Happy new Apple Watch week. Yes, we finally got our first look at Apple’s new smartwatch, and there are some serious new features we need to talk about.
It was also a big week for Google and its Wear OS platform with Qualcomm revealing the tech that will make Google’s smartwatches more desirable. We also got a new Wear watch from a big luxury brand to look forward to as well.
Essential reading: The biggest VR and AR news of the week
Plus, it wasn’t just Apple that had new watches to talk about this week. Polar is bringing the fight to Garmin with its new Vantage range. Plus, we finally finished up our testing to give you our comprehensive verdict on the Samsung Galaxy Watch.
We’ve picked out the three big stories from the past seven days and selected the other best reads from across the site. So put your feet up and catch up on the biggest stories of the week.
Apple Watch Series 4 is official
New sizes, a huge new screen and ECG for serious health tracking. We got a whole lot from the new Apple Watch that was unveiled at Apple’s 12 September event. The Apple Watch Series 4 was first order of the day for Tim Cook and company (take that iPhone) as many of the rumors and leaks were confirmed.
We got an Apple Watch that now comes in 40mm and 44mm versions, which also makes room for a 30% larger display. The digital crown got upgraded to include haptic feedback while a new speaker has been squeezed in to improve voice quality on calls and Siri exchanges.
The biggest news on the Watch Series 4 front though was the move into serious health tracking and the addition of personal safety features. A new fall detection mode will recognise when you’ve taken a tumble and offer a shortcut to call the emergency services or an emergency contact. The addition of an electrocardiogram (ECG) monitor also means the Watch can now detect any abnormal rhythms – a possible sign of atrial fibrillation. It’s been given clearance by the FDA for detecting irregular heart rhythms.
We had a seat at the Steve Jobs Theater to witness the big reveal and you can find out what we think of the new Watch so far in our Apple Watch Series 4 hands-on review. We’d definitely also recommend having a read of our guide on why ECG on the Watch Series 4 is such a huge deal.
This week’s best reads
Qualcomm’s new smartwatch tech
A day before Apple’s big reveal, Qualcomm unveiled how it was going to give Wear OS smartwatches a shot in the arm in the shape of its new Snapdragon Wear 3100 processor.
The next gen tech built for smartwatches should improve battery life performance of all the watches that end up packing it. There’s now also new personalised modes including one that keeps GPS and heart rate tracking going longer, delivering up to 15 hours of battery life in this mode. There’s even an Enhanced Ambient Mode, designed for use on fashion watches to keep your smartwatch always-on for longer.
The chipset maker also announced that Fossil, Montblanc and Louis Vuitton would be the first brands to feature the Wear 3100 tech. We even got a peek at the Montblanc Summit 2, a unisex smartwatch that’s aimed at adventurers and city slickers.
Our man in the US Hugh was at the Qualcomm event and argues that Qualcomm’s new smartwatch tech is missing something big, but also explains why that actually might not matter.
Polar’s new sports watches land
It wasn’t just Apple that had new watches to show off this week. Polar officially unveiled its new Vantage V and M multisport watches with the V the natural successor to the V800 and the M a cheaper alternative that misses out on some of the features included in the V.
The Vantage V changes things up on the design front in a big way moving to a round watch design with an always-on color touchscreen display. It also includes Polar’s new HR tech that it claims offers the most accurate wrist based monitoring out there. It’s now going big on running power, which we tipped to be the next big metric for runners in 2018.
The Vantage M also gets the new HR tech and power support (via third party accessories) and comes with all the same advanced coaching, training and recovery features as the pricier V. We were fortunate to get some run time in with the new watches this week. So you can have a read of our Polar Vantage V hands on to find out if Garmin and Suunto have something to worry about.
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