Apple Watch Series 6 vs Apple Watch Series 5: What is the difference and you should upgrade

Cupertino, September 16, 2020

The latest and greatest Apple Watch Series 6 comes with new bright colors, blood oxygen detection, ultra-wideband S6 chip, plus an altimeter always on, but the rest is about the same as before. Battery life, display, case design and other basic features upgrade to the Apple Watch Series 6 only for those who just need the new feature.

$ 399 at Apple


  • New blue and red product color options
  • The new blood oxygen sensor
  • Altimeter always on
  • Updated processor


  • Same overall design as the 5 series
  • No battery life improvements

The Apple 5 Series watch is still one of the best, even if it is one year old. The 5 Series is very fast and has almost all the same features as the 6 Series, so it's hard to justify upgrading unless blood oxygen detection and new colors are important to you.

$ 399 at Best Buy


  • Same display as series 6
  • It may be available at discounted prices


  • Limited color options
  • There is no detection of oxygen in the blood

As with last year's 4 Series to 5 Series upgrade, Apple's latest smartwatch is not a massive leap forward for the wrist. The biggest change is the addition of blood oxygen detection, which is compelling when combined with all the other health features built into the Apple Watch. In addition, if you get bored of the same old Apple Watch colors, the blue and (PRODUCT) RED finishes look very sweet.

Apple Watch Series 6 vs Apple Watch Series 5: Same, but different

If you are fascinated by the prospect, but you are not very sure if the Apple Watch Series 6 update is really worth it, then there are a few factors to consider. Do you just want the basics, such as battery life throughout the day, speed and notifications, or do you appreciate the capabilities, materials, and colors of the health sensors? Here is a breakdown of all key specifications.

Apple Watch Series 6 Apple Watch Series 5
Starting price $ 399 $ 399
sizes 40, 44mm 40, 44mm
finishes Silver, Spatial Gray, Gold, Blue, (PRODUCT) RED, Graphite, Spatial Black Silver, gold, space gray, stainless steel, white, space black
Housing materials Aluminum, stainless steel, titanium Aluminum, stainless steel, titanium, ceramic
Wireless connectivity Wi-Fi, Cellular LTE UMTS Wi-Fi, Cellular LTE UMTS
GPS Yes Yes
Bluetooth 5.0 5.0
Battery life Up to 18 hours Up to 18 hours
Screen material Ion-X glass (aluminum), sapphire crystal (stainless steel, titanium) Ion-X glass (aluminum), sapphire crystal (stainless steel, titanium, ceramic)
Always exposed Yes Yes
Maximum brightness 1,000 nights 1,000 nights
processor S6 with 64-bit dual-core processor S5 with 64-bit dual-core processor
Wireless chipset W3, U1 Ultra Wideband W3
Waterproof 50 meters 50 meters
Storage 32 GB 32 GB
Family configuration Yes, cell models Yes, cell models
ECG application Yes Yes
Blood oxygen application Yes Not
Fall detection Yes Yes
Compass Yes Yes
Altimeter Yes, always on Yes
Optical heart sensor Yes, the second kind Yes
Electric heart sensor Yes Yes
accelerometer Yes Yes
Gyroscope Yes Yes
Ambient light sensor Yes Yes

As you can see, the basic technologies of the 5 Series and 6 Series are really quite similar. Housing materials, display size, battery life, maximum brightness and wireless radios remain the same. In essence, it all comes down to oxygen in the blood, colors and processor.

Apple Watch Series 6 vs. Apple Watch Series 5: Looking at the new blood oxygen sensor

Apple Watch Series 6 sensors

Source: Apple

The Series 6 Blood Oxygen Detection Capabilities use a series of LEDs on the back to measure oxygen saturation (SpO2) on demand and in the background. On-demand measurements last only 15 seconds, and the results are displayed immediately on the watch and in the Health app on the iPhone.

While blood oxygen detection is new to the Apple Watch Series 6, metrics are important for understanding how we deliver oxygen from the lungs throughout our bodies. Lower levels of oxygen saturation may indicate potential illnesses or health risks.

Apple Watch Series 6 vs Apple Watch Series 5: Comparing glossy finishes

Apple Watch Series 6 Red

Source: Apple

Even though the 6 series has the same familiar Apple Watch design, it adds some new colors to the mix. For the aluminum models, Apple has added an elegant dark blue option, along with an amazing (PRODUCT) RED finish. The stainless steel model has won a new yellow gold option, which returns to the original Apple Watch Edition line.

Speaking of the Apple Watch edition, for the 6 series, Apple gave up the ceramic model. So, if you like the light white color of the 5 Series Edition, then we recommend you to participate in this year's update.

Apple Watch Series 6 vs. Apple Watch Series 5: The Latest Chips

Also new in the 6 series is the S6 processor and U1 chips. The S6 is a 64-bit dual-core processor, which is based on the same processor used in the iPhone 11. The S6 is 20% faster than the previous S5 chip, which Apple claims can be seen during the launch of the application.

While more speed is always welcome, the S4 and S5 chips have made clock navigation smoother, and launching apps is no longer painful, as it was when the Apple Watch first entered the scene.

Apple Watch Series 6 vs. Apple Watch Series 5: Should You Upgrade?

Personally, I would say that it is not enough just to justify an upgrade to the Apple Watch Series 6. The Apple Series 5 watch, and even the 4 series that came before, are fast enough and are capable for most needs. If you already have one of these, I suggest you wait and see what Apple brings to the table next year, as it may come with a completely new design.

If you just need to have a new color, you want the oxygen sensor in your blood and you don't mind getting the latest information, then the 6 series might be worth updating. Regardless of the route you choose, both the 5 Series and the 6 Series are excellent smart watches, which will exist in the coming years.

New colors and capabilities

Apple Watch Series 6 vs Apple Watch Series 5 What

Apple Watch Series 6

The last and the biggest

Although not a huge upgrade over the 5 Series, the latest Apple Watch adds a blood oxygen detection, an altimeter always, U1 chip and comes in some bright new colors. If you just need to have the latest looks, then go for upgrade.

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1600224951 48 Apple Watch Series 6 vs Apple Watch Series 5 What

Apple Watch Series 5

Another one of the best

If you have a 5 series and you don't need a color change or blood oxygen detection, save some money and stick with what you have, it's still a great partner for the iPhone.

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