Apple Watch Series 4 Review: Why I Finally Fell For This Wearable

Apple Watch Series 4 Review: Why I Finally Fell For This Wearable


Bourbon. Apple Watches. Obtained your consideration? Good. The 2 share a deep commonality. No, not a wealthy amber coloration or notes of vanilla. They’re each finest aged for at least 4 years. See for your self:

2015—A really sluggish wrist laptop? A elaborate-pants watch? A


with dangerous battery life? Apple didn’t fairly know, however shipped the Watch anyway.

2016—Scratch that. It’s a health wearable. With higher exercise monitoring, GPS and water resistance, the Sequence 2 Watch devoured up a bit of the fitness-tracker market, nevertheless it nonetheless suffered from poor battery life, particularly throughout exercises.



added mobile connectivity (not with out hiccups) and a quicker processor to the Sequence three, nevertheless it was nonetheless the identical ol’ factor.

2018—With an even bigger display screen and highly effective well being additions, Apple’s Sequence four wearable is loads nicer to make use of and eventually makes a whole lot of sense—and never only for younger individuals who know what burpees are.

The Series 4 has a bigger display, making it easier to see the smaller complications around the time.

The Sequence four has an even bigger show, making it simpler to see the smaller problems across the time.


Robert Alcaraz/The Wall Road Journal

I suppose you could possibly name this the I-told-you-so assessment. Over the previous few years, I’ve stated the Watch is an effective health gadget however varied points wanted extra time.

The Sequence four feels prefer it has been by a wanted maturation course of, with refinements to the display screen, the battery, the mobile connectivity and extra. And its new probably lifesaving EKG and fall-detection options make it fascinating for individuals who may effectively keep in mind the Eisenhower administration.

The Sequence four—$399 for the Wi-Fi/GPS mannequin and $499 for mobile—went on sale on Sept. 21. This assessment is later than typical as a result of Apple didn’t instantly present the gadget to me. I’ve additionally spent some time testing the brand new options—even going to nice, effectively, heights to check fall detection. (Make sure you watch the action-packed video above.)

I discovered some areas for enchancment however the Sequence four was higher than earlier generations in all desired use circumstances:

A wristwatch

I nonetheless don’t love the squircle form of the Apple Watch, however the enlargement of the Sequence four’s display screen by over 30% and the slight slimming of its potbellied underside make the Sequence four extra snug and enticing.

The Series 4 is slightly thinner than the previous models.

The Sequence four is barely thinner than the earlier fashions.


Robert Alcaraz/The Wall Road Journal

Going from the smaller display screen to the larger one is like placing on a pair of studying glasses. You now not want doll fingers to faucet the problems—these doodads on the watch face that present climate, exercise and different information. Some new watch faces, like Infograph, go overboard on these. Complication, certainly.

The Apple Watch remains to be inferior to an $85 Fossil watch at exhibiting the time. With out an all the time on display screen, I’ve to flick my wrist or flip the digital crown.

A lifesaver

If you happen to’re within the Sequence four’s Meals and Drug Administration-cleared electrocardiogram function for superior heart-rate monitoring, you is perhaps disillusioned to be taught that I couldn’t check it. Though the brand new watch has the required inside, Apple’s EKG app isn’t due out till later this yr.

I did check the opposite main well being addition, nevertheless. In what seems to be a transparent competitor to Life Alert, the Sequence four detects falls utilizing a brand new accelerometer and gyroscope. Throughout setup, if you happen to enter your birthday and are 65 or over, the function mechanically activates. If not, you may flip it on manually within the Apple Watch’s iPhone app, beneath Emergency Providers.

The Apple Watch Series 4 senses when you take a hard fall.

The Apple Watch Sequence four senses once you take a tough fall.


Robert Alcaraz/The Wall Road Journal

Throughout my two weeks of use, the Watch by no means issued a false constructive. Irrespective of how exhausting I attempted to slam my hand on the desk or fall onto my sofa, I couldn’t set off it. So we employed Evelyn Osorio Vaccaro, an expert stunt actor who falls—exhausting—for a dwelling.

Throughout a collection of no less than 20 slips, journeys and backward falls, the Watch detected all of them—aside from a ahead tumble down a hill. In every case, it buzzed with an alert studying, “Appears such as you’ve taken a tough fall” and an choice to name emergency providers. When Evelyn remained motionless for a few minute, it started a 15-second countdown to calling 911.

The testing proved simply how highly effective the Watch is as a hyper-connected medical gadget and never only for older individuals. Simply final week I noticed a 20-something on an electrical skateboard, trying down at his cellphone. I wished to cease him so I may lend him the Watch.

A private coach

A lot of the health enhancements seen on the Sequence four really come from the brand new WatchOS 5, which is out there for all however the very first mannequin. (Simply beware: Upgrading my older watch took a number of hours.)

5 minutes into my Saturday morning run, the automated exercise detection kicked in. Sadly, it solely picks up working, strolling and some different varieties of exercises, one thing I discovered the exhausting manner, 20 minutes into my SoulCycle class. The brand new exercise competitors function—wherein I’m presently shedding to a co-worker—no less than obtained me to stroll the canine for an additional 10 minutes. What I’d actually like is for WatchOS to push me more durable by, say, suggesting variations in my exercise routine.

The Apple Watch Series 4 with WatchOS 5 automatically detected a running workout.

The Apple Watch Sequence four with WatchOS 5 mechanically detected a working exercise.


Robert Alcaraz/The Wall Road Journal

The brand new does mark the Watch’s progress as a exercise companion. With simply my AirPods and the Sequence four, I went for a two-mile run. With 4 bars of Verizon service, I streamed my favourite ’80s Apple Music playlist and whereas strolling dwelling obtained a transparent and crisp—albeit annoying—name from my spouse to select up milk on the retailer. Once I go away the home, there’s nonetheless a 30-second drop earlier than the mobile handoff. Whereas improved, it’s nonetheless annoying when my music abruptly cuts out.

My 20-minute run, depending on mobile and GPS, ate up 10% of the battery, considerably higher than with the Sequence three. The Watch can go longer—as much as 1½ days—when it depends on Wi-Fi or my iPhone for connectivity. The battery nonetheless doesn’t final lengthy sufficient to sleep with the Watch, which might be why Apple hasn’t launched sleep monitoring but.

A smartphone mediator

I’ve by no means purchased into the Watch as a mini smartphone. More often than not, our telephones are in arm’s attain and are higher than one thing with a display screen the scale of a Listerine strip.

The 40mm Apple Watch Series 4, left, has a screen that’s over 30% larger than the 38mm Apple Watch Series 3, right.

The 40mm Apple Watch Sequence four, left, has a display screen that’s over 30% bigger than the 38mm Apple Watch Sequence three, proper.


Robert Alcaraz/The Wall Road Journal

There are two exceptions. First, Apple Pay. Two faucets on the facet button beats pulling out my iPhone. Second, the Watch has develop into surprisingly helpful to me in my quest to restrict my cellphone utilization. With out the temptation to faucet Twitter or Instagram, I can nonetheless get messages and see the time. We nonetheless deserve a greater method to prioritize notifications, although.

Bourbon aged for lower than 4 years is meant to say so on the bottle. Apple Watches ought to do the identical. Whether or not you’re upgrading from an older Apple Watch or have been ready to purchase one, search for the four on the field.

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Write to Joanna Stern at

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