The latest version of Apple’s popular wearable the Apple Watch Series 6 goes on sale in just a few hours, so here’s our first look hands-on with the Apple Watch Series 6 and it’s slightly lesser sibling the Apple Watch SE.

No, this is not a review. I’ve had them for about six hours, and I’ve spent 3 of those filming, editing, and setting up the watch.

Apple Watch Series 6 alongside the SE

Instead, this is a first look at the design, packaging, and key features announced for the Apple Watch Series 6.

Apple Watch Series 6 Packaging

It all seems the same when you rip the plastic cover off the Apple Watch box – but then you realise it’s thinner, there’s no power brick inside.

Apple Watch Series 6 resting on retail box

Other than that, it’s all the same. Though inside, I noticed the soft sided cover of the Watch face itself in the box matched the colour of the Watch material. I’ve no doubt that applies to the Red also.

The colour of an Apple Watch Series 6

I saw the Apple Event keynote. I’ve seen all the promo videos, but I have to say, I was impressed out of the box.

Apple Watch Series 6 Apple Watch Series 5 and SE all held together

Having chosen to look at the Blue version of the Apple Watch Series 6, I knew I was in for something different for sure.

But the colour struck me as much more subtle than you’d think.

Blue Apple Watch Series 6 on a stand

In fact even now, looking down at my wrist as I type, it’s hard to tell its even Blue.

The colour really comes out in bright light or when that reflection hits on the edge. And I like it this way. A lot.

Initial Setup questions with the Apple Watch Series 6

Setup was exactly the same as for any Apple Watch I’ve had before, and I’ve tried them all.

Apple Watch Series 6 showing the App icons

However, when trying for the Blood Oxygen level check, not only did I struggle to work out which app it was, but it requires you to accept some wording on your iPhone, and to get to that area of the Apple Watch app you must be running the public version of iOS 14.

New Apple Watch Faces

Oh yes, some new looks.

While not the watch-face store I would love, this is a good selection.

Firstly my favourite is the more classic advanced face the Tachymeter. Reminds me of the odd Tag I have:)

Apple Watch Series 6 Tachymeter Face

The stripes I think will be hugely popular. It’s vastly customisable. In full screen mode it’s just your choice of 2-9 stripes and the clock hands.

In circle mode you can add complications around the face. And after choosing the number of stripes, the colour of the stripes you can then choose the angle of the strips also.

Apple Watch Series 6 Stripe Watch Face showing colour selection

Another classic

Apple Watch Series 6 classic watch face

And this strange art one. The face changes whenever the time changes or you tap the screen.

One of the more interesting new watch faces

Honestly, I’m sure that artist is good, but this is the perfect example of a watch face people might pay $2.95 for. Not me, but I’d pay for the Tachymeter.

Blood Oxygen levels checked on the Apple Watch Series 6

Simple, and easy.

Watch face showing 2 second timer left on Blood Oxygen Test

Rest your arm on a table, start the test. A seemingly long 15 seconds not checking your phone or anything will pass by and you’ll get a reading.

Blood Oxygen test result showing a 95% rating

I got 94 and 95% the two tests I’ve done.

Critically, I’ve no idea if that’s good or bad. It’s just a number. Next time I see my GP we’ll maybe talk about it.

Important notice on Apple Watch Series 6 Bloody Oxygen app stating they are not for medical use

Apple makes it clear this is not a medical measurement, thus it didn’t need TGA approval, like the ECG which we’re still waiting on.. hmmm.

How is the Apple Watch SE different?

VERY, on the inside. On the outside, It’s almost the same as the Series 5 Apple Watch and the Apple Watch Series 6 pictured here with it.

Apple Watch Series 6 sits alongside the SE and Series 5

That’s – from Left to Right, the Series 5, SE and Apple Watch Series 6.

I notice a slightly greyer dot on the Digital Crown, and the back of the device is different to both the other models.

The underside of the Apple Watch SE and Series 5
Series 4 and Apple Watch SE

But inside, there’s a lot missing. No Blood Oxygen sensors, no Ultra-wideband chip, no Always on Display and a Slower chip.

Knowing more than the in-store experience, should you buy the Apple Watch Series 6

So, my experience thus far has been vastly more than you’d get in-store before buying. And more than anyone has had online.

That’s about all that qualifies me to say that if you’re looking, this is a winner.

However, it’s not worth the upgrade from the Series 5, unless you suffer from some condition that might suggest it’s a great idea to monitor your Blood Oxygen levels often.

And for Series 4 users it’s a more difficult decision. The Apple Watch Series 6 offers the Always-on display, and the Blood Oxygen check, but the Apple Watch SE is about the same as what you have.

Apple Watch Series 6 with Stripe watch face resting against retail packaging

Series 3 or prior, time to upgrade. Simple as that.

I’ll keep wearing this one, and see how any of the other changes affect my usage and consider a full review down the track.

Web: Apple