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Home » Devices / Gadgets » Innovative Apple Watch Series 5: new ultra-low-power LTPO display, Compass, Always On feature

Innovative Apple Watch Series 5: new ultra-low-power LTPO display, Compass, Always On feature

William ThayerOct 16, 20196047 votes +5 rating

On September 10, Apple traditionally held its autumn presentation, which presented three new iPhones at once (iPhone 11 and iPhone 11 Pro / Pro Max), and also showed a new series of watches. Last year, many buyers already shared their opinions on the Apple Watch Series 4, and then everyone liked this watch very much. Let’s see if the new generation will succeed in surpassing the old one and answer one important question: is it worth selling your Series 3/4 and buying a Series 5?

Innovative Apple Watch Series 5Photo: Apple

Packaging and design

In previous reviews, a lot of time was devoted to the story about the packaging of watches, because Apple really radically redesigned it and the process of unpacking was in some sense magical. The feeling of a New Year’s gift that you have been waiting for all year – this is the feeling that haunts you when you open the box with your new watch.

However, this year the box has not changed in any way, except some prints have been slightly updated. Otherwise, it’s still the same beautiful box with the exact same kit. The function of choosing bundle straps has appeared in some countries. Therefore, we will not linger on it for a long time and immediately proceed directly to the watch.

The new watch design has not changed much: it still has the same large display. The company introduced new gadget made of titanium and ceramics. By the way, all the straps even from the first series can traditionally be used with the new watch as with all others. We carefully examined the watch and found only two differences in the case:

  1. On the back cover, they changed the name to Apple Watch Series 5.
  2. In the white version of the watch, the stroke in the Digital Crown button was changed to white instead of black.

Display and features

Innovative Apple Watch Series 5Photo: Apple

The most important difference of the new Apple Watch Series 5 is the Always On function, which is implemented thanks to the new display, built on OLED LTPO technology. Thanks to new developments, gadget can now control the refresh rate of frames from 1 to 60 Hz (1 Hz means one execution, implementation, of such a process in one second, in other words, one oscillation per second).

Now, when switching to Always On mode, the second hand disappears in some dials and the entire display fills with a black tint. And when you exit this mode, all widgets literally “jump” onto you – such animation trifles are really made in the Apple style.

In Always On mode, the watch becomes darker and the frame refresh rate drops to 1 Hz. If in this mode you receive a notification, you will receive only a vibration response, and no one will see the message itself. If you open it, and then turn your hand again or lock the watch, they will automatically blur the text and show the time.

You can also see Always On mode, for example, in the apps for workout. Milliseconds and running animations disappear, while the device still updates the data in real time. Apple claims that they have opened the API for third-party applications, so you can safely wait for all other developers to release the relevant updates.

The software of smart Apple watch has also been updated: S5 came to replace last year’s S4 processor. It, like last year, is up to two times more productive than the old Series 3 system and somewhat more efficient than S4, but how much is still unclear. Since even on the Apple website we can’t compare these processors, we can assume that the performance increase is insignificant or not at all. At the same time, there is even more memory in the watch, now it is 32 GB instead of 16 GB last year.

Compass and location features

Innovative Apple Watch Series 5Photo: Apple

The company from Cupertino never positioned the Apple Watch as just a watch or accessory to complement a fashionable look. First of all, it is an innovative product. And although in everyday life smart watch has long become the most common accessory, Apple brings a number of innovations every year. This year, the Compass has become one – not the most obvious, but very useful update.

Compass, of course, can be useful for tourists. Indeed, in some situations, information about where the north is located is really vital. In this case, the compass will also show you information about the slope, your exact coordinates and altitude. When you turn on the Compass app for the first time, Apple strongly recommends that you do not use magnet straps during use, as they may distort information.

Innovative Apple Watch Series 5Photo: Apple

I personally would not consider the Watch Series 5 as a professional solution, because tourists always go on a trip for more than a day and in this regard the charge of the gadget is not enough, of course, if you do not take Power Bank. In this case, this is an additional weight, and for example, the old-style non-digital compass does not require charging.

You may also need a compass in the city, and I personally like such a case with maps much more. If before the watch very vaguely understood in which direction you are moving and where you are looking, now it works just fine. And although such functionality so far only supports built-in Apple Maps, the API is open to all developers and, most likely, we will see them on Yandex.Maps.

In addition, the compass supports a very cool application – Night Sky. Now it has become much easier to conquer your girlfriend with knowledge in astronomy: you just need to launch the application and you already know in what place and where in the starry sky various constellations are located.

Summary: what conclusions can be drawn

Innovative Apple Watch Series 5Photo: Apple

In general, the new generation of watches has a number of significant advantages that take them to a new level. I think you read about all of them in the text above. And if I did not write about something, it means that this functionality is also available for past generations of watches.

With all the benefits in the fifth reincarnation, the same disadvantages of the previous watch generation remained: Apple did not solve the problem of autonomy – the watch works a maximum of two days and after that it is asked to be charged. The digital ECG system is also in question: it’s not a fact that it will work in Eastern Europe, since Apple must obtain the appropriate permissions and approvals for this.

The price of the 5-series on the official website starts at $399, and for official retailers, the cost of the new Watch Series 4 starts at $325. You get a new display and Compass for $75, and in my opinion, they are worth the money.

At the very beginning of my review, I promised to answer one important question: is it worth selling your Series 3/4 and buying Series 5? And for me personally, the answer is obvious – if you really liked the Apple Watch Series 3, then you should definitely switch to the 4 or 5 series. For 4 series owners, I would recommend, at a minimum, go to the store and test Always On and only then draw conclusions. Personally, I switched to a new series, because with my eternal trips to unfamiliar cities, the new compass features help me a lot. But this is all very individual and depends on your lifestyle and thoughts.

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Discussion: 4 comments
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  1. Ian Lexxus
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    Ian LexxusJournalist
    2019-10-16, 12:22PM
    Although I love the new design, hardware and features on the Apple Watch series 5... but since you keep saying there is no watch that comes even closer, I wanted to check on a few things. I have the Samsung Gear S3 (I purchased it over 3 years ago).

    1. I have infinite options to change bands as it is modular. I can choose silicon, metal, mesh, any thing, any color and can keep changing it every day as per my look.

    2. For the "always on" display. I'm not sure on the hardware so I won't comment on that but all of the faces on my watch have a always on version. Which is a less detailed, less animated, dimmed out version of the same watch face. Again, not sure about battery saving and refresh rate specifications. I just know my watch goes easily up to 4 days if not connected with Bluetooth, up to 2 days if connected with Bluetooth, and about a day and a half if I put on always on display.

    3. My watch can get connected to Apple phones as well and still be able to use "almost all" of its features.

    How is it so far ahead from its competition when all of this has already been done and dusted with other watches over 3 years back?
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  2. William Thayer
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    Author: William ThayerJournalist
    2019-10-16, 11:24AM
    I upgrade my Apple Watch every other iteration: so 1, 3, and now 5. Apple's heart-rate monitoring has been generally found to be the most accurate amongst smart watches which makes the Apple Watch a great fitness tracker. The new always-on display will be a major plus for me. I still find software upgrades on Apple Watch to be hit and miss, it's a quite a slow and laborious process. Cellular roaming for normal usage needs to be addressed, it prevents me from buying the cellular version.
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    1. Alex Makedonski
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      2019-10-16, 11:37AM
      Great review, I too have had many fitness watches over the years but once Watch was released that's all I have had everyday since Series 1. To putt it that's the only one I haven't upgraded since Series 1 release. None of the watches had what I was looking for and well I have never had issues with battery life granted it has been replaced Twice by Apple once for a scratch under Apple Care and last year for the screen popped off. I paid 92.50 to have it repaired. They sent a brand new Series 1. All in all I have been happy. But now my Series 5 is on the way still not all the features I want but it's time.
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      1. Nicolle Steehle
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        Nicolle SteehleJournalist
        2019-10-16, 11:41AM
        Super pleased with my Apple Watch 4, but I will say it's very much directed towards fitness. I think we often forget that when smart watches first came out, there wasn't a general consensus of what they would do. It seems like Apple has really moved towards personal health and fitness monitoring features which I think is great. Is it worth $400? Only if you use these features, but maybe spending that money will encourage you to get off your couch.
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