Apple revolutionized smartwatches in 2014 when it unveiled the company’s first model. Every iteration since that date has become better, with the Apple Watch Series 5 being the pinnacle achievement.
Just like the smartphone space, Apple has created its own little niche with unique features. Even if you’re not fully integrated into the company’s ecosystem, the Apple Watch 5 works great as a standalone innovation.
Elegance describes the Apple Watch Series 5 perfectly. The best feature of the Apple Watch is that it is hard to distinguish it from a normal designer watch. With this new model, they really went the extra mile in making a design that matches the brand’s core quality and vision.
In some ways, the available design choices are a departure from what Series 4 offered. It isn’t a huge change, but it is subtle enough that you’ll be able to tell one model from the next.
This is a lot different than the usual uniformity that Apple is known for. Available designs focus on durability, with the actual visual portions hard to identify from one another. You can choose from aluminum, stainless steel, ceramic, or titanium.
The Apple Watch Series 5 handles ‘bands’ differently than its competitors, opting for an all-in-one solution. Switching out the band takes away the protective casing around the watch.
Depending on which design you get, damage resistance and specific wireless features change. But the visual difference with the bands really shows when you look at the edges, especially the knobs. There isn’t a single corner or crevice of the watch that looks like it wasn’t designed in a quality control lab.
Despite the stunning physical design of the watch, the real showstopper is the display. The screen size is just right at 1.78 inches. The LTPO OLED resolution of 448x368p is fitting for the size, delivering crisp visuals in during both daytime or nighttime hours. Users have tons of displays to choose from with more being added each day.
On smaller wrists, the Apple Watch looks like a giant television screen. The 60 percent screen to body ratio shows off the hardware, but it doesn’t get in the way of the excellent touchscreen.
You won’t have any problem navigating through the software using your finger. The experience is helped by having an always-on display, one of the most requested features of previous smartwatch users.
While in this state, the Apple Watch 5 Series looks like a normal watch on your wrist. Once touched, it instantly turns into the world’s smallest computer.
There is no delay when transitioning from one state to another. The smoothness is satisfying, and is an underappreciated feature if you’re coming from a different brand.
With all of the praise, be wary of the size. This is a big boy, and it looks best on medium or large wrists. Smaller wrists should opt for the 40mm size for obvious reasons. The smaller Apple Watch 5 Series has a 394x324p screen and a much smaller display area.
With such a decrease in watch and screen size, it completely changes the experience. If you’re upgrading from Series 4, it becomes a less attractive option.
The horror stories of shattering a smartwatch screen are less common than stories involving smartphones. Placement of the hardware is one reason, but the big reason has to do with Apple’s insistence on band quality.
Stainless steel, ceramic, titanium, and aluminum are the most commonly used materials. Wearers that switch out bands can find plenty of sources that match or exceed the quality of the watch’s original band.
Even if you change it out once a day, the locking mechanism is strong enough to take years of punishment. The mixture of high-quality materials doesn’t add much to the weight, and wearers can make it as light or as heavy as they want. Although Apple offers a nice mix of designs based on different materials, it really makes little difference in how durable the watch is.
The Apple Watch Series 5 makes your band choice the true measure of durability. Getting a cheap band for the Apple Watch Series 5 is like wrapping the base unit in plastic. There are only a few trusted sources outside of Apple that you should be ordering bands from.
Buyers that want to go all out and protect their watch during an apocalypse can get the titanium Apple Watch Series 5. Pairing it with a similar band will offer the best scratch and drop resistance. It’s not a necessary upgrade to make, but is a nice option for wearers that live an active lifestyle.
The Apple Watch Series 5 has 32GB of space with 1GB of RAM. With Apple products, they tend to go light on the hardware. When you put these current specifications against competitors, Apple comes out ahead against even the best smartwatch brands. It’s not often Apple leads the pack with hardware superiority, so it is nice to see them crush it with the Apple Watch 5.
Sound from the speaker is great whether you’re making a call or listening to music. If your Bluetooth headphones die during a workout, you can comfortably stream music from the watch without losing too much quality.
Powering the entire system is the Apple S5 CPU and PowerVR GPU. When paired with the watchOS 6.2.5 software, it creates a smooth experience that has been with the series since the first model.
There are minor differences to note between the listed versions of the Apple Watch Series 5. All models have GPS, Bluetooth, compass, heart rate, and Wi-Fi N connectivity. The big difference has to do with regular models and cellular-enabled models.
As a smartwatch user, you should always put all of your eggs in one basket. The phrase was created to convince a person to do the exact opposite of that. But with a smartwatch, it’s go big or go home.
Cellular packages vary based on location and current promotions. You can’t add cellular hardware to an Apple Watch Series 5 at a later date, so that makes the cellular-enabled version the flagship model. Paying a small premium upfront for the best version will prevent you from forking out 5x as much money for a later upgrade.
Battery life is great, even for active watch users. The default power settings do a good job of cycling in and out of important states without eating up too much energy. This is an amazing achievement that is possible with good hardware and even better software.
It never feels like you have to nurse the watch to the finish line after a long day. Screen icons are bright, high contrast, and easy to view without glasses. This is important to mention since it plays well with a flick of the wrist, instantly recognizing when you’re looking at the screen.
How Does the Apple Watch Series 5 Compare?
When the Apple Watch Series 5 came out, it had some surprising advantages over its predecessor. Early adopters won’t feel bad about the upgrade if they get the full sized 44m version. After seeing the optimization with Series 5, the next iteration looks like it will make all other smartwatches irrelevant.
|Apple Watch Series 5||Apple Watch Series 4|
|Display Type||3D Touch display / Always On||3D Touch display|
|CPU||Apple S5||Apple S4|
|Battery||296 mAh||292 mAh|
Still The Best
Apple still makes the best smartwatch in the industry. The dependence on Apple’s iPhone is annoying, yet ultimately necessary if you want the intended experience. Using the Apple Watch Series 5 is a joy, and more than enough reason to jump into the Apple ecosystem.