Apple Watch Series 4 Review- The 4 S’s

Size. Style. Speed. Safety.

These are the four S’s that I think the newest Apple Watch shows off the best. I have been using the Series 4 Apple Watch for two weeks now and it is a great improvement over my two-year-old Series 2 watch. Let’s take some time, and check this guy out!

Size

New to the Series 4 Apple Watch are two new sizes. Upgraded from previous years 38mm and 42 mm, we now have 40mm and 44mm options. When Apple announced this on-stage, I was terrified that previous Apple Watch bands wouldn’t work on the new sizes. Surprisingly, all of the 38mm bands will work with the 40mm watch and likewise if you are going from a 42mm to the 44mm. This is awesome for all previous Apple Watch owners. I don’t know how long Apple will keep this trend going but for now, I am happy about it.

img_3283

If you are used to the 38mm and 40mm, going up to the respective 40mm and 44mm sizes will not be an issue. Coming from the 42mm and going to the 44mm I was thinking it may be too big. It is not. I notice no size difference on my wrist. If people have thought the older 42mm has been too big and 38mm has been too small, this might be the year you downgrade to a 40mm and get a smaller watch. The only downside to that is that you will have to buy brand new bands if you’re making that size change. The best thing I can tell you to do is to go to a local retailer and check them out for yourself. I can confidently say that going from either the smaller or larger version from a previous model to the newer respective sizes, is a safe bet.

Style

I love the look of this watch. Unless you have been used to looking at an Apple Watch every day, most people will not notice a difference and assume it is just another Apple Watch. And that is fine. But to me, this thing looks brand new.

The edges of the screen are now curved into the body of the watch and also has a bigger overall screen size. Instead of the square outline that you may have noticed on older Apple Watches, the edges of the display just flow like a waterfall right into the aluminum body and eliminating a huge portion of the black bezels.

Since the screen is bigger, you can fit more onto the larger footprint. On the new Infograph watch face, you can have up to nine complications. Previously, you could only have six complications, at the most.  While this is a welcoming feature, this is the only watch face that uses more complications. I was really hoping for more watch faces would take advantage of the larger screen. Yes, it is bigger, but now it just looks like a blown-up version of the previous Apple Watches I have owned. If you are hard of seeing, the bigger text on the screen is awesome but doesn’t add much more information.

Again, if you are relatively familiar with previous Apple Watches, you will notice that this device is significantly thinner. What boggles my mind is that it is still thicker than the original Apple Watch. But overall, this is the greatest looking Apple Watch so far, in my opinion.

Speed

Apple said that the new Series 4 S4 chip is 2x as fast as last year’s S3 chip. And boy, can you feel it! Granted, I am coming from a two-year-old watch so I knew the speed improvements would be wild. But it is so much nicer to have a watch that is immediately responsive when you want it to do something. When starting a workout, my Series 2 would take 30 seconds to a minute to start the three-second countdown. Now, it is instant. I forgot what new felt like, and this is it.

Safety

This is the most important part of my review, safety. Since the Apple Watch has been released, there have been numerous reports of the Apple Watch “saving peoples lives“. Of course, the doctors are the ones doing the life saving but the Apple Watch has become a great tool in alerting people of high heart rates when they are supposedly being inactive. Also, as an exercise tool, the Apple Watch has helped tons of people lose weight just by helping them be mindful of their activity habits. Go check out tech journalist, Jim Dalrymple’s weight loss story!

With the Series 4, Apple has stepped up their game. The Series 4 has an updated second-generation heart rate sensor to more closely monitor that ticker of yours. Later this year, Apple will be releasing an app that will let you take an electrocardiogram aka EKG or ECG. This is not to replace doctors or even a trip to the office but it is to help you stay more informed about your body and your life. I think it is about time that we can start to have these types of tests at our fingertips or our wrists.

Also coming this year, the new Series 4 will be able to detect irregular heart rate. I’m not going to into a medical lesson, because I am nowhere near qualified to speak about this kind of stuff. But I can tell you irregular heart rate is not good and should be checked out if you are diagnosed. To get a jump start and have this detected when previously it could not? Take my money.

The final safety point I want to focus on is fall detection. Yep, this thing can detect when you fall. Turned off by default for those under 65, this feature can truly be a lifesaver to those prone to falling often. If the watch detects a fall and you are unresponsive for at least 60 seconds, your watch will make an emergency call to emergency services and also message your emergency contacts with a message of your current location. Don’t worry,  the watch gives you an option to say that you are OK and will not start calling for an emergency unless you really want it to!

Verdict

Starting at $399, the Apple Watch Series 4 is quite the upgrade for most people. If you have the Series 3 from last year, I think that you could wait another year before upgrading. Apple does offer a cellular version of this watch for an additional cost. The battery life has been great and can easily get through two days.

Just like every year, this is the best Apple Watch, yet. Of course, it is. But seriously, if you have anything other than the Series 3 or just like to have the newest latest and great stuff, you will not be disappointed with the new Apple Watch Series 4.

Follow me on Instagram and twitter and let me know if you are buying the new Apple Watch!

Images are courtesy of Apple.com and The Mealy Apple.

Advertisements

Apple Watch Series 4

Screen Shot 2018-09-12 at 3.49.24 PM

The Apple Watch Series 4 was announced today!

Apple updated what was an already-great product with the Series 3, with the Series 4.

This is the biggest update we have seen since the Apple Watch launched. The new Apple Watch screen is more than 30% larger meanwhile keeping the real estate on your wrist to a minimum. Along with a bigger screen, the Series 4 also received a brand new processor with the S4 chip. The S4 chip allows the watch to move 2X as fast as the Series 3.

Screen Shot 2018-09-12 at 3.49.09 PM

The Apple Watch comes in two new sizes, a 40mm and 44mm size. Current Apple Watch users who plan on upgrading don’t have to worry, all of your older bands will work with the new Series 4 Apple Watch. There are a couple of new watch faces that will take advantage of these new screen sizes. We are still missing third-party watch faces but these new data-heavy faces will suffice for now.

That stuff is all great but the new health features are something you can only find the Apple Watch. The Series 4 has introduced three new heart features. The first being a notification if your heart rate is too low. The second heart feature is to notify you if the watch detects AFib or Atrial Fibrillation aka irregular heartbeat. Lastly, the Series 4 can run an on-demand Electrocardiogram (ECG). This is the first over-the-counter device to be offered to consumers to run an ECG. Surprisingly, and probably the only way Apple could ship this, these features are FDA approved. Finally, Apple is using updated gyroscopes and sensors to detect falls. You can have the Apple Watch notify emergency services if you are not responsive after it detects a fall. This is amazing stuff.

Apple Watch Series 4 is available for Pre-order 9/14 and available to purchase 9/21.

Screen Shot 2018-09-12 at 3.51.10 PM

The Series 4 comes in three aluminum finishes: Gold, Silver and Space Grey. Three stainless steel versions in Polished, Space Black and Gold Stainless. The Nike and Hermes brands are making a comeback for the Series 4 as well.

The Series 4 Apple Watch starts at $399 for the GPS model and $499 for the cellular model.

Are you picking up the new Series 4 Apple Watch? Let me know on Instagram and twitter!

All images are courtesy of Apple.com.

 

Apple Watch Saving Lives

Jason Perlow at ZDNet:

Rosenbaum told me I was extremely lucky the Apple Watch picked up the Afib relatively early. In a few years, the likelihood of stroke would be greater because the condition would get worse.

Fantastic read about the Apple Watch saving another life. Knowing that this technology is available, and only getting better, is great to hear. Go give this a read.

 

Should You Buy an Apple Watch?

When I first started The Mealy Apple, one of my first posts was really downplaying the usefulness of the Apple Watch. I think it is safe to say, nearly a year and a half later, that my feelings about it has changed quite a bit.

0b768b21-c915-467b-9f06-e415dfb874c0-1

Fitness

Over the past year, the Apple Watch has become my fitness companion and has motivated me in ways that I never even thought about.

The Apple Watch challenges you to close three colored rings: Move-Red, Exercise-Green and Stand-Blue. The move goal is recommended by the Apple Watch when you set it up based on your body composition and how active you are day-to-day. The green exercise ring is set at 30 minutes and can be achieved by moving briskly for 30 minutes. Finally, the stand ring, colored in blue, is a way to make sure you get the blood moving every hour. If you haven’t stood up for the first 50 minutes of the hour, you will get a little tap on your write to get your butt up.

IMG_2363

It is oddly satisfying seeing those rings gradually move throughout the day. Or closing that exercise ring before 9am, is also a great way to start the day.

As of now, you can only see where friends are with their move goal and workouts they completed. This fall, in iOS 12, Apple is adding more competitive features to further challenge us and better ourselves.

Safety

In a tech obsessed world, distracted drivers are a constant fear. If staying off of your phone can be avoided, I am welcome to all ideas.

The Apple Watch does a great job at this. While driving, you can text back by voice. This is extremely convenient and safer than pulling out your phone and also risking being pulled over by the police.

Also, changing music or podcasts is a simple tap away. Again, a cop can cite you for distracted driving just by changing a music track if the phone is in your hand.

You may have heard in the news recently about multiple individuals giving credit to the Apple Watch for saving their lives. This is another great safety feature of the Apple Watch. It can detect irregular hearth rhythms and notify you. I have known people who have recently had heart complications to buy the Apple Watch simply for this reason. It is one of those features you hope to never see, but knowing it is there, gives me some peace of mind.

IMG_2364

Non-Intrusive

Going back to what I said about the tech-obsessed, we are constantly looking at our phones. I have really been trying to be more present when with my friends and family and when important conversations are going on. Also, I am trying to get better at not wasting time. How many times a day do you get a text or Facebook notification and end up scrolling through Facebook for the next 10 minutes? Unfortunately, this happens to me a lot and I know it happens to the majority of us, often.

You would think the Apple Watch would be more distracting; having that tap on the wrist every couple of minutes because you got a new notification. And yes, it can be. But, I have found that it keeps me off of my phone more. My wrist might buzz because I got a new email. So I glance and see that it is junk and there is no need to pull out my phone to further get distracted. I do notice a big difference when my watch is on and when it is not.

Conclusion

So, should you buy an Apple Watch? If you have the money and think it will motivate you to be more active, I say absolutely yes. If you are into technology and think you would love to have all of your notifications literally on your wrist, go for it. Or maybe you have a family member with a history of heart problems and you think this would be a good way to monitor their health. If you can justify it, do it.

I used to say that the Apple Watch isn’t anything you need and granted, most people are getting by just fine without one. But say you aren’t just fine. We are in the future. We have technology on our wrists that can help us. Why ignore that fact?

The only reason I would tell you to wait on buying one would be because there may be a new one coming this fall. Rumors suggest that the Apple Watch may stay in its current form but lose some of the unused black space (bezel) around the screen to make the screen bigger. As always, a new iteration will most likely include a faster processor and better battery. So keep that in mind.

Currently Apple offers the following configurations:

Apple Watch Series 1– $249 for the 38mm and $279 for the 42mm – The Series 1 has an older processor, does not have GPS or a Barometer. It is splash resistant but not water resistant.

Apple Watch Series 3– $329 for the 38mm and $359 for the 42mm.  Also, Apple offers the Series 3 in a cellular model so that you can use it as a standalone cellular device. The prices on those are $399 for the 38mm and $429 for the 42mm.  Keep in mind, to use the cellular service on the watch, you will need to pay a monthly fee through your cell phone service carrier. The Series 3 has GPS, a barometer, is water resistant up to 50 meters, Siri talks to you and is 2X brighter than the Series 1. Also, this will work on Apple’s yet-to-be-released AirPower mat wireless charger.

Let me know if you plan on buying a new Apple Watch or think you will wait until a new one comes out.

Follow me on Instagram and twitter!

Fitbit Versa Vs Apple Watch

8241BDFB-A409-426D-B76D-8386380095BF.JPG

If you haven’t already, go check out my Fitbit Versa review.

I will probably be repeating myself with things I mentioned in my Fitbit Versa review, but it is important to explain the differences.

Just so everyone knows, I am comparing the Apple Watch Series 2. While there is a newer version, the Series 3, other than speed and a newer battery, I think this comparison will hold true to most Apple Watch generations.

0b768b21-c915-467b-9f06-e415dfb874c0

Size & Design

Lets face it, when trying to put a computer on your wrist, it is more than likely that the finished product will not be pretty. The Fitbit Versa and Apple Watch look very similar.  Both have somewhat square bodies that will definitely let everyone know that it is a smartwatch. If you have had Fitbit’s previously, this will be a totally different setup. It is not the small fitness band that it used to be. There is only one size for the Fitbit Versa. It is a 39mm watch which comes in just a little bigger than Apple’s smallest offering.

The Apple Watch has not changed sizes since its release in 2015. Apple offers a 38mm and 42mm watch size. It is nice having two options for different size wrists. I have used the 42mm size since its release and the Fitbit Versa has made me rethink that size.

You cant go wrong with either device as far as it comes to size, in my opinion. I am loving the size of the of the Versa and you have multiple options when it comes to the Apple Watch.

Battery

I will tell you up front, the winner is the Fitbit. This is also where my Series 2 starts to show its age, compared to its newest iteration, the Series 3. As mentioned in my Fitbit review, I got three full days and about halfway through a fourth, with the Versa. This blew my mind.

With the my nearly two year old Apple Watch, I get one full day. I have just gotten in the habit, since day one, to throw it on the charger overnight, just like my phone. I will take up for Apple here and say that a new Apple Watch does get better battery life. My fiancé recently got the Series 3 (38mm version–which has a small battery) and she can get two days easily.

While I know both batteries will degrade over time, the Versa is clearly the winner here. Knowing I don’t have to charge it every-night is a huge benefit when it comes to consumer electronics. Apple, take note here

Exercise

Fitbit’s entire business is based around fitness. So clearly this will fall under the pro category for the Versa. At a quick glance, you can see your steps, distance, heart rate, calories burned, floors climbed and how many active minutes you have moved. As far as workouts are concerned, you can choose from run, bike, swim, treadmill and weights.  An awesome feature, that I was surprised to see, was that Fitbit recognized when I started a run and also when I finished.

Screen Shot 2018-06-06 at 7.14.53 PM

The Apple Watch’s fitness functionality has grown quite a bit over the years.  Now, it is one of the primary reasons I love my watch. Currently, the Apple Watch can track runs, walks, elliptical workouts, a bike workout, rowing, a stair stepper workout, High Intensity Interval Training (life cross-fit) and swimming. Coming this fall, in iOS 12, the Apple Watch will be gaining hiking and yoga workouts.  As it stands today, Apple Watch cannot recognize when you start and stop a workout like the Versa does. It will be gaining this feature with iOS 12, as well.

When it comes to the exercise portion of these devices, I would have to say it is a draw and you are getting a top notch fitness device with either.

Function

Focusing on notifications, the Fitbit Versa can receive and display text messages and give you phone call alerts, and that is it. Those notifications are better than nothing but compared to the Apple Watch, it is lacking.

The Apple Watch will give you notification alerts for pretty much every application that you have installed on your phone.

IMG_2176

Another benefit the Apple Watch has over the Fitbit Versa, for me personally, is the on screen music/podcast/audio controls. When listening to my podcasts, if I want to skip a couple of seconds ahead, I can simply do that from my watch. Also, when listening to music, I can play/pause/skip track, all from my watch. You cannot do this with the Fitbit.

As far as functionality on these watches, the Apple Watch is, hands down, the winner.

Remember this paragraph when you get to the price part of this post. GPS. The Apple Watch (Series 2 and later) has GPS built in. The Fitbit Versa does not. If you want a Fitbit similar to the Versa with GPS, you have to opt for the Fitbit Ionic, which is an extra $100. The GPS is nice if you like to map your runs or walks. If you take your phone with you on these workouts, the Fitbit Versa will use connected GPS by using your phones GPS connection. For me this was not a big deal since I do take my phone with my on walks and runs.

Watch Faces

Apple…please read and re-read this part. Bring third-party Apple Watch options to the Apple Watch. This was probably one of my favorite features of the Fitbit Versa. There were thousands of different watch faces and ways to customize them.

IMG_2164

The Apple Watch is very limited in the watch face department. While there are options, in true Apple fashion, you are limited to what Apple wants you to have.

I have to give Fitbit a huge win here as it has proven that third party watch faces are cool and would be awesome on the Apple Watch.

Price

The Fitbit costs $199.95 and $229.95 for a special edition that adds the option for NFC payments and a special charcoal or lavender band.

The Apple Watch costs $329 for the smaller 38mm and $359 for the 42mm versions.

Conclusion

If you are a long-time Fitbit fan and have years of statistics logged through the Fitbit app, I cannot recommend their newest fitness device enough.

But the Versa is just that, in my opinion, a fitness device. The Apple Watch offers so much more if we are talking about smart watches. It is still difficult for me to call the Versa a smart watch in its current state.

So here is where I stand, if you want a smart watch, get the Apple Watch. If you are looking for a fitness device, save a few extra bucks and go with the Versa. You will not be disappointed with either.

Let me know which on you are planning on getting!

Images courtesy of Apple and Fitbit

Disclosure: Some links in this post are affiliate links, and at no additional cost to you, I will make a commission if you decide to purchase after clicking the link.

Why The New Fitbit Versa Is So Tempting

Last week, Fitbit announced the Fitbit Versa, the company’s newest smart/fitness watch. While this is not the first smart watch Fitbit has released, I think this is the first one that stands a chance against the Apple Watch.

I was very shocked to hear that Fitbit is releasing another smart watch since they just released the Ionic, last October. The Ionic did not get much praise and in my opinion, looked horrendous.

If you remember the Pebble smart watch, before Fitbit acquired them in 2016, the Versa will look extremely familiar. This is a good thing. While I never owned a Pebble, it always seemed so simple, to the point, long lasting and easy to use. Looking at the Versa, I think this will be in the same boat.

Women’s Health

Women will find a new feature that is a first for a smart watch. This watch will track a women’s menstrual cycle.  Fitbit says that it will “log your period, record symptoms & compare your cycle against other health stats like sleep, activity and weight.” I think that this is fantastic and will be a huge selling point. That is until Apple does the same thing later this year, I’m sure.

Software

I’ve used Fitbit’s for years. I have had the Fitbit Flex, Charge and Flex 2. All are great products but far from smart watches. Since then, I have been using the Apple Watch and haven’t looked back.  I really like the Fitbit software on the iPhone so that is an advantage going forward with any Fitbit product. My entire family, for the most part, has a Fitbit of some form. The challenges and competitions you can do within the app is a lot of fun and motivating. That is something the Apple Watch is lacking and can make a huge difference.

Screen Shot 2018-03-18 at 4.47.27 PM

The software on the watch itself is something I have no experience with. Now, they have Fitbit Lab apps that are built specifically for the Fitbit. Hopefully they run a lot better than most apps on the Apple Watch.

Size

From the reports, the Fitbit Versa will be a little bit smaller than the 38 mm Apple Watch.  Fitbit also says that this will be a lightweight device. The Apple Watch is a pretty heavy device on your wrist so a lighter and smaller watch will be welcomed.

Price and Availability

The Versa will be out later this year and cost $199.95 and $229.95 for a special edition, that comes with a woven band.

Closing Thoughts

I am very surprised that this product caught my attention so much. When they released the Ionic, there was no temptation. My Apple Watch works fine for what I use it for but to have a smart watch that lasts 4+ days? Now that is something I could get on board with.

Are you in the market for a smart watch? Do you think the new Fitbit Versa is something you will plan on buying? Let me know on twitter or in the comments!

Thanks for stopping by!

Follow me on Instagram and twitter!

Disclosure: Links in this post are affiliate links, and at no additional cost to you, I will make a commission if you decide to purchase after clicking the link.

Images courtesy of Fitbit.