The Apple Watch 2 Has a Killer Feature No One is Talking About

I've been running with Apple's latest smartwatch a few times per week, and I enjoy the accurate pace from the built-in GPS. I really like the new Scribble keyboard, too, which makes it surprisingly easy to respond to messages on the screen. But there's one feature of the Apple Watch Series 2 that's been a very pleasant surprise.

Hang on; I'm getting a call. 

Photo: Jeremy Lips / Tom's Guide

Photo: Jeremy Lips / Tom's Guide

Seriously, the improved speaker and microphone on the Apple Watch Series 2 have made a world of difference in how I use this smartwatch. Instead of treating phone calls on my wrist as a last resort, it's becoming the preferred option for me in certain situations.

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Take, for example, grilling outside. While cooking up some burgers recently, I chatted with my twin brother using the Apple Watch Series 2, and I barely had to hold up my left wrist for him to hear me. He came through loud and clear on my end, too. 

As I went inside to grab some buns and the spatula, I didn't have to cradle my iPhone to my ear or press the phone to my face. Instead, my phone stayed in my pocket as we gabbed about the presidential debate.

The new Apple Watch makes me feel more like Dick Tracy than ever before

I also like being able to make calls from my wrist as I walk home from the bus stop at the end of a long day. It's a 15-minute jaunt, and I like being able to check in with family members (or call for food delivery) while keeping my hands free. However, this scenario only works when there's not much car traffic on my route, as ambient noise can make it hard for the other caller to hear me.

Speaking of driving, I like being able to use the Apple Watch Series 2 to quickly dial my wife to ask what we might need from the store while I'm behind the wheel, instead of resorting to texting. I just use my voice to dial.

While I recently sat at a couple of long red lights, I used the new Apple Watch to look up quick info, like the score of the Yankees game or what my upcoming schedule looked like. Maybe it's the faster processor, improved microphone, or both, but Siri responds much more quickly now than on the original Apple Watch, and the accuracy is better. 

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Admittedly, there are still plenty of situations when I won't use the Apple Watch Series 2 to make calls, such as when I'm on the noisy streets of New York City. Even if I could hear the person on the other end of the line and they could hear me, I'd still feel like a dork.

But overall, the new Apple Watch makes me feel more like Dick Tracy than ever before. And if you're too young to know who that is, you can just ask Siri.

Mark Spoonauer

Mark Spoonauer is the global editor in chief of Tom's Guide and has covered technology for over 20 years. In addition to overseeing the direction of Tom's Guide, Mark specializes in covering all things mobile, having reviewed dozens of smartphones and other gadgets. He has spoken at key industry events and appears regularly on TV to discuss the latest trends, including Cheddar, Fox Business and other outlets. Mark was previously editor in chief of Laptop Mag, and his work has appeared in Wired, Popular Science and Inc. Follow him on Twitter at @mspoonauer.