Apple Watch Series 6 vs Series 5: Should you upgrade?

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Kaitlyn Cimino / Android Authority

Apple watches are expensive, but they are some of the best smartwatches out there, if you have an iPhone, sure. The Apple Watch Series 6, Apple’s 2020 version, is still a great option for anyone who doesn’t want to splurge on the Series 7. It’s also a decent improvement over its predecessor, but should you upgrade if you already have the Series 5? Here’s a look at the Apple Watch Series 6 vs Series 5.

Our verdict: Apple Watch Series 5 | Apple Watch Series 6 review


Apple Watch Series 6 vs Apple Watch Series 5


Specifications

Apple Watch Series 6Apple Watch Series 5
Display

Apple Watch Series 6:

Retina OLED LTPO
368 x 448 pixels
Always-on display

Apple Watch Series 5:

Retina OLED LTPO
368 x 448 pixels
Always-on display

Dimensions and weight

Apple Watch Series 6:

44 mm:
44 x 38 x 10.7 mm
Aluminum: 36.5 g
Stainless steel: 47.1 g
Titanium: 41.3 g

40 mm:
40 x 34 x 10.7 mm
Aluminum: 30.5 g
Stainless steel: 39.7 g
Titanium: 34.6 g

Apple Watch Series 5:

44 mm:
44 x 38 x 10.74 mm
Aluminum: 36.5 g
Stainless steel: 47.8 g
Titanium: 41.7 g
Ceramic: 46.7 g

40 mm:
40 x 34 x 10.74 mm
Aluminum: 30.8 g
Stainless steel: 40.6 g
Titanium: 35.1 g
Ceramic: 39.7 g

Durability

Apple Watch Series 6:

WR50

Apple Watch Series 5:

WR50

SoC

Apple Watch Series 6:

Apple S6 with 64-bit dual-core processor
Apple W3
Apple U1

Apple Watch Series 5:

Apple S5 with 64-bit dual-core processor
Apple W3

RAM

Apple Watch Series 6:

1 GB

Apple Watch Series 5:

1 GB

Storage

Apple Watch Series 6:

32 GB

Apple Watch Series 5:

32 GB

Battery

Apple Watch Series 6:

18 hours

Magnetic USB-C Charging Cable

Apple Watch Series 5:

18 hours

Magnetic USB-C Charging Cable

software

Apple Watch Series 6:

WatchOS 8.1

Apple Watch Series 5:

WatchOS 8.1

Housing materials and colors

Apple Watch Series 6:

Aluminum, stainless steel, titanium

Aluminum: Silver, Space Gray, Gold, Blue, Product Red

Stainless steel: silver, graphite, gold

Titanium: Titanium, Space Black

Apple Watch Series 5:

Aluminum, stainless steel, titanium, ceramic

Aluminum: silver, space gray, gold

Stainless steel: silver, graphite, gold

Titanium: Titanium, Space Black

White Ceramic

Connectivity

Apple Watch Series 6:

GPS / GNSS
GLONASS
Galileo
QZSS
2.4 GHz and 5 GHz 802.11b / g / n Wi-Fi
Bluetooth 5.0

Apple Watch Series 5:

GPS / GNSS
GLONASS
Galileo
QZSS
2.4 GHz and 5 GHz 802.11b / g / n Wi-Fi
Bluetooth 5.0

Sensors

Apple Watch Series 6:

Always active altimeter
3rd generation optical heart sensor
Accelerometer
Gyroscope
Ambient light sensor
Blood oxygen sensor
ECG

Apple Watch Series 5:

Altimeter
Second generation optical heart sensor
Accelerometer
Gyroscope
Ambient light sensor
ECG

Compatibility

Apple Watch Series 6:

iOS 14 or later

Apple Watch Series 5:

iOS 13 or later


Characteristics

Apple’s last significant redesign happened with the Apple Watch Series 4, but things have remained basically the same since. You would have to take a look at the spec sheet to see the physical differences between the Apple Watch Series 6 and the Series 5. The Series 6 is slightly thinner and lighter than its predecessor, but not enough to make a noticeable difference. . The good news? You can use the same accessories, such as cases, with both.

The only differences are in the construction and color combinations, but even most of it is the same. Aluminum, stainless steel or titanium bodies are available for both, while the Series 5 has a ceramic option. There are many familiar color combinations such as silver, space gray, and gold. The Series 6 brings Blue and Product Red into the mix, while you can get a white Apple Watch Series 5 if you get the ceramic version. You can also swap bands with both.

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You’ll have to dive into the hardware to find fundamental differences between the two. The Series 6 comes with a newer processing package that is unsurprisingly more powerful and 20% faster than the Series 5 processor. Other internals remain the same, with 1GB of RAM and 32GB of RAM. GB of storage that completes the specifications. Battery life is about the same too, and Apple says you can get up to 18 hours of battery life with both the Series 5 and Series 6.

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Jimmy Westenberg / Android Authority

Most of the updates with the Series 6 are with the sensors and on the software side. A welcome addition for fitness enthusiasts is a pulse oximeter to keep track of blood oxygen levels. It’s not FDA approved and probably not as accurate as SpO2 medical trackers, but it’s good enough to keep an eye on your heart health around the clock. The Series 6 also upgrades the altimeter to an always-on altimeter. And that’s it when it comes to differences.

The Series 6 retains all the health and fitness tracking features of its predecessor, including all-day heart rate monitoring, an ECG sensor, automatic and manual training tracking, and sleep tracking. Apple introduced the Apple Fitness Plus service, with workouts led by expert trainers and more, with the Series 6, but you won’t have a probl