Apple Watch Series 2: A smartwatch that appeals to the serious athlete

While the first-generation Apple Watch was a fantastic smartwatch, serious athletes couldn't count on it to track the details of their outside activities without also carrying the iPhone. The Apple Watch Series 2 changes that for the better.

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Image: Apple

I absolutely loved the Apple Watch and think it's the best smartwatch created so far. The Apple Watch Series 2 did not drastically change its external design, but the improvements may allow me to get rid of my dedicated GPS sport watch.

Athletes who run, cycle, hike, ski, and perform outdoor activities where GPS tracking is important don't use an Apple Watch as their primary wearable. In order for the first Apple Watch to function in these situations, an iPhone is required to be within Bluetooth range. That's not practical for many sports, especially when the iPhone is not water resistant.

The new Apple Watch Series 2 includes a GPS radio, 50-meter water resistance, and a brighter display for improved outdoor visibility.

Swimming is a focus for the new Apple Watch, with an innovative speaker that repels water after the watch is removed from a submerged condition. Nike teamed up with Apple to offer a special Nike+ Apple Watch with an app optimized for the running experience. Other apps will be able to take advantage of the GPS radio as well.

We don't yet know how long the battery will last, so you may be limited to one workout with the new watch, but we'll report back once Apple releases some battery life estimates.

After spending years messing around with wearables and always moving on to another after a few weeks of use, I decided to spend more than $500 to purchase a Garmin Fenix 3 HR to ensure I had the ultimate GPS sports watch. The Fenix 3 HR is fantastic as a GPS sports watch while also providing some basic smartphone notifications.

The Apple Watch Series 2 doesn't offer all of the customization of the screens you view while working out or the ability to track the vast number of sports available to Garmin Fenix 3 owners, but it may offer enough for the casual athlete. It's convenient to have one wearable that does it all, and with GPS, the new Apple Watch Series 2 may do that for me.

One major reason the Garmin Fenix 3 HR lives on my wrist while other wearables end up in a drawer is battery life. I can go a full week with some bike rides and runs being tracked before charging up the Fenix 3 HR, and I'm not yet convinced I need smartwatch functions enough to go back to charging my watch daily.

Related ZDNet Apple Watch and GPS sports watch coverage

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