Apple Watch Series 5 review roundup: Is it for you?

Apple Watch Series 5 reviews were posted early Wednesday morning, with many discussing the new always-on screen and increased storage capacity.

By and large, the reviews were extraordinarily positive on Apple's latest Watch, praising the always-on screen, with some saying it makes it "feel like a real watch."

The tech giant's latest wearable, announced earlier this month, starts at $399 for the GPS version and $499 for the cellular version, which allows you to make calls untethered to your iPhone. In addition to the new wearable, Apple lowered to the price on its Apple Watch Series 3 to $199.


The new Apple Watch Series 5 has a new titanium case, which Apple said is "a prized material in watchmaking that has superb strength-to-weight ratio and is lighter than stainless steel." It will also have a new ceramic case. Previous cases, such as the stainless steel case and aluminum case both remain, in colors such as gold, silver and space black.

Apple's Stan Ng talks about the new Apple Watch series 5 during a special event on September 10, 2019 in the Steve Jobs Theater on Apple's Cupertino, California campus.

Apple's Stan Ng talks about the new Apple Watch series 5 during a special event on September 10, 2019 in the Steve Jobs Theater on Apple's Cupertino, California campus. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

The watches will be available in stores Sept. 20th.

Here are several of the top reviews on the Apple Watch Series 5.


TechCrunch reviewer Brian Heater said that as Apple has continued to refine the Apple Watch, it's no surprise that the company is the leader in the smartwatch category and the Apple Watch Series 5 is no different.

"Announced alongside a repositioned line of iPhones, the Apple Watch Series 5 doesn’t include any hardware additions quite as flashy as the LTE functionality and ECG (electrocardiogram) monitor it introduced with previous updates," Heater wrote. "There’s an always-on display and a built-in compass — as far as smartwatch features go, neither is the sort of thing that’s likely to win over longtime holdouts. But taken as a whole, the new features go a ways toward maintaining the device’s spot at the top of the smartwatch heap."

He also praised the battery life, saying that he was able to get through a day without having to recharge. "I found I was, indeed, able to get through a day no problem with standard use," Heater added. "My own usage had the product lasting closer to 20 hours without the need to recharge, but even so, the device needs to get charged once a day, regardless — otherwise you’ll almost certainly be out of juice the following day."

USA Today

USA Today's Ed Baig, who also reviewed the iPhone 11, said the always-on display offers advantages over previous models.

"Friends have told me that the absence of an always-on display is the reason some of them have held off buying an Apple Watch," Baig wrote. "While it didn’t stop me from purchasing a Series 2 in 2016, also since discontinued, I’ve groaned about the lack of this feature myself."

He continued: "Having to raise your wrist to peek at the time, or for that matter, other glance-able information such as your next appointment or the activity rings tied to your fitness routine, may be a faux pas socially or in the office. The people you're engaging with may think they're boring you.

"And an always-on display serves a real purpose when you’re standing on a crowded bus, riding a bike, cooking or are otherwise occupied."



Wired's Lauren Goode highlighted the battery life, some of the new features associated with the Apple Watch and usefulness for getting messages in her review.

The Apple Watch Series 5 is an excellent smartwatch," Goode wrote. "You shouldn’t upgrade just for the always-on display, but if you do, you’ll be happy to have it. The only thing that would give the smartwatch even more appeal would be if Apple considered opening it up to Android users. You still have to have an iPhone to use the Apple Watch. Sure, your productivity, your health, your overall well-being matter a great deal to Apple—you just have to pay for its premium hardware first."


Buzzfeed's Nicole Nguyen said the always-on display is the only feature really worth discussing, adding that it makes it "a bona fide timepiece."

"If you are interested in the Series 5, there’s really only one feature worth discussing: the always-on display that finally makes the Apple Watch a bona fide timepiece," Nguyen wrote. "Previous models required a twist or raise of the wrist to wake the device’s screen, but the display on the Series 5 always shows the time, like a watch is supposed to. While you’re typing or exercising, the display is dim but still readable. When you raise your wrist, the screen brightens."


CNet's Scott Stein, who said the always-on display made it feel like a "real watch," also praised the compass, but bemoaned the battery life, which he said gave him a day and a half without charging.

"After a week of living with the new Apple Watch Series 5 ($415 at Amazon), which goes on sale Sept. 20 for $399 (£399, AU$649), I can report that its always-on display delivers what I've wanted," Stein wrote. "It's an upgrade that was long overdue. I notice it a lot because now I can glance at the time when I'm typing. Or casually watching TV. Or driving. No more weird arm twists. And no more awkward comparisons to other always-on smartwatches, which include the Pebble, Amazfit Bip, Fitbit Versa 2, Samsung Galaxy Watch and Google Wear OS watches."