Apple Watch Series 2 review: everything you need to know about the revamped smartwatch

When Apple first dove into the smart wearables market with the release of Apple Watch, in 2015, industry and public response differed widely.

Rather than falling over themselves to clutch the latest device to their bosom, ambivalence set in and many people raised doubts about features strangely omitted from the debut gadget; that being, onboard GPS and a susceptibility to water.

Despite this, Apple has managed to climb to number three in the worldwide smart wearables market, in just 18 months, behind Xiaomi (second) and Fitbit, in pole position. Not bad for a debut device, but also not surprising for an industry leader.

The announcement this month of Apple Watch Series 2 has seen the smart wearable gain GPS and water resistant features, along with three new special editions that are guaranteed to complement your existing wardrobe and lifestyle.

When combined with an updated processor, brighter display, and a new and vastly improved operating system, watchOS 3, this smartwatch is now a serious contender for your wrist.

In the drink

Water resistance to 50 metres now opens up a world of possibilities for Apple Watch, and brings the device in line with numerous competitors.

Swimmers, either open water or pool, can now track laps, distance and average pace. To prevent accidental touches from water, the screen even has an auto-lock function. Yes, it appears Apple thought of everything.

Getting in a few laps at the local pool was a refreshing experience, considering Apple devices throughout history have never played well with water – would Apple Watch survive? After a brief swim and a few moments of nervous anticipation afterwards, the smartwatch betrayed no signs of destruction.

Just a note: high-velocity or rigorous water sports, like water skiing, are not recommended.


Every move you make

The addition of GPS brings with it industry standard geotracking capabilities, but in an augmented way. Apple Watch now uses a combination of GPS, Wi-Fi and satellite data to ensure the GPS experience is accurate and swift – no more 'acquiring satellites'.

Now available for all outdoor workout options – walk, run, cycle and swim – once you've concluded an activity you can view your stats, including a colour-coded route that indicates your speed.

In practice, this feature works as advertised. On a short 3km run around an inner city park, in Melbourne, the GPS signal was constant and map results were accurate. With the addition of new social features to compare and compete with friends and family, this reviewer was soon top of the pack (leading by a nose) in his social group.

Aside from these industry standard additions and overall upgrade to hardware, here are three other reasons why you may become an Apple Watch user.

Make a statement with Hermès

With the launch of Watch Series 2 comes the arrival of two new Hermès watchbands, Fauve Barenia Single Tour Deployment and Etoupe Double Buckle Cuff, complementing the existing Hermès range of leather Double Tour watchbands.

The two new handmade leather straps are understated and refined - the hallmarks of the Hermès collection - accentuated by the stainless steel finish of Apple Watch.

For fitness fans, all Hermès editions come with a new orange sport band, ideal for achieving that signature look when you're working up a sweat in the gym or simply enjoying a little R&R around the pool.

A unique Hermès watch face is available with each Apple Watch Hermès purchase, ensuring there is zero doubt where your design and fashion allegiance lay.

Apple Watch Hermès is available from 26 September, with prices starting at $1779.

Like fine china

When Series 1 was released in 2015, Apple entered the world of glamour with the ultra-luxury Apple Watch Edition, available in two eye-catching 18-carat solid gold finishes of either yellow or rose. While many on the planet reeled at the associated US$10,000 ($13,375) price tag, especially considering the smart wearable market had never offered such an expensive device, many also took notice. Here was a company wearing its awareness of its huge range of user demographic on its sleeve. It was a bold move indeed.

This year the company has opted for an equally elegant approach, albeit at a greatly reduced price point, with the new Apple Watch Edition White Ceramic.

Like the high-gloss black finish available with the new iPhone 7, the custom-made white ceramic case of this smartwatch has undergone an extensive polishing process, yielding a pearl-like finish that is simultaneously lustrous and sophisticated. It's quite simply captivating, drawing and holding the eye in a mesmerising way.

For a company known more for producing cutting-edge personal technology than luxury items, the Ceramic White smartwatch is another bold move, but one that will likely prove more accessible for those seeking an understated yet sophisticated timepiece.

Apple Watch Edition White Ceramic is available from 26 September, with prices starting at $1779.

Lead the pack with Nike

An extension of the ongoing partnership between Apple and sport brand Nike, the third special edition of the Series 2 release is focused on those who take their running seriously: Apple Watch Nike+.

With a perforated Sport Band and matching custom digital and analogue watch faces, the Nike+ edition is every bit as iconic as the sports company's trademark swoosh. The Nike+ Run Club app has also been updated to take advantage of Series 2 improvements (GPS), so you can leave your iPhone at home and remain a running machine.

Apple Watch Nike+ is available from late October, with prices starting at $529.

Will you buy an Apple Watch Series 2? Let us know in the Comments section.