Apple Watch Series 2 review: Small smartwatch wearers, rejoice!

by birtanpublished on August 16, 2020

– This is the Apple Watch Series 2. Although it might not look very different from the Apple watches that we know and love from last year a lot has changed under the hood including new GPS features, swimproofing, a faster processor, and more. Let's take a look, shall we?

(digital tones and techno music) So let's take a look at the Apple Watch Series 2 in a little bit more detail. On the left there is the space gray Apple Watch Series 2. You'll notice that there are no more Sport distinctions, it's just the material.

In the middle, that's the steel Apple Watch Series 2, which I have been using for most of my review. And on the right there that's not actually a Series 2 watch at all. That is a Series 1 Apple Watch, which I got to do some comparison testing

And we'll see a little bit more of that a little later on. From the outside the Apple watch really doesn't look all that different from prior models. I'd be hard pressed to pick one out of a lineup. It's a little bit thicker but honestly not too noticeable on the wrist.

The only real differences are a couple of extra holes to help with swimproofing and that new Series 2 engraving on the back of the casing. But appearances can be deceiving. The Apple Watch has been re-engineered for speed, longevity, usability, and most importantly fitness.

We'll start with speed. Everything is smoother. A big part of that is thanks to watchOS 3, Apple's latest operating system for its smart watch. But honestly, that S2 processor helps a great deal. The dock introduced in watchOS 3

To help you launch your apps faster works even better on Apple Watch Series 2. Apps launch instantaneously, even from a restart. Picking a third party app that's not in your dock will still give you that annoying, annoying spin but it is faster, especially on apps that have optimized

For watchOS 3. A great example of this is the camera. It used to take forever for the camera app to start up and connect to your phone and all of that jazz. It's immeasurably faster on Series 2, especially if it's in your dock

And there are new features in that little camera app. Although, no way for portrait mode or video which is kind of a bummer. Starting workouts is a lot faster, pinging your iPhone is a lot faster, and the response time for Siri is much better

While you're on WiFi. Although, it's not perfect on cellular but it's an improvement from Series 0. If your watch ever dies starting it up is still excruciatingly slow. Not as slow as Series 0

But it'll still take a couple minutes. That said, battery life gains are so good in Series 2 that you may never have to restart your watch in the middle of the day, fingers crossed. Battery life, the Apple Watch, and I have always had a bit of a frustration with each other.

A 38-millimeter smart watch can only spare so much for batter space and when you make a Series 0 of said smart watch record four hours of roller derby practice it doesn't end well. But with the Series 2 38-millimeter watch in can go out, I can do workouts, I can use Siri,

I can get directions. I can actually turn on Raise to Wake and use the screen brightness which I was never able to do prior and still have battery life at the end of the day. I have yet to kill either of my review unit watch

Or the steel Apple Watch and I have been putting these things through some pretty heavy testing. Obviously I've been doing a lot of skating but the Series 2 also offers great features for swimmers and runners so I thought I'd give that a try.

The watch is indeed swimproof. I tested it in the shower. Definitely waterproof, and the spitting animation is hilarious. This is my new favorite droid. But you can't really test swim strokes in the tub

So I went into the Atlantic Ocean in September, I know. So even though your iPhone 7 is water resistant you don't necessarily wanna take it on an open water swim. Jet black iPhone, jet black water, goodbye iPhone. The good news is Apple Watch uses GPS

When your arm is above water to grab the distance and give you a general swim map. In my tests it's pretty good. Though, I'd say that as somebody who spent less than 10 minutes in the water because cold I'd love to see pro swimmers

Give it a test though. Apple, give Katie Ledecky a call. Even though you can swim in the water with the Apple watch I don't know if I'd recommend the ocean in September. Lucky for me Apple's other new workout option is very fall friendly, built in GPS and GPS maps

For runners and walkers. I generally prefer skating over running but I did do a ton of walking to test the watch, pretty much everywhere, even with my dogs. When you start an outdoor run or walk in watchOS 3 and on the Series 2

Even if you don't have your iPhone with you you'll get a nice little GPS map that shows you exactly where you've been walking or running. It's pretty cool; although, it does have its problems, especially if you're in an unmarked place in a small area like a corn maze, which I discovered this weekend.

Good news though, GPS is intelligent. It only turns on when your iPhone is not around, which means it doesn't kill your battery life. Yet another plus for 38-millimeter watch owners. And though I may never use it for running I hear a couple of outdoor skating workouts calling my name.

Last but not least, the screen. It's brighter, a thousand nits bright. For me this is a huge improvement upon my original Apple Watch because I never actually used the top brightness setting. I was always worried about running out of battery.

On the Series 2 I can use that thousand nits of brightness and have no fear that my watch is gonna die midday. A quick note on the Series 1 Watch. It has the same processor and GPU as Series 2 without the GPS or the swimproofing. Battery life is still great

And the speaker is a little bit different. Testing, testing, one, two, three. Testing one, two, three. Whether you choose to get a Series 1 or Series 2 comes down to your price range, whether you need the brighter screen, GPS, swimproofing,

Or you wanna upgrade to a steel or ceramic casing. My bottom line. as someone who wore the original 38-millimeter Apple Watch the Series 2 is a gigantic upgrade in terms of battery life alone but that great screen, the GPS, and the swimproofing

Make it even better. The Apple Watch isn't perfect and the iPhone tethering limits what it can do but it's a great iteration, a welcomed step forward, and I'm having a blast using it.

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