REVIEWS

Philips Hue Smart Lighting System

insta360 nano 360 camera for iPhone

2017 Cadillac CT6 Luxury

UAG Rugged Case for Surface Book

Lenovo Moto G5

Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8+

2017 Cadillac XT5 Platinum

Linksys VELOP Whole Home Mesh Network

Fitbit Alta HR

2016 Range Rover

2016 Ford Flex Limited

Timex IQ+ Move fitness tracking watch

2016 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid

2017 Mazda CX-9 Signature

2016 Mazda MX-5

Sennheiser PXC-550 Bluetooth headphones

2017 Mercedes-Benz C-Class 4MATIC Sedan

Sudio Regent Bluetooth headphones

Samsung Gear S3 Frontier

VisionTek SoundTube PRO Bluetooth speaker

Fitbit Charge 2

2017 GMC Acadia Denali

Apple AirPods

Apple MacBook Pro (Late 2016)

808

Game of Thrones Season Six Blu-Ray

Michelin Premier all-season tires

Tom Tom Spark 3 Cardio +

Google Daydream View VR headset

ASUS ZenBook 3

Jaybird X3

JBL SoundBoost Speaker Moto Mod

Moto Insta-Share Projector for Moto Z

Google Pixel XL

Apalon's My Alarm Clock app

Lenovo Moto Z

Apple Watch Series 2 and watchOS 3

iOS 10

Apple iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus

Dyson 360 Eye Robot Vacuum

Dyson V8 Absolute Cordless vacuum

Tablo by Nuvyyo

Samsung Gear Fit 2 fitness wearable

Ulysses for macOS and iOS

Epson SureColor P600 Wide Format inkjet printer

HBO's Vinyl Season 1

Apple MacBook (2016)

Papago! GoSafe 268 mirror mounted dash-cam

Piper all-in-one security

JayBird Freedom headphones

SF MoMA app

Fitbit Blaze fitness tracker

UA HealthBox

Dyson Pure Cool Link

Lola by Blue

HTC 10

Apple iPhone SE

Apple iPad Pro 9.7-inch

2016 Chevrolet Malibu

Dell XPS 12 with 4K Ultra HD display

RHA S500i Noise Isolation headphones for iOS

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Saturday
Sep242016

Review: Apple Watch Series 2 and watchOS 3

By Gadjo Cardenas Sevilla

With the water resistance, GPS and improved battery life the Apple Watch Series 2 becomes an even more personal wearable but more than a gadget or accessory, it can really help keep your fitness goals front and centre if used properly.

Apple Watch Series 2 removes a lot of the ambiguity of its predecessor and is now honed to be a better all-around fitness tracker with a built-in GPS and improved water resistance that should please users who want to take it swimming or go for runs or bike rides sans iPhone or iPhone Plus.

Where are we with wearables?

A quick look at the wearables market shows us that the Apple Watch Series 2 faces even less competition than the original Apple Watch. Interest for Android Wear has cooled this past year, even if various new models have come to market, Google’s wearable experience is really quite limited to notifications. Samsung’s wearables have also skewed more towards fitness and notifications while cheaper, fitness focused devices like the ones from Fitbit, Misfit or other are happy to stay out of the smartwatch space.

The Apple Watch never came cheap but has enjoyed success nonetheless. Apple has refined the experience mostly through software updates and now with the new models, has improved the overall performance as well.

Momentum is Apple's

Might we be seeing the Apple Watch slowly replicate what the iPod had done to the MP3 market a decade ago? Coming from behind as a more premium device, the iPod eventually dominated the MP3 player space. Apple is the second largest watch company in the world in terms of revenue, right behind Rolex which is a high-end luxury brand. This was before Apple diversified the product line to offer a cheaper Series 1 version as well as the Series 2 models we’re covering here. Momentum is on Apple’s side.

watchOS 3.0, has been retooled to focus on various functions users really need rather than what Apple originally though were good ideas. Having been in the market for almost two-years, Apple Watch and its users have been able to define what works and what doesn’t, and credit to Apple, they listened. watchOS remains an excellent notifications and communications OS but now has a more organic and thoughtful navigation system.

The same but better

Out of the box, the Sport model of the Apple Watch Series 2 looks somewhat identical to the Gen 0 model but is slightly thicker to accommodate  a larger battery and possibly the components for the GPS. Battery life is better by roughly 30 per cent but can be quickly extinguished if you go on a long GPS-enabled run or if you play back music from the Apple Watch (yes, the Apple Watch is also an iPod). That said, I never had a problem plugging my original Apple Watch at night and the Series 2 has markedly better battery life with up to 68% battery left at the end of the day. 

The new dual-core processor’s power and speed is immediately felt. Setting up a new Apple Watch took around 20 minutes, the process is way faster as is resetting or restarting Apple Watch. Battery life is also noticeably better, although with that GPS in tow will offer varied results depending on use.

Water Resistance


What interests me the most about Watch Series 2 was the move towards water resistance. I’ve always babied my original Apple Watch although I have bathed with it on a handful of occasions and worried that it might get damaged. With the Series 2, this is no longer an issue as the Watch is,  in Apple’s own words, “rated water-resistant 50 metres,1 so you can leave it on when you’re in the pool or ocean. Since a speaker can’t be sealed because it needs air to produce sound, we reinvented ours — it lets water in, then uses sound vibrations to force it back out.”

More important than mere water resistance, Apple has also added various swimming specific workouts right on the Apple Watch which now make it possible for swimmers to incorporate their aquatic workouts into their fitness plan without any issues.

Apple Watch is as much a fashion play as it is a technology product. Apple's pared down the range by discontinuing the gold and rose gold models and in their place, has a white ceramic Watch as the sole Edition model. The Sport Watch is also available as a co-branded Nike Plus model which has specific bands and branding to reflect Nike + long standing running gear and accessories. Black and silver stainless steel models are also still available.

The range of bands has also changed with some colours being discontinued while newer nylon and sport band colour combinations have been released. 

For me, the Apple Watch has earned a semi-permanent place on my wrist for quick bites of information, keeping track of my activity, the new Breathe app is ideal for taking a step back during a busy day and I use the Watch to take more hands-free calls than I care to admit.

With the water resistance, GPS and improved battery life the Apple Watch Series 2 becomes an even more personal wearable but more than a gadget or accessory, it can really help keep your fitness goals front and centre if used properly.

Hits: 

  • Faster processor, brighter display, GPS and water resistance make Watch Series 2 a better fitness watch
  • watchOS 3 improves daily use and is more user focused
  • All the old bands and accessories fit
  • New watchfaces and complications work nicely
  • Water expelling feature is pure innovation

Misses:

  • Still no 'always on,' way to see time, you still have to 'raise to wake' Apple Watch
  • Still no native sleep tracking function

Conclusion:

The Apple Watch Series 2 gets closer to a more autonomous wearable that's not just an adjunct to a connected smartphone. watchOS 3 is brimming with useful features and more-focused and intuitive functionality while retaining the same look, feel and accessory bands that Apple Watch users have grown to love.

Most new users will get a great experience with the updated Series 1 model, those who crave water resistance and a GPS now have various options and, if they're willing to wait, can consider the Nike Plus variants coming next month. 

Rating: 4 out of 5

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