Leaving Analog For Digital: An Apple Watch Review

42mm Space Grey
Apple Watch Sport Review

Apple Watch Review and Experience-2

Specs:

  • Description: A watch that I thought I would hate, and had every intention to return within the two week grace period.
  • Model: 42mm Space Grey Aluminum Apple Watch Sport
  • Storage: 8GB
  • Alerts: Taptic Feedback Engine, speaker
  • Color Options: Various band colors, several watch colors, and two sizes.

Apple Watch Review and Experience-18Intro/About:

“Wow, that’s so dumb. Who would even buy that? Why would you want it?” – Me at the announcement of Apple Watch

Count me in as a super skeptic. I really didn’t think the Apple Watch was going to be useful, well made, or functional enough to be a part of my everyday essentials. The OS looked clunky, it lacked classic analog watch appeal, and I just plain didn’t like it. Then Apple announced Watch OS 2 – vastly improving the things that the watch can do. After seeing the watch show up more and more over on Everyday Carry submissions, and a pretty good sale going on, I made what I thought was going to be a purchase that I was going to return after only a few days. I’ll say it now, I was very wrong. The Apple Watch Sport has yet to leave my wrist. My automatic watches are laying dormant, and my quartz powered watches are running their batteries down for no reason. Read on to see my experience with the Apple Watch and why it’s hard to leave the house without it.  Believe it or not, I bought the Apple Watch to cut down the amount of time that I was on my phone. More on that later…

Apple Watch Review and Experience-8Design & Packaging:

The Apple Watch Sport comes in a long, white, hefty box with super tight tolerances. Apple products typically come packaged nicely, and this one is no exception. Included in the box is the watch, a small/medium strap and a large/extra large strap, and the wireless magnetic charging puck. It’s an impressive package that I made sure to keep in good shape for when I [thought I was going to] return the watch. Upon wearing the watch for the first time, I was really happy with how comfortable it is. The silicone rubber is soft, flexible, and keeps the watch securely on my wrist.

Apple Watch Review and Experience-1When the watch is in sleep mode, there isn’t much to look at. It’s a black band, with a black, lifeless glass surfaceAll of this changes when you raise your wrist. The watch face of your choosing springs to life, displaying a ton of at-a-glance information in a clean, precise way. The subtle curves of the case are elegant, and the “digital crown” is nicely textured and is easily spun to navigate the OS. There’s a larger button underneath it that brings up your favorite contacts with a single push, and Apple Pay with a double push. The underside of the watch features a heart rate monitor and some nicely engraved specs, reminiscent of case backs seen on analog watches. Also on the underside of the watch are two oval buttons for swapping out straps. This method is by far much easier than fumbling with spring bars and watch tools. I  didn’t love the way the watch looked at first, but it has grown on me quite a bit in the ~6 months I’ve been wearing it. I definitely like the way it looks when compared to the sole-purpose fitness trackers on the market, as I intended on using it for that as well.

Apple Watch Review and Experience-13Feel / Wearability:

The Apple Watch is lightweight and comfortable to wear. The silicone band is flexible and slightly contoured, comfortable in many situations. I’ve found it especially uncomfortable to wear a traditional watch/band, as they just aren’t as comfortable as the Apple Watch. When wearing the Apple Watch one day and my Seiko Diver the next, the Seiko is fairly apparent on my wrist. I like the way the watch looks, but sometimes it’s a bit too dark. The watch is definitely a black blob, and can throw off an outfit. I’ve found myself wearing my Orient Bambino in dressier situations, as it just looks nicer and more professional than the Apple Watch.

Apple Watch Review and Experience-5As expected, the Apple Watch is very well made. The tolerances are tight, the button has a satisfying click, the crown is buttery smooth, and the display is nice looking. Apple products are some of the most well-made out there and the Watch is no exception. Over the course of wearing it, there’s really only one minor scratch from slamming it into something – not bad for everyday use over a 6+ month period. The mineral glass screen remains scratch-free, and the rubber band hasn’t worn down or stretched out. The hard part about wearable technology is making something that is durable enough for hard use, while remaining technically up to date. I’m impressed with the durability and wearability of the Apple Watch, it’s definitely built to last.

Apple Watch Review and Experience-17Analog Vs. Digital:

Analog watches have a lot of charm and history. They’ve been around for a long, long time, and they’ve always been a pretty direct representation of the latest technology at the time. For the most part, their main function is to tell time. Lots have a day/date feature as well, but that’s where their functionality kind of stops. I appreciate a good analog watch, but since wearing the Apple Watch, I’ve found that I both appreciate and rely on the information shown on the screen at a glance. Everything from the time, weather, sunrise/sunset, activity tracker, and day/date can be seen on a single watch face with the raise of a wrist. In addition to the always-present information shown on the face, an unintrusive, yet functional “tap-tap” on the wrist shows incoming notifications. When purchasing the watch my main goal was to stay off of my phone, and it definitely has helped.

Apple Watch Review and Experience-10How does strapping a small screen to your watch help you stay off your phone? The at-a-glance notifications let me determine quickly whether a notification needs addressing or not. Since most of the notifications come through on my phone show up on the watch, I’ve also cut down the amount of notifications that come through in the first place. In the past, when a useless notification comes through, I still pull my phone out to check it. This often results in 10 minutes of surfing through apps, and just wasting time. I’ve found that the easiest way to avoid this is to not have my phone out in the first place, and the Apple Watch allows me to do that.

Apple Watch Review and Experience-7Pros:

  • Solid construction
  • Very comfortable
  • At-a-glance information is useful
  • More durable than I thought it would be
  • Keeps me off my phone

Cons:

  • Third-party apps are terrible
  • Battery life could be better, but it does last an entire day

Apple Watch Review and Experience-4Conclusion:

The Apple Watch has changed from “I really shouldn’t buy this, because it’s getting returned” to “I have a hard time without this”. I was against it at first, but the Apple Watch has proven to be both very useful and very functional. I definitely recommend it to anyone who’s looking to track their fitness while staying off their phone. In the few days I haven’t worn the watch, I’ve found myself checking my wrist for the weather or for notifications, even though it’s not there. It’s not for everyone, so make sure that the place you get one from does have a decent return policy. Would I ever replace analog writing with a digital tool? Probably not, but I’m definitely more open to it considering how well my experience with the Apple Watch is going. Thanks for reading!

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3 thoughts on “Leaving Analog For Digital: An Apple Watch Review

    1. I like the reminders to get up every hour, and the activity monitor is easy to read. I used it for indoor cycling and some treadmill running. The heart rate monitor is nice and accurate, but it does drain the battery pretty quickly if you’re working out a lot. Outdoor running was OK at best, there are much better watches for that like the TOMTOM GPS watch. I think to be fully standalone, you really need GPS to accurately track an outdoor run.

  1. i’m a watch guy, and own a variety of gshocks, seikos, and an omega. I have the moto360, original pebble, and applewatch. IMO, the applewatch is the best smartwatch to date- however, is not good enough as a everyday watch.
    Currently it is in my watch rotation maybe twice a week at the most, because i find the watch-themes totally lacking when compared to the moto360. But, with my usage- the applewatch kills the moto360 in battery life. Apple watch gives me over a day in battery which is all I ask, because i recharge all my devices nightly.
    In a way, I’m glad the applewatch isnt perfect… otherwise my speedmaster would be extremely jealous 🙂

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