Entries tagged as watch

Apple Watch 1st gen vs. Series 2 - Battery

I was quite surprised to see my Apple Watch Series 2 having more than 60% of battery on the first day of use. To see that this was not a fluke, I kept checking for a few more days and realized that it usually had 50% or more left after 24 hours with light use. In such cases, I was able to go without recharging for two full days. This is quite a bit longer than the Apple Watch Gen 1 even compared to its early days. So to make this clear, I did a comparative battery discharging test to produce the graph below. The devices had watchOS 3.0 installed at the time.

Apple Watch Battery Discharge Graph
Apple Watch Gen 1 lasted 24 hours 45 minutes, while Series 2 worked for 38 hour 50 minutes, about 57% longer. For Series 2, it still effectively meant two days' use - have it fully charged on the morning of day 1 and it will last until late evening on day 2. You can also see that if there was less activity, 48-hour use would have been possible as well. What's more interesting is how much battery is consumed for certain activities.

Activity Drain (%/hour)
Gen 1 Series 2
App Use 18.0 9.4
Exercise 18.0 8.3
Office (Day 1) 3.1 2.8
Office (Day 2) - 2.0
Sleep 1.9 1.1

During regular office work, the drain rate is similar for both watches. But once they're subject to more demanding tasks like logging an exercise or actively running apps, Gen 1 tends to drain about twice as fast. The idle state shown by the sleeping time is also less efficient compared to Series 2.

Early parts leak showed that Apple Watch Series 2 42mm models have about 36% larger battery compared to Gen 1 (334mAh, from 246mAh). So the difference isn't just coming from a larger battery, but an even more energy-efficient system overall. Considering that Series 2 has a CPU twice as fast and a screen twice as bright, this is quite a feat.

Now, it's been suggested that Apple put a larger battery on Series 2 because it includes a GPS module. This would enable path logging without a paired iPhone at an expense of a faster battery drain. So let's see how much difference it makes.
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Apple Watch 1st gen vs. Series 2 - Workout

Logging a brisk walk outside with both Apple Watch Gen 1 (left) and Series 2 (right)

To compare the battery life of the Gen 1 and Series 2 Apple Watches in a fair manner, I wore both devices on the same arm for as long as the device's battery lasted. In doing so, I was also able to see if there were any differences in the logged activity data. I'll be talking about this first.

I should note that this test required carrying two iPhones, one for each watch. While Apple did introduce 'auto switch' feature in iOS 9.3 and watchOS 2.2 to let a user use multiple Apple Watches, only one watch can be active at a time. So to log the activities independently and simultaneously, I paired Series 2 to iPhone 7 Plus and Gen 1 to iPhone 7. The phones were in my pants so that they would always be close to the watches. Both had been through more than 20 minutes of calibration walks before the testing as well. Let's see what the final results of this walking session.

Walking for 25 minutes, logged with Apple Watch Gen 1 (left) and Series 2 (right)

The calorie and heart rate measurements were nearly the same, meaning that both Apple Watches saw nearly the same amount of activity. This is assuring as the measurement back-end for the workout session is consistent across generations.
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Apple Watch 1st gen vs. Series 2 - Performance

One of the reasons why the 1st generation (Gen 1) Apple Watch felt limited was due to its noticeably slow performance. App performance, especially the 3rd party ones, was sluggish enough that I eventually gave up making much use of them. The watchOS 3 update has implemented a lot of optimizations that alleviate the problem, but it couldn't hide the fact that the CPU simply was underpowered. Apple Watch Series 2 aimed to fix this by putting a CPU twice as powerful. Let's see if it worked out. First up is the boot speed. All tests were done with watchOS 3.0 installed.

Apple Watch Boot Time / Gen 1: 02:04.5s / Series 2: 01:42.0s
Compared to iPhones or modern computers, Apple Watches are notoriously slow to boot up. Gen 1 still takes more than two minutes and while Series 2 is faster, it isn't significantly so. Fortunately, you won't need to reboot it often, so it's a minor annoyance at best. If you want to see the boot speed in real time, here's the boring video.

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What 17 months of use does to Apple Watch Sport

The front side of the Apple Watch Gen 1 (left) and the Apple Watch Series 2 (right)

I wore my 1st generation Apple Watch Sport (some people call this first iteration Series 0; I will refer to it as Gen 1) every day for over 17 months from May 2015 to October 2016 until its duty was handed off to the Stainless Steel version of the Apple Watch Series 2. While it's still just as functional as the first day, some wear and tear are clearly visible as expected. The big scratch marks on the glass are from just two separate accidental brushes with a rough surface. Excepting those, it would have only gathered the small scratches at the edge of the screen.

Still, the big ones did made me buy the stainless steel version for the Series 2 since it has the much harder sapphire glass instead of the Ion-X hardened glass used on the aluminum (Sport) version. I'll see how better it would be in the coming months, but the lesson to be learned here probably is that if you're getting the Sport version, you might want to invest in a screen protection film.

The back side of the Apple Watch Gen 1 (left) and the Apple Watch Series 2 (right)

Despite being only in contact with either my wrist or the charger, the back side of the Gen 1 watch sustained quite a bit of wear as well. The scratches started to appear on the center within about two months due to slight curvature difference between the charger, and the sweat likely aided in corroding the surface as well. While the scratches have not affected the functionality, it does make it look old and less durable.

It seems that Apple was aware of this issue and all Series 2 models got the much more durable ceramic back. For the Gen 1 and Series 1, the Sport version came with the composite back and the more expensive versions (stainless steel type and Edition) got the ceramic back. I would recommend avoiding the composite back if possible.
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Apple Watch Series 2 and iPhone 7 Plus are here

Apple Watch Series 2 Stainless Steel, iPhone 7 Plus, and iPhone 7 lined up

While the iPhone 7 I got from Japan was busy getting reviewed, the iPhone 7 Plus and the Apple Watch Series 2 I asked my friend Andy in the United States to preorder for me was traveling around the world. The 7 Plus in particular was actually stuck in here South Korea for a while in transit from China to United States due to shipping issues. Once it landed in the States, Andy sent it back across the Pacific so I could have it in my hands. And that's why it took three weeks to arrive.

Packaging weight: 460g for iPhone 7 Plus, 880g for Apple Watch Series 2 Stainless Steel

The box for the iPhone 7 Plus is the same size as the one for 6S Plus, but with the same new design as the 7. It seems the new Apple Watch Series 2 also come in the same-sized box as the previous version. I ordered a Stainless Steel one this time, unlike the Aluminum (Sport) version last year and was a bit surprised how heavy the box was. Shipping weight was 1.2kg for the watch and 0.5kg for the phone; even with the shipment box removed the boxes weighed 880g and 460g, respectively.
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