I did a video around 6 months ago giving my first impressions on the Apple Watch Series 3, but now 6 months later I’m going to give you my thoughts on using it since then.
The design of the Apple Watch is fairly unanimous at this point, with the design not changing since its original release in 2015. The design is a rounded rectangle, constructed from glass and metal – yet still extremely comfortable to wear all day. My personal Apple Watch is the 42mm version which sits quite nicely on my wrist – but if you are unsure of what size to get you can pop into an Apple Store and try one on to make sure you get the right size.
The design itself has the OLED screen on the front of the watch, which is easy and clear to read indoors and outdoors. The digital crown and side button are what you use to help navigate around the interface and apps, the crown can be used for things such as scrolling and zooming.
Every Apple Watch has the same design but you do get the choice of which colour choice you want but if you want to personalise it a bit more this is where watch bands come in. Apple has a bunch of different style bands that you can use – I have the black Sport Band which is made from synthetic rubber but I have found out that after a while it can start to show its use in certain areas.
Apple’s bands are quite pricey starting at £50 each if you want extra ones but you can pick up third-party ones if you want a bigger variety or better affordability.
The software experience on the Apple Watch is extremely nice, there are a few stutters here and there but otherwise, I find it a pleasant and smooth experience. The watch faces are what you will see most of the time, with your notifications a swipe down and control centre a swipe up. I have a few different watch faces set up, exercise, keeping up with the calendar and a minimal analogue watch face. You can set these up on the watch itself by force touching on a watch face or you can use the Watch app on your iPhone.
The first big part of the Apple Watch experience is notifications, and it will probably be the first thing you notice – I certainly did. Your wrist now becomes home to your notifications. When you get a notification, it feels like the watch is tapping you on the wrist – the taptic engine is very impressive. So now you can check what notification you have without even needing to get out your phone. The only issue I have is that every notification has the same ding sound, it’d be nice to hear different sounds depending on what app the notification is from.
The main appealing software feature for me was the Apple Watch activity tracking. When you first set up the watch you set your active calorie goal for the day, there’s no step goal like other fitness wearables, and then you can aim to hit this goal to get achievements and the satisfaction of closing your rings. The watch will count your activity throughout the day, taking intermittent heart rate readings as well but when you start a workout the heart rate sensor will be recording for the entire workout so you can see how you did. I’ve been very pleased and impressed with the fitness and activity features on the Apple Watch and it has encouraged me to make my lifestyle a little healthier.
To be honest the app experience on the Apple Watch is quite lacklustre. Apple’s apps are decent and there are a few good ones that you can get but there isn’t an awful lot. Apps such as Instagram and Twitter have actually disappeared from the watch and others such as Spotify aren’t even available – which is a shame because I’d like to use my watch to connect to my headphones so I can leave my phone in the car at the gym.
So, my Apple Watch is basically a notification and fitness tracking device at the moment – which I don’t really mind, to be honest. It would be nice to see better third-party app support in the future but I can’t tell whether developers will suddenly flourish to the watchOS platform.
Apple claims up to 18 hours battery life with the Apple Watch, but I have managed to get up to 2 or 3 days on a single charge which can be very useful when you’re travelling. When you do decide to charge it, it takes a few hours to charge on the magnetic charger and then it is ready to wear again.
So, in summary, I do think the Apple Watch is quite a good wearable. It provides a high-quality made product with a great experience, which is to be expected from with Apple. I have found that it is great for tracking exercise and I can’t really fault it much. I only wish that the third-party app support was better but otherwise I’m very pleased and happy with it.