Apple Watch 5 vs Apple Watch 4: which Apple smartwatch is for you?

The new


was announced alongside the new iPhone
series – it’s Apple’s newest smartwatch with some all new

The Apple Watch 5 looks very similar to the Apple
Watch 4
, but there are some very significant changes under the
glass – starting with the fact that at long last Apple has made
an Apple Watch that tells the time all the time. The smartwatch now
has an always-on display.

We expected Apple to ditch the Series
and make the Series 4 the entry level, but that hasn’t
happened. Instead it’s the Series 4 that’s disappeared from the
store, with the Series 3 now in position as the more affordable
Apple Watch. 

You might not be able to buy a Series 4 from Apple any more, but
it’s much better than the Series 3 and there should be some
decent deals on the second-hand market as retailers offload stock
and early adopters do their early adopting thing, flooding eBay
with year-old devices. 

Let’s not forget that until relatively recently, the Apple
Watch Series 4 was the best smartwatch in the world. Does the
Series 5 have enough power and practicality to make it the better
buy, or should you be scouring the second-hand sellers for a Series
4? Let’s find out.

Design and display

The Series 4 grew slightly compared to the Series 3, with the
38mm model becoming 40mm and the 42mm becoming 44mm. Those sizes
have been retained for the Series 5, which looks identical until
you power it on. 

The Apple Watch 4

That’s when you’ll see the most dramatic difference between
the Series 5 and the Series 4: the Series 5 Apple Watch has a very
clever always-on display that dims but doesn’t completely
disappear when the Watch display isn’t active. The faces for it
have been designed in such a way that when the display is dim the
time is still perfectly legible. 

The Series 5 also comes in a wider range of colours and
materials than the Series 4 – the range now
encompasses aluminium, stainless steel, ceramic and titanium –
and there are new Nike and Hermes models too, including a black
Hermes model.

Fitness and features

The Series 4 introduced an electrocardiogram (EKG) that can help
detect heart issues such as atrial fibrillation. It also introduced
fall detection and improved both the accelerometer and the
gyroscope, and came in both standard and LTE varieties. 

The Series 5 takes all of that and adds a compass for better
navigation, and it enhances the emergency SOS feature that can be
activated automatically on cellular models: the Series 5 Cellular
offers international emergency calling (without requiring an iPhone
to be tethered to it) n 150 different countries. 

Aple Watch 5 review

The Apple Watch 5

As the Series 5 runs watchOS
it also has the new noise detection feature that can warn you
if the noise levels are potentially dangerous for your health but
that’s a software feature, not a hardware one. 

OS, power and battery

The Series 4 ran WatchOS 5, and the Series 5 has WatchOS 6. You
can upgrade the older Watch to the latest OS.

Apple Watch 4

The chipset in the Series 4  is the Apple S4, supported with
16GB of storage for apps or music. Battery life was supposedly 18
hours, according to Apple, which seemed accurate enough in our year
of use: we’ve been able to eke two days out of our 44mm without
too much effort.

The Series 5 gets a 64-bit, dual core S5 processor (the amount
of storage hasn’t been announced) and once again Apple has
claimed 18 hours of battery life. It’s managed to achieve that
without the always-on display using up the battery life thanks to
new power management and the excitingly-named Low Temperature
Polycrystalline Oxide (LTPO) display, a variant of OLED that’s
much more energy efficient than the OLED used in the Series

LTPO uses less energy to keep the screen updated, and it’s
particularly effective at lower refresh rates: during the keynote
we were told that it can move effortlessly from refresh rates as
high as 60Hz to a positively sloth-like 1Hz, depending on what you


The entry prices for the Series 5 are identical to the Series 4:
$399 / £399 / AU$599 for the 40mm and $429 / £429 / AU$649 for
the 44mm watch. If you want to go cellular the prices start at $499
/ £499 / AU$749 and $529 / £529 / AU$799 for the 40mm and 44mm
models respectively. 

Those prices are for the aluminium models. If you want a
stainless steel one the prices start $100 higher, and if you fancy
a ceramic or Hermes one then perhaps you should get your butler to
enquire discreetly about the price (as Apple hasn’t told us so

Aple Watch 5 review

Apple Watch 5

The Series 3 is now very affordable, with the smallest 38mm
version priced at $199 / £199 / AU$319 for the standard model and
$299 / £299 / AU$469 for cellular, so if the Apple Watch 5 price
is too high, this is a viable alternative for you.


Apple had us at “always on”, which has been at the very top
of our wishlist since the very first generation. The Series 4 is
much quicker to turn on than any previous Apple Watch display, but
having to wake up our watch still annoys us, and makes it almost
impossible to check the time surreptitiously when we’re bored in
meetings. For that feature alone, we’d argue the Series 5 is better
than the Series 4. 

But there’s more to the Apple Watch 5 than just the display,
as great as that is. The compass makes any kind of navigation
– land, sea or air – that little bit better. There’s a
wider choice of materials and colours, even if some of them are so
hilariously expensive most of us won’t even glance at their
section of the Apple Store. And it’s going to be that little bit
smoother thanks to its S5 processor. 

The Series 4 remains a great smartwatch and a strong second-hand
buy, but the Series 5 is that little bit better. Did we mention
that the display’s always turned on?

Source: FS – All Tech News 2
Apple Watch 5 vs Apple Watch 4: which Apple smartwatch is for you?