It’s been several days and I have been very happy with my new Apple Watch so far. The performance is great. The always on screen is useful. I absolutely love the look and feel of the stainless steel model and don’t have any buyer’s remorse there. Everything else is just as you would expect. However, battery life is still just ok.
While my battery performance did improve after upgrading to the watchOS 6.1 Beta, as I wrote about a couple of weeks ago, it still doesn’t come close to matching my old Series 4. It’s good enough, as I have never had an issue making it an entire day yet. This includes a couple of really taxing days working on a hot rooftop for 6 to 8 hours a week ago Saturday, so I have pushed it a bit.
However, I got a direct example of how it still comes up short this weekend when my Watch failed to charge overnight. More on that in a bit. Anyway, when I woke up, it was in the red and had run all the way down to single digits. I did sleep in a bit Saturday morning (if you can really call 9 AM sleeping in), so it had a little more time to run down than on a normal work day, when I’m up by 5:30 AM.
On several occasions I made it over half a day before either topping off or running out of gas if I forgot to charge my Series 3 or 4 overnight, so this was a bit disappointing. As such, I decided to take a little bit of advice that has floated around the Apple blogosphere since the release of the Series 5 and unpair my Watch and set it up as new.
My Series 5 has been re-paired with my iPhone and is reloading apps as I write this. I am also downloading the new watchOS 6.1 Developer Beta 3 after reloading my beta profile earlier. I am also starting to pick my way through Settings to put everything I need back like it was before I restored. It will take a little time, but if it does improve my battery life some more, it will be worth the effort. I will write an update in a few days on whether this helps my battery life or not.
So about my Apple Watch not charging one night. I still haven’t gotten rid of my Apple Watch Series 4 and was still using my old charger with a no-frills wooden bedside stand up until last weekend when I finally boxed it up to sell. I got my new charger for my stainless steel Series 5 out and noticed for the first time that it’s actually quite different. The base and trim of the charging puck are also stainless steel, giving it a more premium feel.
It’s an interesting touch that also makes the puck a little heavier. That’s nice if you aren’t using a stand, as the puck is less likely to move around on a bedside table. However, I noticed another small difference that threw me. This puck is a both a little smaller and shorter than the ones that came with my previous aluminum models. Because of this, it didn’t work well with the stand I’ve been using for a while.
The stainless puck recessed too far down into the stand’s receptacle and the Watch didn’t make good enough contact to charge Friday night. I have since switched back to an older stand that doesn’t have this problem. I have no idea if this is a common issue for the chargers that come with higher-end Apple Watches, but I thought I would comment on it for anyone out there who uses a Watch stand and may be considering stepping up to a stainless or titanium model.