While the Apple Watch 4 is no longer new, it is still a rugged smartwatch with an improved design and display compared to the Apple Watch 3 that is still on sale, along with an EKG sensor to track a user’s heart rate, which is one of the most sought-after timepiece in the world.
The larger screen and more rounded edges are much nicer to look at and offer more functionality, and it also adds some extra features intended for those who are a little more vulnerable or who suffer from certain health conditions.
When it was released, the Apple Watch 4 was one of the (if not the) best smartwatches out there.
But now it goes a bit further after it was superseded by not just the Apple Watch 5 but the even newer Apple Watch 6, and if you’re on a budget, there’s now an affordable Apple Watch SE that you might as well should consider this rather than this older model.
Still, the Apple Watch 4 remains a popular and supported smartwatch – one that can now be upgraded to watchOS 7 – so what does the smartwatch bring and is it right for you?
To update: watchOS 8was announced atWWDC 2021, and brings more software and features when it fully launches later this year. Avid fans can now get the Developer Preview if they’re part of the Developer Program or join the Public Beta in July.
Apple Watch 4 price and release date
- GPS model starts at $ 399 / £ 399 / AU $ 599
- The LTE version starts at $ 499 / £ 499 / AU $ 749
The Apple Watch 4 is available in four versions: 40 mm and 44 mm, with or without LTE. You can now buy it in almost any country in the world. It came out on the same day as the iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max in September 2018. Keep in mind that Apple is no longer selling the Apple Watch 4 through its online storefront, but you can still pick it up elsewhere online.
At launch, the GPS-only version was $ 399 / $ 399 / AU $ 599 for the smallest version and $ 429 / $ 429 / AU $ 649 for the larger 44mm version. You can find it for less money now, but it doesn’t come with a huge discount.
Cellular option starts at $ 499 / £ 499 / AU $ 749 for the 40mm and $ 529 / £ 529 / AU $ 799 for the larger watch. If you’re looking for a contract with the LTE watch, look at cellular carriers AT&T, Verizon, C Spire, Sprint, US Cellular, and T-Mobile in the US.
If you’re in the UK, like the Apple Watch 3, EE has deals on the LTE version of the watch and now both Vodafone and O2 have joined the party by offering a data connection as well. Those in Australia can find it at Optus, Telstra and Vodafone.
Expect big discounts on the Apple Watch 4 around Black Friday and Cyber Monday. While we’re not sure it’s going to be scaled back, we’ve seen solid deals on older models over the past several years. We expect a lot of Black Friday Apple Watch deals this year in particular.
- Health features only seen on Apple Watch
- Pretty niche, but useful
- The haptic feedback of the Digital Crown is a trump card
The main feature of the Apple Watch 4 really is its design – we say that while the added health benefits are something that are worth it and really make this an attractive device for those who need it, the circle of people for whom this is relevant is smaller than just those looking for a new watch.
Another major upgrade is the electrocardiogram (ECG) function, which so far has only been activated in select countries, including the US and the UK.
We haven’t tested it ourselves yet – hopefully soon – but we got to see it in action during our demonstration from Apple where you have to activate the app on the phone and then press and hold the Digital Crown to complete the circuit in your body.
This spits out a bunch of data from the EKG to your health app on the iPhone, which can be exported as PDF and give a doctor information about the rhythm, and you can write notes at the same time to contextualize what’s happening at the time.
The other thing we couldn’t really test was the new fall detection, as you have to walk a certain way down and stay there for a while to activate the feature.
We tried to fall but it got a little embarrassing and maybe we need to get more involved with the testing – we’ll update the review as we get bolder in the months ahead.
However, one thing that worried us a little about this feature is the battery life. While it’s great to see that fall detection is in place and set up automatically for anyone over 65, the fact that you really need to charge the watch once is going to be harder to remember for some users and that could mean their safety blanket (or for those who bought the Watch 4 primarily to protect a loved one) is redundant when the watch has no power.
There are a number of heart rate notifications as well, including one that pays attention to atrial fibrillation (AF), which means you’ll get a pop-up window if your heart looks sketchy about this condition, which could lead to life – looming Complications.
The Watch 4 also has a warning system if your heart rate is too low or too high: If your heart rate increases or decreases sharply for a sufficiently long period of time (approx. 10 minutes) for no reason, you will receive a warning message that does not notify you well, and maybe you should see a doctor.
We have a fairly low heart rate from regular running exercise, and the update pinged us from time to time to let us know that the heart rate test worked.
The other major upgrades beyond design, which we’ll get into in a moment, are more hidden in the heart of the Apple Watch 4 – there are cute touches like a (handy) clicking digital crown that feels like clocking through lists that Wrist. It even makes a slight noise and the whole system is incredibly pleasant.
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