With its biggest changes under the hood, the Apple Watch Series 9 looks mostly the same. But it packs a more advanced processor for on-device Siri, as well as the new Double Tap feature, which lets you double tap your fingers to interact with the watch if your other hand is otherwise occupied.
- 41mm or 45mm case size
- Comes in aluminium or stainless steel
- GPS + Cellular, or GPS, water resistant up to 50m, IP6X dust resistant
- 64-bit dual-core processor, W3 wireless chip, second-gen ultra-wideband chip
Looking just like last year's Series 8 model, the Series 9 features a bright rectangular screen. However, the screen is actually twice as bright, up to 2,000 nits. I honestly can't tell the difference at max brightness indoors, but outdoors under the bright sunlight? The difference is really clear. The Series 9 is very much brighter. Battery life is still rated at 18 hours, and you can also turn on lower-power mode to stretch it to 36 hours. If you're worried, getting this Belkin powerbank will help, as it comes with a built-in Apple Watch fast charger.
Besides the brighter screen, the smartwatch comes with a new S9 SiP (system in package, which means multiple chips in one package). This also includes a quad-core Neural Engine, which also helps make dictation to Siri 25% more accurate. Siri also works offline now, which means you don't need to be connected to the internet to start a workout or a timer. So no more, “on it” or “something went wrong” messages. Being on-device also means more security, so you can ask Siri personal, health-related questions, such as your Activity rings progress, or log medications taken.
But the biggest new feature has to be Double Tap. You tap a finger and thumb together while holding up your wrist, and it will trigger an action to interact with the screen. This is best for when your other hand is busy and can't touch the screen. For example, you can reply to a message by just raising the watch and doing a Double Tap. Then you can dictate a response and send it. It doesn't work yet with third-party apps such as Spotify, and doesn't pause the music playing. It works with Apple's own Now Playing app, though. One of my favourite Double Tap applications is to snap a pic with the Camera Remote app. While in the main screen, doing a Double Tap brings up watchOS 10's new Smart Stack feature.
With prices starting from S$649, the Apple Watch Series 9 offers enough for those planning to upgrade from Series 6 and 7. While Double Tap is great (but needs third-party apps to update to work with it), I don't feel it's a sufficient reason (or excuse) for Series 8 owners to switch. Get it from Apple, Shopee, or Lazada.
Note: Review unit provided by Apple.
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