of innovation and miniaturization. They call it S4, and like its predecessor it has two processing cores. However, these present an important revolution considering their size: operate at 64-bits.

This revolution, I insist, will totally disappear. It’s normal, as I explained in my review of the iPhone XS, given the way Apple works: technology must be invisible and the Apple Watch is probably the best example of this maxim.

In practical terms: the Series 4 is twice as fast as the Series 3, and how it shows! It is immediately evident when browsing the interface, customize spheres, open applications or change from one app to another.

The Apple applications, which are clearly optimized for watchOS 5 and this version of the smartwatch, open immediately. And the situation is also repeated with third-party applications. Overcast, a popular application for listening to podcasts, also updated for the new version of the operating system, opens instantly. There are no loading times – as it always should have been. The developers finally have a team where they will see their apps shine instead of being second-class citizens.

Now, in conjunction with wireless headphones, some AirPods, for example, it is completely possible to walk down the street listening to podcasts directly from the Watch, which are downloaded from the iPhone or the cellular network, if compatible, without any lag at the time to choose episode, forward or delay the audio.

The Apple Watch Series 4 has Bluetooth 5, capable of transmitting data at twice the speed and with a range four times greater than Bluetooth 4. It is a fundamental detail that makes the communication between the smartwatch and the iPhone much more efficient, and It is also the things that are noticed immediately.

The new design of the Apple Watch Series 4

The strong point of the Apple Watch Series 4, in addition to the internal improvements, is its new design. The box is now thinner and comes in two new sizes: 44 and 40 millimeters. The screen has a design reminiscent of the iPhone X / XS, extending to the corners, without frames and with rounded edges, a series of details that make it much more elegant. The design change also makes the screen around 30% larger than its predecessor.

Apple has also redesigned the back of the watch, which is almost never seen. In the presentation of the iMac, Steve Jobs said that “the back is prettier than the front of the competition.” A phrase that also applies in the case of the new Apple Watch. Now it is black, it is composed of two different materials (ceramic and sapphire) and hides two sensors that we will detail later in this review.

In my first impressions of the Apple Watch Series 4 I mentioned that the size of the 40-millimeter box is practically universal: smaller than the previous 42 millimeters but with a larger screen, as a result of the new design. It is large enough to accommodate the vast majority. Do you want more space and willing to invest a little more? Then the 44 millimeter is what you are looking for. The screen is “immense”.

New Faces

New faces come together with the new design and the larger screen. One of them, called “Infographic”, is able to display a large amount of information thanks to four complications located in the corners and four more in the center.

The “Modular” sphere has also been redesigned to display much more information than before. In addition, it adopts San Francisco Rounded typography, which works much better with the new design of the watch and takes better advantage of the size of its screen.

New animated spheres have also been created that can show the total size of the screen. They are extremely simple, displaying only the hour and minute hands. However, the work behind them is, in fact, superior to the apparent. I had the opportunity to sit down with one of the designers responsible for the Apple Watch and I was surprised that each of these animations are not graphics generated by a computer, but real recordings of different organic materials. To achieve this, Apple has spent weeks building the necessary scenarios to achieve the desired effect on the watch’s screen.

Sometimes the attention to detail that reach Apple exceeds any expectations, but that is precisely what makes the product so special.

New Sensations

The Apple Watch is closely related to the sensations: what it feels like to wear it, when you receive notifications or when you handle it. Clearly the taptic engine has been improved, in charge of notifying with small “touches” on the wrist that something is happening: a notification, a phone call, a new message via Walkie Talkie or indications when using Maps.

The crown has also been redesigned. In addition to having the new sensor for electrocardiograms, which we will address later, integrates haptic feedback. The vibration is extremely subtle and gives a sensation of very interesting precision that helps a lot when navigating.

The side button, located just below the crown, is less prominent but does not lose depth when pressed. Simplify the design of the box without sacrificing functionality.

There is also a subject that is a bit more difficult to explain, and that is what it feels like to use the Watch and its screen. With the absence of borders everything looks a little more natural. As if the elements of the interface were more present, and the limits between software and hardware disappeared a little more.

New Sensors

The Apple Watch Series 4 has the same heart rate sensor as its predecessors. You wear the watch and it starts to measure, there is nothing to configure. With watchOS 5, it also alerts you when your frequency is too high or, on the contrary, too low.

In addition to the heart rate meter, Apple has incorporated a new two-part electric sensor. One of the electrodes is in the back of the box, in permanent contact with your wrist. The other, however, is located right on the edge of the crown. Both are there to perform electrocardiograms, a system that, through the electrical activity of the heart, can detect cardiovascular diseases, understand the cardiac cycle or metabolic alterations.

Its inclusion in the watch is quite significant: it is the first product, available to any consumer, who can perform this type of test. This, in some cases, can mean the difference between a person’s life and death.

Being able to make electrocardiograms on a device like an intelligent watch is not anything, and it was a surprise that Apple has managed to integrate it into this year’s Apple Watch. They already have the permission of the Food and Drug Administration of the United States and will have to obtain similar permits in Europe and other countries where the watch is sold.

At the moment the electrocardiogram will arrive in the United States “later in 2018”. In Europe and other countries, for the moment, it is unknown when it can be used. We have investigated what is needed for approval and Apple must go through a bureaucratic process that in recent times has been simplified, so that your arrival may not take too long.

The gyroscope of the clock has also been improved, which is able to detect falls automatically. If the user does not receive feedback within a maximum period of 60 seconds, the Apple Watch makes an automatic call to the emergency services. The first thing that comes to the mind of many are the elderly, but situations in which a fall can be critical can happen to all of us.

Extra Notes

• The speaker has more volume. Apple says 50% higher, but it seems even more.
• The microphone is placed just below the crown, avoiding echoes and making the quality of the voice significantly better during calls.
• Despite the 64-bit processor and the larger screen, Watch’s autonomy remains. Same battery life as previous models.
• In addition to saving it in the iPhone Health app, you can generate a report of the electrocardiograms in PDF. In this way it is easier to give a doctor the cardiac information collected by the watch.
• All medical information or activity does not leave the device. There is no way for Apple to access it or share it with third parties.
• The base prices of Series 4 increase slightly compared to the previous year. The cheapest model (aluminum, 40mm, only Wi-Fi and sports strap) starts at $ 399.

Conclusion:

Of all that Apple has released in 2018, the Apple Watch is what most excites me. We are seeing some very interesting advances that can literally improve our lives. I think there’s a lot of future in the company’s wearables division

The Apple Watch, together with the AirPods, both cataloged as wearables, have been two of the most successful products of Apple in recent years. The most curious thing of all, besides, is that they have achieved it in a silent way. For a good while, especially the smartwatch, it was seen as a failure. Today is the best selling watch.

Miniaturization and consequently invisibility, a future where technology does not interrupt us, where we no longer have to look at the floor and a rectangular screen held by our hands, but devices full of sensors, can give us feedback, sound or visual information at more appropriate times. That’s what the Apple Watch starts to get.

But there are two important things that, for the moment, the Watch needs:

Screen always on. I should not turn my hand to see how the information unfolds, it should always be available, regardless of the angle at which the watch looks.

Greater contextual dynamism. The Watch’s operating system is increasingly adapted to different situations without the need for manual interaction-starting the exercise measurement automatically is a good example-but there are dozens of circumstances in which the Watch could detect and act, but He still does not.