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With GPS on the watch, you can leave the phone behind and still track your fitness route before the data is synced with your phone.

Apple Watch Series 2 smarter and sportier

Oct 7, 2016 5:50 AM

WHILE Apple's latest iPhone has lifted some features from existing smartphones in the market, its newest Apple Watch clearly stands out as being in a league of its own.

Now in its second generation, but running the third version of its WatchOS, Apple's wrist watch has received several bumps in features, including a faster processor, water resistance, a heart rate monitor, built-in GPS and a much brighter screen.

This combination of features means it i---s primarily a fitness device capable of tracking your runs, cycling routes and even swim laps.

With GPS on the watch, you can leave the phone behind and still track your fitness route, with details such as heart rate, distance, speed, calories and even elevation recorded, before the data is synced with your phone.

GPS tracking is fast when the phone is not around, and its use is not entirely for fitness either. Developers can also make use of it and the latest Night Sky 4 app actually displays the constellations at your location as you move your hand across the sky.

While other smartwatches prompt you to start moving if you have been stationary for a while, the Apple Watch tells you to take a break by breathing in and out. Both are actually meant to warn users to move around a bit, but when you are stuck at your office desk, taking a few deep breaths to gather yourself makes more sense.

These changes are not immediately obvious though, as the company has stuck with the basic square design that allows you to read messages easily across the display, but the overall presentation, especially when used with an iPhone, offers users something that no other smartwatch makers have managed to achieve.

Every time you download a phone app that has a Watch equivalent, the corresponding app appears on the Watch app, for users to register the connection. Their appearance on the phone, in the form of icons that Apple calls Complications, serves as shortcuts to their functions.

Notifications, such as incoming messages from Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp, appear without issues, and while replying them on a small watch might pose a problem, Apple has made it easier with handwriting scribbles that allow users to write their replies one letter at a time, or via preset reply options.

For those who swim, the screen now comes with a lock feature that prevents water from activating the display.

Apple has also crafted more watch options to pick from. Aside from colours, there are various strap options, from the rubber sports band to the woven nylon. The premium gold Apple Watch is gone but in its place is the ceramic version, as well as the Nike and Hermes edition.

The original watch, which does not have a built-in GPS, is also available to those who do not need a fitness tracker and it has been fitted with the same processor as the one on the new watch.

As always, there are those lamenting the continued use of a blockish square design on this timepiece, but if you have ever tried reading off a small screen, a square display makes more sense.

Plus, the tech-savvy folks who grew up appreciating square-shaped vintage Omega and Casio calculator watches will have no issues with this.

While the watch offers longer battery life, a charge is still necessary after each day. The fact that it is so closely linked to your iPhone means that you need both devices to appreciate the full functions of this smartwatch.


SPECS

Apple Watch Series 2

Price From S$398

Processor Dual core S2

Display Second-generation OLED Retina display (1000 nits)

Features Built-in GPS, water resistant up to 50 metres, heart rate sensor, ambient light sensor