The Apple Watch Series 2 is the company’s second-generation smartwatch. And it’s been a big hit. The Apple Watch Series 2 has shifted in numbers since its launch in 2016, and leads the field as one of the best smartwatches money can buy.
With the Series 2, Apple shifted focus to fitness, by adding GPS to track runs and cycling session sans iPhone. It’s fully waterproof and offers swim tracking in the pool and in open water.
Apple even introduced the Breathe app to help you relax. The intentions are clear: Apple is making a big play for sports watch owners.
But it’s not ignoring those who’d prefer to steer clear of a gym. With watchOS 3, Apple is looking to right the software wrongs of its predecessor, improving the way you interact with the Series 2 on a daily basis, offering better third-party app support and more.
But there’s more to come with watchOS 4, and you can read below about how that will change the Series 2 experience.
Here’s our full verdict of the Apple Watch series 2, which has been updated since our initial test with some long-term thoughts.
Apple Watch Series 2: Design
So what’s changed with the Apple Watch? Well, visually, nothing. The Apple Watch continues to be the most divisive smartwatch around. For many it’s an abhorrent square wrist-computer, devoid of any style. To others it’s sleek, opulent and classy. For our money, it’s a great-looking device and feels as premium as it costs– especially in stainless steel paired with a leather or metal strap. In short, it’s now a sports watch that doesn’t look like a sports watch.
For many, the primary purpose of a watch is to make a statement. The Apple Watch is one of the few smartwatches that’s capable of doing that.
While there are some nuanced differences, you’d pretty much have to put the Apple Watch Series 1 and 2 side-by-side to notice the difference. It’s very slightly thicker than the original, which is just about noticeable on the 42mm version, less so on the 38mm. (If we’re being truly picky, we’d like to see it back to the original slim profile on v3.)
Everything else is business as usual. It’s seriously light and comfortable – no mean feat – so you won’t get arm ache as you might with a bulkier rival. In fact, it’s one of the only real options for women who don’t want an oversized watch on their wrist.
The crown and button still reside in the same place (although the role of the button has changed for the better in watchOS3) and the fitting for Apple Watch straps hasn’t changed, which will be music to the ears of those who forked out for third-party bands and like how fast it is to swap them in and out.
It’s still available in aluminium or stainless steel editions, plus of course the new ceramic version. There are new strap choices as well, including the woven nylon – in short, there’s even more choice but it’s the same, essential, iconic look.
Of course, the big change is waterproofing. Apple has steeled the Watch Series 2 against 5ATM of water pressure, which works out to about 50 metres. The most impressive thing is achieving that without changing the design, and that’s no mean feat. Remember how Jawbone totally screwed up the UP3 because it couldn’t waterproof it?
The screen has also changed, and is now twice as bright as the Series 1 at 1,000 nits. The difference is certainly apparent here though many will miss the change, given that the Watch defaults to 66% brightness, presumably for battery longevity reasons. Ramp it up and it’s pretty dazzling – and still the best display of any smartwatch on the market.