It’s been around 6 weeks since I’ve had my Apple Watch. Whilst not perfect, I’m still very happy with it. Here’s a rundown of my thoughts.
I’ve got the 38mm Sport edition, with the black sports band. It’s a lot smaller than I imagined it would be, which is for the better. This means that it doesn’t have the bulk of other smart watches, and after the first few days I don’t feel conspicuous at all.
Not only does it look good, it feels really nice too. In fact, you forget it’s even there. There is a bulge at the bottom where the sensors sit, which I thought may be a problem, but that isn’t the case at all.
This is something I never thought would be said in a watch review: the sports band is really quite soft too. It’s firm enough to feel secure, but also smooth so that the last thing you’re thinking as you put it on is “I’m basically wearing a rubber band around my wrist”.
I have to admit, the box was a little bigger than I was expecting: the Watch comes in a case just like any other watch on the market. Unlike other smart watches, this is not a gadget. Apple clearly wants this to be an accessory: using technology to change how we think of watches.
And what a watch it is. Granted, this isn’t something that is kept for generations – I expect the Watch to have an update cycle of about five years – but I truly think that this is a watch wearer’s watch. Unlike the Pebble, which doesn’t really have much in terms of quality watchfaces, the Apple Watch has carefully designed faces that look beautiful and are genuinely useful.
But what makes this better than a regular watch, and indeed other smart watches, is the notifications. Within minutes I had muted all sounds, and had turned off both sound and vibration on my phone. The taptic engine is very subtle, and it really does feel like someone tapping you on the wrist. It feels nice, and it doesn’t disturb you or anybody else.
One thing, however, that does make it frustrating as a watch is Activation on Wrist Raise. With a classic watch, the time is always there for you to glance at. The Apple Watch requires you move your wrist, then wait, to see the time. The gesture detection isn’t quite right either, and so you find yourself exaggerating your arm movement, especially when wearing a coat.
The slight sluggishness is a problem in other areas, too. Apps can often take a noticable time to load; even the glances can take time for the data to appear. But being a first generation device I can’t see this being a problem for too long.
Sluggishness aside, compatibility with apps and services is at a high level, especially considering the watch has only been on general sale for a couple of months. Requiring a pairing with an iPhone has been a really smart move: Watch apps can talk to Phone apps, which means that any data you can access on your phone you can access on your wrist.
However, the best integration so far in my book has to be with Health. I put the activiy rings as a complication on my watchface, and whenever I look at my Watch, I know how active I am being, and how close I am to my goal. This is the feature which I’m sure I would miss if I had to do without my Apple Watch.
So, would I recommend it? Absolutely. Especially if you are a watch wearer and a heavy user of iPhone apps, the Apple Watch is a genuinely useful second screen, and turns the timepiece on your wrist into a “Watch Plus”.
It’s a purchase I don’t regret at all. I wouldn’t go back to my Pebble Watch, and certainly wouldn’t go back to a regular watch. The Apple Watch gives me far too many advantages that improves my life in small ways.
But then again, I’m a gadget lover. And if you’re not into gadgets, I’m not sure that you will see the point behind the Apple Watch. And that’s ok: it’s not for everybody.