Should you buy the Apple Watch Series 4?

My first Apple Watch was a gift from my wife, she invited me to lunch for Valentine’s and surprised me with a stop at our local Apple store to get me one of these new Apple watches. I got one, the 42mm stainless steel watch with the silver Milanese loop band and I have been using it since then. I wasn’t convinced it was a useful device for a while until the software started to get better and also some handy apps came along.

Initially, the Apple Watch wasn’t received well, people were mocking it and making fun of Apple for producing such a device (see screenshot below). The truth is that the first edition or Series 0 wasn’t ready, they just weren’t good enough yet.

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Personally, I was impressed by it, I really liked the design and the functionality, yes the series 0 was the thickest, the slowest, and the software was full of bugs, but it was still impressive. For example, the activity and heart rate apps where pretty good since the beginning, and in my opinion, there wasn’t anything as good and accurate as the Apple Watch.

Early competition

At the time, a lot of people where buying Fitbits, including myself, but while these devices were convenient and inexpensive, the quality and durability was pretty bad. In contrast, the Apple Watch not only kept track of my steps but it also did a lot more, like checking my heart rate, and it had some useful apps.

A few years have passed since the first Apple Watch was released, its popularity has grown, sales of it have increased, and let’s be honest, the new Apple Watch is way better than the first version. The reality is that this watch is for people who love Apple products. The point is, Apple isn’t the only company who improved their Smartwatch line and its features, there are new competitors who in my eyes, have built much better products for exercise tracking, with much better battery life, and they also look great.

Garmin, for example, made a smart move by releasing GPS Watches of various price levels and needs. Gamin’s GPS Watches are well built and well designed, and in my opinion, they are still the best GPS Watch you can buy today. The battery life in all models of their GPS Watch surpasses that of the Apple Watch, and this is an essential factor for anyone serious about their fitness training.

The new Series 4

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The new Series 4 is definitely a good watch and a big improvement over the Series 3. Below is a summary of what’s new and how it compares to previous versions.

The Series 4’s come in two new sizes, a 40mm case (977 sq mm display area) and a 44mm (759 sq mm display area).

It’s also thinner, almost as thin as the Series 0’s 10.5mm (if you can remember), the Series 4 is 10.7mm thin while the Series 3 is 11.4mm thin.

It has a faster processor, a 64-bit dual-core S4 processor which makes it up to 2x faster than S3 processor.

The best new feature – in my opinion, an Electrical heart sensor (ECG app), the ECG app is coming later this year.

Second-generation optical heart sensor, Fall detection, and a Digital Crown with haptic feedback.

The main disadvantage

The new Apple Watch series 4 didn’t have an improvement to its battery life when compared to the series 3. By looking at the technical details for the series 3 and 4, the battery hasn’t improved much, if any. Watches on both series 3 and 4 have a battery life of up to 18 hours and up to 5 hours with GPS, according to Apple’s website.

All-day battery life is based on 18 hours with the following use: 90 time checks, 90 notifications, 45 minutes of app use, and a 30-minute workout with music playback from Apple Watch via Bluetooth, over the course of 18 hours.

In contrast, one of the most popular GPS Watches, the Garmin Fénix 5 Plus has a battery that will last for up to 12 days in smartwatch mode and 8 hours in GPS mode, with music, according to Garmin’s website.

Battery performance: up to 12 days in smartwatch mode and 8 hours in GPS mode with music (depending on settings)

When it comes to watches and its use as fitness watches Garmin is winning, and this is why Garmin’s line of watches is still a better choice than an Apple watch if you are looking to keep track of your workouts such as running, cycling, and swimming.

The main advantage

Apple did a great improvement to the Apple Watch Series 4, this device seems to be focused not only on fitness but it is now a viable and potentially reliable medical device that can help save lives. The introduction of features like the ECG feature is getting a lot of attention, and I think with reason. Apple’s Chief Operating Officer Jeff Williams said it himself

We know this feature is going to save lives.

I agree with that statement, having the ability to monitor not only your heart rate but also having an electrocardiograph right there on your wrist is definitely something amazing.

President of the American Heart Association Dr. Ivor J. Benjamin discusses the benefits of the new Apple Watch Series 4 heart health features.

The ECG feature wasn’t the only thing that Apple surprised us with, the new Series 4 will also bring advanced activity and communications features, along with revolutionary health capabilities, including a new accelerometer and gyroscope, which are able to detect hard falls. 

The fall detection feature could be useful for anyone, but this seems to be a great way for Apple to tap into a new user base that hasn’t paid attention to their Apple Watch in the past.

Should you buy the new Apple Watch Series 4?

If you have any of the previous versions, you will definitely see the benefits of the new version + the two main health-related features. If you are older or are at risk of a heart disease, buying this watch could save your life. With the ECG app (to be released later this year), users touch the Digital Crown and after 30 seconds, receive a heart rhythm classification. It can classify if the heart is beating in a normal pattern or whether there are signs of Atrial Fibrillation (AFib), a heart condition that could lead to major health complications. All recordings, their associated classifications and any noted symptoms are stored in the Health app in a PDF that can be shared with physicians.