[nextpage title=”Introduction” ]
Apple has finally entered the wearables game. Ladies and gentleman I present to you the Apple Watch. The best smartwatch for the iPhone.
We’re still trying to work out whether we actually need a wearable in our life. A wearable above all should be an extension of your smartphone device, helping you to look at your smartphone less. It should also be exquisite in the looks department, being on display all the time you would expect no less.
Truly defining wearables have only been around for a couple of years, Apple has only joined the wearables market last year. We’ve seen smartwatches from the likes of Samsung, Huawei and LG amongst a few. Although fine smartwatches, they failed to to justify purchasing a smartwatch. Can Apple do just that given their reputation to innovate and amaze? Let’s find out.
OS Watch OS 2
Number of Sensors 4
Processor Apple S1
Resolution 340 x 272 pixels
Connectivity Wi-Fi, Bluetooth
Dimensions 38.6 x 33.3 x 10.5 mm
Battery 250 mAh
[nextpage title=”Design and Screen” ]
The Apple Watch is distinctly Apple; their designers have done it again in making a device that looks unique to the Apple brand. The chamfered edges and metal frame seen on the iPhone 6s make an appearance to give it that ‘Apple’ look. Apple retained the iPhone square frame and compressed it with the Apple Watch. Not pleasing on the eye as the classic round shape seen on the Gear S2 and Huawei Watch.
Physical buttons run down the right side of it, adding to the mentioned ‘Apple’ look with a smooth curved tactile power button, and a digital crown that doubles as a button.
There are three versions of the Apple Watch: Apple Watch, Apple Watch: Sport and Apple Watch: Edition. The difference between the three is the material they’ve been constructed with and strap material. All three come in two sizes; 38mm and 42mm.
The smaller 38mm is a bit on the small side, male or female it will look a bit dainty on your wrist. Punching in your passcode is quite troublesome due to the diminutive screen. If you’re Tarzan instead of Jane definitely go for the 42mm.
Straps are interchangeable with Apple offering a wide range if you don’t like the one included in the box. There is a locking mechanism for the straps, offering security and ease of use when changing out your strap. Apple of course offers a range of straps if you’re unhappy with the plain silicone one that comes with it.
Even though it’s not aesthetically pleasing, the silicone band is extremely comfortable, more so than the leather strap of the Samsung Gear S2. Contributing to the comfort is the lightweight 55g frame; at times we forgot we were wearing the device until notifications were buzzing away.
[nextpage title=”Performance and Software” ]
Smartwatches are still in their infancy, when Apple came into the market the public were expecting a smartphone killer, and the next innovation in communication. Maybe in a few years we could expect that but for now, smartwatches are just an extension of your smartphone, a convenience, not a necessity like a smartphone.
A burning question for Apple to answer is whether Steve Jobs would have released the Apple Watch in its current state? We think not.
The Apple Watch like all other smartwatches, is just a notification device that tells the time (with the difference that it only works on iOS devices). Which it does very well with the haptic feedback giving you a comfortable nudge when a message comes through.
In regards to responsiveness the Apple Watch unsurprisingly is most suited for an iPhone (shock horror), as Android Wear devices push through notifications a second later on our iOS devices.
The gyroscope is extremely reactive, with a turn of the wrist the display immediately turns on. Returning your arm into it’s natural position turns the display off as quick, although if you’re really paranoid about battery life you can turn it off with a simple palm tap.
Speaking of battery life, those who are used to ‘proper’ watches will be disappointed with how long smartwatches actually last. The Apple Watch is no different with a battery life that would last you a whole day with normal use, for us it lasted over 17 hours. We lost an hour and a half the next day once the heart rate monitor was switched on. Charging at any opportunity is a wise choice, the battery percentage dropping into the teens is a common sight at the end of the day.
Carrying on with the mantra on how a smartwatch is just an extension of your smartphone, apps are not standalone, they’re counterparts to the apps on your smartphone. Unfortunately this means a very slow and laggy experience when trying to use non-Apple native apps.
Our favourite app to use, despite the lag, was Shazam. With a few moves we were identifying songs on the fly, but it doesn’t actually use the built-in mic, instead it uses the iPhone. So those timed fist pumps towards the speakers were half in vain.
Watch OS 2 speeds up performance as well as providing native apps to play around with. Facebook Messenger has been included in this upgrade, allowing you to send voice notes via the built-in mic. Apple Pay has also been included in the Watch OS experience and it really does make life easier.
With a simple double press of the power button you can easily pay for a Big Mac. Not many stores support Apple Pay, but with many popular chains already onboard you can expect more to line up for it.
[nextpage title=”Conclusion” ]
The Apple Watch is the undisputed choice for owners of an iPhone. The price tag is the same as the competition but you’ll be getting an optimised experience with Watch OS 2. It does the job of enabling you to not have to access your smartphone so frequently, which is the main point of a smartwatch.
But really it’s a small convenience, we were quite happy to just check our smartphones for notifications anyway. However the Apple Watch is one of the best smartwatches out there, we can expect Apple to continue being one of the forerunners in the wearables market, with future iterations.
Points to improve: the battery life and transfer more native apps please. More importantly we want a unique feature that would make us run out and buy it. Smartphones have proven to be a necessity with their ability to help us communicate more, be productive and aid inconveniences. Until then we wait for a real reason to buy a smartwatch, let alone an Apple Watch.
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