Apple Watch Series 6 vs Series 5 – Is It Worth the Upgrade?

Apple Watch Series 5 Credit: Navy Bank / Shutterstock
Text Size
- +

Toggle Dark Mode

The Apple Watch Series 6 brought a couple of new features to the table this year. It also improved some past features the Apple Watch Series 5 had, taking the Apple Watch lineup to another level. Continue reading to learn whether or not the upgrade is worth it.

As a whole, the Apple Watch Series 6 is a great upgrade and a great option to buy if you’re looking to get your first Apple Watch. But, what if you already have an Apple Watch? Is it worth upgrading your old and reliable Apple Watch Series 5 to get a better chip and the new Blood Oxygen Sensor? If you don’t want to spend that much money, couldn’t you just get an Apple Watch Series 5 at a lower price?

The Apple Watch Series 6 is an outstanding piece of technology, there’s no doubt about that, but is it the right thing for you? Let’s talk about what’s new on the Apple Watch Series 6 and what remained the same to see if you should make the upgrade.

Battery Life

Let’s start with one of the biggest improvements in the Apple Watch Series 6: battery life. Apple improved the battery life on the Series 6, but not in the way you think. Apple says both the Apple Watch Series 5 and Series 6 have enough battery to last up to 18 hours with a single charge, even if, in reality, that’s not always the case.

However, the Series 6 has the new and powerful S6 Chip, which we’ll discuss more in-depth later. But this new chip makes the Apple Watch Series 6 make better use of its power, which is why many users have said that they still end up with 35% to 50% battery by the end of the day.

Not only that but the Apple Watch Series 6 also charges faster than Series 5. According to Apple, the Series 6 charges up to 20% faster than the older model, which is always handy if you’re in a hurry, or you want to charge your Apple Watch before tracking your sleep.

Granted, this might be different for you if you’re a power user, or you’re constantly looking at your Apple Watch. But if you’re always on the go or don’t have enough time to charge your Apple Watch during the day, the Series 6 will be a better option.

Always-On Display

Another improvement Apple made to the Apple Watch Series 6 was its Always-On Display, but it wasn’t as big of an upgrade as you’d think.

According to Apple, the Series 6 has a brighter “Always-On display” that lets you check your watch face information more easily without having to raise your wrist all the time, especially when you’re outdoors.

While it’s true that the Always-On Display on the Apple Watch Series 6 is brighter, it’s not that different from the Series 5. Most of the time, you won’t be able to notice a difference, even if you have both devices right next to each other.

The Always-On display on the Apple Watch Series 5 is already bright enough for most situations, and you won’t be missing out on anything if you don’t get the Series 6.

S6 Chip

The new Apple Watch Series 6 rocks an all-new S6 Chip. This chip improves the overall Apple Watch performance and, as we previously mentioned, the battery life.

Keep in mind; the Series 5 is no slouch. Even with an older S5 Chip, the Series 5 remains one of the faster smartwatches available. Even when compared to the Series 6, you won’t notice any big changes in performance. This is because watchOS 7 made it, so the Apple Watch animations run smoother than before. That being said, the Series 6 is still slightly faster with some animations.

Blood Oxygen Sensor and Altimeter

Altimeter copy

A couple of new features that the Apple Watch Series 6 has are the Blood Oxygen Sensor and the Always-On Altimeter. The new sensor on the Apple Watch Series 6 lets it read your blood oxygen levels using LED lights on your wrist. The Apple Watch can do this when you need it, and it’ll also do occasional readings.

To put it in simpler terms, the more oxygen you have on your blood, the better. So the Apple Watch’s new sensor could come in handy for people who want to have a constant record of their oxygen levels. Keep in mind though; it’s not perfect.

Since the Apple Watch is scanning your wrist, instead of your finger, the readings might not be 100% accurate. Plus, if you’re someone who does need to know your oxygen levels in your blood constantly, chances are you already have a blood oxygen saturation monitor.

The other feature that’s worth mentioning is the new Always-On Altimeter. This new tool helps you measure and track your elevation changes throughout the day. This feature works both indoors and outdoors, but people who practice hicking would really appreciate having a record of how high you can go. For the rest of us, though, it’s a feature that’s nice to have, but not a big necessity in our everyday life.

The older Altimeter sensor on the Apple Watch Series 5 works fine and should give you a good reading when you use it. Some people agree that the altimeter on the Apple Watch Series 6 is more accurate, but this shouldn’t be a reason to upgrade unless you really need these accurate readings.

Which One Should You Get?

When you upgrade to a new product, you expect to have big changes in performance and design. You want to get a product that feels brand new, not like the one you already have. And even with all the great new things the Apple Watch Series 6 brings to the table, none of them are game-changing enough to recommend you upgrading from your Apple Watch Series 5.

By upgrading, you only get slightly better performance and battery life, and a couple of new features that require the Series 6. Everything else is obtainable with watchOS 7, which is supported by the Series 5.

On the other hand, if you have an Apple Watch Series 3 or older, and you’re thinking about buying a new one, you should go for the Apple Watch Series 6. You will see a big difference, and the upgrade will be worth it.

For Series 5 users, I’d recommend you wait another year to see what the Apple Watch Series 7 brings. Maybe it’ll make the upgrade worth it, but for now, you’re not missing out on much.

Social Sharing