What you need to know

  • The one Apple Watch feature reviewers say is a must-have is the always-on display.
  • Most praise how it doesn't impact battery life and is super useful.
  • One you use the new feature, it's hard to go back.

After Apple announced the Apple Watch Series 5 and its new always-on display, it was pretty clear that this was the major new selling point of the new wearable. That sentiment has been reaffirmed by the first reviews of the latest Apple Watch that that say it is a must-have feature.

The Verge explained how the new feature doesn't ding your battery life thanks to the new tech Apple is using.

I love the always-on screen on the Series 5. Apple's implementation is better than other smartwatches I've used for two reasons: it legitimately doesn't hurt the battery life as much, and Apple keeps a little color visible in ambient mode.

TechCrunch expanded upon how the software interacts with the new hardware to save battery life.

While complications and other features are still on display, they're simplified, removing any power-hungry features. That means the second hand disappears on the standard watch face, and when the watch is in workout mode, the milliseconds will disappear until you bring the watch back up to your face.

Wired talked about how it adds a new way of interacting with the watch.

The standout new feature on the Apple Watch Series 5 is the always-on display. It's a small change that impacts the usefulness of the watch in a real way. Finally: The Apple Watch is now a watch that always tells the time. Apple claims this display is the first of its kind in the industry; others, such as Garmin, Polar, Fitbit, and the ill-fated Pebble, have previously done always-on display smartwatches, but with different kinds of screens. Apple has taken low-temperature polysilicon oxide technology and integrated it into the Watch's OLED display.

This sentiment was elaborated upon by CNBC.

I liked that I could always see the time — important for a watch — without having to tilt my wrist and activate the screen. This also works for Apple's workout app, so you can always see how far you've run, your pace, elevation or whatever else is on the screen. Trust me, trying to get a watch to wake up while on a treadmill can be awfully finicky at times.

iMore talks about how this feature should have been available since day one, but now that it's here, we'll take it nonetheless.

I've wanted always-on since day one. In hindsight, I wouldn't have traded any of the other features Apple front loaded first, like cellular or the edge-to-edge display. But I'm incredibly glad always-on is here and I'm even happier with how it's finally arrived.

Daring Fireball delivered a similar take on the always-on display.

To me, the always-on display is the Apple Watch's retina display moment — once you see it, you can't go back.

Apple Watch Series 5 review: The best smartwatch ever