Posted by: Vala Shahabi | July 2, 2015

The Apple Watch Review – By a Watch Guy

I’m a watch guy. I love watches. I started wearing a watch when I was 10 years old. Today I own about eight watches that I wear on a regular rotation depending on the occasion. I love the chronograph face with a stainless steel band. It’s an expensive habit, which is why some of my watches are authentic and some of them I picked up in Thailand and they look and feel very good. The first watch I remember buying was the Casio Knight Rider watch. I was obsessed with that show and wanted a cool watch I could talk to. Fast-forward 25 years and this has become a reality.

Overall I’m very impressed with the Apple watch. For a first generation product I think they have nailed it. I went with the 42mm black sport watch because I hated all the stainless steel bands they were offering. My plan is to find a black metallic band that matches the watch. I also didn’t want to spend over $400 on a first gen product that will be obsolete within a year.

Here is my take on the watch:

-Comfort – the black sport band is very comfortable and light. I’m used to wearing heavy big face watches so this almost feels like I’m not wearing anything.

-Screen size – I think the 42mm is adequate for displaying information. I have big fingers so sometimes I miss the small icons on the home screen.

-Watch face – they have an assortment of faces that you can pick and customize which was pretty simple to do. Naturally, I went with the chronograph look with temperature, timer, battery life, and daily exercise tracker displayed at each corner.

-Battery life – At the end of my day I usually have about 50% battery life left. I suppose this could last almost 2 full days. Ideally I wish it could last 3-4 days so one wouldn’t have to worry about packing a charger on a weekend getaway.

-Messages – this is probably the single reason I bought this watch and I’ve already taken advantage of it several times. You’re sitting in a long meeting with a customer and you have stored your phone away out of respect and to prevent distractions. All the sudden you get a little buzz on your wrist. With a quick glance at my wrist I can see who just texted me and if I want to reply I can quickly respond with a yes, no, or other predefined answer. If you don’t like one of the predefined messages you can speak into the watch and the voice-to-text has gotten really good. The watch will give you the option to send it as an audio message or text. Sending heartbeats and drawing stuff isn’t that interesting. You’re also limited to the people in your favorites list. I tried to add more people to my favorites list but they wouldn’t show up on my watch, probably a bug.

-Calls – this may also be the second best feature of the watch. Not for taking a call on your wrist because that is stupid but for knowing who is calling you. Again, you’re sitting in a meeting and you hear your phone vibrating. Everyone in the room hears your phone vibrating. A quick glance at your watch will show you who and give you the ability to end the call. If that person continues to call you it will go direct to voicemail and there will be no further disturbance. Taking a call on your watch will only work if it’s going to be a short call and there is no background noise. It gets very tiring holding your wrist to your ear and mouth.

-Siri – As I mentioned the talk-to-text is very good so Siri can understand you pretty well. It’s pretty helpful to ask “where is…” and “what is…” questions. Overall i’m pretty impressed and as you can see below Siri still has her sense of humor!

siri

-Activity tracker – This allows you to set your own personal goals based on calories, exercise, and amount of standing per day. I don’t think the calories and exercise is that accurate but the stand feature is pretty cool. While I write this piece on a four hour flight to Chicago I’ve been reminded several times to stand up for a while. This is key during those super busy days at work.

-Apple Pay – this is really cool. I can buy stuff with my watch and this doesn’t require my phone to be on me.

-Maps – not impressed with this at all. One it’s Apple Maps which inherently sucks but it’s also very slow to load and get going. I did use it often in Chicago to figure out where I’m going and it was pretty good although sometimes you can’t figure out which direction you need to start walking in.

-Other apps – I’m not a big app guy so I haven’t played around with that many apps yet. So far I like the Shazam app cause you can’t quickly figure out what song is playing or movie you’re watching without reaching for your phone. I also like the yelp app to quickly find a place to eat or drink

There are rumors that the next Apple Watch will feature a camera for Facetime. I can see that being a pretty cool “the future is here” moment. Overall what I love the most about the watch is that I feel free from my phone. Even though I need the phone for a lot of these features to work, in my tiny condo I can leave my phone on a desk and roam around the house without being worried if I’m going to miss a call or a message.

The smartphone had a huge impact to the PC market. I believe the smartwatch will shake things up in the watch market. As the smartwatch becomes more feature rich and essential to health functions, I think the watch market is going to take a major hit. Those who wear expensive watches today may own several different kinds. With the smartwatch being your daily watch, the watch you wear 95% of the time, will people buy more than one expensive watch?

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