Apple Watch 2 review: Tech specs

Here are the specs of the new watches:

Apple Watch Series 2 specs (38/42mm)

  • Colours: Gold, Rose Gold, Silver, Space Grey Aluminium case and Space Black, Silver Stainless Steel case and Ceramic
  • S2 Dual-core processor
  • GPS
  • Height: 38.6/42.5mm
  • Width: 33.3mm/36.4mm
  • Depth: 11.4mm
  • Case weight: 28.2/34.2g 
  • Retina display with Force Touch (2x brighter than original)
  • Digital Crown
  • Heart rate sensor
  • WiFi 802.11b/g/n 2.4GHz
  • Bluetooth 4.0
  • Up to 18hrs battery life
  • Water-resistance rating of 50 metres under ISO standard 22810:2010

Specs of the original Apple Watch (the Series 1 is largely identical to the specs below, but it features a S1P dual-core processor and the new colour options - excluding Ceramic):

First-gen Apple Watch specs (38/42mm)

  • Colours: Stainless Steel, Space Black Stainless Steel
  • S1 processor
  • Height: 38.6/42.5mm
  • Width: 33.3mm/36.4mm
  • Depth: 10.5mm
  • Retina display with Force Touch
  • Digital Crown
  • Heart rate sensor
  • WiFi 802.11b/g/n 2.4GHz
  • Bluetooth 4.0
  • Up to 18hrs battery life
  • Water-resistance rated under IEC standard 60529 IPX7: a depth of 1 metre for 30 minutes 

Battery life

We're still testing battery life, but (while the specs quoted above peg them at the same 'up to 18 hours' figure) it's starting to look like the Series 2 performs better in this regard than its predecessor. 

We started with a short-term comparison test. We took a Series 2 and a first-gen Apple Watch off their chargers at noon and eight hours later, using both devices for the same tasks throughout the afternoon and early evening, the Series 2 was on 86 percent and the first-gen on 69 percent (although bear in mind that this is after the latter going through 16 months of battery wear).

The Series 2 can manage two days of use between charging fairly comfortably, something that we struggled to achieve with the first-gen Apple Watch even when it was brand-new. We're currently seeing if it can manage three, and will update once we know more.

Is the S2 a more power-efficient chip than the S1? Maybe - and remember it has a brighter screen to power too. Impressive stuff.

Apple Watch Series 2 review: Which Apple Watch model should you buy?

The Apple Watch Series 2 improves on the original watch, and provides a more viable smartwatch for those interested in fitness. However, if you're not using your watch for workouts, the Series 1 and its quick processor is a cheaper option.

To help you decide which model to go for, we've put together a small guide suggesting which watch to buy, given that you can still buy the original 2015 Apple Watch for a cheaper price through retailers (such as eBay) and you've got the option to save £100 on a Series 1 watch rather than a Series 2 model:

If you currently own a 2015 Apple Watch:

  • Want better fitness tracking? Get the Series 2
  • Want a truly waterproof smartwatch? Get the Series 2
  • Find the display too dim? Get the Series 2
  • Find the watch sluggish? Upgrade to watchOS 3 and reassess - if you're still not satisfied, try a Series 2 watch in an Apple Store

If you've never owned an Apple Watch:

  • Want good fitness tracking and a waterproof design? Get the Series 2
  • Don't care about fitness or waterproof? Get the Series 1
  • Strapped for cash? Get a used 2015 Apple Watch

Read next: Apple Watch vs Apple Watch 2

Apple Watch 2 review: Price and availability

The Apple Watch Series 2 starts from £369 and goes up to £1,249 for the Apple Watch Edition.

You will also find a Apple Watch Nike+ version that is based on the Series 2 model, but is aimed at runners with its sport-looking band. The Nike+ base model is also priced at £369.

The Apple Watch Hermès continues with its line of the Series 2 watches - prices start at £1,149. Although, if you're interested in the Hermès band, you'll be better off buying a Series 2 (38mm) watch for £369, buying the strap seprately for £299, resulting in a £668 price tag. Unless you're looking to receive the exclusive Hermès sports band, watch face and engraving at the back, we would suggest buying the watch and strap separately.

The Apple Watch Series 1 replaces the old 2015 version, where prices start at £269. The Series 1 comes with a new dual-core S1P processor, a 50 percent improvement over the original S1 single-core processor found in the 2015 Apple Watch. Read next: Best Apple Watch deals.

Additional reporting by Christopher Minasians

Apple Watch Series 2: Specs

  • Apple Watch Series 2 specs (38/42mm)
  • Colours: Gold, Rose Gold, Silver, Space Grey Aluminium case and Space Black, Silver Stainless Steel case and Ceramic
  • S2 Dual-core processor
  • GPS
  • Height: 38.6/42.5mm
  • Width: 33.3mm/36.4mm
  • Depth: 11.4mm
  • Case weight: 28.2/34.2g
  • Retina display with Force Touch (2x brighter than original)
  • Digital Crown
  • Heart rate sensor
  • WiFi 802.11b/g/n 2.4GHz
  • Bluetooth 4.0
  • Up to 18hrs battery life
  • Water resistant IPX7 (swimming proof - water depth up to 50m)
  • Apple Watch Series 2 specs (38/42mm)
  • Colours: Gold, Rose Gold, Silver, Space Grey Aluminium case and Space Black, Silver Stainless Steel case and Ceramic
  • S2 Dual-core processor
  • GPS
  • Height: 38.6/42.5mm
  • Width: 33.3mm/36.4mm
  • Depth: 11.4mm
  • Case weight: 28.2/34.2g
  • Retina display with Force Touch (2x brighter than original)
  • Digital Crown
  • Heart rate sensor
  • WiFi 802.11b/g/n 2.4GHz
  • Bluetooth 4.0
  • Up to 18hrs battery life
  • Water resistant IPX7 (swimming proof - water depth up to 50m)

OUR VERDICT

The new Apple Watch Series 2 takes the main complaints about the original - slow operation, lack of GPS, lack of official waterproofing, short battery life - and solves or at least improves them systematically. If you're into fitness tracking with a sprinkling of notifications and superb integration with the iPhone, this is an almost perfect wearable for you... although, being greedy, we'd still like an even better battery life, and the price remains pretty steep. We thought long and hard about whether to give the Apple Watch Series 2 five out of five, and it was a close-run thing. But those two issues are still, just, keeping it from a perfect score. Great wearable, though, and the only one we've seen that feels like it has any chance at all of taking wearables into the mainstream.