Living With the Apple Watch Series 5: Battery Life

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I noticed several complaints and issue reports from Apple Watch Series 5 users and reviewers over the weekend, so I figured I should start paying attention, as well. I didn’t do a lot last weekend besides go out with my family for my daughter’s birthday Saturday night, so my usage didn’t really push any limits. As such, I didn’t notice any battery shortfalls in the first three days I had the new Watch. However, I was back at work today on a long-running project in an NBA basketball arena, and even on a light day I cover a lot of territory here.

Well, I thought today was a fairly light day before I checked, but it turns out that I covered over 10,300 steps.


It wasn’t a day of heavy exertion, so these weren’t workout conditions. It was mostly walking around with my iPad or laptop or checking on different tasks being performed around the building. It was definitely enough to make the new Watch break more of a sweat, though.

So far, I can say for sure that the Series 5 and its always-on display are lagging behind my Series 4 a bit (Just for reference, I have a 44mm version of the Watch, so I do have the bigger battery). In comparison, I had a day last week when I fell asleep with my Series 4 on and decided to see how long it would go. I made it until early afternoon before I finally got down below 10% and decided to top off. To clarify, the Watch was also running the last beta of watchOS 6, so it was one tick behind what my Series 5 is running.

As for my Series 5 today, I have been using it since 5:30 AM and it is now 9:15 PM, so that is roughly 16 hours. I still have 27% left right now, as you can see below.

Again, this is behind what I believe my Series 4 would do, but it is still on par with Apple’s prediction of 18 hours of usage for the 5. I feel very confident that I will get at least 2 more hours and likely a bit more before the night is over. I can live with that. Considering how much I like the always-on display, I can accept sacrificing some of the surplus I used to be able to squeeze from my Series 4 for the extra convenience.

Some of you may disagree with me there for various reasons. Maybe you are on your feet even more than me, use cellular a lot, or workout extensively. You may also be using the smaller 38 or 40mm sizes, with their smaller batteries. If so, then you might consider holding off until next year before buying or upgrading. If you have an older model, maybe snag a Series 4 on closeout and get almost all of the same features and a little better battery life. At the very least, give it some thought before upgrading, because you would give up a little battery life for the new always-on display.

For tomorrow, I am considering looking like an idiot in the name of non-scientific, purely anecdotal testing. If my work tasks will allow, then I will wear both Watches, one on each wrist, and see how they compare through the day. That should give a better reference of how they stack up head-to-head under the same usage conditions.

 

 


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