It’s been over a month now since the Apple Watch release and I was one of the fortunate to get my hands on one in April. That might have been a good time to write this review but I felt I was just learning and wouldn't be able to provide a comprehensive review. Now with over a month of use I think whatever opinion I have formed is pretty definitive at this point. If I hated it, it can’t get much worse but could potentially get better and if I loved it well that love would just dissipate after the honeymoon phase as love tends to do. Unlike more reviews I've seen I am not just going to provide you with a list of the watches features but try to give in more detail how I use them in my day to day.
Let’s get price out the way. Everyone seems to have something negative to say about the price point for the Apple Watch which starts from $350 and go waaaaaay up over $10,000 (I feel Bleesed.) Apple is not a new company, at this point we are all familiar with the fact that for most Apple products they're more affordable options. Are you shocked when BMW comes out with a $110,00 car at its base options? Nope, are you shocked when Kia comes out with a $65,000 car…yes! Yes I was and I’d be shocked to see anyone driving one, but that’s a different article. The bottomline is if you have an iPhone and can afford to spend on average $500 then at this point there really are no better options. People say but all it does is this and that for $500 that’s crazy well I’d argue that $100 for a G-shock is a lot and all it does is tell time or a $2,000 Movado for that matter.
So now that I have spent (uh hem) do I like it? In short yes.
First I love how the watch looks. I think Apple is one of few companies where you don't look like a geek when using their products. And the Apple watch fits that mold. A lot of the other smart watch offerings just look like you have a tech device on your wrist. I like how I can wear it with a suit and or basketball shorts. Now I may have gone a bit to far with it but hey I like the options of customization.
The watch is really really convenient. When I have just my phone i’ve been notorious for missing phone calls and text messages. Partly because I’m rarely near my phone, or didn't feel the vibration or just ignoring the notifications. The watch takes care of my first two problems and gives me much better insight, allowing me to ignore just the people I don't deem special at that moment. Just by flicking my wrist I can see who the text is from and turn away or wait another .5 seconds and see the message, again determine if this needs immediate response or just lower my wrist. This same interaction with just my phone took more commitment and would make me ignore the world around me rather than the phone itself.
Apple Pay is great! There really is no faster way to do a transaction. Double tapping the side button and you're on your way. When I used Apple Pay the iPhone it kind of was a novelty I’d recognize I’m at a merchant that supported it and would remember hey there’s that cool thing I could do here and dig in my pocket which is also right next to my wallet. So really how much time was I saving. With the watch it happens so quickly I am really disappointed when a merchant doesn’t support Apple Pay now. Please people get on board!
Phone calls on the wrist I must say is just cool. By cool I mean its nice but I could live without it and basically I have after the first week. The first week I was taking calls on the watch any chance I got, and the chances were only available when there was silence because with basically any significant background noise you can’t hear the caller. However sound quality is good because most people couldn't even tell I was talking to them from my watch. This does bring me to my first complaint though. I went out and bought a BlueTooth headphone because that’s the only way you can currently listen to music stored on the watch. I was shocked to find that if I have my headphones on and a call came in I was not able to use the headphones if I accepted the call from my watch. That’s just a big misstep that I hope is rectified in a future update. It seems very possible that if I’m walking around listening to music already on my headphones how convenient would it be just to take a call from the wrist and not have to worry about privacy of a speaker. Now I either answer the call on the wrist, then use handoff to my iPhone, then select the BlueTooth headset. That’s very cumbersome in a normally more congruent ecosystem.
Speaking of that congruency in most other features the flow through the ecosystem works like a charm. The watch really feels like a companion or an extension from my iPhone. For instance listening to music skipping tracks, changing volume, seeing the track title is a much better experience when using the watch. Even on Pandora I can give songs the thumbs up or down right from my wrist (Waiting for you Spotify). Or dictate a quick note using Evernote as soon as the thought pops in my head. I couldn’t tell you how many more burrito’s I’ve ordered just because Chipotle is on my wrist with a cool countdown on when to pick it up. OMG and Über being a black comic in NYC Über has saved my life. I’m sure we have all heard catching a cab is not the most efficient process for people of color in this city. But with Über on my wrist coupled with the calendar the watch reminds of my next appointment, including the travel time and right from that alert I just open Über and a black car is on the way. I damn near can be walking off stage at Broadway Comedy Club (times sq) comedy club call Über with the touch of a button, say a few goodbyes and get the alert the car is outside and be on my way to The Stand for my next spot of the night (east side.) Even maps to me is a much better experience with the watch. Admittedly again I never used maps I just stuck with Google as my navigator of choice but the watch allows me to put my phone away and walk around like I actually know where I'm going sending me vibrations to designate when I should turn left or right.
One of the greatest features to me that rarely get reviewed is the calendar. We all lead busy lives and mine consists of meetings or auditions all day and then gigs at night basically running all over NYC. With the Apple watch I've never been more on top of my day being able to see the time and my next appointment with just a glance at my wrist has literally changed my life. There really is a big difference from having to remember to check your phone because you remembered you might have a meeting today versus being reminded you have a meeting because you glanced at the time.
Just to answer the no1 question people ask is about the battery life. I think it's great! Sure getting a week out of it without needing to charge would be great but I’m a person who is literally burning both ends of the candle doing my Tech job during the day and then telling jokes at night and I have never had the watch die on me in a 24 hr window of use. I typically could get more than a day and a half and purposely didn't charge it to see how far it would go and it died about 7pm the next day. That’s pretty solid battery life and I’m a heavy user. I don't ever wear my watches to sleep so charging every night isn't a hassle to me.
Sure the watch isn't perfect as I stated before they're some missteps. I think Notifications and Glances should be accessible from any point in use, rather than just the “home” clock face. Third party apps can be slow ( but Apple is already trying to rectify that for the fall). For the most part it’s not like something they claimed, doesn't work, everything functions as described. However smart watches are a solution to a problem you never knew you had, with that comes problems to a solution you never knew you had and I think the problem is having to use your other hand for your watch. I use Siri as often as possible to call up apps, to reply to texts and the one thing that annoys me every single day is that if I get a text I can reply to the text but I have to use my other had to press send. Why can't I tell Siri to send it? Even if its some code word like “OVER”
Has the Apple Watch changed my life? Sure slightly. I think its a good first start product and I’m excited to see where Apple and developers take this thing. I would say it’s definitely worth $400 if you don’t have any other obligations because it really isn't a need product. It’s definitely not a money saver but it is a time saver.