What you need to know

  • Most reviews of the Apple Watch Series 5 are positive, but there is one constant gripe reviewers have with it.
  • It is the definition of an incremental upgrade.
  • Aside from the always-on display and other minor updates, you'd be hardpressed to find the differences between it and the Series 4.

By now you've probably seen a few of the Apple Watch Series 5 reviews that are out there. Multiple reviewers got ahold of a review unit and have been testing it out for the past few days. Most of the reviews have been positive, primarily because of the always-on-display, but they do point to one downside: it's a very incremental upgrade from last year's model.

The Verge starts their review by saying it offers very few updates while also commending the always-on display.

Compared to the Series 4, the Series 5 has only a few minor updates. Chief among them is a new always-on screen. Compared to the rest of the smartwatch market, the Apple Watch Series 5 is in a completely different league.

CNBC notes that owners of a Series 4 model do not need to upgrade.

Taking into consideration that 70% of Apple Watch buyers are new, then the Apple Watch Series 5 is worth buying. I don't think you need to upgrade from the Series 4, and I don't think Apple is really worried if people are planning to are not. I'm making the upgrade because I like the always-on display and the compass for navigating around the city. Some people won't care about that.

Wired notes how it's hard to differentiate the Series 4 and Series 5 models apart side by side.

If you were to put last year's Series 4 next to this year's Series 5, you'd hardly notice any differences. The "digital crown" on the side of the watch even has the same thin line if you have the cellular version. What you would notice is that, when the Series 4's screen goes to sleep after 15 seconds, the Series 5's screen transitions to a dimmed, shrunken version of whichever watch face you're using.

TechCrunch came to the same conclusion.

Visually, Watch remains largely unchanged from previous generations, aside from the increased display size that arrived on the Series 4.

Overall, however, the Apple Watch Series 5 seems to be a winner. If you don't own one or are on a Series 3 or older, this is definitely the time to upgrade. If you own a Series 4 model, that's when the proposition isn't as appealing.

Apple Watch Series 5 review: The best smartwatch