Apple Watch Series 6

Living With the Apple Watch Series 6: It Finally Arrives!

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Apple Watch Series 6

After Apple cancelled my first order and my second initially had a delivery estimate in mid November, I decided to start looking elsewhere. Fortunately, while they only offered two stock band options with the Stainless Steel Series 6 in Gold, BestBuy came through for me. They had a quoted delivery time of October 1 for the one with a green Sport Band, so I jumped on it.

I ended up choosing pickup in store on October 2nd because I knew I would be out of town on the 1st. My local BestBuy is open, but is still closing early at 6 PM so I just missed the pickup time yesterday after getting stuck in traffic. Oh well. No big deal. I went today not long after they opened and was in and out fast.

The funny thing is, I got a notification from Apple a couple of days ago that the Watch I ordered from them was shipping and would be delivered on Monday. That figures. I decided to not cancel that order in case BestBuy couldn’t make their ship date. I would have after BestBuy confirmed mine had shipped, but the one from Apple had also shipped before I could.

I obviously have to return after the way things worked out. Unlike the Watch from BestBuy, the one from Apple comes with a band I actually like, so I will be keeping it. I didn’t even open the green Sport Band that came with the one I picked up today, so it will be easy to return and for BestBuy to resell.

So onto some early impressions of the Series 6:

Man I’ve missed having an Apple Watch

I sold my Series 5 right before the announcement event for the Series 6, so it’s been three weeks without one. I wanted to get as much money back as I could, as resale values tend to plummet after the new model is released. Also, I figured on getting a new one quickly after placing a pre-order right after the event. It just didn’t work out that way.

This is the longest I’ve spent without an Apple Watch since I spent a month without a Series 0 before buying back in after missing having all of my notifications right on my wrist. I just can’t tell you how many times I’ve looked at a blank, bare wrist to check the time or to catch a message after my iPhone buzzes since I sold my old one. I’ve missed those notifications again over the last three weeks and it feels good to have that back today.

Fitness information wasn’t at the top of mind several years ago, but it is today. I’ve definitely missed having my rings and step counts. With COVID continuing to be a big concern, the ability to check my heart rate over time and now keep up with my blood oxygen levels is also important to me. I’m just as happy to have that back as I am my notifications as i try to stay healthy and drop some excess weight.

About that Blood Oxygen Sensor

Apple Watch Series 6 Blood Oxygen

I’ve seen where some other reviewers have had issues with inconsistent and abnormally low blood oxygen readings. Like the kind of readings you would go to the ER over if they were from an FDA-certified device. So far, my results have also been similarly mixed.

My first readings right after I got my new Series 6 set up were exactly as I expected. I followed the instructions that the app gives you the first time you open it. Users are encouraged to not wear the Watch too low on the wrist, and not have the band too loose or too tight. The app also recommends holding still and that resting your wrist on a surface is best. I adjusted my Watch a bit, rested my arm on the chair I was sitting in and got 97% or 98% on all of my first several attempts. That’s what it should look like.

However, I took some additional readings as I was prepping to write this paragraph and they were much lower. I got a 95%, which the app says is at the low end of normal. I also got a 92%, which would be a problem, if accurate. I’m feeling fine and don’t have any reason to think I’m sick or have been exposed to COVID, so I don’t think these readings are correct.

The point of this sensor is to track your blood oxygen levels over time, to set a baseline, and to catch deviations from that baseline. Unfortunately, if the sensor can’t read consistently, then it won’t be able to set an accurate baseline.

It will be interesting to see if Apple can find a way to adjust the operation of this sensor via software updates, or if it just is what it is. Their heart rate sensor and EKG readings have been more accurate than this out of the box on day one, so it’s different to see Apple struggle a bit with this one. However, they don’t seem to be an exception, as Fitbit’s and Samsung’s sensors are similarly inconsistent.

The new stainless steel gold finish looks good

Apple Watch Series 6 Stainless Steel Gold

Honestly, there isn’t a massive difference between the old and new versions of the gold finish. I actually prefer the previous version, which was darker and had an almost copper tone to it. It was unique and a little more understated. In my opinion, it was also much more professional looking than the rosy gold that’s available on the aluminum model.

The new version still looks really nice, though. It’s a lighter shade, and to be honest, it looks more like actual gold now. If you haven’t seen it, this version is just a little closer to Apple’s original gold color that was introduced with the iPhone 5S.

A little Apple lagniappe

Apple did give me a little something in return for having to cancel my first Series 6 order. They sent me a free Nike Sport Loop band, which was a nice gesture from the guy in support who was trying to help me.

Apple Watch Nike Sport Loop Purple Pulse

Even though the center is a lighter shade than I typically prefer, I really like the Nike Purple Pulse Sport Loop. As an LSU grad, I’m all about a little purple and gold and it looks really good with the Gold Stainless Steel Watch.

It’s a $49.99 band, so getting it for free after Apple’s mistake is appreciated.

That’s it for today. Frankly, there isn’t much different about the Series 6, so I’m going to take a little time to check out the battery life and any other new aspects of the device.

 


James Rogers

I am a Christian husband and father of 3 living in the Southeastern US. I have worked as a programmer and project manager in the Commercial and Industrial Automation industry for over 19 years, so I am hands on with technology almost every day. However, my passion in technology is for mobile devices, specifically Apple's iOS and iPadOS hardware and software. My favorite is still the iPad.

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2 thoughts on “Living With the Apple Watch Series 6: It Finally Arrives!”

  1. Do you have a recommendation for selling my Series 3? I used the Apple trade-in tool but it only valued the 3 at ~$90.

    1. Take a look at Swappa. You won’t get a huge amount, but you should be able to get more than an Apple trade-in. They also take steps to insure that transactions are safe, legitimate and insured.

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