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Apple Watch Series 2 Review Roundup: Smartwatch Or Fitness Tracker?

14 September 2016, 1:30 pm EDT By Horia Ungureanu Tech Times
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Apple recently launched the iPhone 7 and the Apple Watch Series 2, and the new generation wearable is about to receive a lot of attention from both experts and fans.

We sampled the opinions of smartwatch and fitness tracker specialists, so you know what to expect from the gadget.

First things first, it seems that everyone agrees that the Apple Watch Series 2 is a great fitness tracker. That's not to say that it does not fit the smartwatch category, because it does, but its focus is clearly sports oriented.

"The Apple Watch Series 2 is the first real Apple Watch," TechCrunch notes.

Design

In opposition to Fitbit, which has launched four new designs, packing the same specs, Apple chose to maintain the design of the original Watch and greatly enhance its insides.

"The new Watch ... is like the iPhone 7: no one will notice that you've got the new model," The Verge touts.

Granted, the Apple Watch Series 2 is a tad thicker than its predecessor, but it does also come with a bigger battery, so that's a trade-off everyone is ok with.

Performance

Apple touts that the processing speed of the Watch Series 2 is 50 percent quicker than the one from its previous iteration. It should be noted that the watch OS 3 is partly responsible for the faster speed of the gadget, and that the mobile OS will land to older wearable devices from Apple, as well.

The OEM fitted the wearable with a brighter display, granting increased readability for text and activity summary screens.

Owners of the latest Apple Watch benefit a new navigation system, which is highly intuitive. Tapping the right button opens a carousel of your most used apps, and thanks to an increased optimization they will also launch quicker. Keep in mind that you can now swipe up from the bottom to open up the settings menu.

"Compared with fitness wearables, that all-day-long utility is Apple's greatest strength," the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) points out.

Sports Tracker

The Watch 2 in well suited for swimming mode. The screen is crafted so that it ignores the water splashing, which could accidentally be mistaken for taps on the display. The wearable detects your stroke type based on movements in the pool, just as gait detection gives supplemental information for runners. Not only that, but when you're done swimming, unlocking the screen spits out the water from the speaker holes.

As useful as waterproofing might be, packing a GPS is bound to be noticed and appreciated by a lot more people. In the previous variant, the lack of GPS made the Apple Watch feel incomplete.

"A $349 sport watch without GPS was like an expensive sports car without turbo," The Verge jabs.

Thanks to the under-the-hood GPS, the Apple Watch Series 2 is now able to calculate your distances, and map your workout's path in the Activity app on your iPhone.

Smartwatch

The WSJ notes that shuffling through songs on the Watch Series 2 "was far easier than getting them on there in the first place."

Apple acknowledges that synching between the iPhone and the Apple Watch is not entirely intuitive, and promises to take care of the issue. This comes to underline the challenges of relying on a device that lacks cellular connectivity.

The wireless freedom of the Apple Watch Series 2 is both a blessing and a curse.

According to the WSJ, a user can see the battery level drop by one-fifth after a 20-minute jog with the music turned on. Despite loading a larger battery than the previous model, the GPS remains quite power demanding.

Price And Availability

The new Watch Series 2 will be ready for purchase on Sept. 16, with a base price point of $369. Fancy users might want to go for the $549 variant, with those wanting to make a statement getting ready to shell out $1,249 for the ceramic model.

Conclusion

The wearable is great at accomplishing simple tasks in one to three seconds. It comes with an embedded GPS, meaning that you can accurately count your steps and flights of stairs without requiring an iPhone to be present. What is more, the device is waterproofed with swimmers (or shower enthusiasts) in mind.

Albeit more expensive than rival fitness trackers, the Watch Series 2 is part of a bigger and better Apple experience. It is a smart-watch-fitness-tracker-stylish-gadget, after all.

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