Apple Watch Series 4 vs Series 5 – The big differences

Along with the announcement of the iPhone 11 range and new iPad earlier this month, Apple took the wraps off the Apple Watch Series 5.

With the worldwide market for wearable devices growing, Apple accounts for almost 1 in every 2 smartwatches sold globally. It grew its share of smartwatch sales from 44.6% to 46.6% over the second quarter of 2019, shipping 5.7 million units during the period.

Adjustments to this year’s offering have been kept to a minimum, although there are several noteworthy new features.

Look and feel

The Series 5 comes in the same two sizes as its predecessor: 40mm and 44mm.

From a design perspective, little has changed from the Series 4 iteration, although Apple has added the option of titanium or white ceramic models to the current aluminium and stainless-steel bodies.

Straps also come in various colours and designs in a plastic sport band, fabric sport loop, leather, or stainless-steel configuration. Full customization options can be viewed here.


On the inside of the Watch Series 5, a lot has remained the same as in the previous generation. It sports an identical 64-bit dual-core processor and lithium-ion rechargeable battery, providing 18 hours of battery life.

The Series 5 also comes in two connectivity variants: A GPS-only and GPS and Cellular (LTE). The latter is currently not be available for purchase in South Africa.

Always-on display

The Watch Series 5 now sports an always-on display.

Previously, whenever a person would lower their wrist, the Apple Watch’s screen would switch off completely. With the Series 5, the screen will only dim. As with previous Apple Watches, the display will return to full brightness after its face is tapped.

According to Apple, the screen is powered by the industry’s only low-temperature polysilicone and oxide display (LTPO). Combined with an ultra-low-power display driver, new ambient light sensor and efficient power management integrated circuit, this provides the same battery life as the Series 4, even with an always-on display.


A notable addition to both variants is a built-in compass, which will show the wearer exactly which direction they are facing. This will provide higher directional accuracy than the GPS on its own.

The native compass can be used in conjunction with the updated Maps app, or in a standalone app that will display and track your heading, incline, latitude, longitude, and elevation.

Additional apps and safety features

The Watch Series 5 hosts other new features, such as the Noise App, which warns the wearer of hazardous noise levels, as well as Activity Trends, which gives wearers a long-term view of their activity.

Another new feature is Cycle Tracking, which will give women the ability to monitor their menstrual cycles.

Lastly, Apple has also incorporated more safety functionality through its emergency SOS feature, enabling the watch to initiate emergency calls in over 150 countries. Users can also enable fall detection, which will dial emergency services if the wearer falls and does not get up after a minute.

The Apple Watch Series 5 is available for pre-order at and is priced at R7,999 for the 40mm version and R8,799 for the 44mm model.

The table below provides a comparison of the Series 4 and Series 5.

Apple Watch Series 4 Apple Watch Series 5
iOS watchOS 6 watchOS 6
Display 40mm 324 x 394 / 44mm 368 x 448 LTPO OLED 40mm 324 x 394 / 44mm 368 x 448 Always-on LTPO OLED
Processor S4 64bit dual-core S4 64bit dual-core
Battery life 18 hours 18 hours
GPS Yes Yes
Compass No Yes
Accelerometer Yes Yes
Barometer Yes Yes
Heart rate monitor Yes Yes
Wireless charging Yes Yes
Dimensions 44 x 38 x 10.7mm 44 x 38 x 10.7mm
Price 40mm Aluminium: R7,999          44mm Aluminium: R7,999 40mm Aluminium: R7,999          44mm Aluminium: R8,799

Apple Watch comparison

Now read: Apple Arcade – South African details

Latest news

Partner Content

Show comments


Share this article
Apple Watch Series 4 vs Series 5 – The big differences