There are plenty of decent smartwatch options out there, including Apple’s own SE, but the Apple Watch Series 6 is the only real choice in smartwatches. You might not need all of the things it does right now, but if you’re going to spend a few hundred bucks on a smartwatch, it pays to future-proof your wrist.
I’ve been testing quite a few watches and bands recently—the Fitbit Sense (go. macworld.com/ftsn), Apple Watch SE (go. macworld.com/wtse), Fossil Carlyle Gen 5, Samsung Galaxy Watch 3, even the Amazon Halo band—and the Apple Watch Series 6 is the undisputed leader of the pack. Yes, you’re paying more for a Series 6 than any of those devices, but the extra money is so well spent you’re better off waiting for a sale to buy one rather than settling for a cheaper watch, even the SE.
That said, the Series 6 isn’t quite perfect. The battery life still can’t match Fitbit’s impressive lengths. Sleep tracking is extremely rudimentary. And the new Sp02 sensor is overly sensitive when taking on-demand readings. But even with those flaws, you’re not going to find another smartwatch that's as fast, featured, fashionable, or just plain fun.
A TIMELESS DESIGN THAT STILL FEELS FRESH
There may come a time when Apple changes the design or shape of the Apple Watch, but that’s not the case with the Series 6. It’s basically identical to the Series 5 and not that different than the original if you happen to be upgrading. Let's compare dimensions to the first-gen:
Apple Watch (1st gen)
38mm: 38.6 x 33.3 x 10.5mm
42mm: 42.0 x 35.9 x 10.5mm
Apple Watch Series 6
40mm: 40mm x 34mm x 10.4mm
44mm: 44mm x 38mm x 10.4mm
However, Apple’s done just enough to keep it fresh. The new colors are a nice touch and will probably compel more than a few upgrades from Series 4 or 5. The blue color I tested is a lot darker in person than on Apple’s website, but it’s definitely a nice addition to the classic silver, space gray, and gold aluminum. If anything, the new colors illustrate just how little of the Apple Watch’s body is actually visible while wearing it.
No matter which color you choose, however, the Apple Watch’s square shape is ideal for a smartwatch, and there isn’t much about it I’d change other than making it substantially thinner. To be fair, the Series 6 and SE are the thinnest watches Apple has ever made and makes its competitors look positively chunky, but the profile is still plenty thick compared to a regular wristwatch.
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