Apple's bigger, better Watch Series 4 makes a great first impression

Bigger in some ways, smaller in others

You probably don’t need me to tell you that Apple made its Watches bigger this year: we’re looking at 40mm and 44mm bodies, up from the classic 38mm and 42mm. What has really stuck with me so far is that, despite wider frames and bigger, more enticing displays, the Series 4 feels more comfortable to wear for long periods of time than any earlier model. Your mileage may vary on that, but the fractions of a millimeter Apple shaved off the Watch’s body have made a noticeable difference, for me. It certainly helps that the sensor hump on the Watch’s back isn’t as curvaceous as it used to be, so the wearable doesn’t jut out from your wrist as much. It might seem like I’m getting a little worked up over a very minute change in case depth, but on a device like this, the little things matter.

Information overload

…Is not a problem for the Apple Watch Series 4. That is, unless you want it to be. Both of Apple’s new Watch designs feature screens that stretch further across the case’s face, and since you can load certain watch faces with up to eight complications, it can be easy to squeeze a little *too much* information onto these displays. The thing is, it’s just as easy to abstain: one of the first things I did was to remove half of the complications from the Watch’s dense, default face, and I’d honestly recommend you do the same. Just because you can fit that much data onto a screen doesn’t mean you should.

Apple balanced the excess of these “modular” watch faces with some very pretty options that are a bit more spartan. The Fire watch face the company showed off at its recent launch event doesn’t allow for any complications at all, and you can’t even modify it to give you hour markers. And the Breathe face — which lets you pull up some calming exercises with a single tap — is similarly sparse. Long story short, it’s not hard to make sure these big new displays aren’t unnecessarily cluttered.

Easier Siri chats

Apple’s virtual assistant tends to get a bum rap, but at least it’s easier to talk to on the Series 4. In addition to holding down the Digital Crown or saying “Hey, Siri,” you can now just raise the Watch to your mouth and start talking. If you’re anything like me, this will quickly become the only way you talk to it — so far, the Watch has done a great job recognizing the motion and listening to my commands. Even better, if you’re running iOS 12 (you have installed it, haven’t you?), Siri on the Watch can trigger any of the shortcut commands you’ve crafted on your phone. That’s not to say Siri is massively better than it used to be — it still fumbles a lot when I’m speaking messages out loud for it to send — but talking to it at least feels more natural.

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