After years of speculation, months of anticipation and weeks of waiting, I finally took delivery of my Apple Watch at the end of May (2015). It was a real buzz to be the proud new owner of a highly anticipated and somewhat envied piece of technological gadgetry. So after almost 3 months with the Apple Watch, what are my feelings? Well, in a nutshell, I am a left a little underwhelmed. There is no doubt that Apple have forever changed the way I look at a watch, and have really raised the bar from what I now expect from wrist wear. For example, all of my other watches (which just tell the time…) are pretty much obsolete, and I highly doubt I can ever look at them in the same way, reducing their functionality to aesthetics and jewellery.
You may have read my previous blog post about the Garmin fenix 3; this is what I consider to be my first ‘real’ venture into the ‘smart-watch’ market. It does so much more than simply tell the time and record my fitness activities; informing me of notifications from my smart phone, viewing the weather, my calendar and even having the ability to control music from my smart phone were all very novel and welcome features. The Apple Watch does all these, and probably better, but recently, I have still found myself wearing my Apple Watch far less, and my fenix 3 far more.
Being a runner, and now getting involved with cycling, the fenix 3 is an essential part of my lifestyle. I cannot pay for my morning coffee with the fenix 3, nor can I check maps or view photos as I can do with my Apple Watch. But in all honesty, I find myself using my iPhone for these tasks. Doing these things on the Apple Watch, whilst initially exciting, is more of a chore than a delight.
My initial excitement was short-lived. With Apple Watch OS2 on the horizon (with a release date of November), I hope the new functions touted can breathe fresh life into the Apple Watch. In my opinion, I feel that there is a desperate need for quality apps that do things my iPhone cannot, and also have some new apps that I feel the ‘need’ to use the Apple Watch. Until then, my 3 month old Apple Watch is going to be getting far less wrist wear time than I had initially intended.
Charging is another minor gripe. Regardless of usage, a daily charge is essential for the Apple Watch. I normally accomplish this at night. Before bed I simply dock my Apple Watch on the Spigen stand which rests on my bedside, and strap the watch on in the morning. This is fine whilst at home, but on the move you need to remember to carry the charger and charge the watch each night. If you forget to do this, your watch will not survive the following day. The fenix 3 fares much better in battery life, requiring charge every week on average, even after putting in ~10 hours worth of training with GPS.
On a related note, one question I get asked by a lot of my running friends are the purchase decision between the Apple Watch and fenix 3. It is a no-brainer. If you are a fitness enthusiast, the fenix 3 will be my recommendation, any day. The Apple Watch’s fitness capabilities are very basic, and probably aimed at the causal jogger. If you take your fitness seriously, purchasing the Apple Watch for it’s health benefits are going to be of minimal significance. Here’s hoping the future of the Apple Watch is brighter!