Wearable versions of pulse oximeters in watches and bracelets are not as accurate, so they are not considered medical devices. Manufacturers openly discuss this on websites and advertising devices, and Apple even focused on this during the presentation.
Although the company is promoting the feature only to “monitor general well-being,” this is unlikely. To prevent users from interpreting the data as medical. In addition, for many reviewers who received the device the first, the function worked with a large error.
Journalists often failed to measure oxygen levels; in others, the result was too far from the data on medical devices. Because of this, reviewers criticized the Watch Series 6 and urged not to trust the blood oxygen data.
In a week of testing, we did not encounter anomalous measurement results. One night, the oxygen level, according to the clock, dropped to 93%, but this could very well be a mistake. Everything was normal for the rest of the week. There was often too much oxygen – the clock showed 100% daily.
Since the light from different LEDs travels to the sensors differently in Watch Series 6,. The watch compensates for natural skin features such as freckles or scars. In theory, arm hair shouldn’t interfere with the measurement. As it doesn’t completely block the LEDs, while tattoos could be a problem.
What else is new in the watch?
Other changes in Apple Watch Series 6 besides oxygen measurement are iterative and insignificant. When moving from Series 4 or 5, they are almost invisible. For example, in the new generation. Apple has updated the altimeter – now it is always on, and before. It worked only when the Compass application was running. Watch owners can now bring it to the dial and always see at what height they are.
In everyday life, the sensor seems useless: how often do you need to know at what specific height relative to sea level you are standing? It will be useful for hikers, climbers and runners because it now measures ascents and descents in real-time. But many Apple Watch owners probably won’t even know the altimeter exists. Personally, before the announcement of Series 6, we did not suspect that it was in the previous generation because there was no need for it.
A New Altimeter, Display and Battery Improvements
Apple Watch Series 6 also received a slightly updated display. There are no significant changes: it’s just that, according to Apple, it has become up to 2.5 times brighter than the previous generation, but only in the Sun and always-on, when the screen is “in sleep mode”.
But even in such conditions, the display does not always look brighter. I tried several times to notice the difference with the Series 5 by aiming both models against the Sun, but we never succeeded – they looked the same in all cases.
Indoors, you won’t be able to notice the difference in the display’s brightness exactly.
A much more useful innovation is the ability to interact with the watch even in idle mode. Previously, you still had to wake them up. Still, you can immediately access the Action Center, Control Center and extensions, but not applications, without lifting your wrist and waking up the screen. Only now has the display become “always on”.
During the presentation, Apple also mentioned the improved Series 6 battery – they did not explain what exactly had changed, but they talked about “fast” charging up to 100% in less than 1.5 hours. In this case, a new charging cable or power supply is unnecessary.
Redesigned Heart Rate Sensor
In our experience, compared to the Series 5, the charging speed in the new generation has not increased. If you completely discharge the watch and put it next to it, the previous generation will charge in an hour and 15 minutes – even a little faster than the new one. But it seems that the energy consumption has decreased: after 5 hours of the same use, the Series 5 discharged 10% more than the Series 6. However, this may be the effect of the “fatigue” of the battery of past hours after a year of operation.
Switching from a previous model may not be what you expect unless you want the most noticeable change: new body colors. But against the background of the unstable exchange rate, it will cost even more than usual.