The Apple Watch, some view it as a fashion piece, others view it as a great notification center that allows for your phone to stay in your pocket thus making you more productive. In addition, some view it as a tool that should be used almost as a standalone device itself — either way, wearable technology is here to stay and this is one product that does a lot good while being slightly confusing at times, too.
The Apple Watch comes in two sizes, 38mm and 42mm in 3 materials: aluminum for the Apple Watch Sport, stainless steel for the Apple Watch and 18-karat gold for the Apple Watch Edition. Size and composition make no difference in performance or OS setup on the watch — these are the same across the board. Other than that, I was concerned about the dial (dubbed by Apple as the digital crown) getting in the way and did not think that it would be useful at all; however, for creating watch-faces and manipulating the time forward or backward to view events past or present — it is useful and consequently your only choice. In addition to creation and time travel, it also serves as the Apple Watch home button when pressed by returning you to the previous screen.
Day to day use:
Using the Apple Watch is a “once you Apple Watch, you don’t go back” feeling and I believe the same can be said about most other smart watches. Having notifications on your wrist is always a big plus and while some find it nerdy or invasive is very forward-thinking. In my case, I dislike constantly taking my phone out of my pocket to see every notification and text. Responding and dismissing items from the watch is quick and easy, although it would be useful if an item could just be swiped away without the need of a confirmation.
Notifications present a very distinct vibration to your wrist without rattling your wrist off in addition to light sounds, which by default are on (you may want to disable these). Apple Watch also fully supports phone calls on the device itself, which I’ve never tried because of my deep Google Voice integration; however, trust me when I say, “it works.”
Like some, I begin my day in the gym and for me, that means steps are being counted, calories and being tracking while being burned and my fitness-self is being pleased. This is one feature that the Apple Watch just does well, even without a GPS, which over half of Android Wear devices don’t have either. Next, battery life is solid with me ending my day with usually 65% or more left. One note about battery life is that it is usually constant without any major variances from day to day.
Apps on the Apple Watch automatically sync over upon the first booting and initial setup. Following setup, apps with a corresponding watch app appear on the apps screen after installation. Performance of the apps is not the best, usually performing well after they load, but loading itself is the problem — apps simply load slow. In some respect, I feel as if Apple wants us to engage in long sequences of interaction touching the watch, while I feel like the interface should be for short, quick activities. Both can work; however, app loading time would need to be sped up and further optimized to promote users wanting to interact with apps directly on the device more.
- Battery life
- Standardized watch bands (Other smartwatch OEMs take note, please)
- Fitness and health capabilities
- Excellent Bluetooth connectivity
- Costly accessories
- Slow loading apps
Takeaways: The Apple Watch is primed and ready to go. With a mostly positive experience, it is difficult for me to speak against purchasing an Apple Watch, especially if you’re an iPhone user — there is simply no better all-around wearable. Continual improvements in WatchOS will further optimize and streamline the experience. Also, did I mention standardized watch bands? These are phenomenal and are easy swappable, making personalizing your watch easy and fun.