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Apple Watch Series 4 review: Sidekick no more



When I forced myself to use my Apple Watch “Series 0” for a year, I hated how slow it was. I was perpetually looking at spinning wheels as apps took forever to open and load; watchOS stuttered at every corner.

The original Apple Watch had a SiP (system-in-package) chip, but since then Apple’s sped up its wearable tech considerably. Series 1 and 2, which were confusingly released at the same time, used the same dual-core chip — called S1P and S2. Both chips were up to 50 percent faster than the S1, with the only difference between the two being the lack of a GPS on the S1P.

Then with Series 3, Apple cranked the chip’s performance up to 70 percent faster than the S2. The S3 chip was noticeably faster than anything before it, but it still didn’t feel snappy the way Apple’s A-series chips do on iPhones.

However, with Series 4 and the dual-core S4 chip, the Apple Watch finally feels like it’s almost instantaneous. This is largely due to the chip’s jump from 32-bit to 64-bit processing, which Apple says leads to 50 percent faster performance over the S3 chip.

Together with the larger screen, which makes watchOS 5 more enjoyable to tap and swipe at, the software really glides on the Series 4 Apple Watch. Apps open faster, watch face complications open instantly, and scrolling through notifications is silky smooth.

Just like I predicted after my first hands-on with the new Apple Watch, I found myself spending an extra couple of seconds interacting with notifications — I actually used quick replies because they weren’t slow or janky to scroll through — and wanting to open apps because I knew I wouldn’t have to suffer wait times.

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