Well, I dropped $400 on a watch a week ago and have spent the last few weeks putting it through its paces on my day-to-day routine. I’ll be keeping mine, but is it right for you?
The Apple Watch is mainly three things: a watch (obviously), a tiny extension of your iPhone, and a fitness tracker. It tackles each of these jobs with varying levels of success.
First things first: this is a superb watch experience. It’s fashionable, customizable, and informative. The watch faces available are petty, highly capable, and dead simple to swap out and customize. It keeps times for every single worldwide time zone, astrological information, and track of sunrise/sunset and the weather. Just about the only point of failure the product has as a watch is its battery life. It makes it through the day perfectly well and even has a reserve mode to keep the time displayed when you’re running low on power… But unlike most non-smart watches you’ll be charging this puppy every single night.
I’m on the go around town quite a lot during my work week, and for somebody like me the hassle of taking my phone out of my pocket every few minutes to check what kind of notifications are coming in is a real (albeit luxury) inconvenience. The Apple Watch succeeds almost completely at replacing this for me. It does what it promises and displays all your notifications right on your wrist for easy access. For somebody like me, this is almost worth the price alone but I don’t think the average user will see this as anything but a nice bonus trick.
The ease of responding to your notifications varies depending on what you’d like to do and what kind of support the app has for the watch so far. For example: responding to a text with an emoji or short response is dead simple. A couple quick taps and you can send a smiley, a “yes,” or a “no,” or several versions of “I’ll get back to you later.” For something like Twitter it’s a cinch to fav a reply or see who favorited what. Anything else is sort of pushing things. You can use Siri to send friends voice memos or to dictate a response via text… but let’s be real, Siri has always just been so-so at dictation. Interacting with something like email on the watch is theoretically possible but not something I’d recommend.
The watch functions it’s best as a way to keep digital widgets close at hand. Changing music, using it as a view finder for your iPhone’s camera, and checking the weather are really where the product feels seamless and polished. It feels so good to skip around Pandora on your wrist while you’re running.
As a fitness tracker the watch is basically just a really solid start. It does as promised and tacks your heart rate and movement throughout the day for you, including workouts. It has built in Activity and Movement apps that reward you with stickers for things like standing enough times during the day. The fitness features completely lack any social functions at the moment, but I assume that’s just a matter of third-party app support. It’s not quite as good at keeping tabs on your health as the higher-end FitBits but for the average user it executes the task pretty well.
The price point at the moment range from kinda pricey to completely batshit insane. All three price points offer the same level of functionality and, with just the type of metal used in the watches construction differentiating the models. Purchasing anything but the Sport version is completely crazy. The stainless steel watch not only looks and functions nearly identically, it also has been reported that it scratches easier than the aluminum Sport. Buying that is a waste on money on a product you’ll almost certainly be trading in a year from now. If you buy the $10,000 Apple Watch Edition you are not only jaw-dropping my wealthy, you’re also obnoxious and basically robbing whatever charity you could have otherwise gifted that money to.
It’s expensive. It’s got issues. It’s a first generation product whose sequel will almost certainly trump it in every way. If you’re not somebody who’s into bleeding edge tech I’d have to recommend skipping this first model and holding out for whatever they update it to next year. There will be more app support and probably better battery life.
But for me? It’s become part of my everyday life and you’ll be prying it from my cold, dead wrist.