Apple Watch review roundup: The hype is real for the best smartwatch on the market

Although the reviews for Apple’s iPhone Xs/Max were lukewarm at best, the experience first users are having with the Apple Watch Series 4 is incredibly positive.

The Apple Watch Series 4 fulfilled reviewer expectations and made an already great smartwatch even better, according to TechCrunch’s Brian Heater.

Heater said the Series 4 improved in many small ways that make a difference. The upgrade from the previous generation may not be warranted since starting prices are $399 and $499, respectively. However, the additional health features, such as fall detection or ECG capabilities, keep the Apple Watch competitive and highly ranked.


"Apple’s success doesn’t lie in any single standout feature," Heater wrote. "Rather, as with the iPhone, the company has excelled in providing an overall hardware and software experience that makes it possible to use the product mostly without thinking […]"

Edward Baig of USA TODAY agreed that the health features are a major plus for the new watch.

"Funny thing about the handsome new Apple Watch Series 4 I’ve been wearing on my wrist for several days," Baig penned in his column. "You hope you never actually need to use some of its most noteworthy features. And yet these features – fall detection, an ECG – are primary reasons for considering Apple’s latest timepiece.

"At the risk of stereotyping, it’s safe to assume that Apple is grabbing at an older demographic, customers who, by and large, may have been more dismissive of earlier smart watches […]

"Those of you who buy Series 4 will appreciate its larger display, louder speaker and such. But Apple has been pushing the new watch as a guardian for your health and that is arguably the most important reason to buy it. Even if your goal is never to have to use those features."

Apple also updated the watch’s design to make it more functional for users. Gareth Beavis of TechRadar said the Series 4 has “brought the things people were looking for from Apple’s wrist piece.”

"The Apple Watch 4 stole the show at the launch of three new iPhones, and for good reason: where those were all just copying the iPhone X from last year, the Watch 4 feels materially different," Beavis wrote. "This is Apple’s best smartwatch – not just because it’s the newest, but by a long way."


The New York Times’ Brian Chen was in favor of the 30 percent larger display, which makes the watch face much easier to read.

"The screen stretches out from one edge to the other, letting apps take up more of the watch’s face," Chen wrote. "This enlarged display makes everything on the watch look better, including text."

The majority of reviewers believed the Series 4 realizes the original goal of Apple when it was introduced four years ago. Dieter Bohn of The Verge acknowledged that the initial version tried “to do way too much with way too little, and it had confusing software to boot. Worst of all, it was unclear what the original Apple Watch was even for. No single thing stood out.”

“Now, with the Series 4, Apple is iterating again," Bohn wrote. "And, importantly, it’s learned how to iterate the product’s hardware and its purpose at the same time. The Series 4 has finally achieved something like the original goal of the Apple Watch. It’s not quite a do-anything computer on your wrist, but it can be different things to different people now.”


Reviewers were not so happy with the new iPhone Xs, however. Many advised consumers to wait an additional month for the less expensive iPhone XR.