Hands-on: Apple Watch

Anthony Caruana
20 May, 2015
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As I mentioned previously, I’m going to be posting regularly on my experiences with the Apple Watch. While one-off reviews are useful, it’s not until you’ve lived with a device that you get an appreciation for how it really fits into your life.

Apple keeps talking up the Apple Watch as its “most personal device” so that personal experience is the one that I think really counts.

It’s been four days since Apple provided me with an Apple Watch Sport.

Although I typically get the larger sized straps in my wearables, I’ve reverted to the smaller strap for my 42mm Apple Watch Sport. Although I’m wearing it on the second-to-last hole it means there’s a lot less strap tucked in under the band. This makes it easier for me to put the Apple Watch on and take it off.

I’ve also purchased some after-market straps from an eBay reseller. When they arrive, I’ll report on whether a $20 strap can match Apple’s $80 strap.

Yesterday was the first day the Apple Watch ran out of power for me. I don’t spend the day constantly checking my watch so I didn’t realise that the battery was low or that it had stopped working until I was going to bed. I was up for about 17 hours yesterday, so the battery lasted between 14 and 17 hours for me.

My day was pretty relaxed other than a 36-minute run in the morning, a few calls and texts and a short walk to get my lunch from the local bakery.

So, I have to say, I’m somewhat surprised that I ran out of juice.

One of my main use-cases for a wearable is activity tracking. I’ve been wearing my FitBit Charge HR as well as the Apple Watch – the FitBit is on my right wrist and the Apple Watch on the left.

The step counts between the two devices is very close. Yesterday, I covered 10,150 steps with the FitBit. The Apple Watch counted 10,199. Given they’re on different wrists and I don’t move my hands exactly the same that difference is negligible.

When it comes to watch faces, what I really want is a Star Trek inspired LCARS face. Unfortunately, Apple hasn’t opened the Apple Watch up for face designers just yet. That means I’ve needed to compromise.

My preferred watchface is the Modular face. I’ve customised it by adding the Activity, Weather, Battery Level and World Clock Complications and changing the text colour to yellow.

That works well for me. As I travel quite a bit, being able to quickly access the local time and weather at my destination is very useful.

I’m still hoping the activity tracking will become more accurate in tracking my runs. I don’t want to carry my iPhone when I run – I like being able to take that time out and not be hassled by texts or notifications.

Battery life is a concern, so I’m hoping options for extended the battery life are delivered – either through some clever accessories or software updates. Jawbone was able to double the battery life of the UP24 through an update – let’s hope Apple can extract some better power management as it tweaks Watch OS.

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