The 10-point Apple Watch Series 4 review: Finally a worthwhile upgrade

Above: Apple Watch Series 4 in 44mm (left) next to Series 1 in 42mm (right).

  • The smaller 40mm model’s screen resolution is now 324 by 394 pixels, versus the old 38mm model’s 272 by 340.
  • The larger 44mm model’s screen has a 368 by 448-pixel resolution, up from the old 42mm version’s 312 by 390.

As a result, the “small” Series 4 model’s screen is actually a hint larger than the “large” Series 3 screen, with a thinner but still obvious bezel between the screen and edge of the case. Apple has kept the OLED screens’ 1,000-nit brightness and pixel density the same as last year’s models.

Thankfully, Apple actually spent the time necessary to revamp its watchOS user interface to make proper use of the larger displays — something it notably didn’t do with the new iPhone XS Max. As you can see on the image above, the larger 44mm model fits more text and better-looking UI elements on the display without shrinking font or image sizes. watchOS has looked cramped for at least two years, but on Series 4 watches, it feels far less compromised.

The most obvious way Apple is showing off the new screens is a set of new watch faces that are either exclusive to Series 4 or better on Series 4 than on prior models. Choices shared between Watches include the beautifully animated Breathe, plus filmed videos of Fire & Water, Liquid Metal, and Vapor. The latter three offer the option of a Series 4-exclusive full-screen mode in addition to a Series 1-3-compatible circle mode, really showing off the different screen sizes.

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