So far, the much-hyped Apple product is still trying to meets expectations.
It looks exactly the same
Consumers clamoring for a thinner, lighter Apple Watch this time around will be disappointed to learn the Series 2 looks virtually identical to the Series 1, so much so that if someone conducted a blind side-by-side test, they (and just about everyone else) will fail.
The Nike+ version, however, sets itself apart with a unique neon watch face and its own set of perforated watchbands that will be easy to spot in the wild. The much pricier white, ceramic Series 2 is a much more subtle choice, despite that stratospheric sticker price, and it’s really only noticeable upon close inspection. Is it nice? Yes, absolutely. But it's a delicate touch that won't turn many heads.
It's much faster
One of the biggest (and most valid) complaints lobbed at the first Apple Watch was around performance. Even opening and swiping between apps could be a poky experience — an issue that was only somewhat fixed with the roll-out of Watch OS2.
The Series 2 nixes that concern thanks to a dual-core processor Apple claims is 50 percent faster and a graphics chip twice as speedy. That translated to a much smoother experience using the Series 2. Apps opened faster, and swiping from app to app was also a swift, seamless experience.
It’s too early to tell yet just how that graphics chip will make using the Series 2 better. During our hands-on, we tried a stargazing app called Night Sky 4, which points out different stars, planets and constellations. According to an Apple spokesperson, the app can’t run on the previous Apple Watch.
Moving and rotating the wrist inside Night Sky 4 adjusts the view of the stars in the app. The app is a nifty little experience, but it's unclear how other app developers plan on taking advantage of that improved graphics chip.
It still needs to sync-up with an iPhone
Another complaint with the first Apple Watch? For it to do most things, users have to keep it connected to their phones with Bluetooth. Break that connection, and the watch is limited to just a few tasks, including tracking workouts, listening to synced-up music playlists, viewing photos from the Photos app, checking the time, and setting alarms.
The Series 2, unfortunately, doesn’t deviate much from that. Users still have to keep their watches connected to their phones, for the most part, but an added GPS frees things up slightly, especially for runners and hikers.