Apple Watch 2 review

Fitness takes over the Apple Watch (now with Nike+ review too)

Apple Watch 2 review

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  • Watch 2 can easily last two days
  • Can track around seven hours of running
  • Heart rate monitor and music playback limit battery life

The battery life on the Apple Watch 2 was far more impressive than expected. Where Apple has previously promised an 'all day' battery life, thanks to the need for a bigger power pack to run the GPS chip the whole unit now is a lot more power-efficient.

Apple hasn't explicitly stated how big the battery is, nor the expected performance – but the good news is that, for most, you'll be able to get at least two days' use out of it.

Apple Watch 2 review

We say 'for most' as the average person will have a few days a week where they're not using the watch for fitness tracking or powering the GPS – in those instances, the battery life will be much improved.

Let's put some numbers on this, and give you some real world usage figures: removing the Apple Watch 2 from charge at 63% and heading out on a slow 45-minute run, with music streaming from the Watch via Bluetooth and the heart rate monitor on, the smartwatch fell to 47%.

The next day, the Watch 2 was removed from charge at 8AM and took in a 5km race (with the heart rate monitor on), and it lost 4%. Another slower 5km run followed before we headed home, reconnecting to the phone in the car and once again receiving notifications.

Apple Watch 2 review

By 11AM it was still at 85%, and dropped only a further 3% in the next 90 minutes. At bedtime the Watch was down to 57%.

The next day, another shorter 40-minute run with GPS and heart rate monitoring was undertaken in the morning, before a day of sitting, eating and driving meant the Watch only needed to deliver notifications. It took until 9.30PM before the unit went into power reserve mode (where you can see the time if you tap the side button only).

The next day was the big test: how far can the Watch go for longer times? As we said in the running section above, after 210 minutes of running with only the GPS firing the Watch 2 lost 50% of the battery.

And over a marathon distance with everything going - Bluetooth music streaming, heart rate monitor and GPS running - after 189 minutes it was down to 28%, another good result.

Even by 10.30PM, it was still working just fine too - all day battery life is a cert on this (as long as you've not got a mega chat app running in the background, as that munches power like nothing else).

Apple Watch 2 review

It's not the best on the market of course – there are watches from Pebble, for instance, that can last 10 days on a single charge. But those devices lack the sheer functionality, and the beauty, the Apple Watch brings, preferring minimalist, lighter designs and offering slower performance compared to the speed of this device.

Then again, they also don't require you to raise your arm to make the screen show the time, so it really depends what matters to you.

Gareth Beavis
Formerly Global Editor in Chief

Gareth has been part of the consumer technology world in a career spanning three decades. He started life as a staff writer on the fledgling TechRadar, and has grown with the site (primarily as phones, tablets and wearables editor) until becoming Global Editor in Chief in 2018. Gareth has written over 4,000 articles for TechRadar, has contributed expert insight to a number of other publications, chaired panels on zeitgeist technologies, presented at the Gadget Show Live as well as representing the brand on TV and radio for multiple channels including Sky, BBC, ITV and Al-Jazeera. Passionate about fitness, he can bore anyone rigid about stress management, sleep tracking, heart rate variance as well as bemoaning something about the latest iPhone, Galaxy or OLED TV.