Trusted Reviews is supported by its audience. If you purchase through links on our site, we may earn a commission. Learn more.

Apple Watch Series 2 vs Apple Watch Series 1: Time to upgrade?

Apple Watch Series 1 vs Apple Watch Series 2: Is it time for an upgrade?

Apple has finally unveiled the Apple Watch Series 2, alongside an update to the original Apple Watch. The Apple Watch Series 2 isn’t the complete re-imagining many had hoped for, but it still brings plenty of exciting new features to the table – or, rather, to your wrist.

But how does it differ from the original Apple Watch launched back in April 2015? And is it worth upgrading if you already have the original? Keep reading for answers to those questions and more.

Related: Black Friday 2016 – All you need to know

Apple Watch Series 1 vs Apple Watch Series 2: A design refinement, not a reinvention

On the surface, the Apple Watch and Apple Watch Series 2 look very similar. Where rival smartwatches are increasingly opting for circular designs, Apple has once again opted for a square display. The digital crown makes a return, which comes as no real surprise.

The first Apple Watch used a stainless steel or black stainless steel case, and both sported a sapphire crystal display. Alternatively, there was the more budget-friendly Apple Watch Sport that used anodised aluminium cases. Then there were the ultra premium Hermès and Watch Edition models for those with very, very deep pockets.

Watch: Apple Watch Series 2 vs Apple Watch Series 1

The Apple Watch Series 2 has aluminium, stainless steel and a new ceramic model. The ceramic white model has a pearl-like finish, and Apple claims it’s four times harder than stainless steel. This could be the perfect marriage of beauty and strength.

Apple Watch 2 water proof

The Apple Watch Series 2 is now waterproof to 50m. That’s a big deal; the original was only water-resistant. Apple recommended you not even shower with it on. The company had to work around the speaker in the watch when tackling waterproofing, and some smart thinking means that the speaker can be used to eject water at the end of a swim.

Buy Now: Apple Watch Series 2 at from $529

Apple Watch Series 1 vs Apple Watch 2 : Display

The original Apple Watch was available in two sizes, 38mm and a larger 42mm variant. These had a resolution of 272 x 340 and 312 x 390 respectively, amounting to an identical 326ppi pixel density. The display supported Force Touch, allowing you to press harder on the screen as a secondary action.

The Apple Watch Series 2 brings with it a second-generation display, which is twice as bright as the Apple Watch. This means 1,000 nits, which will make it much easier to see outdoors. If you were expecting 3D Touch, you’ll be disappointed since this didn’t receive the upgrade as some expected.

Related: Apple Watch and Pokémon Go – What you need to know

Apple Watch Series 1 vs Apple Watch Series 2: Performance improvements

The first Apple Watch used Apple’s S1 chip running at 520MHz, paired with 512MB of RAM and 8GB of total storage, although only a fraction of this was available to the user for music and photos.

At launch, the Apple Watch was a little sluggish. But this improved with the introduction of native watch apps in watchOS 2 that weren’t reliant on a paired iPhone, and further improvements were promised with watchOS 3 that sped app times up even further.

Not surprisingly, Apple has upgraded the specifications of the Watch 2, using a new dual-core S2 chip it claims offers 50% more performance. A new GPU promises double the performance. Native app gaming performance should see a nice boost in terms of frame rates.

Surprisingly, the Apple Watch Series 1 has been updated with the same S2 dual-core processor, so if you buy one now you’ll get the same performance upgrades.

Buy Now: Apple Watch at from $274

Apple Watch Series 1 vs Apple Watch Series 2: More sensors, more fun

The first Apple Watch came loaded with a heart rate sensor, accelerometer, gyroscope and ambient light sensor, but crucially didn’t have a dedicated GPS.

That’s all changed with the Apple Watch Series 2, meaning it’s an altogether better sports companion, allowing you to run free of a connected iPhone while getting more accurate distance results and mapped routes.

The GPS will allow the Activity app to provide an end-of-run route with speeds. There’s also a dedicated hiking app that works offline. You can get points of interest and facts delivered straight from the watch app.

Related: iPhone 7 colours

Apple Watch Nike Plus

Apple has even partnered with Nike to create an Apple Watch Series 2 Nike+ model. This uses a new stretchy perforated band paired with the lightweight aluminium watch frame. Trevor Edwards, President of Nike, took to the stage at Apple’s event, stating “The Apple Watch Nike+. This isn’t just a watch. It’s your perfect running partner. It’s simple, fun, and easy to use. We think it delivers the best running experience out there.”

Apple Watch Series 1 vs Apple Watch Series 2: Battery

A complaint levelled at the Apple Watch – and in fairness, at many smartwatches – was its battery life. Rated at 18 hours, its 205mAh battery needed to be charged every night. Apple based this approximation on 90 time checks; 90 notifications; 45 minutes of app use and a 30-minute workout without music playback.

Apple hasn’t revealed anything regarding battery life with the Series 2, so we can only assume it will perform the same. As soon as we can get our hands on one we’ll be sure to put it through a battery benchmark.

Wireless charging makes a return, so topping up the charge requires minimal fuss.

iPhone 7 Contracts

Apple Watch Series 1 vs Apple Watch Series 2: Price and Release Date

The Apple Watch Series 2 will be available to pre-order from 9 September, with prices starting at £369. The Nike+ model will be available for the same price. There’s also the Apple Watch Edition available in ceramic for £1,249 and an Apple Watch Hermès for £1,149. The original Series 1 will now be available for £269.

Buy Now: Apple Watch Series 2 at from $529

Apple watch 2

Apple Watch Series 1 vs Apple Watch Series 2: First Impressions

If you were expecting Apple to go back to the drawing board with its sophomore smartwatch, you’ll probably be a little disappointed. The Apple Watch Series 2 is very much a refinement, not a reinvention. While there have been some nice upgrades, there might not be enough to tempt you to upgrade if you bought one the first time round.

Buy Now: Apple Watch at from $270


If, however, you held out on the first Apple Watch in the hopes that the company would bring needed improvements in the second iteration, now is a great time to get on board. But if you don’t need the new sports-friendly features of the Series 2, the Series 1 is actually worth considering – especially since it will see a performance upgrade and a price drop.

Why trust our journalism?

Founded in 2003, Trusted Reviews exists to give our readers thorough, unbiased and independent advice on what to buy.

Today, we have millions of users a month from around the world, and assess more than 1,000 products a year.

author icon

Editorial independence

Editorial independence means being able to give an unbiased verdict about a product or company, with the avoidance of conflicts of interest. To ensure this is possible, every member of the editorial staff follows a clear code of conduct.

author icon

Professional conduct

We also expect our journalists to follow clear ethical standards in their work. Our staff members must strive for honesty and accuracy in everything they do. We follow the IPSO Editors’ code of practice to underpin these standards.

Trusted Reviews Logo

Sign up to our newsletter

Get the best of Trusted Reviews delivered right to your inbox.

This is a test error message with some extra words