Apple Watch Nike Series 5 Review
February 29, 2020 — by Per Christensson
They say you don't know what you got until it's gone. With technology, sometimes you don't know what you're missing until you upgrade.
I finally upgraded my old Apple Watch Series 2 to a new Series 5 "Nike" watch at the end of 2019. I should have upgraded a long time ago. Maybe I was nostalgic after wearing the same watch on my wrist for several years. Or maybe I was hesitant to trade in my old model because I was underwhelmed by the last two iPhones. Whatever the reason, I waited too long.
In some ways, the Series 5 is just another Apple Watch. In other ways, it is significantly better. Based on my experience over the past three months, here are my top reasons to upgrade:
The Series 5 is fast. It is extremely responsive and loads apps way faster than the Series 2. Granted the Series 2 was slow when I bought it and even slower a few years later, but the speed of the Series 5 isn't even comparable. A few minutes testing the watch at the Apple Store was all I needed to confirm this, but I'm happy to say the speed continues to impress me in everyday use.
The Series 5 has 32 gigabytes of flash storage. Good luck finding this information on Apple's website. It's there, but mysteriously hidden. I don't understand why Apple doesn't promote this feature since it's a big deal. The Series 2 had a storage capacity of 4GB. The Series 5 has eight times more. The difference is significant because I could only fit a small amount of my iTunes library on my old watch. I can fit more than half of my 50-gigabyte library on this one. Now when I workout, I don't have to listen to the same playlist every time.
The screen on the Series 5 is slightly bigger than the Series 2. But the small bump in size makes a big difference. Everything is more readable and easier to navigate. I found myself accidentally tapping the wrong things on my old watch, but that rarely happens on this one.
4. HTML Email
The Series 2 could only display plain text email messages. I was pleasantly surprised to learn the Series 5 displays HTML-formatted emails, making it a practical means of checking my email. I decided to add the email app to my home screen, which didn't make sense on my old watch.
5. Always-On Screen
The main difference between the Series 4 and the Series 5 is that the 5 includes an "always-on" display. It doesn't go black whenever you put your arm down like all previous Apple Watches. I've gotten so used to this new feature, I take for granted being able to check the time without performing the "raise to wake" motion.
What I Don't Like About the Series 5
The Apple Watch Series 5 is a considerable improvement over the Series 2. But I still think there are still several ways to make the Apple Watch better.
- Get rid of that stupid "digital crown" on the side of the watch. It is pointless and often gets in the way. The first thing I did after buying the Series 5 was reverse the default orientation so I can have the button facing away from my hand. A long touchpad along the side of the watch would be much better IMO.
- Provide an option to only show the time by default. The "always-on" feature is nice, but it shows too much data and looks cluttered with the modular watch face. You can hide personal data in the Apple Watch settings, but I would prefer if the watch face just showed the time when inactive.
- Improve stand detection. Like my Series 2, the Series 5 doesn't always detect my "stand hours" correctly. For example, the other week, I walked downstairs, unloaded my entire dishwasher, made some coffee, then walked back upstairs to my office. My Apple Watch still didn't register that I had stood up. That is pretty concerning and makes me wonder how accurate the activity tracking is.
Overall, I am pleased with the Apple Watch Series 5 Nike edition. I mainly use it for tracking my workouts and playing music with my AirPods at the gym. But I also use it to read text messages, check the weather, view my calendar, and pay at retail stores. If you already own an Apple Watch Series 4, the Series 5 is probably not worth the upgrade. But I think it is worth considering if you have a Series 3, and definitely worthwhile if you have a Series 1 or 2.
The Apple Watch Nike Series 5 is not perfect, and I hope Apple continues to improve it in future versions. I listed a few things I don't like, and I could put together an even longer list of suggestions for Apple. But the fact is I use my Apple Watch every day and that speaks for itself.