Written by Kayla Matthews
In early September 2018, Apple promoted its new Series 4 Watch at a keynote speech. People can purchase the new smartwatch for prices starting at $399. But, what’s unique about the latest model, and do the newest features make the gadget worth the price? Here are four of the stand-out perks, along with how they measure up to similar watches on the market.
1. The Largest Display of Any Apple Watch Yet
The screen on an Apple Watch Series 4 is up to 30 percent larger than past models. Its design also features curved corners, creating a streamlined face with plenty of space for viewing content. More specifically, people can now get an Apple Watch in a 40 or 44-millimeter size.
The display helped convince some reviewers that this Apple Watch excels compared to other smartwatches. They also appreciate the haptic feedback given when a person scrolls through on-screen content.
In contrast, the LG Watch Sport, another recent addition to the smartwatch market, only has a display of slightly more than 35 millimeters. The display size may not be a significant influencer for some shoppers. Whether it is mostly depends on how they use their watches, and, potentially, if they generally have difficulty or experience frustration when reading their watch displays.
2. An ECG Sensor
Most smartwatches have heart rate sensors, but Apple wanted to go beyond the norm. The Apple Watch includes a soon-to-be-released ECG feature that detects heart rate abnormalities potentially present due to atrial fibrillation and lets people send data to their doctors. However, there are some downsides to this FDA-cleared capability.
For starters, it only detects problems when people are still and wasn’t tested on users under 22. Perhaps the most crucial thing about Apple’s feature is that the FDA didn’t intend for people to use it if they’d already been diagnosed with atrial fibrillation. Granted, that could be something the organization noted to reduce liability. But, it’s worth pointing out.
The CRONOVO is another ECG-enabled smartwatch that was fully funded on Kickstarter. Although that gadget is still in development, it appears to have some ECG-related features the Apple Watch does not, such as a driver-drowsiness alert and a fatigue indicator. It’s possible to buy the CRONOVO for $169 on Indiegogo, a price that’s significantly cheaper than the latest version of the Apple Watch.
One probable perk of the Apple Watch for some purchasers is that it has brand familiarity behind it, and the assumption is that Apple spent a hefty amount of money on developing the feature. The accuracy of the ECG should become more apparent through widespread use.
But, people outside of the United States shouldn’t get excited about the ECG. Apple is reportedly not promoting it in international markets and takes care to clarify it’s a feature coming soon for U.S. users. If people only want heart rate tracking, they can get that from other smartwatches such as the Garmin Fenix 3 HR, which, like the Apple Watch, has wrist sensors.
3. Adequate Battery Life
The battery life of smartwatches varies greatly depending on which features people use, and whether they have certain components activated — that’s when Reddit users weigh in to compare Garmin smartwatches versus those made by Apple. The Series 4, like Apple Watches before it, has an 18-hour battery life — likely long enough for most users.
When people want a gadget with even more power, they should consider the Samsung Galaxy Watch. Some reviewers say beats the Apple Watch with specific specs, including four-day battery life, and costs about $50 less than Apple’s newest watch.
4. Fall Detection
Dieter Bohn, a reviewer from The Verge, tested the Apple Watch for a week, and the resulting video review indicates there are numerous things — ranging from the sensors to the processing speed — that make the Series 4 better than any other watch previously released by Apple. One of the things Apple’s sensors pick up on is if a wearer falls.
It prompts a fallen person to get in touch with contacts or summon emergency responders if needed. Then, if the watch doesn’t detect movement within a minute, it automatically calls medical personnel. That capability could be especially useful if a person has a seizure disorder, balance difficulties or another issue that may make falling particularly likely to happen.
However, reports about that feature say it’s only enabled by default if a person sets their age as being at least 65. That setting specification may make people mistakenly think the feature is working when it isn’t turned on.
Apple’s Watch Shows Continual Improvement
The Apple Watch Series 4 has both design and feature enhancements over past models. However, people in the market for smartwatches should be aware that other, cheaper smartwatches may also have the capabilities they require.
Image via Apple