smartwatch review Apple Watch Series 6 Running Review: Two runners test out the new smartwatch
What is new yeah? So obviously, a lot of us are pretty familiar with apple watches, so we guess we thought we’d pick out a few things that might be of interest for runners in particular. The always on screen is now slightly brighter when it’s uh well it’s actually considerably brighter. But you know in real world it’s slightly brighter when you’re not using it actually that’s good on the run, because you can see your stats a bit more clearly about turning your wrist. There is also a new heart rate sensor, which brings into play blood oxygen saturation monitoring, uh, so blood oxygen. Saturation is a big topic this year, we’ve covered um, even though i know it can be a sign of necessarily that your symptoms might mean something serious is going on that’s, all really something you should do with a doctor or a medical professional. But in terms of the health and fitness area, is there much use to it? Yeah, you can, i mean it’s a little bit complicated, but you can use it firstly to see whether or not you’re sort of able to run if illness is coming in if you’re sort of fully recovered or you should be doing an intense session that day low Blood oxygen saturation scores might mean that you want to take a day off or rest, and you can also use it. I believe during runs to see how it depletes to assess overall kind of fitness progress, but it’s a little bit of a complication.
I’M, not sure the approach is that keen on you swapping between apps during runs either. Is it so? No? No, so it might not be. It might be something you have to look out after, but yeah we’re moving towards that world, but exactly yeah, and this watch also has sleep tracking now, which is a software update, you’re, getting it on previous apple watches as well. We’Ll come on to it, it’s, not brilliant really, but it also has some effects in terms. It can now take better readings of vo2 max at low ranges, so basically less fit you’ll get more accurate reading and i think down the line they’re going to bring vo2 max alerts to the watch. I guess you start improving it. The watch will tell you that’s. Quite nice and then some other new stuff which isn’t just for runners, it’s, got a quicker processor and it’s got some new watch faces standard update, stuff you get every year, really on the apple watch, that’s more or less. It also comes in blue Music. All right. The design of the watch it’s an apple watch there’s a few key notes here: kieran yeah, so it’s classic amoled screen nice and sharp nice and bright it’s, crisp, it’s kind of you know this is a real treat compared to most running watches when you’re looking at It yeah it’s a small watch. It has that in its bank and it’s very responsive when you’re touching it, which is nice yeah.
All of that is kind of that. That kind of beautiful usability that comes with apple, that you expect is all nice, yeah um you’ve always got the crown controls the ecg measurements taken from the crown as well, which is another thing you can use to track. Your heart health um, a billion different straps they’re, easy to interchange. You can basically customize this as you wish, and my preference is for, like a nylon, strap. I like the sports loop, but the silicone to run in. I find it’s also got built in gps, a heart rate model, a very good heart rate, monitor of all these sensors for things like ecgs, which actually from the series phenomena, has meant it’s very good, actually at tracking during runs as well, it’s, basically it’s, probably the Smartest smart watch in terms of the app store you get it’s phenomenal. You can get everything on here. It’S obviously got all the music things like podcasts apple pay, every app under the sun, especially for sports and it’s, got a native workouts app, which is we’ll come on to it’s. You know it’s, okay, it’s a bit basic, but um. You can pretty much pick any app you’ve ever heard of and it will be on the apple watch more or less connectivity wise. You can actually link up a heart rate sensor or even a striped through bluetooth, it’s, a very good stride, app actually so it’s got a little bit more connectivity than most smart watches, i’d, say yeah it’s, all bluetooth, there’s no amt, plus, i think that’s that’s.
One thing where this comes into it’s different compared to running watches, because actually third party devices, foot pods other things you can start to build those in and have their their apps native on the wrist as well yeah. So some of those stats that might be hidden on your phone with accessories are more visible and these watches and easier to see than they might be on a polar or a garmin or a chorus so battery life. Obviously, it’s always a hot topic of apple, which is what i like the official stats on this kit and what the apple say you’ll get from it. So we’ve got six hours with gps and music. Then we’ve got seven hours, gps only and then up to 18 hours, just general usage that’s the claim that’s. You know that’s the max that you want to get out of this and with that, actually they tend to over maybe play the gps, but underplay the overall thing. I think 18 hours you’d actually, if you’re just using it as a watch you’re gon na get through more than that, i now it’s got sleep tracking. You have to charge it in the day, which is a bit annoying but um. I would basically take it off the charger around 10 when i go to sleep, go for the whole next day. Put it back on the charger around 8 pm to charge before i went to bed, and i nearly always have about 40 left even a day, with a run on the day of a long run.
I’D have about 30 left. So if it’s like an hour and 45 minutes that’s how much i deplete it with that that i don’t listen to music, while on the run with the apple watch, though, and that does it, if you’re tracking your sleep, you’re waking up and coming out with how Much left i normally run out in the morning uh. So, basically, when i get up in the morning, the watch normally has over 80 left um, but you are getting through a day quite comfortably. It does charge very quickly, basically, so it charges in an hour for 80 percent 90 minutes fully charged and that’s. Also a big bonus with the sleep tracking thing. The only thing about that is, the sleep track is pretty dreadful. I think i’d rather charge the watch at night, it’s more convenient yeah compared to other devices that you’ve got it’s, it’s very, very limited still. It just gives you the time to sleep so right now, during the pandemic i’m at home, a lot i’ve got a very fixed routine. Finding a time to charge in the day is not hard on a day where i was traveling into work going to something in the evening. Getting home i’d have not had time to charge this watch. Probably so i would just charge it at night and i think that’ll probably be the routine many of us slip back into in time until they improve that it’s not really worth not the trade off isn’t enough Music right.
The run test is the key performance thing for us really and you’ve got some interesting insights into the into the gps performance, which is, i guess, it’s been something that’s been a little bit of a bug, bear yeah previous editions of the apple watch. Basically, i love the apple watch. I would wear it if it was better for running, but um gps has always been a problem with me. I find that, if especially, if i run with my phone, that piggybacks in the gps, every previous apple watch would smooth off corners and i’d end up with a shorter distance run and also my pacing is wrong. Everything’S wrong, basically um and this new watch. The series six is the first time it doesn’t do that it’s matched my garmin, i can see the tracks afterwards are following the correct route. Still not perfect. I took it for like a long track session. It did one lap just cut off a bit of a corner, and that meant the whole thing was twenty twenty, a point, two of a k, short or whatever, but generally this is the best apple watch, gps, actually i’ve come across it’s matching my garmin and it’s. A huge leap forward by not just smoothing corners in a way that i presume was just saving battery or something it was taking for your readings but it’s much better. It was always fine if you ran without your phone, i think, but now it’s fine, even if you’re running with your phone, and that is huge for me and the other thing that i think has improved as well.
We’Ve talked about is the heart rate yeah. From my experience looking down at my watch, comparing it to the h10 chest, strap, you know mid run. They seem to be pretty much there or they’re about in terms of beat for beat yeah um and the averages and the maxes after the run have been pretty much spot on in most of the conditions i’ve tested it again. I find i have to do it with a silicon. Strap the sport loop. I don’t get very good heart right. Silicon strap tightly done up, i’ve done it on runs, i’ve done it on a cycling, spinning session. I was doing intervals watching the watch against the chest. Strap and it actually, it follows intervals, speak more speedily. The most risk based heartbeat rooms i’ve come across, and i think this does which i really like, which maybe people won’t, is. If you can’t get a good reading, it just stops. Reading your heart rate you’ll see it grayed out on the screen and it will come back five minutes later, because it’s got a heart rate fixed. So, instead of giving you inaccurate numbers, it gives you no numbers, which would definitely be my preference. Basically, it doesn’t skew the whole average for the run. Then the problem with that is, i did that one run where it lost an hour in the middle because it just couldn’t get fixed. I think it was wearing a sleeve. It kept bumping it, but as wrist heart rates go, this is right up there.
I think it helps it’s very small and light. I think, probably, and so we’ve got a couple of things tipped off there that are improving yeah but there’s. I think there’s still some gaps here. That means you can’t wear this as your dedicated running watch yeah. If you’re, i don’t know what you want to say: sort of serious whatever you want to call it, but actually yeah there’s a lot of times when you’ll take this off and put on a different watch, it’s, just a relief like it’s. The order on screen’s a big improvement, but it only works with apple watch’s native tracking, and this is just really limited and i’ve said this there’s no lap stats, you get a rolling paced out, which is the previous kilometer like real time, which is no good to Me because, if i’m doing, like a run where i want to alternate paces, each kilometer, just the last overall kilometer doesn’t help me, i need to have each. I need to have the exact lap pace i’m on how to do. A lot of my runs is on lap stats. You can take a lap by double tapping it, but then you’re getting started and they’re gone. You don’t get an average laptop and if i find it bizarre it’s your basic stat it’s, not on this watch but anyway that’s my big bucket, because i use laptops all the time um other things i think that are particularly annoying about it.
Um is the yeah there’s no lap button physical? I think that’s quite a big thing for most of us and the fact that you’ve got this whole world of amazing running apps on this watch that are not allowed to use the awards on screen. I think that’s the biggest problem for me. There are apps like i smooth run, which basically turn this into a bonafide running. Watch they get all the stats they can link to sensors they’ll everything sticks to driver now, including apple’s own app, which is important that’s. A new thing, but you don’t, get the orders on screen, and that means it’s not a useful running watch for me and what i don’t understand is why, when it see seemingly not a hard thing to do from a software point of view, yeah to load that Workout or the fitness app with more stats from your workout, so one of the things elevation yeah it now tracks, but it doesn’t give you the descent score. It only gives you elevation gain. It just seems like there’s a and also you can’t do structured workouts in the app like even a basic run. Walker intervals. One would be fine for me, so i basically just think that the app isn’t there yet it’s perfect it’s perfect for casual running, but it can’t replace even like a hundred pound running watch you, you can’t, you can’t dive in with any depth, no to the training Or or you know, even you get the heart rate chart, but it’s very rudimentary.
Yes, you know it’s not i’m, such a good heart rate reader not having a proper chart. It doesn’t give you zones even stuff, like that, so yeah there’s, i think, there’s a lot of easy improvements that could be made, but basically they haven’t done them in six generations. Now, with the running watch, they’ve made some little improvements um, but yeah it’s. Not quite there, but if you are happy with an always on and not on always on screen, you’re happy to turn to wake. There are amazing apps on this watch that will turn into a pretty much a proper running watch um. So that’s good. Do you do you think it’s, like a battery life thing that actually that day, long battery life, if you start, if you, if you try to sort of pretend that this is a running watch that you can dive into all of those analytics, there’s a reason they’re, Not kind of making it that serious as a tool, i just don’t, think it is, i just genuinely think it i just don’t think it doesn’t occur to them. I feel like, like i say you can get lap paste on other apps on this watch, so why it can’t be the native apps. They just haven’t coded it, but it doesn’t seem to be bothered, and i don’t want third party apps to have the orders on screen because then they’d have loads of apps with it always on, and that would drain the battery i’m sure but yeah.
I am it’s close and i would love to use this watch, but it’s not quite there yet anyway. This is our plea, then, to apple yeah. Just just add a few more metrics, a few more bits and pieces in the on the watch and then in the post, run stats yeah. Obviously, you’d have a lot of converts and and chuck in an interval workout mode it’s such it must be, but you know literally just you know, i won’t do 10 reps one minute on 30 seconds off. It really would be enough for most runners Music so that it is we’ve just done. Our big watch, roundup, video and the apple, which is the best smartwatch we’re running easily for all these criticisms. We’Ve just had if you’ve got the applewatch series, four or five there’s, not enough here to upgrade maybe the series four because you’re getting an always on screen from the five onwards, and i do think that’s huge for running and you’re getting a lot of the same Stuff, i think, it’s fair to say yeah um compared to other watches. So there is the approach se nowadays, which is you know, 100 pounds cheaper. It doesn’t have an always on screen and from what i’ve seen in other reviews, it doesn’t have the gps improvements. You’Re getting on the six for a nut. For me, the awesome screen will be enough to upgrade to be honest from that one for a hundred pounds it’s huge for running, i think um, but i don’t know how you feel about all those ones.
I mean, i think, if you’re, if you’re, really just a casual runner yeah, who really wants a smart watch, maybe save yourself a hundred pounds yeah. You know if you, if you’re, if you’re just going out and running sort of 5ks for fitness every now and again, you just want to know that you’ve roughly how far you’ve run and all of that then maybe save yourself the money. But if you’re leaning towards sort of being a little bit more dedicated, then yeah, perhaps that extra money’s a bit it’s true yeah. I suppose, if actually, if you’re, not really looking your stats on the run, if you’re not trying to judge a pace you don’t need to, and also it is a very responsive race to wake, it does work um and now it goes to strava the apple worker. It’S a bit of a fact: well it’s, not that hard to set up, and that i think, is big for a lot of casual runners that you can now have apple watch workouts on strava, which is really important. Um because strava strava isn’t it um outside of apple, smart and watch wise we’re, not huge fans of where a west smart, which is they’re, really not very good at running. Even suntow’s attempt at one was really so poor in the sports compared to a normal sumtot. It was very surprising that they hadn’t managed to take their experience and make it better on that front, but there are some great ones.
Cheap ones like the huawei gt2e is a very good. Smart watch with a lot of nice features for running it’s a lot cheaper than the apple watch, but i think we normally say if you can it’s better to make the trade off on smart features and get one of the smart watches from like garmin or um. Basically, sports brands, who make a slightly smarter watch than usual, so the venue, the vivoactive yeah, that kind of thing, even even a fitbit, is better than most wear os for um tracking and i’m, not a fan of the fitbit sense um, but yeah overall it’s it’s. A brilliant smile like so i don’t know about you like what would it make you? What would you what would what would be on this watch? That would make you give up your sports watch. Would you ever consider giving up for the smartwatch for running? I think battery life is going to be a problem yeah for a start, because i do a bit of ultra yeah anything. You know that i wouldn’t go out and trust this to last me on most of the 100ks that i run because i’m at least running double that time kevin does that in about three hours, so that’s a bit that’s a big thing for me and then it’s. Just the depth it’s a depth of analysis really yeah, the other features that come around with a power or a garmin yeah and a chorus that aren’t quite there um.
If they beefed up some of those, maybe i would swap it out for my sort of mid week, average sort of run see i would be happy, i really like it. I really love design. I use it often in between runs for me. It really would just be the case of adding some more stats to the app and adding and adding a workout mode, because i do like to have workouts buzzed at me just to make it easier to follow them. That would probably i don’t need the battery life. I have to charge it every day, like i don’t mind that that much but yeah it’s, just walkie talkie mode is a big seller. Doggy mode hasn’t done it. For me, if i’m honest, i can talk to you when you’re 400 meters ahead of me, like yeah so it’s, i don’t, know it’s close but and it’s not a priority. People like us, for it it’s perfectly good enough casual runners, but like um, i wish it. They just do a little bit better or just let me have always on a nice move run and then i’ll be fine, just yeah Music that’s. It guys that’s a review of the apple watch series. Six, if you’re, really really wanting to know all about the best running, watches right now, we have a huge round up. We’Ve, just filmed and it’ll probably be up before this review around the same time, go and look out for it and like and subscribe and ring the bell that’s 100.
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