Apple Watch – Review

7 minute read

Introduction

Apple’s brand new product is here, Apple Watch. It’s their brand new product since the introduction of the iPad in 2010. Apple Watch comes in three types; Apple Watch Sport, Apple Watch and Apple Watch Edition. There are two watch face sizes to choose from; 38mm and 42mm.

Prices range from £299 all the way up to £13,500, yes, that’s right, I didn’t mistype, £13,500! To start this review off I will go through the three types below explaining the differences.

Apple Watch Sport

We’ll start with Apple Watch Sport. Prices range from £299 £259 to £339 £299. There is one key difference between Apple Watch Sport and the other two types; Apple Watch and Apple Watch Edition. The Apple Watch Sport has a Ion-X glass display while the Apple Watch and Apple Watch Edition have sapphire crystal displays which are much more difficult to scratch, higher quality and a lot more expensive to produce.

The Apple Watch Sport has an anodised aluminium case which come in silver, space grey, rose gold and gold. The Apple Watch Sport comes in a long narrow box. The magnetic charger included is also plastic.

Apple Watch

Next, Apple Watch. Prices range from £479 to £949. Apple Watch, as I mentioned above has a sapphire crystal display. They come in a stainless steel case which come in silver and black. The Apple Watch also comes in more strap choices than the Apple Watch Sport. As you are paying more compared to Apple Watch Sport, Apple Watch comes in a bigger box and the charger included is metal instead of plastic.

Apple Watch Edition

Finally, Apple Watch Edition. Prices range from £8,000 to £13,500. Apple Watch Edition also has a sapphire crystal display. They come in a case which feature in rose gold and yellow gold. Some of the straps included on these are exclusive to Apple Watch Edition and cannot be purchased separately.

As you are paying a lot more than Apple Watch, Apple Watch Edition comes in the same shaped box as Apple Watch but can also be used as a dock for charging as there is a charging port on the back of the box.

Hardware

The Digital Crown is a big part of Apple Watch. You can use it to scroll but it can also take you to the Home screen if pressed in once, take you back to the previous app you were using if pressed in twice and can active Siri if the button is held in for a couple of seconds. The Digital Crown is very smooth and for a mechanical part, feels fantastic.

Apple have also introduced Force Touch which is also available on the new MacBook. Force Touch allows you to complete certain commands by applying pressure to the screen. For example, if I wanted to change the kind of watch face I was using, I’d apply a little bit of pressure (as opposed to simply tapping) to the screen and this would allow me to change and customise the watch face.

Next is the haptic feedback. The first time I got a notification the watch “tapped” me on the wrist and at first, I’ll admit, it did feel strange. It’s incredibly realistic. In the Settings app you can activate Prominent Haptic which will “tap” you just before a notification is inbound as well as tapping you when the actual notification arrives.

Finally, battery life. The biggie, it was what everyone was talking about before Apple Watch was released. For me, it’s exceeded expectations by far. I’ll charge it overnight (Apple Watch only needs two and a half hours to complete a full charge) and by around 2200 the same day the battery will be around 40-50%.

On the back of the watch is where you apply the charger. Similar to the MagSafe charger used with the MacBook Pro and MacBook Air, the charger is magnetic. You simply apply the circular charger to the back of the watch where the sensors are located. The charger doesn’t feel very secure, not as secure as the MagSafe charger but I have had no problems with charging Apple Watch.

Something I must mention is that if Apple Watch is removed from skin contact, it’ll lock itself. This is a security feature added by Apple. To use the watch again, a passcode must be entered. You go through all this when first setting up Apple Watch. Enabling a passcode is strongly recommended.

Software

For a brand new product the software is good, just good. The only issue are third-party apps. They can take a while to load and in some instances, don’t load at all. This is because apps on Apple Watch aren’t actually running on the watch, they are running on iPhone and are being transferred to the watch. The Apple Watch has 512MB of RAM and Apple’s own software runs fine with no issues. At times, it may lag which is hard to ignore but a software update can fix this.

You can customise the watch face to your liking. There are multiple watch faces and you can add tidbits such as battery life, weather, activity progress, moon phase, sunrise and sunset time, stocks, alarms, timers and world clock. I have the Modular watch face and have battery life, calendar, sunrise and sunset time and weather as my tidbits. The Modular watch face is digital but you can go for the classic watch face look as well.

Apple Watch includes Glances. When on the watch face screen you can swipe up to reveal glances of applications. By default, the first Glance shows you if you’re connected to your iPhone, allows you to enable Airplane Mode, Do Not Disturb and Silent Mode as well as the ability to ping your iPhone if you have misplaced it. The next Glance simply shows the remaining battery life and also allows you to put the watch in Power Reserve mode. Apple Watch will automatically switch to Power Reserve mode if the battery is 10% or lower. This mode restricts full functionality of Apple Watch but allows it to keep running for up to 72 hours.

Other Glances include your activity progress for the day, the ability to monitor your heart rate, the ability to play music, view events from your Calendar and much more. Any third-party app you have installed will appear here as well but must be configured in the Settings.

Design

As I mentioned in the introduction, there are two sizes to choose from; 38mm and 42mm. I suggest you book an appointment at your local Apple Store for a try-on. They are smaller than you think. They do however look stunning and the quality is extremely high. I’ve got the Apple Watch Stainless Steel with Black Sport Band and it feels very comfortable, sometimes I forget it’s even on my wrist. It has a good weight to it. There are two physical buttons on Apple Watch, the Digital Crown and a side button.

I went for the Stainless Steel case in silver as I mentioned just a second ago and I don’t regret the decision at all. This watch will scratch, it will happen and there is nothing you can do about it no matter how careful you are with it. If you get light scratches you can buff them out with some polish and a cloth. If you turn the watch over you’ll see sensors which can monitor your heart rate. You’ll also find the buttons on the back which release the straps. The back of the watch looks as good as the front, Apple have left no stone unturned in terms of design. As a whole, it is magnificent.

Straps

With Apple Watch, the straps are interchangeable. On the back of the watch are release buttons which allow the straps to slide out. It’s an easy process and allows you to customise the watch to your liking. Unless stated otherwise, all straps are compatible with the 38mm Apple Watch and the 42mm Apple Watch.

On the 21st of March 2016, Apple introduced a brand new nylon strap, a Space Black Milanese Loop and added new colours to the existing lineup of straps already available.

There are seven types of straps you can buy separately. We’ll start with the cheapest and work our way up to the most expensive. Firstly, we have the Sport Band which come in 22 different colours and costs £39. The Sport Band is made from fluoroelastomer and is best used for exercising as it can absorb sweat. Also, if you get it dirty you can simply put in under a tap and it’ll wash out.

Next is the brand new strap Apple introduced called the Woven Nylon strap and also costs £39. These are durable nylon with a comfortable fabric-like feel and they come in seven vibrant colours.

Next is the Silver Milanese Loop which comes in a woven stainless steel mesh with an adjustable magnetic closure. Many people have praised this strap and have said that it feels fantastic on the skin. The Silver Milanese Loop costs £129. At the March event Apple introduced a Space Black Milanese Loop which costs £179.

Next, at the same price as the Silver Milanese Loop is the Classic Buckle. It’s made of calf leather with a stainless steel closure. It comes in nine colours.

The Leather Loop, also priced at £129 comes in six colours. The Leather Loop is made from quilted Venezia leather and like the Milanese Loop has an adjustable magnetic closure. This strap is only compatible with the 42mm Apple Watch.

The Modern Buckle, priced at a hefty £209 comes in seven colours. It’s made from smooth Granada leather with a two‑piece magnetic closure. This strap is only compatible with the 38mm Apple Watch.

Finally, the Link Bracelet, which is the most expensive strap. It’s crafted from 316L stainless steel alloy and has a custom butterfly closure. The Silver Link Bracelet will cost £379 while the Space Black Link Bracelet will cost £449. For £39 you can buy a Link Bracelet kit in either colour which contains six additional stainless steel links for wrists that exceed 205mm.

Conclusion

Something I must stress, and although it’s obvious, this is a watch. It is not a replacement for your iPhone, it’s a companion device. It’s a device that you’ll use for seconds at a time. People are expecting a lot more from a device that’s only been out for just over one week. I’ve heard some people complain that there is no built-in keyboard. If you expect a screen this small to include a keyboard, you’re crazy and Apple Watch is not for you.

I have been using it for a while now and it’s just a brilliant device. It looks stunning and the battery life, for me, has exceeded expectations. I’ve yet to play any games on it but I have used the majority of the built-in apps and I’ve encountered no issues.

It’s just great that everything comes through to my wrist now. I can reply to messages using Siri and call friends and family straight from the watch itself. The speakerphone is very good quality and there’s no need to hold the watch right up against your face. If you’re working at a desk for example, you can keep on typing and the other person at the other end will be able to hear you loud and clear.

Apple Watch might not be the first smartwatch on the market but it’s miles ahead of any other.