For Series 5, the Apple Watch is becoming more like an actual watch, with an always-on display. It’s a different approach from last year’s upgrades, when the Apple Watch received a massive update, with a larger display and performance upgrades.
So what does the always-on display give you? The main thing is that you no longer need to raise your wrist or tap the screen to see the time and your complications (the mini widgets on your watch face). You might think having the display always on would sap battery life, but it doesn’t. Apple says you can expect the same 18 hours as the Series 4.
I tried it out. It’s a nice new feature and feels like a refinement, matching Android Wear smartwatches. I have a feeling Series 5 won’t knock Apple out of the top spot in the smartwatch market. It’s nice to look at your wrist and get what you need.
Interestingly enough, the watch faces will morph. With one of the new Roman numeral tile faces, the outline of the number gets darker and the inside, or fill-in, is lighter. This is the refresh rate magic of Apple’s new custom display, and it probably helps reduce the impact on battery life.
Series 5 also has a compass, which is terrific if you use the Apple Watch while hiking or for directions. Just look at your wrist to gain a sense of direction. For me, it hopefully means I won’t go the wrong way on the subway.
All of this comes at a higher price tag, with the Series 5 starting at $499 for GPS and $599 for cellular. If you’re looking to enter the Apple Watch ecosystem, but want a more affordable route, the Series 3 starts at just $199. You can preorder both the Series 5 and Series 3 ahead of a Sept. 20 launch.
Here’s where you can preorder the Apple Watch Series 5 from: