When someone sees me wearing my Apple Watch, they usually start by asking me the most generic question of all – “Is it good?”. After a while, once they’ve tried it on, tapped the screen a few times and got past the initial excitement the question turns to battery life.
Over the last week I’ve made and received calls with the Apple Watch, used Siri, navigated with Maps while walking, turned on and off smart light-bulbs I’m testing, gone out running and received dozens of app notifications, SMS and other messages.
On a typical day I get out of bed between 7:30AM and 8:00AM and go to bed between 11:00PM and 1:00AM. I put the Apple Watch on its charger each night before I go to sleep.
On one day the Apple Watch ran out of juice while I was sitting on the couch at some point between 10:00PM and midnight. I can’t be sure of exactly when as I wasn’t paying close attention. I expected the Taptic Engine to give me some sort of notification but either it didn’t or I completely missed it.
Yesterday, when I went to bed at about midnight, there was still 56% of the full charge remaining. That’s despite receiving a lot of messages, using Siri to initiate calls, checking stock prices, trying a couple of new apps out and going for a run first thing in the morning.
So, what’s the take-away from all this?
Any claims you see regarding the Apple Watch’s battery life need to be taken in context. Simply going on Apple’s stated life of up to 18 hours isn’t much good. They also say it can handle up to 6.5 hours of either music playback or workout time. Talk time is rated at up to three hours.
In other words, battery life is highly variable depending on what you do. And there are clearly enough things going on under the Watch OS covers that predicting whether you’ll run out of juice at an inopportune moment is like predicting where the little ball will land on a roulette wheel.