I did it, I drank the Kool-Aid and bought an Apple Watch. I ordered it on May 8th, and just a few days ago my doorbell rang with a special delivery from UPS. The apple Watch is here, four weeks earlier than I expected it. WooHoo! If only I had more time to play with it because in just 1 hour I have to join some other media friends for a tour of a brand new West Vancouver development in the British Properties. I have just enough time to turn it on, sync it to my phone and get to where I need to be. The Apple Watch promises to be a game-changer and a lifestyle changer, so it is worth the effort to set it up before I leave. My first 100 hours with my Apple Watch begins now, let’s see what it can do. Here is my Apple Watch review, what I like and what I don’t like about it.
Let’s start with what I like about the Apple Watch. The packaging is spectacular. No one sells and packages tech like Apple does. I feel like I’m opening a piece of art or jewellery up not a smart watch. A beautiful long white box with the watch laid out on top and the charge cables and documents hidden below. The first thing I want to do is put it on. It fits great.
The second thing I do is pair it with my phone. Inside the Apple Watch box are very easy to follow instructions. Turn on the watch, tap the Apple Watch App and begin the sync. It only takes a few minutes, and the only question I have to answer is whether I want to custom sync the Apps from my phone that have Apple Watch compatible Apps or select all. I choose select all.
The next step for me is to select Notifications from all the Apps that that are now downloaded. I made a decision years ago that technology was here to support me not rule me, so I don’t need every App I own to buzz me when something new happens. Text Messages, Twitter, and Email, these are the notifications I need and want to see on a daily basis. All the travel, games, dating Apps, etc… I can leave those notifications for my phone or until I need them. Instead, I only want and need to see what’s vital to me on my wrist. Since the first day, I’ve added my banking Apps to the list of must see.
Next up, I choose the watch face that works for me. Super easy to do, press and hold on the watch screen for the options to come up, swipe through them until you find one you like. I choose the face that gives me the date, time, my next calendar appointment, outside temperature, activity tracker and the world clock. Right now, I have the world clock set to EST but this will be a very useful tool for me when I travel. No matter where I will be, I can always know what time it is back home with just a glance.
All of that took me less than an hour. Big points for ease of set up. Apple Watch even comes with a complimentary setup appointment that you can book with an Apple Genius before the watch arrives. A guided set up the day your watch arrives is a nice perk for those that want the easy 1-2-3 process.
Over the next couple of days I put the Apple Watch through its paces. I don’t plan to anything different. I live my life as normal and wonder if the Apple Watch will have any impact at all, it does. The most notable effect it has on me right from the beginning is the Activity App. I’ve resisted all the other fitness bands before but this is integrated into the watch, so it is there regardless of whether I want it or not. Believe it or not it works. It doesn’t force me to exercise, but it does nudge me when I know I should move more, or stand up from my desk after an intense session of writing, or exercise that wee bit longer so I hit my goal of at least 30 minutes a day. In fact writing this piece I was reminded to stand up and stretch after sitting for an hour.
Here’s the summary of my morning activity so far. This is just from getting out of bed and getting my morning cup of coffee from Blenz.
One of the ways that I’ve been staying active is to go for a power walk each day. Coffee in hand, earphones plugged into the phone and my Spotify tunes blaring away. This daily walk on the Seawall from Yaletown to English Bay is one of my favourite things to do in Vancouver, BTW it is free. What does this have to do with the Apple Watch? My second favourite feature of the watch is the ability to manage my music from my wrist. It’s not a lot of work to pull out my phone and change songs while I walk, but it is a lot easy to lift my wrist, swipe up on the watch face and pause, play or skip to the next song. I use the pause function a lot as I tend to run into people I know during these walks.
I’ve only just discovered the use of the Banking Apps on the phone. Once you pre-approve and set it up so that you can access your bank account views from the watch, it makes checking your balance a breeze before you make any big purchase. Do I put it on my credit card or pay cash via debit? You can make that decision with just a glance and a swipe now.
I’ve saved my favourite Apple Watch feature for last, Messages. I love this feature. A beep and a buzz on the wrist tells me I’ve got a message. A quick look, a tap to reply and it is over. I’ve cut my message response time in half. The Apple Watch offers up commonly used phrases and responses that with a quick touch can be fired off or there is an audio option where you can speak into the watch and have it dictate/transcribe your response. I love it. It works great when you are in a place that is quiet, but I’ve had a few funny typos when I’m in a noisy room. You have the option to review before you hit send though so don’t stress out too much.
So that is what I do like about the Apple Watch. What I don’t like are these things:
- Price. At $600 at the end of the day I don’t know if the functionality it offers warrants the $ spend unless you love having the latest tech toys. My final verdict is still out though so check with me in another month or so.
- I’m not a big fan of the App Cloud that you have to go to when you want to activate one of the Apps. My fingers aren’t that fat but it is a bit of a challenge and I often have to go back and pick again as I’ve chosen the wrong app.
- The Email functionality is not there yet. for a short email it is easy to read and go through but for longer HTML rich emails I end up scrolling to the bottom dismissing and then reading on my phone.
- Battery life. There is no way to avoid this but having to charge my watch each night is a new habit I have to form. Also, I may need more electrical outlets as I already plug my phone in by my bed every night.
- I’m worried that I just dropped $600 on a watch and that in 1 years time a newer and better version will come out. Can I afford to buy a new watch every year like some people switch out their IPhones? The answer is a simple no.
So that is my Apple Watch review of my first 100 hours with it. I really bought the watch to see how it would impact my travelling and my next adventure doesn’t begin until June 12th when I fly off to Palm Springs and then New Brunswick for July. Stay tuned for my thoughts on how the Apple Watch changes how we travel.
If you have an Apple Watch, tell me what your likes and dislikes are. Have you discovered a hack or a trick I should know about? Please share below in the comments.