Reviewing Apple Watch Series 5 is not hard. It is so much in the nature of the future. 4. It carries its predecessor great ̵
It's the best Apple Watch to date smartwatch on the market, period.
The longer I wear Apple Watch Series 5, a 44mm space-gray aluminum review unit from Apple, the more torn I feel about the device's always-on display.  On one hand, I just acknowledge the significance of the new display as it relates to the watch as a whole. On the other hand, however, I find the always-on display to be somewhat of a letdown in practice. It is not that the always-on display is bad; it's not. It is that the current implementation is not that conducive to my visual needs.
The issue is brightness. The always-on display right now is not bright enough for me to quickly glance down at my wrist to see the time. As someone who requires maximum brightness on all my devices in order to see well, this is problematic. Other reviewers have said it would be nice to just look at the time, as you would on a mechanical watch. My peers must have better eyesight than I do, because I literally do not do that. In my usage, I have found myself shaking my wrist like Apple Watch to see the time. When you do so, the Apple Watch's screen fully illuminates (to max brightness, via my display settings), and that's how I tell it.
The whole point of buying Series 5 is for the always-on display. I could turn it off, but that defeats the purpose.
It makes no difference whether I'm using an analog or digital watch face. The exception is when using the new Numerals Duo face with the "filled" styling. The digits are so large that I have no trouble seeing the time. This face would not be the best it does not support complications. Otherwise, Numerals Duo is a great workaround for the always-on display's paint of light.
At a technical level, I understand why WatchOS dims the display. Nonetheless, it's unfortunate there is no way to adjust the brightness while in "always on" mode. Perhaps Apple wants to add a feature in the future; it would make sense as an accessibility setting. As it stands today, as good as the always-on display is in general, I can not say it makes much sense for me. I'm effectively using Series 5 the same way I use my Series 4. Because of this, Series 5 loses some of its appeal. The whole point of buying Series 5 is for the always-on display.
On the flip side, if and when the ever-on-the-other hand improves, I'll turn it off, but that defeats the purpose from having to raise my arm so often. Which is not because the right side of my body is partially paralyzed due to cerebral palsy. As such, raising my wrist to tell time can sometimes be painful and fatiguing. The always-on display mitigates this because, by virtue of its persistence, you do not necessarily have to contend your arm to look at your watch.
From the original Apple Watch (colloquially known as "Series 0") through Series 3, Apple packaged the watch as an "all-in -one "product. Which is to say, the band was fasted to the watch.
With last year's Series 4, Apple Watch, the theft band and watch were separate entities. In order to wear it, you first need to attach the band to the watch. In my review, I called out this change as regressive despite recognizing why it made sense operationally. The revised layout continues in Series 5, which is disappointing.
Everything should be as accessible as possible.
The issues this setup are the same ones I expounded upon last year. To wit, it's easy to see how some people could get involved with the watch and band being piecemeal; it can be challenging in terms of cognitive load and fine-motor skills. Even as a seasoned product reviewer, I totally admit to being a disassociated person.
Dimmed state, I totally get why Apple Watch , It makes complete sense in context of the new Apple Watch Studio, where you can mix and match finishes and bands. Esoteric. Part of the reason Apple products are so revered because of the elegant simplicity of its packaging. Apple Watch or iPhone or iMac – especially for disabled people, the initial experience leaves a lasting impression if you have to fiddle as if it were a jigsaw puzzle. I can manage, but many can not. Everything is as easy as possible.
The bottom line
There is no doubt Apple Watch Series 5 is great. It retains the title of Best, Most Accessible Apple Watch Yet, but with asterisk. I do not have a burning desire to upgrade – admittedly, the titanium's siren song has been calling me ever since last month's event. The problem I have with the display can be remedied with a software update; if Apple sent a brightness slider tomorrow, I'd order one pronto. Today, though, always-on is not always bright – and that sucks.
In the end, I heartily recommend Apple Watch Series 5 to everyone. My low vision makes the always-on display difficult to see as-is, and I certainly can not be the only one. Smartwatch by a country mile. I'm confident the always-on display wants to be iterated and refined over time. In the meantime, Series 4 and watchOS 6 is a pretty bad-ass combination for me.