Apple Watch Series 5 Hands On: Always-On Display is Great, but Otherwise Not Much of an Upgrade

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Apple today announced and launched pre-orders for the Apple Watch Series 5, which is the company's latest wearable device. The new smartwatch features an always-on display, built-in compass, and more, and members of the media have begun sharing their opinions on Series 5 models after going hands-on at Apple Park.

Image via Engadget


Engadget's Dana Wollman pointed out that the Series 5 is far less of a drastic upgrade compared to last year's Series 4 (which is now discontinued). The Series 5 continues to adopt the Series 4's larger display, 40mm and 44mm case sizes, and ECG testing.

Other than the much-touted always-on display, there isn't a whole lot that's new with Apple Watch Series 5.
Apple just unveiled the newest Apple Watch (we're up to the Series 5 now) and -- I mean this in the nicest way -- but there isn't much to see. Whereas last year's model, the Series 4, ushered in a new, larger screen and a built-in electrocardiogram test, the differences in the Series 5 are difficult to notice at a glance. Chief among them: an always-on display that's constantly visible at dim brightness, but that wakes up to a fuller brightness when you tap it.

Beyond that, this is the Apple Watch you know well by now, just with some new bands and finishes. There's the screen, available in the same two sizes (40mm and 44mm). The Digital Crown is where it's always been (the upper right edge). Below it is that rectangular button you'll use less frequently, though Apple did announce today that you can now use it for international emergency calls on cellular models (i.e., not just in the country where you purchased and activated it).
The Verge's Dieter Bohn also talked about how there is little difference between this year's Apple Watch and last year's, calling the Series 5 a "dead ringer" for the Series 4. Bohn was a fan of the always-on display and believes that this feature will "finally make the Apple Watch a competent time piece."

Image via The Verge

It works just as you'd expect -- you can see the full watch face at a dimmer brightness all the time, and then at full brightness when you lift your wrist up. The watchfaces are even able to show all of their complications and data in the always-on mode.

You can also just slap your hand down on the watch face to immediately dim it, which is some thing I do all the time and is weirdly more satisfying to do on the Series 5 than earlier models, since it changes the mode instead of just turning off the screen.
If you're looking for more details about the Apple Watch Series 5, our full launch post has all of the information you'll need about the latest Apple wearable. You can also check out our posts on the iPhone 11, 11 Pro, 11 Pro Max, and new 10.2-inch iPad to catch up with the news from today's event.

Article Link: Apple Watch Series 5 Hands On: Always-On Display is Great, but Otherwise Not Much of an Upgrade
 

Charadis

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I’ve been waiting for more pics of the titanium model, I don’t know if it’s worth the jump from my stainless series3, yet
 

macduke

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While it may be true that there aren't a lot of things upgraded, always on display is a HUGE one that is usually at the top of every single person's list of Apple Watch upgrades since 2015. It was a surprise feature and we will gladly take it. Doesn't mean I'm going to upgrade my Series 4 this year, but I'm stoked and looking forward to my next upgrade even more.
 

izyreal

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Hopefully it still only delivers notifications when you lift your wrist. Can anyone confirm?
Sorry if this was covered in the keynote. I didn't get to watch it this year.
 

macduke

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Hopefully it still only delivers notifications when you lift your wrist. Can anyone confirm?
Sorry if this was covered in the keynote. I didn't get to watch it this year.
Not sure, but I hope it works like this:

Notification pop when not looking at watch, so you can slyly glance it in a meeting or something.

BUT ALSO

Notification pop again when you raise your wrist unless you've already dismissed it from another device.
 
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ipedro

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I've got a Series 3 LTE. I've been waiting for a Watch that I won't have to upgrade for several years before getting a better material than the Sport aluminum.

I think that the Apple Watch is there. The Series 4 was already more than powerful enough, with the right screen size and the right battery. The Series 5 is even more powerful, now has an always on display with that same large screen and comfortable all day battery life.

I'm looking forward to picking up a titanium Apple Watch.
 

MadCar

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Is there a way to turn it off so it works like normal Apple watches? Aren't there potential privacy concerns for complication data?
You'd have to think that there is an option to show alerts and now unless the Watch is raised to view. Or alerts appear on the screen but not what they are in the same was as they can be configured on the iPhone.

If they haven't done that it would have to be a .1 release to add it.
 

xalea

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I see no reason to upgrade from a 3 to this. What's the big deal about the always-on display? Yeah it's nice, I guess, but is it really that difficult to move your wrist to make the screen come on? This is the amazing innovation from Apple now? Geesh.

Plus, what about if I don't want info popping up for everyone to see, if my wrist/arm is pointed away from my face but toward people sitting next to me, in a meeting, etc.? So now we have to turn alerts off or will it not show until you.. move your wrist? :confused:
 

macduke

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Yeah. Guess I won't be upgrading this year. I'll hold out until S6 next year.
I'm holding out at least that long, depending on what they upgrade maybe not until S7. I'm hoping for blood pressure and blood glucose sensors in the future as those are issues that run in my family. Fortunately my Apple Watch has helped me lose so much weight that I'm hopeful I can go off my low-dose blood pressure meds at my next doctor appointment (I never had diabetes but would like to keep an eye on it as I get older).
 
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dotzero123

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Raising my wrist isn't uncomfortable for me and I never really felt I needed to have the display on constantly. I would like longer battery life but am not ready to upgrade. I'll possibly treat myself to a new band to hold me over till s6
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Finally! I don’t even use an Apple Watch but I was tired of seeing douchey blank black squares on people’s wrists. At least now it will look like a freaking watch!
wow
 

dumastudetto

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Aug 28, 2013
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I think this is a huge upgrade with the AOD and incredible battery advancements. It's a no brainer upgrade for pretty much everyone, no matter what Apple Watch Series you currently own. For those who haven't invested in Apple Watch yet, now is the perfect time.
 

Bawstun

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Jun 25, 2009
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I'm holding out at least that long, depending on what they upgrade maybe not until S7. I'm hoping for blood pressure and blood glucose sensors in the future as those are issues that run in my family. Fortunately my Apple Watch has helped me lose so much weight that I'm hopeful I can go off my low-dose blood pressure meds at my next doctor appointment (I never had diabetes but would like to keep an eye on it as I get older).
Congrats! Good to hear! Those issues likely don’t run in your family but rather in your family’s diet and lifestyle! Staying active and a healthy weight is factor #1 IMO!