Apple Watch Series 4 Reviews: Larger Screen is 'Incredibly Good', Upgrading From Series 0 or 1 a 'No Brainer'

MacRumors

macrumors bot
Original poster
Apr 12, 2001
48,664
10,084



The first reviews of the Apple Watch Series 4 have been published online today, just a couple of days before the new smartwatch is available in stores.

The Apple Watch Series 4 features a new design with a slimmer body, a 30 percent larger display, and electric sensors for taking ECG readings. Despite the larger displays, the Series 4 has a thinner, smaller case.


All Apple Watch Series 4 models feature a black ceramic and sapphire crystal backing, and the Digital Crown includes haptic feedback for what Apple says is a more mechanical, responsive feel. Inside, the Apple Watch features a faster, more efficient S4 chip that offers twice the speed.

With all that in mind, several reviewers have been trying out Apple's new smartwatch for five days, and most of them agree that while the Series 4 model is a great smartwatch, it "isn't the kind of refresh that justifies upgrading from the last generation," as TechCrunch's Brian Heater puts it.

Likewise, iMore's Rene Ritchie thinks Series 3 owners looking to vindicate the purchase will "have to really want the new capabilities, never mind the new design," although he thinks that upgrading from a Series 0 or Series 1 is a "no brainer" and Series 2 owners will also find the new model "compelling".

In terms of design and wearability, Heater found that the Series 4's larger, wider case was "not really noticeable unless you happen to have two side-by-side," although for those who have used an earlier model with any regularity, "the increase in surface area is pretty readily apparent."


The Verge's Dieter Bohn found that the difference between a 42mm Series 3 and the Series 4's 44mm size is "only subtly bigger" and "feels about the same." However, Wired's Scott Rosenfield found more of a difference when actually interacting with the device:
The watch still looks like a watch. But in practice, the larger screen feels as significant as going from the iPhone 5 to the iPhone 6. The rounded edges and thinner bezel give you substantially more screen space, which make it easier to read and tap.

That changed how I used the watch: I crammed in more complications on each watch face, and I found myself scrolling through texts, looking at heart rate and workout data, and even playing with the News and Photos apps in a way that I hadn't since the watch first launched.
TechCrunch's Heater took particular liking to the watch's new haptic Digital Crown, which "feels like turning a mechanical dial... And when there's nothing on screen to move by spinning it, the feedback simply shuts off." iMore's Ritchie concurred, noting that "the new clicking absolutely feels more precise and more fun to use."


The new watch faces were also a hit with Ritchie, who called the new Infographic (analog) and Infographic Modular faces "informational escalations that manage to be denser without sacrificing legibility."
You can fill them with communications apps and contacts, if you're running around playing secret agent. You can fill them with world clocks and trackers if you're traveling. You can fill them with fitness features if you're off to a workout. Or you can mix and match to best suit your average activities.
Elsewhere, Wired's Rosenfield came away impressed by the accuracy of the watch's new optical heart-rate sensor as well as the automatic workout detection, while noting that "runners will love the new rolling mile measurement, cadence, and target pace notifications."

The improvement in the Series 4's speaker was also particularly noticeable. The Verge's Bohn called it "way louder," while iMore's Ritchie said "everything from Siri to calls now boom... I can make out conversation from a good dozen feet away."


Speed-wise, Wired's Rosenfield felt the Series 4 was generally faster than previous models, although not as big a jump as with past iterations:
In everyday life, the Series 4 does feel snappier, but it doesn't feel to me to be as significant as the jump from the Series 2 to Series 3. The exception: I found the initial watch pairing process to be much faster with the Series 4 than with prior models.
Despite the speed improvements, the reviewers agreed that general battery life is largely unchanged from the Series 3 - TechCrunch's Heater felt that most users would be able to get through a day's use without worrying about finding a charger.

Reviewers were unable to test the ECG feature, which won't be available until later this year. Likewise, when it came to Fall Detection, Apple advised against trying to trick the Apple Watch Series 4 into thinking they have accidentally fallen, although Wired's Rosenfield couldn't resist: "I tried to trigger a false warning by tripping onto a yoga mat, jumping on the bed, and flailing around while attempting to powerlift. No dice."

Summing up, The Verge's Bohn concludes: "The Apple Watch has earned its place as the best-selling watch" and is "at least an order of magnitude better than other smartwatches and fitness trackers."

Other publications have shared Apple Watch Series 4 reviews that are worth a read. We've rounded up some links below and will add more when we find them.
[*]TechRadar
[*]The New York Times
[*]The Independent
[*]USA Today
[*]CNBC
[*]HodinkeeApple Watch Series 4 will go on sale, and begin arriving to customers, this Friday.

Article Link: Apple Watch Series 4 Reviews: Larger Screen is 'Incredibly Good', Upgrading From Series 0 or 1 a 'No Brainer'
 

redneckitengineer

macrumors 6502
Oct 27, 2017
409
927
Tennessee
Here we go again. Biased reviews by publications scared to be blacklisted by Apple if they say a negative comment. Let the real world reviews in a few days from actual customers speak instead of these paid venues...

Update: I’m totally biased lol. Verge I guess did write an initial horrible article about the AW3.
 
Last edited:

mvp2885

macrumors member
Jul 19, 2018
40
192
The people hating on it is probably the people that can't afford it lol
[doublepost=1537362326][/doublepost]
Here we go again. Biased reviews by publications scared to be blacklisted by Apple if they say a negative comment. Let the real world reviews in a few days from actual customers speak instead of these paid venues...
not sure why you are criticizing you own every apple thing lol
 

Chrjy

macrumors 6502a
May 19, 2010
794
1,147
UK
In terms of design and wearability, Heater found that the Series 4's larger, wider case was "not really noticeable unless you happen to have two side-by-side," although for those who have used an earlier model with any regularity, "the increase in surface area is pretty readily apparent."
Am I not reading this right or is he completely contradicting himself?!

I am still sporting a series 0 so I'm hoping this will feel like a pretty substantial upgrade.
 
  • Like
Reactions: NetMage

blimundus

macrumors member
Apr 18, 2006
31
3
Reading contradictory or inconclusive things about whether the new optical (non-ECG) hearth rate sensor is better for hearth rate tracking during workouts than in previous Apple Watches... Would love to see tests with a clear methodology, testing the accuracy and, also important, the frequency, of the measurements.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Commodore 64

benshive

macrumors demi-god
Feb 26, 2017
500
3,938
United States
Am I not reading this right or is he completely contradicting himself?!

I am still sporting a series 0 so I'm hoping this will feel like a pretty substantial upgrade.
Just taking a guess, maybe he means that visually the size difference isn't very noticeable but if you're used to wearing an older apple watch you'll notice the difference when wearing it.
 

GrumpyMom

macrumors G3
Sep 11, 2014
8,690
12,408
Am I not reading this right or is he completely contradicting himself?!

I am still sporting a series 0 so I'm hoping this will feel like a pretty substantial upgrade.
I’m only halfway through my morning coffee so...lol...not completely sure but I think he means the case doesn’t seem that much larger but the display is noticeably larger. The old watch’s display has thick black bezels and doesn’t show as much information on it.
 
  • Like
Reactions: TigerWoodsIV

djcerla

macrumors 68000
Apr 23, 2015
1,804
7,458
Italy
Last edited:

iMi

macrumors 65816
Sep 13, 2014
1,368
2,637
Am I not reading this right or is he completely contradicting himself?!

I am still sporting a series 0 so I'm hoping this will feel like a pretty substantial upgrade.
It makes sense. He’s saying that the wider case is not noticable, but the surface area being larger is noticable. I don’t think he’s contradicting himself here.
 

iMi

macrumors 65816
Sep 13, 2014
1,368
2,637
Mine shipped today. I have the Series 0 and have been happy with it. Nothing until now compelled me to upgrade, although the Series 3 came close with the LTE capability. The Series 4 made it a “no brainer” for me. I picked one up for my wife as well. It will be her first Apple Watch. We’ll see how she likes it.
 

cardfan

macrumors 68020
Mar 23, 2012
2,432
3,233
Definitely not worth upgrade from series 3. Maybe in a few years. Needs more features. So far the coming soon ekg that I’ll never use seems to be the thing.
 
  • Like
Reactions: decypher44

PBG4 Dude

macrumors 68030
Jul 6, 2007
2,860
2,131
So if your arms are a good dozen feet long, this upgrade is a must.
I saw Stretch Armstrong squeezing his way into line earlier this week.
[doublepost=1537362905][/doublepost]
Or too smart to be suckered into an upgrade from a works just fine model and enjoying a thicker wallet this year. :)
Must not be an Apple Wallet, then. “This year’s model is 20% thinner due to higher prices! Boom!”
 

eec091

macrumors newbie
Feb 24, 2017
17
30
Battery life continues to be the only thing stopping me from purchasing. If some form of integrated solar and/or kinetic charging solution get's included to increase the time between charges then I'll be in. Though I suspect the engineering and practicality challenges to bring this about are extreme. I live in hope.
 

Chrjy

macrumors 6502a
May 19, 2010
794
1,147
UK
I’m only halfway through my morning coffee so...lol...not completely sure but I think he means the case doesn’t seem that much larger but the display is noticeably larger. The old watch’s display has thick black bezels and doesn’t show as much information on it.
Ah I see, that makes sense.
Thanks to the others too for responding it seems you all have the same consensus which is good news as I was a little worried that the 44mm might seem too big. My 42 is just about right.
Unfortunately I didn't pre-order thinking there would be plenty available so will need to see if I can pick one up in-store on Friday!
 
Register on MacRumors! This sidebar will go away, and you'll see fewer ads.