Apple Watch Series 9 Review - On top of the smartwatch heap

With new fitness features backed up by accurate sensors and higher computing power, the Apple Watch Series 9 45mm is the ideal smartwatch for both work and play

By Anirban Bagchi

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Published: Sun 10 Mar 2024, 11:23 PM

Last updated: Sun 10 Mar 2024, 11:29 PM

Apple did not invent the smartwatch. Or the fitness tracker. But in a world of Fitbits, Garmins, et al, when the boffins at Cupertino made the first Apple Watch, it instantly became the most coveted gadget in its space. That was back in 2015. Since then the Apple Watch has gone through several iterations and improvements, and its latest version, the Series 9, retains Apple’s position atop the heap.

Our test mule this week is the sleek and cool 45mm version of the Series 9. While this is not Apple’s flagship among its smartwatches – that honour belongs to the Ultra 2 – in our estimation the Series 9 is definitely the Apple Watch to get.

And here’s why: Itis a great looking gadget with a sophisticated design and a very high-end finish. An underlying factor with all Apple gadgets is their flauntability – they are built and bought as much to be used as to show off and be seen with. And the Series 9 fits this bill perfectly, even better than its bigger sibling the Ultra 2.

The Ultra 2 is a huge gadget as smartwatches go and it feels like a heavy chunk of metal on your wrist, its sheer size detracting from the cool sophistication that the user of an Apple device is supposed to exude. It’s as if the Ultra 2 was made for a garish, in-your-face display of the wearer’s ability to splurge on a device, instead of adding to their aura of charm.

The Series 9, on the other hand, with its satiny finish, sleek and relatively thin profile, high level of craftsmanship and a plethora of matching strap options, is a testament to the understated, minimalist design that so characterises the Apple family.

And the 45mm display provides ample real estate for crisp, vibrant visuals. Whether you're checking notifications, tracking your fitness goals, or simply telling the time, everything looks stunning on this display. Plus, with a range of customisable watch faces to choose from to match the bands, you can truly make the Apple Watch Series 9 your own fashion statement.

But the looks aside, there is enough substance in the Apple Watch Series 9 to justify the company introducing it not so long after its yet-to-be-old Series 8. While on the surface its promises nothing that’s a massive improvement over the last edition, there is a lot under the skin. For starters, Apple has given the watch its most powerful chip ever - the S9 SiP - which has a dual-core CPU with 5.6 billion transistors (60% more than the Series 8) and a 30% faster GPU. There’s also a new 4-core Neural Engine that can process machine learning tasks at around 2X the speed as the Series 8.

But Apple devices are more about the everyday user than about geeking out on the tech. And what the improvements under the screen translate to are a better and brighter screen with a 396 x 484 pixels, always-on OLED Retina Display, which can reach 2000 nits of brightness. Even if you’re outdoors under a bright sun, everything on the screen now remains clear and legible.

A great new feature is the new Double Tap gesture. Much tom-tommed by Apple, it really works. Bring your thumb and index finger together and tap twice and you can play or pause music, snooze alarms, scroll through widgets and take or hang up calls. The device senses the changes in blood flow and wrist movement via the accelerometer and gyroscope sensors.

And the sensors are actually the highlight on the Series 9. From blood oxygen, electrical heart sensor with ECG, optical heart sensor with high and low heart rate and irregular rhythm detection to sleep tracking, temperature sensing, compass, altimeter, accelerometer, gyroscope and ambient light – this new Apple has it all.

This is Apples’s best and most accurate health and fitness device yet, so if you’re a fitness freak, look no further than the Series 9.

It’s a pity that despite all the new health apps, Apple stuck to the same 18-hour battery as the Series 8. In real-life usage, with all those apps running, you’ll get a little less than that, so daily charging is a must.

In the final analysis, this Dh1,599 smartwatch is still the best in the genre. It remains the one to get whether you’re an i-device fan or a serious smartwatch user.

Apple Watch Series 9 45mm smartwatch


- Several fitness apps

- Accurate sensors

- Screen and design


- Battery life




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