Apple Watch Series 2 Review

7.5
7.5 score
[Editors rating (7.5)] = (WalkJogRun) score (7.5)/10


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Editor rating: 7.5 / 10
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The Apple Watch Series 2 first came out in September 2016, featuring an all-new S2 chip, a built-in GPS, a brighter display and a faster performance. Now, three years later, many of those features have been further developed and improved and can be found in the Apple Watch Series 4, the latest model that came out in September 2018. But that doesn’t change the fact that Series 2 still has plenty of practical aspects.

It is a very useful smartwatch for people who swim or for outdoor workouts like cycling or running, and is perfect for people who want to stay healthy by tracking some of their daily habits without caring too much about style or fancy high technology. Without further ado, let’s explore some of their key aspects.

Editor's Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Built-in GPS
  • Great for swimmers
  • Bright display
  • 38- and 42-millimeter case
  • Affordable
Cons
  • No cellular connectivity
  • Outdated model
  • Discontinued
System-In-Packaging

System-In-Packaging

In Apple watches, there is a chip called System-in-Packaging (or SiP for short) integrated into the circuit. The second generation S2 chip is used in this series, featuring a dual-core processor that allows it to run 50% faster than the first thanks to the new GPU that’s built in. It also has a brighter display, which you need to have when working out outside on a sunny day. With that said, there is still the third and fourth series in which the SiP has continued to improve. In fact, the S4 chip is said to be two times faster than the S3 chip, and that the S3 chip is 70% faster than the S2… If you really want speedy performance, opt for a later version. With that said, a faster watch won’t make you run faster; if you want to improve your own performance, you’ve got to count on your own hard work!

Water Resistance

The Apple Watch Series 2 has a water-resistant rating of 50 meters, meaning that it can be submerged up to 50 meters underwater. Because of this, it’s suitable for activities like swimming. It can count laps, track average pace, and automatically detect the stroke you are doing in order to estimate the calories you’re burning, so you can use it to track your performance. However, it is not suitable for activities that involve diving deep or high-velocity water, such as waterskiing or scuba diving. Also, keep in mind that the stainless steel and leather bands are not water resistant.

GPS

As we mentioned, one of the big differences between this model and the previous one is the S2 chip. Besides better performance, it also comes with a built-in GPS that you don’t get with the first Apple Watch. It will track the precise distance, pace, and speed that you’re going at when on foot or on bike, and even gives you a route map showing the variation in your speed as you progress through your workout. When you’re not working out, it counts all your daily activities and tracks them on the Stand, Move, and Exercise rings. Finally, the watch uses a combination of WiFi, GPS, and locally stored satellite data to pinpoint where you are.

Cellular Connectivity

Unfortunately, Series 2 does not support cellular connectivity at all. This means that you can’t make calls or stream music directly from the watch. While traditional watches can’t do that anyhow, it’s somewhat substandard for an Apple wearable. Later Series, however, do support cellular connectivity. The Series 3 model provides LTE support for music and calling, and Series 4 has a speaker that’s 50% louder speaker and a clearer microphone, along with a sapphire and ceramic construction for better signal reception. If you want to have the convenience of your iPhone everywhere you go, opt for a model more up-to-date model than this one.

Battery

This series is said to have a larger battery than its predecessor. It’s true that, with its built-in GPS and powerful processor, it’s bound to eat away at the battery much more quickly, too. However, after counterbalancing the two factors, its battery life is still longer because the energy is used more efficiently. Technically the Apple Watch is rated for around 18 hours of use, but one reviewer on Youtube claimed that two days after a charge, it still had some battery life left despite having gone through a few workouts. Battery life is one aspect of the watch that hasn’t changed through the years, so the later models have the same battery life as this one. It is recommended that you charge the watch every night.

Screen

Series 2, like Series 3, comes in case sizes measuring 38 and 42 millimeters. The former has a display area of 563 square millimeters while the later has a display area of 740 square millimeters. The larger one is more comfortable to look at while the smaller one may be more convenient, so it all depends on your preferences. If you really want a large display, Series 4 offers case sizes of up to 44 millimeters and displays up to 35% bigger than its predecessors, so consider that model. This watch also has a peak brightness of 1000 nits and is the same as the later models. In addition, due to its water resistance, the display has a ‘wet mode’ that disables touch functionality when you’re in the water and can reactivate it once you’re done with your swim.

Style Options

Two case options and a variety of band colors are offered to keep this watch stylish while practical at the same time. You have the option between lightweight aluminum (with a sleeker, more modern look) or stainless steel cases (which have a more traditional look despite their very non-traditional face). Only the former is waterproof, however, so keep that in mind if you’re a swimmer. The look is pretty much the same as the other series, with a sleek and simple design.

Straps

Just like traditional watches, you can pick, choose, and change your watch straps. Since the Series 1, 2, and 3 both have the same two case size options, their straps are also interchangeable while Series 4 is in its own category. Just like phone cases, you can find these straps on sale in all sorts of places. Some strap options include stainless steel, woven nylon, and silicone. The former two have a sleeker and sharper appearance while the latter is more durable and suitable for sports.

Model

Truthfully, if you’re looking into getting a new Apple Watch series 2, you’re a bit late in the game. This model came out in September of 2016, and since then the brand has released a third and fourth series with more improvements in their technology. The latest one, series 4, has a bigger, higher-resolution, and more energy-efficient screen, along with a more powerful processor and a digital crown that provides haptic feedback for a more traditional appearance. It also has 16GB of storage, twice as much as in series 2, and can even detect if you slip or fall so that it can call for help. To be fair, it’s also more expensive. However, if you’re getting an Apple Watch in 2019, consider spending the extra bucks to get the newest version instead. For more on this, scroll down to our ‘Value’ section.

Value

As of 2019, the Apple Watch Series 2 has been discontinued. Because of this, it can be pretty hard to find this model on sale despite it being fairly old. However, when you do find one on sale, it might be cheaper than the third or fourth series. If you believe that the GPS, water resistance, screen, and processor are enough to satisfy your needs, then this can be a great way to save some money and still have all your needs fulfilled. However, it’s also possible that you find a Series 3 watch for the same price or cheaper. In that case, you should always opt for the later version, as it’s bound to have improvements that you can benefit from, regardless of whether you were really seeking them.

Bottom Line

If you’re the type of person who always wants the latest styles and technologies, then this one’s not for you. However, if you just want something practical, affordable, and can get the job done without getting too fancy, you’ll find that Series 2 still has a lot of features to benefit from. Though it’s been discontinued by Apple, you can still find it on sale in other places for a cheap price. It’s got a built-in GPS that tracks your movements and provides convenient route maps. In addition, it’s got a waterproof mode that’s super practical for swimmers tracking their workouts, and a bright screen for comfortable outdoor use. Despite not having cellular connectivity, the faster performance, or the larger case size of the latest model, it has nearly all of the basic practical features to make your life easier.