This is the Apple Watch Series 5 and we have it in both Titanium as well as Black Stainless Steel. This is it, the Apple Watch that we’ve all been waiting for since it now has an Always-On-Display.
Shout out to BandWerk who make some amazing Apple Watch Straps for sending the Black Stainless Steel for me personally.
So let’s unbox both of these, the Apple Watch Edition in Titanium and the Black Stainless Steel and I’ll give you my thoughts on both in this article as well!
So taking a look at both boxes, the Apple Watch Edition has a bold Apple Watch text in black on the front, whereas the Stainless Steel model just has a white indented logo and text, and that’s it.
On the sides we don’t really have anything aside from the pull tab and on the back we get a listing of what we get included inside, alongside the Apple Watch model.
Ok, so let’s unbox these up, starting with the Stainless Steel model.
So opening up that butterfly style packaging and we get 2 boxes inside. We get the actual Apple Watch box and the band, which in this case is the Black Sport Band with a black stainless steel PIN as well. It isn’t really a perfect deep black, like the old Apple Watch sport bands were, it’s more of like a dark space grey instead, but it still looks really nice on the Stainless Steel Apple Watch.
Opening up the actual Apple Watch box and we get a booklet which includes a quick start guide, the warranty and the safety guide, but no Apple stickers at all.
We then get the charging cable, UBS A to the magnetic head that attaches to the Apple Watch, and also the charger itself, which in the UK is this very compact and portable travel adaptor that also folds the pins inside. Really nice! Now, if you get a stainless steel or edition model, the back and the sides of the charger would be made our of stainless steel as well, rather than plastic like we get on the aluminium models. It has no impact on the functionality, its just a cosmetic upgrade.
And then finally we get the Apple Watch Series 5 which comes in a microfiber pouch which actually matches the colour of the watch and that’s it for the stainless steel one.
Now the unboxing experience for the edition is similar but slightly different.
The inside of that butterfly cardboard that holds the watch box and the band box together has a black inside rather than the white one that we get with the aluminium and stainless steel models.
We get the quick-start guide which does say ‘Apple Watch Edition’ on it and it seems to be more detailed that the Stainless steel one, and it also matches the colour of the watch inside.
Then with the Apple Watch Edition Box, we the booklet which is noticeably thicker than the stainless steel one. It seems like we actually get a free band inside this Apple Watch Edition Booklet. In my case its a Dark Grey Sport Band which matches the colour of my Watch.
So you get that one with the Black Titanium, you get a Light Grey Sport Band with the regular Titanium and you get a Soft White Sport band if you go with the Ceramic Apple Watch. All all of these band colours are exclusive to the Apple Watch Edition. You cannot buy this separately as of right now.
But that’s pretty much everything in terms of exclusive Apple Watch Edition content. Aside from this we get the same charging cable, the same charger and we now get the Titanium Apple Watch in its own pouch, a dark grey one which looks pretty sleek, and that’s it for the Black Titanium Apple Watch Edition.
So I’ve been playing around with these for the past few days and this is what I think about both so far.
The stainless steel model looks identical to my Series 4. Same dimensions, same thickness, same casing material, so holding them next to one another and you really wouldn’t be able to tell the difference
The titanium one is a new casing material and it looks good for the most part. I do like the brushed metallic look of the Titanium a lot, you can get the titanium in silver as well, which is titanium’s natural colour, I just prefer black It’s a weird one because it looks and feels like a matte stainless steel. It’s got that cold feel to it, unlike the aluminium which feels warm. So I do like that. But at the same time, it’s not as shiny as the stainless steel one is. It’s literally in between the aluminium and the steel in terms of how the casing material looks and feels like.
Personally, I still prefer the stainless steel. The reason for this is because of the seamless transition between the glossy black display and the glossy back stainless steel case. It just looks as if it was all made from a single block of metal, and you don’t really get this with any other Apple Watch.
But something that you might be able to tell is the weight difference between the two. The stainless steel model weighs 47.9g compared to 41.8g on the titanium. It’s not as noticeable as I expected but holding both in my hands I can tell that the titanium is slightly lighter.
Now, probably the best part about the Apple Watch Series 5 is that it still uses the exact same mechanism for the bands. Yes same exact one that we’ve had since the original Apple Watch was unveiled back in September 2014, five years ago. Personally I think that this is just amazing! This means that all of your bands will still perfectly fit on your Series 5.
FUNCTIONALITY & FEATURES
The main new feature of this watch is the Always-On Display. Now the way it works is that it has a low power LTPO display which the Series 4 also had, but the Series 5 does have a new display controller that allows it to switch the refresh rate to as low as 1Hz, down from the usual 60.
So when you tilt your wrist back, or even put your palm over the display to put it into sleep, rather than the display going black it still shows you the full watch face, only slightly dimmed.
In cases where you do have a watch face with a lot of movement, like the Toy Story face or one that has a lot of bright areas like the white ones do, the colours would get inverted so that everything’s black, since on OLED displays, when pixels display black they’re actually turned off, so they consume 0 energy.
Now, the display would be way dimmer in Always-On than it is normally, so you are losing that brightness but at least you have a display that’s always on, something that Android watches have had for many years now, and something that’s been the main lacking feature on the Apple Watch.
And having an Always-On display is just amazing. You no longer have to tilt your wrist to see the time or your notifications, and if you’re worried about your privacy, you can enable a blur effect which blurs all your upcoming notifications when the watch is in sleep, with the Always-On display on.
So how does that affect the battery life you may ask?
Well, Apple’s claiming up to 18 hours of battery life on the Series 5, which is identical to the Series 4, but I can honestly say that it’s nowhere near that. My Series 4 lasted me for two days easily, and by the end of the second day I had about 20% or so left, meaning my Series 4 consumed about 40% of battery life per day.
The Series 5 with the Always-On display on was at 63% by 3:30pm. Which means that by the end of the day, this will be at around 30% or so. So it can last a day but definitely not two days like my Series 4 easily could.
Also I’m a pretty light user myself. I almost always have DND enabled since I get a ton of notifications and I’d be constantly spammed by my Apple Watch otherwise. And I usually don’t fill my yellow ring. I know, I don’t exercise as much as I should which is bad, but at least now you know how I actually use my watch. Personally its mostly for time tracking, and when I do get notifications I just wipe down to see all of them and that’s mostly it.
So if you’re a heavy user and you use cellular, GPS, you listen to music, go out for a run and you plan on this lasting you for an entire day it won’t.
I also went on Apple’s battery page for the Apple Watch, where they detail all the tests that they’ve done in order to achieve that 18 hour battery life and there’s no mention at all of the Always-On display. They don’t mention if it was turned on or off, which kinda makes me believe that it was with the display off, otherwise they would’ve mentioned it because it’s a bragging right in the end.
Yes, you can in fact turn the Always-On display off from the settings, but in that case this will just be a Series 4 with a compass and that’s it.
Speaking of the compass it’s pretty amazing! It not only shows the exact direction you’re facing but also the inclination, the ground elevation as well as your actual coordinates, so your latitude and longitude.This is quite amazing for if you get lost in the woods for example, just make sure that you turn that Always-On display off to save your battery.
But aside from these 3 features the new Titanium casing material, the Always-On display and the compass, there’s nothing really new to this watch. Even performance wise the Series 5 has the same CPU and GPU as we have in the Series 4. So performance wise, the Series 4 and 5 are identical.
So based off the few days I have had with this I would say that if you have a Series 4 don’t upgrade to this as there really isn’t much more on offer than what you get with Series 4. On the other hand, if you have a Series 3 or earlier, I do think that this is a really good upgrade and would encourage you to try it.
This wasn’t the full in-depth review by the way, that’s still coming in a few weeks after I get to test this out even more, see how the battery life really is and maybe Apple will even release a software update in the meantime.