A friend from London brought me an Watch 12 days ago. I’ve been using it since day one and I have to admit I like it more than I expected.
I’m not gonna do a full review of the device, but rather I’d like to comment on some details that surprised me.
It’s been a while since I last wore a watch and I was afraid it would be too big for me. So I’m using the 38mm sport model (the smallest one) with a blue band.
Truth to be said, it looks way smaller than I thought! In the pictures it looks really thick, but the rounded borders makes it look really thinner on the wrist.
I was also worried about the rubber band, which seemed cheap on the photos. What a big surprise! It has a very soft texture and it feels great even when it’s a hot day or when doing exercise.
The first days I wore it tight, thinking the heart monitoring sensors would work better. Later I realized you can wear it a bit loose and it still works fine.
The only flaw on the design is the huge space between the glass and the display. It reminds me to an older iPhone. Anyway, it’s a small issue. I’m sure Apple is preparing a thinner design for the next iteration.
Interface and Usability
Although the watch runs a special version of iOS, the interaction has little to do with the iPhone.
First thing you notice is it’s designed for quick actions. The few times I used it for more than one minute my arm complained.
It’s pretty fast, and everything works great… as expected from Apple :).
Scrolling with the digital crown is fast and precise, and I really like the vibration feedback when you reach the end of the scroll.
Also, I like how the Force Touch makes sense here. It’s the quickest way to display extra options in a small screen. I cannot wait to see this on the iPhone :).
I use the main screen most of the time. From there you can:
- Check the time (action by default)
- Swipe down for notifications
- Swipe up for glances (weather, heart monitor, activity…)
You can use the digital crown as a Home button to display the app menu, but most of the time I get there is by mistake. So, no, I don’t use many apps.
You can also press the digital crown to speak with Siri. I have never used siri on the phone, but I use it a lot on the Watch. First, is faster than the phone (it’s already on your wrist); second, it works really great even in a noisy place. Only downside: You need a good internet connection, or Siri will take ages to process your voice.
There’s another button you can use to display a people menu. You can call and text your favourite contacts from there. Is nice, but It’s a bit useless for me: I don’t call people, I don’t use iMessage, and no one else has an Watch I can draw pennises to.
From that menu you can doodle things and send it to other Watch users. It’s funny, and makes sense as it’s the quickest way to communicate with someone from the watch. But I think it’s too specific for this device, so I don’t think we’ll see this feature in other devices.
Dependency on the phone
Right now, all third party apps runs on the phone. And you notice it because it takes some time for them to refresh.
By ’runs on the phone’, I mean:
- The app UI is installed on the watch.
- Every time you press a button the watch, it notifies the phone.
- Then, the phone decides what to do and updates the watch screen accordingly.
- You can see a loading wheel meanwhile.
Almost everything depends on the phone. ¡You need an iPhone to activate the Watch!
This is one of the greatest surprises I found.
I usually go to sleep with 50-60% of battery. I have to charge the watch every night but I’m not worried to run out of battery during the day.
Also, I haven’t noticed any change on the battery duration on the phone.
Another thing I love is the activity tracking app.
By default, the watch tracks how much you move, how much you exercise and how much you walk.
You set a daily goal of movement, and you review that goal every week.
If you move, walk and do exercise you are constantly cheered up by the watch.
If you sit for too long, the watch will ask you to move a bit.
It’s pretty silly, and not as disrupting as it sounds. Many times I’ve ignored the notifications and haven’t felt bad for being so lazy.
But then you can check how many activity you get on a regular day, and how many you get on a lazy day… And you realize there’s a big difference!
So it’s a good way to keep some control over yourself, understand how lazy you are, and start doing something about it.
You can choose what notifications you get on the watch from the phone.
I found WhatsApp and Telegram ones rather annoying. You cannot answer messages from them (you can on Slack and iMessage ones), so I end up checking the phone anyway.
Other notifications are fine, not as disturbing as the phone and easier to ignore.
You know when you feel a vibration on your leg, and you go check the phone on your pocket just to find there’s no new notifications, and the phone wasn’t even in your pocket.
I stopped having ghost notifications long ago, when I disabled vibration on my phone.
Now I’m having ghost vibrations on the wrist :).
Nose as finger
As I said before, notifications are easier to ignore on the wrist.
Well, one thing that helps here is the nose. I found myself dismissing notifications with the nose when I had my other hand busy, or I was too lazy to move it. Hehe.
Someone asked me: “Isn’t the watch too easy to steal with that band?”
Took a look, and yes, it’s really easy to steal an Watch.
Then the second question is… Why would you?
You need to enter a passcode every time you take it off and on.
Without the passcode, you can only check the time. No glances, no apps, no notifications, nothing. And of course, no re-pairing to a new phone.
The watch is tightly coupled to your phone and your passcode, so a stolen watch it’s rather useless.
I’m happier with the Apple Watch than I expected. I use it everyday, and I have the feeling it makes my life better.
I think the activity tracking is the best feature of all. No other device or app made me understand how many time I spend seated, motionless.
In general, I feel it’s a great device that has the potential to make everyone wear a watch again.
Update: Turns out a stolen watch can be erased, as commented here