In a world full of smartwatches, there are only a handful that make the cut to actually adorn your wrist and be useful in doing so. Apple Watch, for generations, has set a precedent in the wearable category and the latest Apple Watch Series 6 continues that legacy. There are many things that set apart the Apple Watch S6 despite having the usual features found on other smartwatches (read Android Wear watches), but it is the ease with which the Watch 6 blends with the Apple ecosystem that makes all the difference in the world.
We received the Apple Watch S6 shortly after launch for review. While there are various permutations and combinations for you to get your perfect watch design, it's going to cost you. Starting from Rs 40,900 for aluminum case + sport band, there are stainless steel case + sport band for Rs 69,900 and stainless steel case with Milanese Loop for Rs 73,900. The Titanium case with sport loop costs the most, Rs 79,900. We got the Stainless Steel case along with an additional Charcoal Sport Loop, which costs an extra Rs 3,900. You can buy your bands separately, which ranges from Rs 3,900 all the way up to Rs 7,900 for those premium Milanese or leather loops.
If we have to be picky, the Graphite Milanese Loop on a Titanium Case will grab more attention than your Tissot.
Here's our review of the Apple Watch S6 in its full glory.
Design and display: The best one out there
Apple hasn't retouched the design aspect, which makes sense as there's no need to fix something that isn't broken. The rectangular design, the circular crown, a physical button below, speaker on the other side, curved display soft case, easily swappable bands - what more do you need. The bonus is the wide collection of bands, including (PRODUCT) Red aluminum model and others. The sport loop we got with the watch is definitely better and easy to handle than the standard offering. We'd go as far as to recommend picking any of the loops for better durability, ease of use and stylish look.
The display, as usual, does what an OLED does best. The Apple Watch 6 has some incredible viewing angles, even when outdoors under direct sunlight. The raise to wake gesture works best on Apple Watch S6 and we don't think any other watch gets it so right. Even then, there's the Always-on option, which gives an easy glance without having to move your wrist. As good as the display looks, the touch response is accurate and soft. Despite the small screen, there were no accidental touches while calculating, or picking any app from the menu. Overall, the Apple Watch S6 is by far the most practical smartwatch when it comes to design and the display is just too good - you'll just have to see it to believe it. It's durable too, with 50 meters water resistance, we didn't have to worry about showers. Even the sports loop wasn't spoilt, making it a perfect combo.
The first thing you'll notice in the display is the watch face and Apple has really gone overboard this time around. There are some appealing watch faces and you'll want to try them all. We shortlisted the Chronograph Pro, Count Up, GMT, and Memoji. All these watch faces, except the Memoji allowed for us to have all the important complications just a tap away. The artist and stripes faces are cool too if you want to give them a try. Or go through the Face Gallery to find that suitable watch face and customize it according to your needs.
Fitness on your wrist
Apple Watch is as good a smartwatch as it is a fitness tracker. The Apple Watch S6 is improved and has more tracking features. In addition to the health tracking features found on Apple Watch S5, such as ECG monitoring, cycle tracking, heart rate, noise level detection and more, the Watch S6 gets the much-needed SpO2 feature. But it's not the matter of mere inclusion, it is about getting it right. And yes, Apple Watch S6 gets both ECG and SpO2 tracking quite right.
Given the COVID-19 pandemic, the use-case of SpO2 is the perfect fit for users. But need we remind you, there are other watches that cost way less and still offer the feature, which means the SpO2 is not the reason to buy the Apple Watch 6 but in fact there are more. For instance, there is sleep tracking in the S6, which gives detailed insights into your sleep patterns - light or deep. There's also a schedule feature, so the watch will nudge you to go to bed at specified time every day. The ECG feature, as we know it, is saving many lives. It's surely something worth giving Apple due credit for.
The activity rings shows activity progress, which is the most motivational thing on any smartwatch. Apple has got that one right to the T. Another useful feature in this COVID-19 era is hand washing countdown, which makes sure you spend full 20 seconds of scrubbing. It came as a reality check to us as we didn't quite spend 20 seconds washing hands all the time. Consistency matters, we know now.
The GPS, compass and altimeter sensors came in handy during a recent trekking trip, something that has been almost defunct in the last couple of months due to the COVID-19 lockdown. It's sure a handy feature to have for trekkers and wanderers. But the GPS works best and we know that with the seamless use of Google Maps on the wrist. It is by far the best thing as we could easily navigate to new addresses while driving or riding.
Speaking of more features worthy of your attention, Apple Watch S6's performance is leagues ahead of its rivals. The S6 chip on the Watch S6 is based on Apple A13 Bionic in iPhone 11, which is 20 percent faster than the previous one. While we didn't notice major difference in speed between the Watch S5 and Watch S6, it's safe to say that the performance of the watch cannot be questioned.
Siri is also better at responding to user queries. Just raise the wrist, and summon Siri with the magical two words. But what truly sets the Watch 6, or any Apple Watch, apart is the WatchOS.
Apple Watch S6 has WatchOS 7, which makes everything shine on the smartwatch. From seamlessly moving about the watch menus, finding what you need, and customising the interface as per your needs, Apple Watch S6 is complimented well by the software.
WatchOS makes all the difference and no Android Wear smartwatch even comes close to Apple Watch on this front.
Apple Watch S6 has gotten better. While working from home, with minimal physical activity, we managed to get close to two days of battery. On being active, the Watch S6 can easily last a whole day and more. By our estimate, the Watch S6 makes good on the 18-hour battery life promise made by Apple. Of course, we wish for the battery to be better, but given the specs it offers Apple is delivering the best possible outcome.
The fast-charging is a useful feature we found to be quite the upgrade in the Watch S6. In about 90 minutes, the watch can fully charge and be ready to run for the next day and a half.
Apple Watch S6 is perfect for those who want the best of everything - design, fitness tracking and myriad of features it offers. The variety of options in bands makes Apple Watch S6 one of its kind and the WatchOS is leagues ahead of rivals. The cellular feature, SpO2, ECG, improved battery, unparalleled performance - all packed inside a beautiful posh design, is something buyers can get behind. But that curved display looks delicate, so it's better to be safe than sorry.
One must know the Watch S6 isn't the most affordable smartwatch out there. But there are other alternatives such as Apple Watch SE, which is easier to recommend for its affordable price point and with almost all the features that Watch S6 has to offer. If budget is no concern, the Watch S6 is the best smartwatch you can get.