Apple Watch Series 6 review: Sleep tracking, a stainless steel finish, and better fitness motivation
Keep it up
The Apple Watch has come a long way. Since wide-eyed millennials discovered the beauty of tracking their steps from their wrists to an accessory tethered to revolutionary technology in the health department (albeit niche) like testing an individual's ECG, period cycle tracking, and noise detection sensors coming into play.
Most recently, in the Apple Watch Series 6, this alien medical term, blood oxygen. Also known as Sp02 sensor, which zaps a red LED under your skin to track the colour of your blood. Essentially the technical stuff that would never come up during our conversations. And as a perfectly healthy individual, the feature didn't pose as life-altering. Of course, it's still opportune timing; with a global pandemic still at hand, many would find this feature a bonus to keep tabs on personal health. A couple of research studies are ongoing at the moment, in order to better utilise the technology and information for measuring other conditions like asthma, respiratory illness, and heart disease.
You wouldn't find this sizable feature in the Watch SE (a cheaper alternative that was launched at the same time), as well as the stainless steel finishes. The latter could definitely make up for that notable price difference — the same reason to why people would spend more on a watch in theory. Performance wise, it's all uphill from here. With a new dual-core processor built within, the watch runs up to 20% faster while maintaining the 18-hour battery life. I also appreciated the always-on altimeter, more so than the display itself, with insightful tracking on real-time elevation. It taps on GPS and nearby Wi-Fi networks to measure small elevation changes — that could take place during a hike or a "workout" five floors up the stairs because of an untimely lift breakdown.
But let's talk about sleep. Never mind that it took a long time for Apple to debut a sleep tracking function, what matters is that it's here. It's a feature that comes with watchOS7, so you don't actually have to buy a Series 6 to use this feature. But there's something about to start a new app on a new watch, especially if this will mark the beginning of better sleeps ahead. Starting with bedtime schedules. It forces you to think about what reasonable time you would be getting to bed and how early/late you would be waking up. Serves as a good wake-up call indeed.
Honing in on sleep quality, the feature broke down on how long I slept for, including dark and light periods whenever I woke up in the night. Turns out, I'm a pretty deep sleeper. Perhaps it was also the innate motivation of going to bed with this "test" in mind, but that propelled better sleep. The Sleep function works alongside the Bedtime feature on your iPhone — and puts your devices (both the watch and phone) in a 'Do Not Disturb' mode before bed. No buzzing, no incoming notifications, which reminded me that bedtime was drawing near.
The rest is very much a post-analysis by visiting the night's summary in Apple Health. What I was hoping for? A sleep ring to close, determined by the amount of hours every individual should abide by based off their bedtime schedule. Perhaps something to think about down the road.