Apple’s all-new Series 4 smartwatch is the most significant Apple Watch update since the the tech giant introduced the original in 2014. The latest iteration of the most popular watch in the world has an updated design with a larger display, enhanced ergonomics, even more advanced health- and fitness-tracking features, and all-day battery life.
The latest model is available to order with a 40- or a 44-millimeter case — a slight increase over the 38- and 42-millimeter options of its predecessors. The newcomer has a $399 starting price tag. There will be three aluminum finishes to pick from (silver, gold, and space gray), as well as an extensive collection of stainless steel models, which includes an all-new gold model).
We spent almost a week testing the new Apple Watch Series 4. It is overwhelmingly the best smartwatch available today, thanks to its elegant and easily customizable looks, excellent craftsmanship, and a sleek OS that’s packed with useful features, yet is incredibly intuitive.
Here’s why Apple’s Series 4 smartwatch should be at the top of your wish list:
1. The Apple Watch Series 4 display is 30% larger.
The new Retina display of the Apple Watch Series 4 is 30% larger than the previous generation, thus making interacting with the smartwatch even more seamless. It has ultra thin borders and slightly curved edges, so it flawlessly blends into the case of the watch.
A bigger screen means that you get even more space for watch-face complications. Apple has released a plethora of new ones to take advantage of the larger display panel, so you can access even more helpful data and information with a quick glance. New, more dynamic watch faces that interact with the curved screen are also available.
Most importantly, the OLED display is peerlessly sharp and vibrant. With a maximum brightness of 1,000 nits, it’s also easily legible even in bright sunlight.
2. It fits more comfortably than before thanks to its thin profile.
Even though it packs a larger screen, the Apple Watch Series 4 offers ergonomics that are superior to any of the older variants. The watch is only slightly wider, but considerably thinner, so it fits more comfortably on the wrist.
The updated Apple Watch crown now offers haptic feedback for enhanced interaction. Its loudspeaker is much louder than in previous iterations, so making phone calls and interacting with Siri is easier than ever.
3. The new optical heart-rate sensor can literally save your life.
The Apple Watch has always been known for its excellent built-in heart-rate sensor. However, thanks to the addition of EKG-tracking capabilities, the Series 4 will help you seamlessly keep tabs on your heart health and share data with your doctor. The FDA-classified functionality is a first for a smartwatch — it will arrive on the Apple Watch Series 4 via a firmware update.
Thanks to its new heart-rate sensor, the new Apple Watch has the ability to notify you if your heart rate is too low. It can also screen your heart rhythm in the background and notify you in case it detects any irregularities.
Of course, the all-new heart-rate sensor of the Apple Watch Series 4 is also handy in tracking your workouts. Overall, the hardware component and the functionality it brings should be enough to convince you that the Apple Watch Series 4 is a wise investment in your overall well-being.
4. There’s an all-new S4 chip that’s twice as fast as the previous iteration.
The new Apple Watch packs a new S4 chip, which delivers a serious bump in performance over the previous generations. As a result, the Apple Watch Series 4 feels a lot snappier than the already plenty-smooth Series 3.
When switching to the latest generations, you will immediately notice a faster startup, as well as much-reduced app loading times. The updated chip suits the larger screen of the Apple Watch Series 4, as well as the new functionality that watchOS 5 offers.
The Apple S4 chip is paired with an updated gyroscope and accelerometer, which allow the smartwatch to detect a fall (among many other things). It can even connect you to emergency services if necessary.
The latest W3 wireless chip by Apple on the other hand, is Bluetooth 5.0-compatible for a more reliable connection with your phone. The back of the Apple Watch Series 4 is crafted from ceramic and sapphire crystal, which improves the quality of the device’s wireless connections.
5. The Apple Watch Series 4 can help you detach from your iPhone.
The cellular connectivity of the Apple Watch Series 4 offers will help you occasionally leave your iPhone behind, and focus on your outdoor workouts or activities without losing access to urgent notifications completely. The functionality debuted in last year’s Apple Watch Series 3 for the first time, and thanks to the faster processor and the new watchOS 5, it is more polished than ever.
Because of its larger display, the Apple Watch Series 4 takes its optional iPhone independence to a whole new level. You can send quick replies to messages and emails, as well as interact with apps more smoothly than on older Apple Watch models.
Once again, with the Apple Watch Series 4, we have a product that’s as lifestyle-altering as it is desirable. Just like with the iPad and iPad Pro, we have a product category where Apple sits alone on top — the Apple Watch Series 3 was handily the best smartwatch before the latest model arrived.
Like all Apple Watch models before it, the Series 4 comes with a fantastic selection of original and third-party straps to help you customize its looks for every occasion. Apple deserves a hat tip for keeping the device compatible with the watch bands from the previous generations.
A budget of $399 will land you a 40-millimeter version with an aluminum case and no cellular connectivity (the 44-millimeter version is $30 extra). Aluminum models with cellular connectivity start at $499 — a noticeable bump from the pricing of last year’s Series 3. Apple Watch Nike+ variants with exclusive Nike faces and straps are also available with the same pricing.
Stainless steel models start at $699. The range-topping stainless steel Apple Watch Series 4 with faces and leather bands crafted by the fashion powerhouse Hermès is priced at a hefty $1,499.
The Series 4 has gotten noticeably more expensive than its predecessor, which started at $329. However, given the all-new hardware and superior tracking features, we believe that it is well worth the splurge. The Apple Watch Series 3 is still available with a new $279 price tag.