Apple Watch Series 2 review: worth the upgrade?

After using it for a week, here’s what we love and hate about Apple’s new smartwatch.

Meryl D'Souza October 16, 2016

No one needs a smartwatch, it’s not as imperative as a smartphone. Most people could very well go through their lives without a smartwatch and not miss out on a thing.

The Apple Watch Series 2 is no exception to that rule, but it will make itself attractive to those of you who don't like to skip a workout session. Here's what you should know before you flock to the Apple Store, though: 

It looks exactly the same

Let’s start with its looks. The second generation of Apple’s smartwatch looks similar to the previous generation. So similar that the image you see above is actually the Apple Watch and not the Watch Series 2 - did you even realise?

Like Apple did with the iPhone 7, it’s kept the Watch design in line with the original. That’s not necessarily a good thing. Smart or not, watches are meant to be statement pieces. It doesn’t bode well for you if you can’t tell the Apple Watch apart from the Apple Watch Series 2, even after placing them next to each other.

But it’s faster

Not life-altering fast, but a side-by-side comparison showed that with little things like navigating around the application drawer and launching applications, the Watch Series 2 was about two seconds faster than the first edition.

The noticeable change is with Siri. The virtual assistant answered our queries a lot faster this time around. We suspect a combination of Apple’s S2 chip and the inclusion of a second mic had something to do with this improvement.


Apple doodle

While the voice assistant is great and works perfectly well, you may at times find yourself not wanting to reply to texts by whispering sweet nothings to your wrist, which is where the Watch’s new scribble feature comes into play where you can simply draw out individual letters which the watch will read fairly accurately.


It wants you to keep working out

The Apple Watch Series 2’s Activity app remains mostly unchanged compared to the original. We were fans of this feature before and are still committed – addicted even – to closing those rings.


You can now take it swimming

We can’t confirm this but maybe the whole America being great at swimming thing was the inspiration behind the Watch 2’s waterproofing feature. Of course, you need more than a waterproof smartwatch to track your swim and thanks to its accelerometer, the Watch 2 does an accurate job when counting your strokes and lengths.


You can leave your iPhone at home

A gripe we had with its predecessor is that it wasn’t really a smart watch if you didn’t pair it with an iPhone. That’s been fixed with the Watch 2. Armed with a GPS chip, the Watch 2 allows for pace and distance tracking without being connected to your handset. 


It needs life support

Apple claims to have a bigger battery in there, but with a GPS tracker and what Apple is calling the brightest display it has ever made, you’ll need to charge your watch at least once a day. More if you use it without the iPhone for GPS tracking.


iOutOfTunes

The Apple Watch is capable of synching up to 2GB worth of music! It’s a killer feature. Listening to “Eye of the Tiger” and “Can’t be Touched” can work wonders while plowing through a run. Sadly, we had trouble syncing music with the watch and took solace in the fact that we weren’t the only ones.


Look for inner peace

We liked the Apple Watch’s reminders to stand once every hour and are glad they are retained in the Watch 2. On the same lines, the Apple Watch Series 2 has the Breathe app – which at various intervals during the day will ask you to take a moment to focus on breathing. It’s all quite therapeutic, even if a tad gimmicky.

The Apple Watch is available in the UAE starting at AED 1,499