Until this year, we were used to meeting new iPhone models and new Apple Watch in September. However, in 2020, some habits changed with the effect of the pandemic. Still, the tradition of meeting the new Apple Watch in September has not been broken. However, Apple did come as a surprise this year. Actually, how right to say surprise is debatable; because we more or less knew that we would see two different Apple Watch models. Offering many Apple Watch features and functions at a more affordable price, the Apple Watch SE attracted more attention than the Apple Watch Series 6 it was introduced with, but the subject of this review will be the second device. Apple Watch Series 6 is the device that represents the advances we have seen year-over-year in Apple’s smartwatch line. This year, a feature such as the measurement of oxygen level in the blood is highlighted. Meanwhile, there are two new color options such as blue and red. We also have one of the new colors in our hands. Comments and impressions about the smartwatch we have experienced for a while are included in the Apple Watch Series 6 review article and video.
Apple Watch Series 6 review: Design
Apple Watch Series 6 is not different from the options of the last two years in terms of design and size. There are also two different case options, 40mm and 44mm. The 44mm version catches a good balance in terms of screen and size. Although we have never used it, we can say that the 40mm case also has a large enough screen. On the right edge is the Digital Crown, the side button and the microphone in the middle. On the left side, we continue to see the loudspeaker, which offers a powerful sound output.
For LTE-supported versions, Apple Watch Series 6 also has a stainless steel body material option. A higher priced ceramic material option is also available.
In addition to the classic space gray, silver and gold color options, there are blue and red color options called Product (RED). If you want the smartwatch on your wrist to be noticed as an Apple Watch Series 6, you should choose one of these two colors. Since red is a more noticeable color, this option will reveal the identity of the smart watch on your wrist at first glance. However, if you are someone who likes dark colors, you have another color option like blue besides space gray. The blue color looks just as attractive.
The aluminum frame of Apple Watch Series 6 is completed by a solid glass on the front and a ceramic surface on the back. We see that the sensor structure on the back is different from its predecessors. There are new components added to measure the oxygen level in the blood. Like its predecessors, the new generation smart watch is also water and dust resistant. There is water resistance up to 50 meters. Thus, Apple Watch Series 6 is also suitable for swimming in pool and open water. In addition, you can hold the Series 6 comfortably on your wrist while taking a shower or while running and walking outside in the rain.
Apple Watch Series 6 review: Wellness and Exercise
With each new generation, a new health feature is added to Apple Watch. With Apple Watch Series 6, the feature that makes the cuffs is the measurement of oxygen level in the blood (SpO2). Thanks to the SpO2 sensor placed on the back of the watch, the oxygen level in the blood is detected. The light sent under the skin by the LED light source is reflected from the veins and detected by the diodes in the watch. The oxygen level in the blood is determined depending on the color of the perceived light.
SpO2 level measurement is done automatically day and night. However, you can measure at any time using the Kanda O2 application installed on the watch. During the test, which lasts for 15 seconds and shows a nice animation on the screen, you have to hold the Apple Watch still and push it towards your elbow so that it rests firmly on your wrist. You can view the results in the Health section on the connected iPhone. We were unable to compare the O2 level measurement results in blood with those of any sensor that tested the finger tip. However, these measurements work well and there is no need to worry about their accuracy.
Oxygen level in the blood is an important criterion. In a healthy person, this value should be above 90 percent. If this value falls during sleep, it could be a sign of sleep disturbance. For those who do sports, it is important that this value is above the threshold. In addition, in these days when a new type of coronavirus pandemic is experienced, the oxygen level in the blood is also one of the criteria.
ECG feature is also available on Apple Watch Series 6. After opening the ECG application, you can have your heart rhythm detected by holding your finger on the Digital Crown for about 30 seconds. If anything unusual occurs, Apple Watch displays it as a result. However, heart rate measurement is also carried out continuously. You receive warnings in cases where the low or high values you specified are exceeded. These features make the Apple Watch Series 6 a useful companion for those who are sensitive to heart health. Just like the O2 level measurements in the blood, you can view the results of all heart-related tests and measurements through the Health app on iPhone.
Regardless, Apple emphasizes that the measurements taken cannot be used for any medical diagnosis. So, Apple Watch Series 6 is not a stand-alone diagnostic device. If you encounter an unusual measurement or notification regarding blood oxygen level measurement, ECG or heart rate measurement, you should contact the nearest healthcare facility or specialist. Even though the results of Apple Watch seem normal and you still feel unwell, you should not neglect to consult the nearest healthcare facility or specialist.
On the health side, a small but important health feature added to Apple Watch is the Hand Washing Counter. This feature, which came with the watchOS 7 update released last September and is also included in the Apple Watch Series 6, is considered important for personal hygiene today when the Kovid-19 pandemic is experienced. Thanks to the microphone and sensors on the watch, it is understood that you have started washing your hands and it starts counting down from twenty. You can see with a slight vibration that the meter is working. When the twenty seconds are up, you are given a different vibration that you can turn off the faucet. In addition, this feature reminds you to wash your hands when you come home. Hand Wash Counter comes off by default. You can enable it from within the settings.
One of the features introduced in Apple Watch Series 6 with watchOS 7 is sleep tracking. In fact, this opportunity was previously offered with third-party applications. Apple now has its own solution and can be used in other Apple Watch watches. Since it is a new feature, the sleep data provided seems less than that of third-party apps. Apple’s sleep tracking feature shows you how long you slept and when you woke up during sleep. However, the focus is on the time you spend awake in bed.
In fact, Apple is focusing more on improving sleep tracking than measuring sleep patterns. The Bedtime feature, which was previously introduced on the iPhone, but we did not use much, works in conjunction with sleep tracking on the Apple Watch. You determine your bedtime and getting up times through this application. Then, as bedtime approaches, iPhone and Apple Watch are put into relax mode. Do not disturb mode is activated, dark mode is turned on on iPhone, and various applications or functions are automatically opened to prepare you for sleep.
When it’s time to wake up, Apple Watch wakes you up, accompanied by light music and vibration. When you turn off the alarm, the screen shows you the information you want to see at the start of the day, such as the time, battery status and weather. It’s important to see the battery status so you can tell if you need to charge your Apple Watch. Apple Watch consumes 6 percent of the battery while it is on the wrist during about 6 hours of sleep.
You can see the information saved with the help of Apple Watch Series 6 in the sleep section of the Apple Health app. You can also find out the status of your sleep quality and get tips on how to improve it. In the meantime, as in previous Apple Watch models, health-related applications such as Noise and Cycle Tracking are also available in Apple Watch Series 6. There are also innovations from the hearing health side that come with watchOS 7. Thanks to the weekly safe listening notification, you can receive a notification when you reach the weekly safe listening time. And it will lower the volume of your Apple Watch headphones to a safe level.
On the fitness side, Apple Watch has already proven to be a powerful device. This line continues on Apple Watch Series 6. Since I had to give up habits such as spending time outside or going to the gym because of the pandemic, I could not experiment much through the Training app. However, my previous experience has shown that this app is powerful in fitness tracking. We can say that this continues. When I take a look at the Activity section in the revamped app called Fitness on the iPhone, I see that the Movement ring is filled in the layout in Series 5, even though I am not exercising properly.
The Workout on Watch app hosts more frequent exercises such as running, walking, swimming, as well as niche training types. New options such as Dance and Functional Strength Training have also been added with watchOS 7. Thanks to the built-in GPS on the watch, you do not have to take the iPhone with you while running, walking or cycling. Route information is kept directly by the clock. With watchOS 7, VO2 Max, the level of oxygen consumption in the blood, is also measured. This is an important value for those who do sports. The always-on altimeter is also important for those who do sports such as hiking and climbing, and they can constantly see altitude information on their watches. If they wish, it is also possible to add this to the watch’s dial as a complication.
As in previous Apple Watch models; You can set targets for your rings such as Movement, Exercise, Posture, and see how much of them you have closed from the Activity app. The Activity Sharing feature allows you to share this ring information with your friends who own Apple Watch and organize competitions between you. Awards will also keep you motivated. You can access all fitness and activity records from the application on iPhone, named Fitness with iOS 14.
Apple Watch Series 6 review: Performance and Battery
The 44mm Apple Watch Series 6 we have has a 1.78-inch screen with a resolution of 448 x 368 pixels and a density reaching 326 ppi, which Apple puts on its smartphones for the Retina display. The retina display has LTPO OLED technology and has a maximum brightness of 1000 nits. LTPO technology helps this smartwatch offer the Always On Display feature. When you are not actively using Apple Watch Series 6, the brightness of the screen is automatically reduced. In this way, you have the opportunity to see what time it is without moving your wrist, just like in a normal hour. In Apple Watch Series 6, the brightness of the always-on screen has been increased compared to Series 5. This makes it easier to see the screen of the clock, especially outside. You will not need to move your wrist or take it off the wheel to see what time it is, especially when riding a bike or driving a car.
Apple includes the dual-core Apple S6 processor in this smart watch. Thanks to this processor, Apple Watch Series 6 runs smoothly. Although Apple does not officially state it, it has 1 GB of RAM per hour. There is also 32 GB of internal memory. The large internal memory provides the opportunity to load more songs into the memory of the smart watch. It is ideal to listen to music with wireless headphones that connect easily and practically with the Apple Watch, especially the AirPods or AirPods Pro. However, you can also pair with other Bluetooth headsets and listen to music.
It is stated that the clock with a 44mm body has a 303.8 mAh capacity battery. Apple states that with this battery, the Apple Watch can offer up to 18 hours of runtime between charges. I usually needed to charge my Apple Watch Series 6 at 25-30 hour intervals. In the past, I used to attach my Apple Watch to the charging accessory that was always next to my bed and let it charge overnight. Thanks to this habitual behavior, I would not have the opportunity to charge my Apple Watch from morning to evening. However, the charging pattern also changes due to the sleep tracking feature. After all, the watch should stay on the wrist while sleeping. This makes it necessary to choose an awake time to charge the smartwatch and makes charging time even more important.
Apple claims that its Watch Series 6 charges faster. This claim is also not empty. Although the charger that comes out of the box seems to charge a little faster than the older Apple Watch, the situation varies. Still, I can say that the Apple Watch Series 5 is charged in two hours, while on the Apple Watch Series 6 it drops to 90-100 minutes. It is also possible to reach a 75 percent occupancy in an hour. In short, the Apple Watch Series 6 indeed charges faster than its predecessors. However, to take advantage of this opportunity, you have to use the charger that comes out of its box. Of course, you need to either use your computer’s USB-A port for charging or get help from a 5W charging adapter at hand.
Apple Watch Series 6 review: watchOS 7
Apple Watch Series 6 comes loaded with watchOS 7 released in September. watchOS 7 brings new health features such as Handwashing Timer, Sleep App, Hearing Health, which we mentioned above, and new training types to the Training app, as well as adding new watch faces to its options. There are new watch faces like X-Large, Typography, Stripes, Artist, Tachymeter. Moreover, Apple offers more customization options for watch faces. You can diversify not only dial designs and colors, but also complications. Apple now allows an app to offer multiple types of complications. This way, you can create watch faces that present information for only one application. There is also the possibility to share the watch faces you have created with others. I haven’t felt the need to use it until now, but it’s good to know that there is a possibility.
Siri is also getting more useful with watchOS 7. You can now hear the new male and female voices coming to iPhones with iOS 14 and iPads with iPadOS 14 on Apple Watch. Siri Shortcuts also allow you to run the shortcuts you create on your iPhone faster on the watch, and even add them to the watch face as complications. On-device dictation is also a small, but important innovation. Dictation is one of the features I have used the most on Apple Watch so far. This method is very useful for quickly replying to incoming messages. Previously, this feature was connected to the internet and worked from the cloud, and a certain amount of time had to pass before what you said could be written down. Now, as you speak, what you say is converted into text on the screen.
Apple Watch Series 6 review: Conclusion
Apple Watch Series 6 is not a huge step forward compared to its predecessor, Apple Watch Series 5. It goes the same way on the design side. Blue and red color options make the new series a little more attractive. Always On Display was one of the Series 5 features that I liked. In Series 6, this is continued and the brightness of the screen in this mode is also higher than in its predecessor. Moreover, despite this, Apple Watch Series 6 manages to catch up with the battery performance offered by its predecessor. The ability to measure the oxygen concentration level in the blood may not be a highly sought after feature in a smartwatch, just like EKG. However, it is of great importance for people who are above a certain age and become more sensitive about health. For this reason, it seems that it is worth paying attention to these features while making a purchase decision. The lower priced Apple Watch SE can also be a suitable choice for tasks such as leveraging basic watch functionality and performing classic fitness and health tracking. However, we can say that color options such as Always On Display, ECG and O2 level measurement in blood, blue and red make Apple Watch Series 6 attractive and worth the cost difference.