So you’ve been rocking a fitness watch for a while now and are thinking of making that jump to an Apple Watch 4. You’ve already got an iPhone, and the series 4 has been “redesigned and re-engineered” with a focus on the features that people use the most: health and wellness.
And you’ve been reading the things Apple has been working on. Like having the Apple watch be able to sync with gym equipment. It has automatic workout detection. The Apple watch lets you swap bands easily, and you can get different versions of the device for those of you that need that little bit more. Also, all that health data its been storing can be shared with your doctor.
The watch has LTE so you can leave your plus model device at home without lugging it around on runs. That being said only Singtel allows for eSIM. The other telcos still don’t allow that feature. The Latest Bluetooth standard, GPS/Glonass/Galileo/QZSS, there is more than enough space on the device to load your workout tracks, it has an IP68 rating. There’s even an ECG function. But ECG companion app for the ECG to actually work isn’t out yet. No news out yet on when that will be released.
18 hours of battery life so it will outlast your Bluetooth headphones and may be able to keep up with your iPhone. If you have GPS turned on, then that number drops to about 6 hours. Enough to complete a marathon, perhaps. And of course Apple Pay, so you can get your fix at Starbucks after your workout without an actual wallet.
There are new sports tracked, with the full list reading, running (indoor and outdoor), cycling, walking (indoor and outdoor), hiking and yoga (both new to watchOS 5) plus rowing, elliptical, stair stepper, and general high-intensity interval workouts. It can even automatically detect exercises if you forget to start the watch.
Run tracking has been most improved with specific metrics added such as cadence and rolling pace. The series 4 optical sensor is almost on par with a chest strap. If you are concerned about your heart rate from that CrossFit class you just did, you might want to invest in a Bluetooth chest strap, which works with the Apple Watch Series 4.
BUT! is this watch really for you? Now when you do go for a run, the watch locks you into Apple Workouts. Which for the moment cannot be sync with Strava or the like. See this is a problem if you’re into your runs.
There are plenty of apps out there that cater to running, and other types of workouts and these commonly have more advanced settings for the displays you see and whether that information can be shared outside of the Apple ecosystem is essential. You can’t compare the amount of data you receive with say a Garmin Fenix 5 plus.
Probably because battery life on the Apple Watch isn’t on par with the likes of a dedicated sports watch, the Apple watch doesn’t include advanced sleep tracking with REM, deep, and light sleep periods, stress tracking and management. Understandable, with the amount of other stuff the Series 4 can achieve, they couldn’t cram that in without the battery dying half way through your sleep cycle.
If you are rocking an Android device then forget about an Apple Watch.
If you like all that the Apple watch gives you, and it gives you a hell of a lot AND aren’t a hardcore workout enthusiast then the Apple Watch Series 4 would be hard to beat. The Series 4 is a vast improvement over its predecessor, don’t let the negative reviews fool you.
However, if you are an enthusiast that loves the different metrics your device can show you and need a new device right now, then stick with a dedicated sports watch. It’s only a matter of time before the other OEMs throw in LTE into the mix and improve their devices to match Apples Health and wellness features. Then again Apple would probably have all those features in next year’s device anyway. Investing in the Apple Eco-system isn’t a bad idea. Apple is a huge company going full steam ahead. Their community of users is ever growing. We could definitely see them taking over and dominating apps like Strava in the near future.
We here at barCode are hoping Garmin can knock it out of the park in the next few months. Another year will be too late. We just hope they’ll add in solar charging also. For the rest of you set with getting the Apple Watch Series 4. Prices start at $599.