Apple Watch Series 1 Review

Introduction


When Apple held their big keynote event back in September, a heap of new products were announced. The iPhone 7 and 7 Plus were easily the starlets of the entire show, but they were also accompanied by the new AirPods and Apple Watch Series 2. While these guys were definitely the highlights of the keynote, another product was announced as well. Apple introduced it on stage, and although it didn’t receive nearly the amount of fanfare or attention, it’s a new product nonetheless.

The product goes by the name Apple Watch Series 1, and while it’s essentially replacing the void of the original Apple Watch, it’s important for two very key reasons – performance and price. The Apple Watch Series 1 boasts a dual-core processor similar to that of the Series 2, and while it lacks built-in GPS and extreme water-resistance, it comes in at a much more affordable price point.

Apple Watch Series 1 Review
We’ve already reviewed the Apple Watch Series 2, and seeing as how these two gadgets are both incredibly similar, we’re going to try and keep things as short and sweet as possible by only focusing on the main areas that make the Series 1 unique compared to Series 2.
With that said, let’s get started.

In the box:

  • Apple Watch Series 1 (in this case, the 38mm Space Gray Aluminum variant with the Black Sport Band)
  • S/M and M/L band sizes
  • Magnetic charging puck
  • AC adapter
  • How-to manual for watchOS and Sport Band
  • Safety/warranty info

Design


Apple Watch Series 1 Review

Right off the bat, differences between the Series 1 and Series 2 can be found within the design. Both versions look identical from an aesthetics standpoint, but the Series 2 does have the upper-hand over the Series 1 with its 50-meters of water resistance. This means that the Series 2 is much better-suited for swimming or showering with than Series 1, but Series 1 does still feature IPX7 water resistance. Although Apple doesn’t recommend you fully submerge the Series 1 variant of the Apple Watch, you can certainly still keep it on your wrist while doing dishes or if you happen to get caught outside during a rainstorm.

In addition to the lack of true water-proofing, the Series 1 is also available in a much more limited collection as opposed to Series 2. As it stands, the Series 1 Apple Watch is only available with an aluminum casing and sport band. If you’d like to purchase the Apple Watch with a stainless steel case or different style of band, you’ll have to opt for Series 2. Of course, nothing stops you from purchasing a different kind of Watch band separately, and using it with the Watch Series 1.

 

View As One Page »
View As Slideshow »

1.

2.

3.

4.

5.

6.

7.

8.

9.

10.

11.

12.

13.

14.

15.


Display


Apple Watch Series 1 Review

Both the Apple Watch Series 1 and Series 2 feature the exact same screen resolution with their displays, but one area where the Series 2 screen has the advantage is with its brightness. The display on Apple Watch Series 2 is two times brighter than what’s found on Series 1 (450 nits versus 1000 nits), but I’ve yet to run into a situation in which I wish the display on my Series 1 was brighter than it is.

You can certainly pay an extra $100 for the Series 2 if you thought the display of the original Apple Watch was too dim, but for most people, the display here should be perfectly serviceable.

Apple Watch Series 1 Review

Introduction


When Apple held their big keynote event back in September, a heap of new products were announced. The iPhone 7 and 7 Plus were easily the starlets of the entire show, but they were also accompanied by the new AirPods and Apple Watch Series 2. While these guys were definitely the highlights of the keynote, another product was announced as well. Apple introduced it on stage, and although it didn’t receive nearly the amount of fanfare or attention, it’s a new product nonetheless.

The product goes by the name Apple Watch Series 1, and while it’s essentially replacing the void of the original Apple Watch, it’s important for two very key reasons – performance and price. The Apple Watch Series 1 boasts a dual-core processor similar to that of the Series 2, and while it lacks built-in GPS and extreme water-resistance, it comes in at a much more affordable price point.

Apple Watch Series 1 Review
We’ve already reviewed the Apple Watch Series 2, and seeing as how these two gadgets are both incredibly similar, we’re going to try and keep things as short and sweet as possible by only focusing on the main areas that make the Series 1 unique compared to Series 2.
With that said, let’s get started.

In the box:

  • Apple Watch Series 1 (in this case, the 38mm Space Gray Aluminum variant with the Black Sport Band)
  • S/M and M/L band sizes
  • Magnetic charging puck
  • AC adapter
  • How-to manual for watchOS and Sport Band
  • Safety/warranty info

Design


Apple Watch Series 1 Review

Right off the bat, differences between the Series 1 and Series 2 can be found within the design. Both versions look identical from an aesthetics standpoint, but the Series 2 does have the upper-hand over the Series 1 with its 50-meters of water resistance. This means that the Series 2 is much better-suited for swimming or showering with than Series 1, but Series 1 does still feature IPX7 water resistance. Although Apple doesn’t recommend you fully submerge the Series 1 variant of the Apple Watch, you can certainly still keep it on your wrist while doing dishes or if you happen to get caught outside during a rainstorm.

In addition to the lack of true water-proofing, the Series 1 is also available in a much more limited collection as opposed to Series 2. As it stands, the Series 1 Apple Watch is only available with an aluminum casing and sport band. If you’d like to purchase the Apple Watch with a stainless steel case or different style of band, you’ll have to opt for Series 2. Of course, nothing stops you from purchasing a different kind of Watch band separately, and using it with the Watch Series 1.


Display


Apple Watch Series 1 Review

Both the Apple Watch Series 1 and Series 2 feature the exact same screen resolution with their displays, but one area where the Series 2 screen has the advantage is with its brightness. The display on Apple Watch Series 2 is two times brighter than what’s found on Series 1 (450 nits versus 1000 nits), but I’ve yet to run into a situation in which I wish the display on my Series 1 was brighter than it is.

You can certainly pay an extra $100 for the Series 2 if you thought the display of the original Apple Watch was too dim, but for most people, the display here should be perfectly serviceable.

Interface and Functionality


Apple Watch Series 1 Review

The Apple Watch Series 1 runs the latest watchOS 3 version, which is an identical experience as what you get on the original Apple Watch and the new Watch Series 2.

One of the biggest changes with watchOS 3 is that Glances are now replaced by a new Dock, accessed by pressing the side button on the Apple Watch (not the crown). That brings up a list of both apps you've selected to permanently appear in the Dock, as well as the most recent one you've been working in. The ability to reorder and customize that list is nice, and helps users create an interface that feels tailored to their particular usage.

There's a big focus on health and fitness with the new watchOS – or a renewed focus, anyway – and in addition to improvements to Activity and Workouts that make exercise data easier to access, add new controls, and support sharing of accomplishments with friends, there's also stuff like the new Breathe app, encouraging users to take a break and relax throughout the day. Combined with reminders to get off your feet and stand up, we can appreciate Apple's drive to ensure its users are happy and healthy, but we imagine a lot of them will be looking for a way to disable such notifications straight away; they tended to get on our nerves, and fast.

For more details on watchOS 3 and its features, please check out our Apple Watch Series 2 review!

Processor and Memory


One of the major improvements in the Apple Watch Series 1 over the original Apple Watch is in the chipset. The Series 1 has received the same faster dual-core processor that's also in the Series 2, bringing a much appreciated performance boost to Apple's new budget Watch. The compromise the Series 1 makes here in comparison with Series 2, is that it doesn't get the built-in GPS module that can be utilized by some native applications.

On the Apple Watch Series 1, everything runs incredibly smooth and feels quite snappy, and that’s something that certainly can’t be said about the original Apple Watch. There are some instances where an animation will stutter on the Series 1, but it’s nothing that really detracts from the overall experience of using the watch. Navigating the UI, dictating voice messages, paying with Apple Pay, and everything else moves at a very fast and enjoyable pace.

Connectivity


Apple Watch Series 1 Review
As already mentioned, the Apple Watch Series 1 does not come equipped with a built-in GPS unit. I’m not much of a swimmer, so the lack of honest-to-God waterproofing really isn’t that big of a deal on the Series 1. However, I am a big runner, and not having built-in GPS with the Series 1 Apple Watch is a bummer.

Because of the lack of GPS with Series 1, this means that you’ll need to lug around your iPhone if you want to accurately track your outdoor walks, runs, bicycle trips, etc. Being able to track all of this data directly on the Apple Watch certainly would have been nice, but then again, it makes sense as to why Apple omitted it from the Series 1 and kept it as an exclusive feature for Series 2.

Conclusion


Apple Watch Series 1 Review

With those differences between the two series in mind, is the Apple Watch Series 1 worth it?

As long as you know what you’re getting with the Series 1, it certainly is. The lack of full waterproofing and GPS is bound to be a disappointment for those who need those features in a smartwatch, and if you do, go for the Series 2.

However, if you don’t plan on swimming with your Apple Watch and don’t mind carrying your iPhone while you’re running, the Series 1 is an excellent purchase – especially for the price.

Apple Watch Series 1 starts out at just $269 on Apple’s website for the 38mm model, making it $100 less than the starting price for Series 2. For that price, the Apple Watch Series 1 makes for a very good offer. Yes, it’s not completely water-proof, it’s display isn’t as bright as Series 2, and it doesn’t come equipped with built-in GPS. But if those things don’t matter to you that much, the Watch Series 1 would be a great entry into Apple's wearable computer – it's essentially the same, familiar experience from the original, but enhanced with snappy performance and made more affordable. If that sounds like an enticing package to you, then the Apple Watch Series 1 makes for an excellent purchase.

For more information on everything else that Apple Watch has to offer, check out our more in-depth review of the Apple Watch Series 2.