With the release of the Apple Watch Series 5, the Cupertino-based company has taken the Series 4 off the market, a strategic move since as we will see the two devices are very similar to each other. Although there are several similarities, from the operating system to the processor, there are, however, some differences, especially in display technology, functionality and aesthetic combinations, including new materials absent on previous versions. Here are in detail all the differences between Apple Watch 4 vs 5.
Dimensions, weight and materials
The first aspect to evaluate is the dimensions, an area in which there is no difference between the Apple Watch 4 and 5. In fact, both the Series 4 and 5 offer two versions, the first with a 40mm case and 759mm2 display area, the second with a wider 44mm frame and 977mm2 screen. Both are larger than the Apple Watch Series 3, which offered two models with 38 and 42 mm cases, so the display size has also been increased.
The weight is also almost identical, however it depends on the type of materials chosen for the body. In addition to the aluminum and stainless steel versions, also present for the Series 4, the Apple Watch Series 5 offers two innovative models, specifically titanium and ceramic. The latter was available with the Series 2 and 3, but was removed with the Apple Watch Series 4, only to return with the latest update. Overall, the lightest is the titanium one, while the device with ceramic case is about 6 grams heavier.
Colors and combinations
With regard to the design with the Watch Series 5 Apple has made significant progress, offering the market a truly modern and attractive device. Compared to the Series 4, the stylistic innovations are many, starting as we have seen from the options with ceramic and titanium structure, absent on the Series 4. In addition to the classic combinations of the previous model, on the Apple Watch Series 5 there are also innovative variants.
Among the most interesting options are the elegant Hermès versions, with single or double tour and stainless steel case, however, the real novelty are the editions with white ceramic or titanium shell and Sport Loop strap, the latter also available in sidereal black. The range of straps has also been expanded, in fact now the Apple Watch Series 5 includes options Sport, Sport Loop, Nike Sport, Nike Sport Loop, in leather with magnetic clasp or Hermès handcrafted leather, while also maintaining the traditional stainless steel strap.
The real differences between Apple Watch 4 vs 5 start with the display. In fact, the Series 4 offered a Retina OLED LTPO screen with Force Touch, with brightness up to 1,000 nits, while the Series 5 provides an always-on Retina display. This is a system that leaves the screen on all the time, while in the previous model is turned off automatically, activating only when you raise your wrist to look at the dial monitor.
Now instead the display remains activated to provide greater responsiveness, with two different levels of brightness to not affect too much on power consumption and battery life. During normal operation the screen remains at low brightness, so you can look at the time or check any messages efficiently, while if you need to perform different operations the screen becomes brighter, turning itself on to ensure maximum visibility.
Processor and operating system
Analyzing the processor the Apple Watch 5 does not offer major technical innovations, proposing the new dual core 64-bit S5, up to two times faster than the S3 processor mounted on the Series 3. The one on the Apple Watch 4 was instead the S4, quite similar, also dual core 64-bit, however the S5 provides slightly more optimal performance than the previous version. Both are equipped with Apple's W3 wireless chipset.
The same goes for the operating system, in fact the Apple Watch 5 mounts the new watchOS 6, while by default on the Series 4 there is the watchOS 5 version. However, it is possible to update the system for free by switching to the next one, moreover the two options do not show substantial differences. On the other hand, the available memory has been improved on the latest device, as the Series 4 has 16GB of memory, while the Apple Watch 5 goes up to 32GB.
No major differences in connectivity either, as both Apple Watch models have the same features. Both devices offer Bluetooth 5.0 technology, 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi module up to 2.4 GHz, the model with GPS plus Cellular, and LTE and UMTS support. They are also equipped with GPS, Glonass, Galileo and QZSS functionality. From Series 3 no new features have been introduced, then, except for Bluetooth, which on the Apple Watch 3 had remained at version 4.2.
In the challenge of the differences between Apple Watch 4 vs 5, functionality does not play a major role, in fact, Series 5 confirms all the technological innovations of Series 4, such as heart rate detection via ECG system, the fall sensor, gyroscope and accelerometer. On the latest model has been improved, however, the emergency feature, to call for help via SOS call, now working in almost all countries of the world (about 150), both with an iPhone connected to the Apple Watch or independently.
Absolute novelty is the integration of the digital compass, absent on the Series 4. Other options are identical, however, such as an accelerometer up to 32g, an ambient light sensor for power saving, a barometric altimeter and water resistance, as both support up to a depth of 50 meters. Of course, they are not good for prolonged diving, at the same time you can use them for swimming in the pool or in the sea, but avoid prolonged exposure to water.
No difference for the power supply, so the system with a lithium-ion battery, which can provide a maximum battery life of up to 18 hours, has also been maintained on the Apple Watch 5. Both present the magnetic cable for wireless charging and the power supply with USB port. The innovation present on the Series 5 affects the display, in which LTPO (Low Temperature Polycrystalline Oxide) screen technology has been integrated, which compared to a traditional OLED ensures better energy efficiency, thanks to the automatic selection of frequency bands.
We now turn to the purchase cost, an aspect that necessarily proposes a certain difference between the Apple Watch 4 and 5. The price of the Apple Watch Series 5 is starting at 459 euros, for the base model. The Series 4 is no longer available on the official website of the Cupertino company, which for marketing choices has decided to keep only the 5 and 3. However, you can buy the device on websites and e-commerce sites such as Amazon, with a price for the Apple Watch 4 from 380 euros and up, depending on the model and configuration.
Surely it is much cheaper the Series 3, with a starting cost of just 239 euros, at the same time it is now a slightly dated device compared to the new devices. The price of the Apple Watch 5 rises significantly by choosing more exclusive variants, in fact there are 759 euros for the version with stainless steel case and Sport strap, 809 euros with Milanese mesh strap, 859 euros for the titanium model, up to 1,519 euros for the Apple Watch Hermès, with stainless steel case and Double Tour leather strap.
Apple Watch Series 4 vs 5: which one is really worth it?
As we've seen, the differences between the Apple Watch 4 and 5 are really minimal, which is probably why the company decided to take the Series 4 off the market, leaving the alternative between the 5 and 3 versions. Almost certainly even for Apple the two devices were too similar, in fact analyzing them in detail there are no substantial differences, indeed it seems that it was made a simple restyling.
The real big news is the Retina display always-on, which alone does not justify the release of a new version, although it is a very popular system, efficient and quite expected by users. Also worth noting is the presence of the digital compass, as well as materials such as ceramic and titanium, new straps and a greater choice of style combinations, including Nike Sport and Hermès options for those who want to buy a truly exclusive device.
All in all, the Apple Watch Series 5 is an excellent smartwatch, modern and functional, with which thanks to the introduction of the always-on display navigation and use of features are much more pleasant and optimized. To conclude, given the proximity of price it is worth opting for this model instead of the Apple Watch Series 4, especially if you are moving from an older device such as the Series 2 or 3, or if it is the first Apple Watch to buy.