Apple Watch Series 6 review: Best health-focused smartwatch

The sensor array on the bottom of the Watch 6 is different compared to the Watch 5.

BCCL
The battery experience has been great with Apple Watch Series 6.
Apple Watch Series 6
Price:
Rs 40,900 (GPS) and Rs 49,900 (GPS + Cellular)


Apple is the major disruptor in the global smartwatch market, courtesy the Apple Watch, which is getting better every year, and is being touted as the complete health wearable in the world. A recent incident where a 61-year-old Indian man’s life was saved by the ECG feature of the Watch 5 proves the utility of the smartwatch.

As per leading market trackers like IDC and CounterPoint Research, Apple Watch was the best smartwatch maker both in terms of volume and value in the first half of this year. With new health-centric features like the Blood Oxygen monitor especially in the times of the Pandemic, it is very likely that Apple will further cement its position in the global market.


The Cupertino-based company, popularly known for its iPhones, launched the Watch Series 6 in September. After using the Apple Watch Series 6 for two weeks, here’s my review of the device.

Design and Hardware
The latest smartwatch is identical to its predecessor, Watch Series 5, and you still get it in the 40mm and 44mm variants. Apple hasn’t tried to change the design, which is already good enough to keep the sales up globally. However, the sensor array on the bottom of the Watch 6 is different compared to the Watch 5 due to the introduction of the new blood oxygen sensor. It now has four LED clusters which allow ECG and the SpO2 measurements.

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To enable various features, the device comes equipped with various sensors, including Blood Oxygen sensor, Electrical heart sensor (for ECG), optical heart sensor, accelerometer, gyroscope (for fall detection), altimeter, GPS/GNS, ambient light sensor and compass.

It comes with the Always-On OLED Retina display, which is up to 2.5 times brighter than the predecessor, allowing you to see better during outdoor activities when sunlight is bright. The bright display certainly helps during your outdoor exercise routines. The display has 1000-nit maximum brightness and 500-nit maximum brightness with your wrist-down.

Apple has added the hand wash feature,  Automatic Hand Washing Detection, through the WatchOS 7.
Apple has added the hand wash feature, Automatic Hand Washing Detection, through the WatchOS 7.

The stainless sleep case watch that we got is protected by the Sapphire crystal. The latest watch comes with speakers that are loud enough.

Like the previous generation Apple Watch, on the right side of the watch, you get the digital crown, which now doubles up as a sensor for the ECG feature besides allowing you to navigate and select apps on the Apple Watch. The crown comes with haptic feedback.
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Apple has also added a new altimeter sensor that tracks elevation changes in real-time when you climb stairs or trek. Apple says that there is a minimal impact on the battery life.

Performance and Battery
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The latest smartwatch comes with a new processor, which is called S6 System-in-Package (SiP), which is 20% faster than the processor in the Watch 5. It also comes equipped with the W3 Apple wireless chip, which is the same as the previous watch, but features the U1 ultra-wideband chip, which Apple used in the iPhone 11 Pro. The smartwatch certainly feels faster and smoothly runs all the tasks be it navigating or opening apps. You might not get this smooth experience in any watch running Google Wear or the Galaxy smartwatches. Things like UI, design, usability and speed among others that make the smartwatch a perfect second screen to your phone, and the Apple Watch successfully manages to do that besides being a great health device.

The battery experience has been great with the Watch Series 6 as we managed to get around 17-18 hours of life on a single charge with always-on display, cellular connectivity, notifications, blood oxygen and resting heart rate readings in the background along with an hour of workout. You can certainly get your watch battery to last between a day and two days on a single charge but that will depend on various app features and usage frequency. The battery can reach from 0% to 80% in about 1 hour and 100% in around 90 minutes.

Health Features: Blood Oxygen, Sleep tracking and more
The flagship feature of the Watch Series 6 is the Blood Oxygen or the SPO2 reading feature, which Apple added seeing its need in current times. The latest feature of the Watch can be used on-demand whenever the user feels like. It also periodically measures your blood oxygen level throughout the day, when you’re not moving, and makes the readings available in the health app.

For the on-demand SPO2 reading, you will need to place the hand on a flat surface for 15 seconds while the Watch’s blood oxygen sensor takes the reading. If your watch is not correctly placed on your wrist then the sensor will not give the final reading and will ask you to do it again with instructions on the screen. During the test, we get
"measurement was unsuccessful” message multiple times. However, we can’t really say if it was because of the wrong placement of the device on the wrist since instructions were followed properly.

Apple​ Watch 6 calculates the blood oxygen levels.
Apple Watch 6 calculates the blood oxygen levels.

The Watch calculates the blood oxygen levels through its back crystal which features four clusters of green, red, and infrared LEDs, and four photodiodes that calculate the amount of light that is reflected back to detect the color of your blood. The colour of your blood indicates the oxygen level—bright red blood is more saturated, dark red blood is less. Apple uses an algorithm to estimate your oxygen saturation level through the captured data.

As per Apple, the accuracy of this feature is between 72%-100% and will not always match with a medical-grade finger oximeter device. The company also said that this is just a wellness feature and isn’t meant for medical diagnostics.

My readings were between 93-98% blood oxygen level on the Watch while on the finger oximeter, readings were in the range of 92-97%. Persistent reading of below 95% blood oxygen level on either of devices may be a sign of a problem, and it is better that you consult with a doctor. Unlike the heart rate monitor, you will not get any alert if your blood oxygen levels are not normal. But, the readings are always useful for proper evaluation by a doctor. This is a feature which is certainly helpful during the ongoing Pandemic, and readings taken by the Watch should be considered more authentic in our opinion than those finger blood oxygen monitors which are available at just Rs 1000 in the market.

Apple has also introduced the native sleep tracking feature, which needs a minimum 30% battery power to last the entire night. The feature is simple to use and you can set your bedtime in the Watch itself or using the Health app. The feature, however, will push you into using the bedtime feature.

Apple Watch tells you the number of hours you slept and your heart rate throughout the night. After testing this native feature, we feel that Apple needs to give us more details about our sleeping patterns as the watchOS 7’s sleep tracking reports are also less detailed compared to other watches. You can use third-party sleep tracking apps as well.

Keeping the Covid-19 pandemic in mind, Apple has added the hand wash feature, Automatic Hand Washing Detection, through the WatchOS 7. The watch largely uses motion sensors and microphones to automatically detect handwashing motions and sound of running water, and starts the mode which lasts for 20 seconds. If you finish early, the screen prompts to keep washing your hands. The feature should make users adopt the habit to properly wash hands every time they come from outside or after the workout.

You already know about the Apple Watch’s Electrocardiogram, or ECG capabilities which are extremely useful. The Apple Watch series 6 will require users to touch the Digital Crown to start the waveform recording for 30 seconds using the ECG app. Once the test is done, you will receive a heart rhythm classification. The app will warn the user if it detects any irregular heart rhythm. However, during the test it keeps notifying that the Watch never checks for heart attacks.

Apple Watch Series 6 can notify users if their VO2 Max or cardiorespiratory fitness level falls into a low range. The VO2 max measurement gives the data about the maximum amount of oxygen the body can consume during exercise.

The biggest feature of the Watch OS 7 is the Family Setup
The biggest feature of the Watch OS 7 is the Family Setup.

WatchOS 7
The WatchOS 7, which also runs on the older generation Apple Watches like Series 3, 4, 5, comes with seven new watch faces and the ability to make customisations. It has also enabled complications to be a lot more useful. There are new complications for Apple's built-in apps like Shortcuts and Sleep, world clock, and the camera remote.

The WatchOS 7 also offers users the ability to share configurations of watch faces with other users. You can share and receive watch faces from friends through Messages or Mail, then download the customized watch face and install any apps featured on it with just a tap.

However, the biggest feature of the Watch OS 7 is the Family Setup, which allows iPhone users to pair Apple Watches for family members who don’t have iPhones. This allows you to set communication limits, share health and activity data, and set recurring location notifications. You can also limit Apple Watch features for your kids.

Verdict
Apple Watch Series 6 is more than a regular smartwatch with features like ECG, blood oxygen calculations among others. Additionally, the brighter always-on display and the altimeter coupled with various other features make it one of the best devices for fitness enthusiasts. However, battery life and sleep tracking features could have been better. It certainly is the best smartwatch if you compare it with devices from rival companies. However, the feel that the flagship Series 6 competes with its predecessors and the latest Watch SE, which offers almost all features except important health features like ECG and blood oxygen reading.

We reviewed the 44mm Silver Stainless steel case variant with Silver Milanese Loop, priced at Rs 77,900. The price of this watch starts at Rs 40,900 for the Aluminium case with Sport Band and goes up till Rs 79,900 for Space Black Titanium Case with Sport Loop variant. The price of the Series 6, even for the base variant, is certainly on the higher side and if money is not a concern for you then you can go for the latest watch.

Stay Fit! Apple Watch Series 6 Wins Over Health Freaks With Oxygen Monitor, ECG & Fitness Tracker
1/5

At its much-awaited September event, Apple unveiled the Apple Watch Series 6, sequel to Watch Series 5, which keeps a track of all your fitness parameters at one place. It comes with various features such as ECG, fitness tracker and can also monitor the blood oxygen levels of the users.

What’s more? Given the Covid outbreak, the company has also partnered with various health organisations to see how blood oxygen level and heart rate can help users stay healthy.

The ability of the Apple Watch to monitor blood oxygen seeks to beat a similar feature already available on watches from rival Fitbit Inc, which Alphabet Inc's Google is buying for $2.1 billion.

With all the health metrics available at one place, here’s why Apple Watch Series 6 can give a tough competition to Fitbit and emerge as the go-to gadget for all fitness enthusiasts.

At its much-awaited September event, Apple unveiled the Apple Watch Series 6, sequel to Watch Series 5, which keeps a track of all your fitness parameters at one place. It comes with various features..
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Going trekking comes with its own set of challenges, especially because the oxygen levels tend to nosedive as the altitude increases. However, with the new Apple Watch Series 6, you can monitor your real time oxygen level as the height increases.

What’s more? The watch will also show the changes in the elevation in real time along with the variations in the oxygen level. With Apple Watch Series 6, you can keep a constant check on your blood oxygen levels as you travel to higher altitudes.

Going trekking comes with its own set of challenges, especially because the oxygen levels tend to nosedive as the altitude increases. However, with the new Apple Watch Series 6, you can monitor your ..
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Apple, at its event, also launched a virtual fitness service called Fitness+. With Fitness+, Apple Watch Series 6 will give you personalised fitness and health tips, suggest workouts from fitness trainers and offer programmes designed for beginners and experienced health enthusiasts.

The Apple watch also offers flexibility to workout from anywhere and keeps the users motivated. Using a custom recommendation engine, Fitness+ considers previously completed workouts and intelligently suggests new options that match the workouts users select most often, or something fresh to balance their current routine.

When a workout is selected and started on iPhone, iPad, or Apple TV, the correct workout type will automatically start on Apple Watch. During the session, the metrics from Apple Watch are shown on the screen.

Each week, the team of Fitness+ trainers will deliver fresh workouts from the studio across a range of lengths, disciplines, and music genres so there are always new workouts to explore.

Sounds like bang for the buck!

Apple, at its event, also launched a virtual fitness service called Fitness+. With Fitness+, Apple Watch Series 6 will give you personalised fitness and health tips, suggest workouts from fitness tra..
Read More

The Apple Watch Series 6 comes with a new feature that is much-needed given the times we are living in. The watch can automatically detect when the users are washing their hands.

As soon as the washing detective recognises the motion and sound, it recommends the user to continue washing their hands for at least 20 seconds.

A life-saving feature? You bet!

The Apple Watch Series 6 comes with a new feature that is much-needed given the times we are living in. The watch can automatically detect when the users are washing their hands.As soon as the washin..
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Apple Watch Series 6 will cost customers Rs 40,900 for the GPS model and Rs 49,900 for the GPS + Cellular model in India. If you wish to add a dash of luxe to your Diwali gifts this year, you can go for Apple Watch Series 6.

If you are wary of shelling out Rs 40,000, fret not! The good folks at Apple have also launched a lower-cost watch, being called the Apple Watch SE, being touted by the company as the perfect watch for new customers.

The Apple Watch SE (GPS) starts at Rs 29,900 and Apple Watch SE (GPS + Cellular) starts at Rs 33,900. It will be available soon through Apple Authorised Resellers.

Sounds like the perfect Diwali gift, doesn’t it?

Apple Watch Series 6 will cost customers Rs 40,900 for the GPS model and Rs 49,900 for the GPS + Cellular model in India. If you wish to add a dash of luxe to your Diwali gifts this year, you can go ..
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