After a couple of weeks of hesitation, I finally got my Apple watch. I was hesitant because I wasn’t sure what value the watch would give me in addition to my iPhone that justifies a minimum $380 price tag. I was using Fitbit to track my activities and my phone for everything else. Plus, I hadn’t wore a watch for a long time because I didn’t like to carry something heavy on my wrist all the time. But I had to give Apple Watch a try! I bought a Sport 38mm version with Aluminum case which is the lightest model. I have been using the watch for a while now and it has grown on me.

Design

The physical design of the watch is pretty slick as you expect from any Apple product. The watch sits pretty nicely on your wrist and you forget that you are wearing a watch after a while.

38mm watch face is enough for me for the stuff that I’m doing with the watch. One thing I really liked about the watch was how the passcode is implemented. You can turn on the passcode but it activates only when you take the watch off your wrist. So you don’t have enter passcode every time want to use the watch as long as you are wearing it. When you take off the watch and wear it again, you need to enter the passcode once and that’s it. If the watch is not on your wrist, you need to enter the passcode every time you want to go beyond the watch face which is a clever design for security purposes. There are some clever design decisions on the watch faces too. For example, I use Simple watch face that shows me the time and the date, temperature, the time of my next meeting, summary of my activities, and the world clock. This is a lot of great information at one glance and you can click on any area to be taken to app like activity. Showing the time of the next meeting is particularly helpful. Apple should add this feature to iPhone lock screen. You can customize what you want to see in each slot and there are a variety of options such as timer, stop watch, battery life, alarm etc.

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Apple also used swipe up and down in a nice way, swiping down takes you to glances, a variety of card-like pages to see things like remaining battery life, next item in the calendar, activity information, music control and more. Swiping up takes you to notifications in the order that they are received.

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Battery was a concern for me at the beginning, especially when I ran out of battery the first day. I have to admit that I over-used the watch the first day testing different features; however, after that, I’ve never run out of battery doing normal activity on the watch. I usually have 20% battery left after 16-17 hours use every day. Having said that you should watch the battery life and don’t use the phone for unnecessary tasks.

Application

Apple Watch offers a lot of functionality but to me the most important ones are health and activity monitoring, notifications and reminders, and doing simple quick tasks like paying by Apple Pay.

Having used both Fitbit Flex and Apple Watch, I think Apple Watch does far superior job in tracking your activities. Apple Watch can track your steps, active calorie burnt, distance, minute active, climbing time, etc. It captures more accurate information for things like calorie burnt since it has more sensors. Also, one big advantge of Apple Watch compared to Fitbit is that your activity information is readily available to you as soon as you look at your watch. For Fitbit, I had to take out my phone, unlock it, run FitBit app, wait for it to sync to see my activity information. If you track your activity often during the day, Apple Watch is a much better and more accurate companion. Plus it reminds to take actions like standing up to be on track with your activity goals. Fitbit has models like Surge that have heart rate monitor and a display which make them comparable to Apple Watch in regards to activity monitoring but Surge is $250! For $100 more you can get an Apple Watch which does a lot more than Fitbit.

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I really liked the notification and specifically calendar reminders on the watch. Apple Watch has Taptic engine that produces haptic feedback. Thanks to this technology, notifications and reminders grab your attention by producing a discreet and nuanced sense on your wrist that feel like a gentle tap. This is perhaps the most un-intrusive way to grab one’s attention. I always put my phone on silence at work so I miss notifications on the phone because phone is not in my view site all the time. Apple Watch has solved this issue for me. Since I got the watch, I haven’t missed a single meeting reminder or notification. Having this great feature on your wrist, you need to be even more careful with what notifications you set to get on the watch. You just want to get buzzed for the most important things and not every minute for silly things. Finally, I’ve found Apple Watch very useful for quick and short tasks like paying with Apple Pay or shazaming a song. It’s very easy and quick to accomplish these task. For example, for paying with Apple Watch, you just need to double click the side button and hold the watch near the reader to pay. When the payment goes through, you get a gentle buzz on your wrist for confirmation. You don’t even need to have your iPhone with you!

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Other things I found useful are Siri and music control on Apple Watch. Now with Siri and Apple music you can say the name of any song and it plays for you! Siri is also useful to reply to text messages. Another useful function is turn-by-turn navigation on the watch. This is specifically handy for bikers and walkers who can’t easily see the phone screen when they want to use navigation. There are some apps on the Watch and that I didn’t find particularly useful. Apps like photos, camera, email, and stocks are nice to have but not very useful. Also, it take a noticiable time to fetch emails and stock information on the watch and it sucks up battery.

In summary, you can live without the watch but would it improve your life? Definitley. I’ve found Apple Watch useful for me. It has improved my day to day life in a very positive way. The price is a little steep but if you want to have a nice watch and get the extra benefits for activity and health tracking and be more on top of your life, the Apple watch is for you. And this is just the beginning, more and more app developers will come with great ideas to use the watch.