Review: Apple Watch
This device needs no introduction. If you don’t know what I’m wearing on my wrist in that picture, then skip this post. I recommend this one.
After having my watch for almost 2 months, here is what I think of it.
TL;DR – I think this is a great first step for Apple’s watch but there are some core improvements that will bring it into its own.
“What are those core improvements, Adam?”
Well dearest reader, let me expound.
This aspect is two fold, the first being the processor residing inside of the 42mm device, which plainly put, is simply not powerful enough. Basic functions such as opening the Activity app, displaying the glances view, or even loading the settings app take twice the amount of time they should. The apps by nature are lightweight but still not enough so for the weak processor Apple put inside. Apple knows this and will show us a lovely graph over the coming years
The second factor being how painfully slow apps that primarily use my iPhone take to load. Even on the glances view, the screen will shut off before the glance view will finish loading. And while app logic will soon run on the device rather than the paired iPhone, with the processor being the way it is, I’m doubtful we will see much of an improvement.
Not all actions take more time than they should, some are rather snappy such as going between menus. But this device is meant for interactions that consist of seconds which is currently being used for only loading.
This is my most loved feature of the Watch. With my iPhone, 90% of the time it remains on silent as to not disturb those around me but this has resulted in many missed calls because I haven’t felt the vibration. With the haptic feedback being applied directly
to the forehead to my wrist I know when a notification has come in without bothering anyone else in the process. With that said, there are times when I am on a walk, driving, or when I have my arm such that gravity isn’t pushing the watch against my wrist that the vibration isn’t enough to get my attention. This creates a similar phenomena to when my phone is in my pocket and I swear it vibrated but hasn’t. Although sensitivity is at the highest setting, a more powerful engine needs to be in the future versions.
I was pleasantly surprised with the length of the battery. Most times I am getting two full days out of it, given I have it off while I am sleeping. As someone who charges their phone every night and since I don’t plan on wearing it while I sleep, taking it off at night to charge isn’t a problem. Battery life in any device could be improved but for Apple Watch it’s not necessary to increase its lifespan.
At first I thought the phone feature was useless but there have been times where I walked away from my phone or it was hard to get to and answering a call on my watch was the easier and better option. The speaker needs to be improved if Apple sees it as a real feature (which they should).
The sounds are perfect. None of them are annoying, they are quite nice actually, and I know exactly what each means. Light sleepers won’t be woken up by the alarm sound which is why we should be able to choose which sounds play.
Predictive text is very helpful when all you need to respond to a text with is yes, no, ok, an option (e.g. “Should we get pizza or tacos?”), and similar short, simple replies. Replying to messages with my voice works but when it doesn’t or it takes to long for Siri to figure out what I said (due to my distance from my phone or the network connection) it ends up making the interaction frustrating and thus, I have stopping using it.
“It’s our most connected device ever” that statement is true but after the novelty factor, I have forgotten I can tap people’s wrist. And to be honest, I don’t know why I would. And drawing a picture on the tiny screen is hopeless.
I have played two free games, Four Letters and BoxPop. Both are great games for the Watch. They are quick, fun games that are perfect for filling a 3-5 minute gap of time. They run surprisingly well but a faster processor could definitely improve the experience.
Why did I get one?
The answer also satisfied why I still use it. While it is a good notification manager, with great exception to the fact that if an email notification is “dismissed” that also means that I have “read” the email. Since Apple Watch can’t handle most dynamic content that is in today’s newsletters, I haven’t read a thing except for code.
Why I got it and still use it is for the activity tracking. Consumer Reports showed that it is the most accurate out of the leading watches. The process of tracking an activity and monitoring it during the exercise is straightforward and comprehensive. And the awards are a great surprise after an exhausting workout. Even though my watch isn’t the best at tracking when I have stood up or not, once you tell it you are working out it is a very diligent tracker.
Should you get one?
Wait for the second or third version to come out and then submit your order. The model I got plus AppleCare (I’ve had some close calls since I forget it is there when reaching my hand into a tight space) came to $230*, $460 for non-Apple employees. Currently is the Watch worth $460? No. $230? Yes, but only because it is integrated into the Apple ecosystem and is a good activity tracker.
Once the Watch finds its niche and its true purpose (I’m looking at you third party developers) and gets the improvements noted above, then this will be the number one watch on the market, hands down.
*I worked for Apple Retail starting in October 2014 and left shortly after being able to order my watch for a discount. The timing was a lucky coincidence.