Review: Apple Watches are not exciting this year, but SE is an entry-level laptop

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Apple presented two Apple Watches this year. The Apple Watch SE will be the best choice for most people with an iPhone. For people who upgrade to an Apple Watch Series 6, the innovations may be too sparse.

Sleep tracker and battery issues in watchOS 7

In the five years that Apple has now been active in the smartwatch market, the appearance of the Apple Watch has hardly changed. The screen has gotten bigger over the years and has always been on since last year’s Series 5, but other changes are mainly found on the inside.

That is no different in the Series 6, the latest top model. The most eye-catching innovation are the latest colors, as the Series 6 is also available in red and blue. In addition, more sensors have been added to measure the oxygen level in your blood. This shows how well red blood cells are transported from your lungs to the rest of the body. This should contribute to a better picture of your fitness and health.

It is yet another new tool to measure the health of Apple Watch wearers. For example, it was already possible to measure the heart rate and make a heart movie with the Apple Watch. The smartwatch also takes these measurements during the day and stores data locally in the Health app. Consult a doctor in case of abnormal values. The new sensors are a nice addition, but it is hardly a selling point for most people.

Then there is also a new chip built in, the S6. This makes the Apple Watch a bit faster and smoother to use. It also charges the battery a little faster. In practice, that amounts to about two hours, half an hour to 45 minutes faster than the Series 5. It’s a profit, but still not very fast.

The Apple Watch measures the oxygen level in your blood with a special sensor. Source: Press/Rutger Otto

The charging speed becomes more important if you want to use the sleep tracker in the new Watch operating system watchOS 7. This function is also suitable for older Watches (from Series 3). Incidentally, the sleep measurement is not convincing. The app forces you to use bedtime schedules that you can set and only keeps track of how long you’ve slept, not how deeply. Other trackers, such as Fitbit, have been doing that better for years.

Speaking of watchOS 7. There are some issues that Apple endorses at the moment. For example, GPS data is not always properly stored after a round of sports or the battery lasts a lot less since installation. We also experienced the latter. Strangely enough, it differs per model. The Series 6 sometimes turned out not to be able to complete a long day on watchOS 7, while in the evening there was still 20 percent battery left on the Apple Watch SE.

Apple’s advice: unpair the watch, make a backup (also from the iPhone), empty both devices and then restore the backup. We prefer to wait for a software update to fix the problems.

Left the Apple Watch Series 6, right the Apple Watch SE. Source: Press/Rutger Otto

Although the Series 6 brings few real innovations to justify a switch from a Series 4 or 5, it is the most complete smartwatch from Apple at the moment. For people who do not have an Apple Watch at all and do not want to immediately pay 429 euros, Apple has released the Watch SE.

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