Apple Watch Series 6 review: What you get and what you don’t with Apple’s latest gadget


Apple‘s new Series 6 smartwatch is cheaper, faster, brighter and more customisable than ever. 

Buying the Series 6 may just be the most daunting thing about it, with 11 different finishes and the new ‘Solo Loop’ strap to choose from.  

The starting price is $599, but be warned, that can quickly skyrocket. 

The bigger 44mm display costs an extra $50. Adding a sim card will set you back another $150. 

New watch has 11 different finishes and the new ‘Solo Loop’ strap to choose from.   (Apple)

The privilege of gold stainless steel starts at $1119.

Apple is keeping the cheaper, $299 Series 3 around for those who can’t justify the spend. 

But fans with deep enough pockets for a Series 6 are in for the slickest smartwatch experience on the market, albeit with some frustrating limitations.    

Last year’s Series 5 introduced – and set the standard – on smartwatch displays.

On Series 6, the ambient mode is 2.5x brighter which comes in handy outdoors.  

The screen size itself hasn’t changed, but touch controls feel more responsive than ever thanks to the new S6 chip. 

Apple says it’s 20 per cent faster than Series 5, and is by far the quickest smartwatch I’ve ever trialled.

The screen size on the new watch remains the same however two new colours have been added. (9News)

Series 6 comes in two new colours – red and blue aluminium. 9News was sent the stainless steel model for review.

The 47 grams is noticeable on the wrist, but extremely comfortable regardless of which band I trialed.

9News did not receive a new Solo Loop band to test. They’re available in nine sizes and Apple has a two week return policy if you pick one that doesn’t fit. 

Just like it did on iPhone 12, Apple has cut power adapters from the Series 6 box (as well as the SE and Series 3 relaunch).

Apple says this carbon offset is like removing 50,000 from the road – a fun fact that will do little to help you charge your shiny new watch.

If you don’t have a USB-C type power adapter, you’re going to have to buy one. 

The new Apple Watch Series 6 includes new features such as a blood oxygen reading. (9News)

Apple’s magnetic charger fully juices the Series 6 an hour faster than on Series 5. 

It takes 90 minutes to get from 0 to 100 per cent battery. An hour gets the Series 6 from zero to 80 per cent.

Frustratingly, the new Watch won’t charge through the iPhone 12 or Apple’s new Magsafe charger.

On a single charge, Apple’s new battery will last around 36 hours with the brightness up, regular notifications, a run, sleep tracking and a few health scans.

“The future of health is on your wrist”

Apple’s big pitch for the Series 6 is being able to measure the amount of oxygen in your blood. 

There are four modules on the back of the Series 6 which reflect red, green and infrared light through your skin to gauge the oxygen saturation in your blood. 

Its readings are much faster than its competitors and accurate between 70-100 per cent of the time.

Apple concedes the Series 6 is not a medical device. It has started studies in the US, but for now, the only medically certified smartwatch in Australia is the Withings ScanWatch. 

Apple’s Chief Operating Officer Jeff Williams unveils Apple Watch Series 6. (AP)

Apple has also fundamentally changed the Series 6’s attitude to sleep. 

Instead of an arbitrary “sleep score,” the focus is on being proactive. That means setting a bedtime based on when you need to get up. 

It’ll double lock your watch and phone if you’re not asleep when you’re supposed to be, and send you a notification early to start winding down. 

Time in bed versus time asleep is a metric sure to shock those addicted to their phones. 

Apple keeps itself at the top of the game with smart refinements on the Series 6. 

Blood oxygen readings are a nice addition, but in practice are less useful than the improved heart rate monitoring.  

Being locked to the iPhone, rather than support Android as well, intentionally hurts the Watch’s broader appeal in favour of inspiring loyalty.

13 years of the iPhone: How Apple has changed

Loyalty that doesn’t come cheap, albeit for the best.



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