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Apple Watch Series 4 initial review: A Bigger bolder display showcases a new design

By reviews / 13. September 2018

Apple Watch has been updated for the fourth time in as many years, bringing with it a number of new features, and for those likely to be looking to upgrade from the first generation model, a tweaked design that features a bigger screen and other cool new tech.

But can Apple take Apple Watch to the next level? We got to play with the new Apple Watch Series 4 at the Gather Round event in Cupertino.

A new design

  • Large OLED screen
  • New tweaked design
  • New 40 and 44mm sizes

Although Apple has focused in previous years on enhancing the insides of the Apple Watch, adding things like GPS, Cellular, and other sensors, this year the company has refined the design giving it a much larger screen. 

The new design will still feature the same rectangular design approach, but that display will be bigger as the company pushes the screen to the edge in a move designed to deliver a much more immersive experience on your wrist.

And immersive it is. On the wrist, the new Series 4 watch is noticeably bigger, but a thinner design means that it’s not as bulky as previous models.
Apple claims the screen is over 30 per cent larger, with the smaller model offering a boost of 35 per cent and the larger models 32 per cent, and it’s certainly noticeable from the minute you pick it up. Not that’s it’s too large, mind you. 

The new bigger screen has had an effect on the overall size. There will be two new sizes: 40mm and 44mm, instead of 38 and 42mm. And it will come in a range of colours – the same as before the aluminium models, but for the stainless steel offering, there’s a new shiny gold finish. 

Also tweaked is the Digital Crown. It’s now haptic feedback enabled, the same tech found on other Apple devices like the iPhone XR and the MacBook, and that means it doesn’t protrude as much from the edge of the watch. It’s not going to change how you feel about the watch, but it’s something we noticed nonetheless. 

The straps, thankfully, stay the same, so all your previous straps you might have amassed over the last couple of years will still fit. Phew.

New power

  • New processor
  • Support for Vodafone
  • Better accelerometer gyroscope for tracking when you fall

It’s not just about a new screen. The Apple Watch Series 4 offers a hefty spec upgrade, too. The speaker location has moved and is now 50 per cent louder than previous models – designed to help with phone calls. The event was loud, so we can’t fully report back on this performance at this time, sadly, but we will once we get a unit in for review. 

  • Apple Watch tips and tricks: Hidden secrets of WatchOS revealed

The mic has also been relocated, so you don’t get pick up from the speaker, and if that wasn’t enough, the back of the watch has been changed on the entry-level aluminium models. It now features a ceramic and sapphire glass for better cellular connectivity, although the changes in the change of materials on the rear aren’t noticeable.

The Series 4 also has a new accelerometer gyroscope for better recording of data. That, combined with new processing power, will mean the new watch will be able to detect when you fall over, and can then initiate an alert to help you send a message to emergency services if needed. If you don’t react to the alert, it will automatically call for help on your behalf. We can see this being an amazing feature for some people, although, likewise, it could easily get you in to trouble if you’ve merely passed out drunk in the living room. We’ll be doing our best to fall over during our review to find out how this works.

The Watch will now also work with not only EE, but Vodafone in the UK, as well. 

To power all these new features, the watch gets a processor boost, too. Called S4, it’s a 64-bit dual core processor that promises double the performance of previous models, which will hopefully help when it comes to opening apps. In our brief play, opening apps did feel quicker, but again, it’s something we want to test further when we have more time. 

Electrocardiogram support and better heart heath features

  • Capture electrocardiogram data
  • New Low Heart Rate monitor feature

The watch gets WatchOS 5, and, specifically, for the Series 4 model, new heart rate monitor options. The new software will let you check for Low Heart Rate as well as an irregular Heart Rate Rhythm and alerts you accordingly. 

Those two options should be enough for most. However, Apple has taken things a step further and will also offer the ability to take an electrocardiogram (ECG) to help you diagnose certain heart conditions. Coming as an update later in the year, the back of the watch has been changed to include electros in the glass. Now, whether you’re on a run or sitting on the couch, you’ll be able to take an ECG reading. All the recordings will then be stored in the Health App and kept private to you, or allow you to share as a PDF with your doctor. In the US, the feature has been approved by the FDA, a big sign that it not only works, but produces valuable enough data. 

New watch faces

  • More complication support
  • Fire, Wind, Vapour screens

With a new screen and a new operating system, comes new watch faces. There’s an all-encompassing circular face that will allow you to use the the corners of the display to feature more shortcuts to and complications of your favourite apps. It’s a really functional design, and as you would expect, really showcases the new bigger display.

You can have up to eight complications in total, which might be a bit of an overload for some, but we’ll wait to see how we cope when it’s on our wrist. Those that already use the modular design on the current Apple Watch will love the amount of data and shortcuts this delivers. 

There will also be new modular, non-circular designs, as well as a new breath watch face that gives you a quick shortcut to the Apple Breath mediation app.

Rather than adding more Disney characters or butterflies, there are also new Fire, Water, and Vapour screens. These are fun, but nothing huge to write home about.

Original source: http://www.pocket-lint.com/smartwatches/reviews/apple/145711-apple-watch-series-4-initial-review-a-bigger-bolder-display-showcases-a-new-design

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