I was in the lucky group who received the Apple Watch on launch date (24th April) and feel it’s the right time to post my initial thoughts on the product, how I’ve used it and some of my favourite apps so far etc...
I went for a try on so the device itself wasn’t so much of a surprise i.e. I knew the weight and general look and feel beforehand. The unboxing experience was as good as ever with an Apple product, this time though I felt there was as little more attention to the little things. For example the Sport model comes in a long plastic watch case, the inner lining is a nice soft felt with embossed writing and a nice cutout for the watch to sit nice and secure.
I am still surprised at how light the Sport model is, it's comfortable and I forget i’m wearing it already. I have used it whilst washing up (not braved it in the shower!) but in general use it’s been good and not gotten in the way.
The only thing I would point out is that like any rubberised strap it does collect some sweat and I took it off a few times in the day just to let it breathe a little. I am planning on getting the leather loop once they become available in store which I am hoping is better at preventing this sweat build up.
The screen is nice and clear (I’ve adjusted to the lowest brightness) and the raise to activate functionality works most of the time, remember you can tap on the screen to view the time if you don’t want to raise to view.
There are a good number and with the addition of complications it has everything I need on screen. After having a good play with them all I settled on the MODULAR one showing me battery life, date, calendar, temp and activity status ring.
I found that once I had stopped playing with my new gadget I settled into a routine of using it for
- Quick reply to messages
- Remote controlling podcasts via Overcast
- Checking my activity i.e. how far I’ve walked etc.
- Workouts; using the workout app to control my walking in terms of setting a distance and monitoring my progress
Has it stopped me from checking my phone so much, yes and no. I found that I was using it for checking messages and phone calls but I was still using my iPhone for my daily apps like Twitter and Reminders. As a screener for messages and phone calls it’s been perfect, it’s also helped me to remember things using Reminders. Move reminders are nice but not a must have, the overall activity monitoring is excellent. In summary, I won't be checking Instagram/Twitter regularly with it but will be using it for some extensions (Evernote, Calendar etc.), notifications and fitness tracking.
I am impressed with the stability of Watch OS given it’s a version 1.0 product. I haven’t had any points where it hangs, the only issues are with third party apps. There isn’t a massive amount of lag but have found data seems to be blank sometimes, I think this will just take developers time to get used to it given some of them haven’t even got the hardware yet.
The UI and button layout does take a few hours to get used to but now I'm on my third day of owning one it's becoming a lot more natural using it. The only area I still find myself a little confused is multitasking apps and returning to what I was last doing, this can be adjusted via settings.
My favourite apps so far
- Day one
- Dark Sky
My battery life has been good, the first all day test was yesterday. I charged at 10am, went out at 11am, used it for checking notifications, making a call, replying to around 10 messages, controlling a podcast via Overcast and general checking the time. I didn’t charge overnight, it’s 9:20am the following day and I’m at 24% battery left. I can easily use this in my day to day activity, with a caveat that I'm not using it for tracking too many workouts.
In terms of charging I started at 18% and it took 1.5 hours to get back to 100%.
Where can it improve?
I’m still early into my use but
- There are no native apps for Notes and Reminders; I would like to see a shopping list or have quick access to my notes
- The lag isn’t dramatic but some third party apps (Wunderlist) does tend to lose connection and I find I have to fire up the app on iOS to get it to work, kind of makes the watch redundant at that point
- Raise to activate works 80% of the time so more of a tweak than a bit change here
- Activity app widget for iOS; be great to have a quick view of activity in iOS Notification Centre
- Force touch is missing in some key apps e.g. in calendar on viewing an event I’d like to be able to force touch to bring up an action list for that calendar entry
It's going to take some more time to figure this new Apple product out i.e. in a few months am I still wearing it? That's the true test of this device, yes it's cool now but is it going to remain that way going forward. I'm confident in my current use and the benefits I am seeing from a health perspective that it is the right product for me but time will tell.
Would I recommend getting one, well if you are hooked into iOS then yes I would but for those with just an iPhone that aren't so hooked into the ecosystem then maybe wait to see what it can do. As with everything it's better to try before you buy so I'd recommend booking a try on and have a play with an in store model.