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Review

Apple Watch Series 4 First Impressions: A design upgrade with added function, feature and style

This year's Apple Watch is here. And it's styled up, cooler, and loaded with features.

  • Published: October 19, 2018 11:40 AM IST
Apple Watch Series 4 Images (20)

Highlights

  • The new Apple Watch has a larger screen, thanks to its edge display.

  • It's lighter, louder, and packs more features.

  • The GPS variant starts at Rs 40,900, while Cellular variant starts at Rs 49,900

In the hyperactive world of gadgets, it typically takes three iterations for a product to discover its purpose. Over the journey of evolution, obvious creases are ironed out. The Apple Watch is no different. What stands out though, is that the Apple Watch is already the highest selling watch. Period. Obviously luxury brands didn’t stand a chance in volume. But across the segment, Apple seems to have gained an edge. Since the Apple Watch Series 4 is here, and I’ve been able to get it on my hand, quite literally, here are my first impressions.

The Apple Watch with cellular data

The initial complaint against smartwatches was that you still needed a phone to do much of the activities. That changed earlier in the year with the Apple Watch Series 3 Cellular variant. Now we’re still not quite there yet. You can’t have the Apple Watch as the company’s only product you use independently. You’ll still need an iPhone to go through setup and fundamental use. Cellular connectivity however helps you stray away from your phone when you need to. If you ever decide to stay away from your iPhone then this has you covered.

The new Digital Crown

With the Apple Watch Series 4, you get a digital crown that feels new. For one, it feels softer to use, and now includes haptic feedback. On the earlier Apple Watch Series 3, while you still got feedback, it was from the Watch itself, but with the new Series 4, the Digital Crown itself lets you know how you’re progressing through its interface.

A new display

The dial on the Apple Watch Series 4 is still a curved rectangle. Very close to a square but still more portrait-ish. If you have a fetish for round watch dials, you’ll have to wait it out. It wouldn’t be entirely wrong to say that watchOS loves square dials while Android Wear loves round dials. The new Watch Series 4 is larger, slimmer, feels lighter with more features packed in. Let’s take a look at these.

Audio on the Watch: Speaker and Mic

Design changes in the Apple Watch mean you now have a louder speaker, one’s that more resourceful in crowded and busy areas, allowing you to take calls at ease. To avoid interference and echo with the mic on device, Apple moved the mic to the opposite side of the speaker. All water and swim-proof features continue from the earlier generations. So why does audio on the watch matter? Entertainment and productivity aside, purely for safety. More audible and clear audio means you don’t have to slouch while talking, or going about your tasks, just to hear or be heard.

If you go by Apple’s focus on safety with fall detection and calling out to emergency services on your behalf, you would want to be sure of its efficient audio relaying capabilities.

Focus on safety

This is one reason that makes the Series 4 an important consideration. A new feature addition here is fall detection, where the watch alerts you, the local emergency service in India (emergency number 112), and your emergency contacts with your location.

Understanding fall detection

Apple has researched the nature of falls over years, and believes there are three types of drops. A forward fall, a backward fall and a straight drop. Three instances could be if you step on something slippery and fall on your back, or if you trip over something and fall forward, or third, if you simply faint and drop straight down. Either way, there’s a rate of descent, a pattern with which you fall and a peculiar movement. All of these parameters have been researched by Apple and factored into its algorithms to trigger in emergencies. They can’t be faked, and hence come across as a resourceful function to have.

This is why the effective audio on the watch effectively complements its design purpose. If you’re hurt, you might not be able to speak loudly or with clarity.

Pricing and availability

The Apple Watch Series 4 is available in two options – GPS and Cellular. The GPS variant is priced at Rs 40,900. The Cellular variant is priced at Rs 49,900. Both variants go on sale starting October 19 in India.

Final thoughts

The Apple Watch Series 4 has widened the feature gap with its competition. The software-hardware collaboration, the intelligence designed into its algorithms would ensure you are safe, focussed on working out, and are aware of your surroundings with air quality, ultraviolet levels, and can tap into numerous apps to continue seamless work and entertainment wherever you are. Although the new watches are priced at over Rs 40,000, much of these features can be experienced at close to half with the Series 3. But then, it’s not the same thing.

  • Published Date: October 19, 2018 11:40 AM IST