Out of all of the many different electronic devices that I own, perhaps my most favorite has to be the brand new Apple Watch. – Elliot V. King MacCrunch Writer
I absolutely love the device and all of the features that are contained within it. I wanted to take the opportunity to provide my own personal review of the product in the hopes that it may help someone make an informed decision about whether or not the Apple Watch is right for them. I’ve done my best to break this review up as much as possible to make it easier to navigate through, especially if you are looking for certain information and questions about the Apple Watch that you need answers to.
Lets get started!
As can be expected, the Apple Watch is much lighter and smaller than the more well-known Apple iPhone. This was the very first thing that I liked and noticed about the device, as well as the fact that, at least to me, it seemed to be a form of extension of the iPhone. However, you may be asking yourself at this point exactly what the Apple Watch can do. Here are some of the most basic functions of the device.
What does it do?
First and foremost, the Apple Watch can tell time accurately just like any other normal watch. In addition, the device automatically adjusts itself whenever Daylight Savings Time rolls around, as well as keeping track of your current location to the point where the time will change depending on what particular time zone you are in. For example, I recently traveled across the country to visit family and noticed right away that the time on my Apple Watch automatically changed, which made me appreciate the fact that I did not have to do anything extra to make this happen. Similar to the iPhone (and virtually any other mobile device), the Apple Watch will provide you with notifications whenever you receive something such as an instant message or email. This makes it much more convenient for people who need to answer important messages on the go, especially if they are work-related or emergencies involving family or friends. The Apple Watch also contains a health application that allows the wearer to keep track of their heart rate, along with other health-related issues. Included with this application is the ability to keep track of all of your steps with a pedometer, as well as keeping track of other things such as calorie intake. While it may not appear to be possible, you can make actual calls with the Apple Watch. In addition, you can also send text messages and emails at virtually anytime you want from anywhere you want. Just like with any other kind of mobile device, you are able to completely customize the screen of the Apple Watch with whatever kind of background that you want. I especially like this feature because I can truly make it feel more like my own personal device. It’s common knowledge that with any kind of watch, the band can often fall victim to general wear and tear. This is certanly the same kind of issue that the Apple Watch can have. Luckily, it is able ot be replaced with official bands available from Apple themselves, though these bands can be slightly expensive. If you own an iPad or iPhone, chances are you have, at some point, utilized the Siri voice software. This is something that is also possible with the Apple Watch, as you can perform tasks such as set appointments, make notes regarding certain dates, etc.
Apple Watch Options:
As previosuly stated, tehre are many different options available with the Apple Watch. First and foremost is the fact that the Apple Watch is available in the following three different models:
*Edition (which is available in 18-karat gold)
Regardless of the specific model you choose, they are available in either 38mm or 42mm screens, though they have the same kind of electronics contained within them and are able to contain different bands. Here is some basic information regarding each specific Apple Watch model.
The Apple Watch “Sport”
is contained in a case made of anodised aluminum (available in either space gray or silver) and a face made of Ion-X glass. While these two materials are rather tough, they are not able to completely prevent the device from getting scratched or otherwise damaged if either bumped too hard or dropped, which is something that really turned me off of this particular model. The default strap is known as a fluoroelastomer, which is said to be durable, comfortable, and easy to replace. In terms of the charging tab, this model contains one that is made out of white plastic.
The Apple Watch “Watch”
is, obviously, more expensive than the “Sport” model, as it is made out of forged stainless steel, which is much stronger than the anodised aluminum contained on the previous model. This device also comes in two different colors: space black and shiny chrome. While the forged stainless steel is stronger than the anodised aluminum, there is word that it is also more likely to get scratched up more than the aluminum model. This was something that I needed to keep in mind when considering which particular device to invest my money in. Unlike the “Sport” model, the “Watch” model of the Apple Watch contains a charging tab that is made entirely out of steel, making it match with the rest of the device.
The Apple Watch “Edition,”
as previously mentioned, is made out of 18-karat gold, but is built practically the same way as the “Watch” model and contains the exact same features. In simpler terms, this means that, essentially, if you purchase this one, you are pretty much purchasing the “Watch” model, only in gold form. In terms of the overall weight of the different models of the Apple Watch, there really isn’t too much of a major difference. The “Sport” model weighs approximately between 62g-72g, while the “Watch” model weighs between 56g-105g, though this one depends solely upon both the size and specific band selected for the device.
Apple Watch Hardware
It’s no secret that whenever we look at any kind of electronic device, we always judge it by what our first impressions are. This is certainly the case with the Apple Watch according to most people that I talked to, myself included. After looking at it and physically examining it, I was amazed at how small and light that it was – definitely more than I expected. The very first thing that caught my attention – and passed my first true test – was the display of the screen, which was easy to look at and read even when under direct sunlight. Another feature that I liked was the heart rate monitor, which is contained in four glass circles located on the underside of the Apple Watch. On the right of the device is where I was able to find what is commonly referred to as the “digital crown,” which is used to perform tasks such as scrolling through lists and zooming into photos. I also noticed right away that this same “digital crown” feature contained a separate button to allow me to scroll through the list of the most frequent contacts listed on the Apple Watch. In addition, this feature also acts as a secondary type of “Home” button, which automatically launches Apple Pay when it is double-clicked. After looking at further specifications of the Apple Watch, I was able to determine that Apple has rated this device as “IPX7.” This means that the device is not waterproof, but it is water resistant. After speaking with an Apple expert, I learned that the only way to obtain this kind of a rating is for a device to be tested under approximately 1-3 meters of water for a certain period of time. I recommend, however, that you read all of the fine print to determine whether or not you would qualify for a warranty in the event of any kind of water-related accident with the device. Generally, however, all Apple products offer a 12-month warranty with 90 days of support.
Watch App Store
As I stated before, the Apple Watch allows you to completely customize the screen in any manner that you wish to do so, though the default screen automatically displays the exact time and date. After trying out the customization features myself, I was impressed at all of the different things that I could add, including the following:
Important appointment reminders Weather forecasts Activity progress from the health application
When the “digital crown” feature is tapped, you will be able to see a complete list of all of the apps currently on your Apple Watch, which appear as a sequence of blob-like graphics. You can move around the screen in one of two different ways: either by scrolling with your finger or zooming in with the “digital crown” feature. I have many favorite applications on the Apple Watch, but perhaps my most favorite ones are Dark Sky, City Mapper, and the Health App. However, what turned me off on a lot of them was the fact that there seems to be a slight delay when first launching them. What was even more disheartening to me was the fact that most of the applications on the Apple Watch are actually powered by the Apple iPhone, meaning that a majority of the applications for the Apple Watch must first be downloaded from an iPhone – as long as it is an iPhone 5 or better.
Notifications and Glances
Another feature of the Apple Watch that I was thoroughly impressed with involves receiving notifications. When you receive something such as a text message or an email, the Apple Watch will emit a small tap on your wrist to let you know that a notification has come through to your device. All you have to do to read it is simply raise your wrist. I was able to test this very process and enjoyed it immensely. Furthermore, I was also able to continue looking at the Apple Watch’s screen, which made it display full information and allowed me to respond to the notification, even going so far as to suggest various replies. Even more impressive is the fact that the device is able to recommend suggestions for replies based on the type of message that you have received. Another Apple Watch feature that I was impressed with is referred to as “Glances,” which allows you to organize a customized set of “cards” with information that you find to be the most important. This can include anything from weather to health to even traffic reports in your general area. However, I noticed right away that the biggest negative about this feature is that you cannot obtain updated information right away, which can lead to some obvious and understandable frustration.
As previously stated, you can use the Apple Watch to make notes of any important appointments that you may have coming up on the device’s calendar. Once you finalize an appointment, you will receive a reminder exactly 15 minutes before the event is scheduled to take place. In addition, the “Utility” clock face of the Apple Watch enables you to set up information regarding your next important appointment during the day, which is great for someone like me who’s always either extremely busy or, at times, really disorganized depending on how the day is going.
One of the biggest aspects of the Apple Watch that really impressed me was the span of battery life, meaning I could actually stop taking the time to constantly recharge a specific electronic device every single day. Officially, according to Apple, battery life is approximately 18 hours before going into power saving mode, though I have found that it can last longer depending on how often you use the Apple Watch within a single day. When I first purchased my Apple Watch, I was constantly using it over the span of about 24 hours, mainly because I was enjoying being able to check out everything that it had to offer. After that, however, I always found that it had about 40%-60% of battery life remaining by the time the nighttime hours creeped up. While I find myself needing to plug the Apple Watch into the charger before I go to bed at night, I am still thoroughly impressed at how much battery life it has altogether. Typically, the Apple Watch takes about two and a half hours to fully recharge itself. Furthermore, when you use applications on the device, you may also see a slight hit to your iPhone’s battery life (approximately 10% if you own one). Since the Apple Watch uses Bluetooth 4.0 settings that are very low, this means that your iPhone will still not see much of a power drain.
Messages and Calls
As I mentioned before, with the Apple Watch, you have the option of receiving a notification whenever you receive a message or a phone call from one of your contacts. You are also able to use the device to respond to these notifications, such as utilizing Siri to send a text message and even calling one of your contacts from the Apple Watch itself. Even better, if the recipient has an Apple Watch as well, you can also send a friendly little tap their way to let them know that you received their message. Another useful feature involving this is the ability to send messages from a predetermined list (i.e. “I’m on my way”) rather than having to take the time to come up with a more custom one yourself. Perhaps the biggest issue with the phone feature of the Apple Watch is not being able to hear the other person very well at all whenever you call them. However, when I called a friend of mine using the Apple Watch, they stated that they were completely unaware that I was actually using the device because of how well they could hear me.
You’ve probably noticed by now that I tend to mention the Apple Watch’s Health App quite a bit. Apple considers this application to be one of the biggest features of the Apple Watch, especially for fitness buffs who always want to keep track of things such as calorie intake, steps, and heart rate.
Apple Pay has long been a feature that has been rather convenient for those who own iPhones, and now this feature is also available on the Apple Watch. Simply put, it is an alternative way to pay for items at various retailers provided their cash register possess the terminals necessary for Apply Pay to be used.
What I don’t like
Even though the Apple Watch certainly has its positives, I also noticed a few negatives about the device as well. For instance, as previously mentioned, one of the biggest downsides I noticed right away, at least with a few of the applications, is that some of the applications experience a slight delay when they are first launched; however, there are some that experience no delay at all.
Kind of a bit of a trivia
Despite what I had previously thought, the Apple Watch is actually incredibly accurate to the point where it utilizes what is known as “Coordinated Universal Time.” This means that every single Apple Watch is in sync with one another within 1/1000th of a second.
All in all, I found the Apple Watch to be an extremely useful device, and I like how it compliments the iPhone rather than flat-out replacing it. As I said before, I really like the Apple Watch and all of the features, especially since it contains a lot of the same features as the iPhone, meaning that when I’m out and about, all I have to do is look at my watch instead of working to fish out my iPhone.