Apple Watch Series 4 Reviews: Larger Screen is 'Incredibly Good', Upgrading From Series 0 or 1 a 'No Brainer'

The first reviews of the Apple Watch Series 4 have been published online today, just a couple of days before the new smartwatch is available in stores.

The Apple Watch Series 4 features a new design with a slimmer body, a 30 percent larger display, and electric sensors for taking ECG readings. Despite the larger displays, the Series 4 has a thinner, smaller case.

apple watch series 4 flames
All Apple Watch Series 4 models feature a black ceramic and sapphire crystal backing, and the Digital Crown includes haptic feedback for what Apple says is a more mechanical, responsive feel. Inside, the Apple Watch features a faster, more efficient S4 chip that offers twice the speed.

With all that in mind, several reviewers have been trying out Apple's new smartwatch for five days, and most of them agree that while the Series 4 model is a great smartwatch, it "isn't the kind of refresh that justifies upgrading from the last generation," as TechCrunch's Brian Heater puts it.

Likewise, iMore's Rene Ritchie thinks Series 3 owners looking to vindicate the purchase will "have to really want the new capabilities, never mind the new design," although he thinks that upgrading from a Series 0 or Series 1 is a "no brainer" and Series 2 owners will also find the new model "compelling".

In terms of design and wearability, Heater found that the Series 4's larger, wider case was "not really noticeable unless you happen to have two side-by-side," although for those who have used an earlier model with any regularity, "the increase in surface area is pretty readily apparent."


The Verge's Dieter Bohn found that the difference between a 42mm Series 3 and the Series 4's 44mm size is "only subtly bigger" and "feels about the same." However, Wired's Scott Rosenfield found more of a difference when actually interacting with the device:

The watch still looks like a watch. But in practice, the larger screen feels as significant as going from the iPhone 5 to the iPhone 6. The rounded edges and thinner bezel give you substantially more screen space, which make it easier to read and tap.

That changed how I used the watch: I crammed in more complications on each watch face, and I found myself scrolling through texts, looking at heart rate and workout data, and even playing with the News and Photos apps in a way that I hadn't since the watch first launched.

TechCrunch's Heater took particular liking to the watch's new haptic Digital Crown, which "feels like turning a mechanical dial... And when there’s nothing on screen to move by spinning it, the feedback simply shuts off." iMore's Ritchie concurred, noting that "the new clicking absolutely feels more precise and more fun to use."


The new watch faces were also a hit with Ritchie, who called the new Infographic (analog) and Infographic Modular faces "informational escalations that manage to be denser without sacrificing legibility."

You can fill them with communications apps and contacts, if you're running around playing secret agent. You can fill them with world clocks and trackers if you're traveling. You can fill them with fitness features if you're off to a workout. Or you can mix and match to best suit your average activities.

Elsewhere, Wired's Rosenfield came away impressed by the accuracy of the watch's new optical heart-rate sensor as well as the automatic workout detection, while noting that "runners will love the new rolling mile measurement, cadence, and target pace notifications."

The improvement in the Series 4's speaker was also particularly noticeable. The Verge's Bohn called it "way louder," while iMore's Ritchie said "everything from Siri to calls now boom... I can make out conversation from a good dozen feet away."


Speed-wise, Wired's Rosenfield felt the Series 4 was generally faster than previous models, although not as big a jump as with past iterations:

In everyday life, the Series 4 does feel snappier, but it doesn't feel to me to be as significant as the jump from the Series 2 to Series 3. The exception: I found the initial watch pairing process to be much faster with the Series 4 than with prior models.

Despite the speed improvements, the reviewers agreed that general battery life is largely unchanged from the Series 3 – TechCrunch's Heater felt that most users would be able to get through a day's use without worrying about finding a charger.

Reviewers were unable to test the ECG feature, which won't be available until later this year. Likewise, when it came to Fall Detection, Apple advised against trying to trick the Apple Watch Series 4 into thinking they have accidentally fallen, although Wired's Rosenfield couldn't resist: "I tried to trigger a false warning by tripping onto a yoga mat, jumping on the bed, and flailing around while attempting to powerlift. No dice."

Summing up, The Verge's Bohn concludes: "The Apple Watch has earned its place as the best-selling watch" and is "at least an order of magnitude better than other smartwatches and fitness trackers."

Other publications have shared Apple Watch Series 4 reviews that are worth a read. We've rounded up some links below and will add more when we find them.

Apple Watch Series 4 will go on sale, and begin arriving to customers, this Friday.

Related Roundup: Apple Watch Series 6
Buyer's Guide: Apple Watch (Caution)
Related Forum: Apple Watch

Top Rated Comments

AngerDanger Avatar
38 months ago
I can make out conversation from a good dozen feet away.
So if your arms are a good dozen feet long, this upgrade is a must.
Score: 21 Votes (Like | Disagree)
benshive Avatar
38 months ago
It'll be my first Apple Watch. Can't wait until Friday :)
Score: 15 Votes (Like | Disagree)
mvp2885 Avatar
38 months ago
The people hating on it is probably the people that can't afford it lol
[doublepost=1537362326][/doublepost]
Here we go again. Biased reviews by publications scared to be blacklisted by Apple if they say a negative comment. Let the real world reviews in a few days from actual customers speak instead of these paid venues...
not sure why you are criticizing you own every apple thing lol
Score: 15 Votes (Like | Disagree)
redneckitengineer Avatar
38 months ago
Here we go again. Biased reviews by publications scared to be blacklisted by Apple if they say a negative comment. Let the real world reviews in a few days from actual customers speak instead of these paid venues...

Update: I’m totally biased lol. Verge I guess did write an initial horrible article about the AW3.
Score: 12 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Baymowe335 Avatar
38 months ago
Watch is gaining a lot of momentum and is going to become a huge part of Apple.
Score: 12 Votes (Like | Disagree)
djcerla Avatar
38 months ago
Friday can’t come soon enough.

Here we go again. Biased reviews by publications scared to be blacklisted by Apple if they say a negative comment. Let the real world reviews in a few days from actual customers speak instead of these paid venues...
The Verge literally bashed every single Apple Watch. Last year’s AW3 still has an inexplicable 5 rating.
('https://www.google.it/amp/s/www.theverge.com/platform/amp/2017/9/20/16334066/apple-watch-series-3-lte-new-features-review-2017')
The biased one here is probably you.
Score: 10 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

REC ASA CODE2016 20160601 205816 2745

Elon Musk Reportedly Demanded to Become Apple CEO as Part of Potential Tesla Acquisition [Update: Musk Denies]

Friday July 30, 2021 9:04 am PDT by
Tesla CEO Elon Musk reportedly once demanded that he be made Apple CEO in a brief discussion of a potential acquisition with Apple's current CEO, Tim Cook. The claim comes in a new book titled "Power Play: Tesla, Elon Musk and the Bet of the Century," as reviewed by The Los Angeles Times. According to the book, during a 2016 phone call between Musk and Cook that touched on the possibility of ...
General Apps Messages

Android iMessage Competitor Puts Pressure on Apple

Friday July 30, 2021 3:15 am PDT by
Google and the three major U.S. carriers, including Verizon, AT&T, and T-Mobile, will all support a new communications protocol on Android smartphones starting in 2022, a move that puts pressure on Apple to adopt a new cross-platform messaging standard and may present a challenge to iMessage. Verizon recently announced that it is planning to adopt Messages by Google as its default messaging...
iPhone 13 Always On Feature

iPhone 13 to Bring Over a Major Feature From the Apple Watch

Wednesday July 28, 2021 2:21 am PDT by
Apple's upcoming iPhone 13 lineup will feature an always-on display akin to the Apple Watch Series 5 and Series 6, according to recent reports. In his weekly Power On newsletter, Bloomberg journalist Mark Gurman, who often reveals accurate insights into Apple's plans, said that the iPhone 13 may feature an Apple Watch-inspired always-on mode. The Apple Watch Series 5 and Apple Watch...
duracell battery bitter coating

Apple Says Don't Buy AirTag Replacement Batteries With Bitter Coating

Wednesday July 28, 2021 11:08 am PDT by
Since AirTags were just released earlier this year and are expected to have a year-long battery life, it may be some time yet before AirTag users need a replacement battery, but when the time comes for a refresh, Apple is warning customers not to buy batteries with a bitter coating. AirTags use coin-shaped CR2032 batteries, which happen to be a size that's easy to swallow. Some battery...
a15 chip

iPhone 13 and Redesigned MacBook Pro Chip Production Hit With Gas Contamination

Friday July 30, 2021 5:44 am PDT by
The most important TSMC factory that manufactures Apple's chips destined for next-generation iPhone and Mac models has been hit by a gas contamination, according to Nikkei Asia. The factory, known as "Fab 18," is TSMC's most advanced chipmaking facility. TSMC is Apple's sole chip supplier, making all of the processors used in every Apple device with a custom silicon chip. Industry...
apple rtp land

Apple Preparing to Occupy 200,000 Square Feet of Temporary Space Ahead of New $1 Billion North Carolina Campus

Thursday July 29, 2021 9:14 am PDT by
Back in April, Apple announced a $430 billion investment over the next five years to create more than 20,000 new jobs as the company continues to expand. One significant piece of that plan is a new engineering and research center in North Carolina where Apple will be investing over $1 billion and hiring at least 3,000 employees. Assemblage of seven properties in Research Triangle Park owned by ...
Apple Leak Feature

Apple Demands Leaker Reveals Sources Under Threat of Being Reported to Police

Wednesday July 28, 2021 6:53 am PDT by
Apple has sent a cease and desist letter to a leaker based in China as part of its continuing attempts to curtail leaks of unreleased products, according to Vice. A Chinese citizen who shared images of stolen Apple prototypes on social media was sent a warning letter from Fangda Partners, Apple's law firm in China, on June 18, 2021. An extract from the letter read:You have disclosed without ...
macos monterey tidbits feature copy

Apple Releases New macOS 12 Monterey Public Beta

Wednesday July 28, 2021 10:19 am PDT by
Apple today seeded the third public beta of the macOS 12 Monterey beta to public beta testers, allowing non-developers to test the new macOS Monterey software ahead of its public release. The third beta comes two weeks after Apple released the second macOS Monterey public beta. Public beta testers can download the macOS 12 Monterey update from the Software Update section of the System...
iOS 15 General Feature Purple

Apple Releases New Public Betas of iOS 15, iPadOS 15, watchOS 8, and tvOS 15

Wednesday July 28, 2021 10:16 am PDT by
Apple today seeded the third betas of iOS and iPadOS 15 to public beta testers, allowing non-developers to download and test the new updates ahead of their fall release. The third public betas come two weeks after Apple released the second public betas. Public beta testers who have signed up for Apple's beta testing program can download the iOS and iPadOS 15 updates over the air after...
nothing ear 1 buds 1

Nothing 'Ear (1)' True Wireless Earbuds Launch to Take on AirPods Pro With ANC and Unusual Design for $99

Tuesday July 27, 2021 7:57 am PDT by
Nothing, a new brand from OnePlus founder Carl Pei, has today officially launched the "Ear (1)" true wireless earbuds after months of anticipation around the company's AirPods Pro rival. The Ear (1) features an in-ear design, Active Noise Cancelation, Bluetooth 5.2, IPX4 water resistance, and a charging case with Qi-compatible wireless charging and a USB-C port. Fast pairing is supported on...