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Apple Watch – Tested thoroughly

Apple logo icon - AluminumAs always, if there’s a new gadget to be checked, I am at the
race line to check up these. However it took quite some time
as I was not yet willing to purchase one yet. A sweepstake from
ewb Bern however changed things quickly.

AWWOkay first of all, there’s to mention: Why spend roughly 400 US$ on a gadget that may become outdated in a year or so? And why have someting on your wrist that needs charged every day*? And besides of these concerns: Why have someting on your wrist you tend to play with all day long just to avoid using the cell phone instead?

When I got mine for free (see this article), I thought: “Okay, give this little gadget a test ride. Can’t be wrong anyways”

Today, after 2 weeks of thoroughful testing and checkup I can finally write a small and simple review to show you what’s up with Apple Watches and their underlaying WatchOS2:

First and most important thing to tell is: Don’t believe everything you read anywhere without a proper review that bases on a long-period testing. The so-called short-breath battery seems to last for at least three whole days with my watch. When picking it up from the loading pad on sunday evening (Oct 4, 2015 at 11p.m. roughly), the battery display today (Oct 7, 2015 at 1p.m.) still shows a stamina of 27% which is, considered that I have many notifications running via vibration, an excellent value. When I come home from work, the watch may probably run on reserve mode (which it activates as soon as the battery level falls below 20%) but hey, the fact that many users complain about it not lasting for a whole day, is therefor nullified. The only reason why the battery may drain that fast may be that either these people play with it EVERY minute, having installed virtuall EVERY Watch App on it or even use it for all-day phone usage. But if you use it as an OneView-information-display to just not have to drag out your iPhone, the run time may last for 2 whole days with ease. Power users doing phone calls, dictations and other stuff, may be faced with a significantly shorter run time and then be forced to charge it every day. Proven fact but a powerful SoC that even outwits an iPhone 4 needs power. So Apple in my opinion did this right or maybe WatchOS 2 has improved a lot of flaws that came with the initial WatchOS release.

Okay, let’s go on with the other facts:

Reading and answering messages from messengers or iMessage: When you receive messages in the particular apps, the Watch is gently rocking your wrist notifying you that you have new messages waiting for you. Alternatively you can set up tone to play instead of vibration. But honestly: When you’re on meetings you don’t want to annoy the meeting leader with a bleeping gadget on your wrist. The handling then is easy: Either silence this kind of notification for an hour or reply to the incoming message with a predefined short text or have Siri record a message for you and transcribe it to text being sent back to the sender. Funny fact is that you can even preview pictures on it. But as soon as it comes to more complex tasks, you may want to fork out your iPhone and have the pending tasks completed on it then.

Newsreader: There are many news apps that also publish their articles in that way that you can sneak preview them on your Watch and then decide whether to read the particular article on the iPhone directly without having to browse the app before. Even notifications are sent to you in the same manner as with messages if you wish.

Health: This App has been introduced with iOS8 and with the announcement of the watch. first, the app was rather a digital diary to keep track of your health. But with the Watch being released, the Health app can keep track of your pulse and calories consumption according to some measurements. I guess, there will be some more additions to that soon. If you reach predefined goals (such as 500kcal burning, 30 minutes workout, 12hrs Standup for short period every hour) the Watch also notifies you about significant breakthroughs of every goal.

Communication: As already said – even phone calls can be held via the Watch. The fact that you mimic Michael Knight from Knight rider isn’t that far away. The sound quality of the built-in speaker is fairly good and the microphone also does a good work here! However I wouldn’t rely on this feature for long-time calls as it might significantly drain the battery of the Watch.

Common usage behaviour: Well, to be honest: The times I gaze at the phone, are reduced significantly! The reason? Messages of interest are directly sent to my wrist and I can decide now which of these notifications need urgent attention. So the times I picked up my phone and performed the lookup have greatly reduced (let’s say, 3 of 4 lookups became obsolete. The runtime of the iPhone also has risen a bit.).

To conclude: If you haven’t used an Apple Watch before and judge it by just reading articles, you will miss out lots of benefits. If you start using one, you’ll probably notify a slight change of how you use your iPhone. For some these changes may come in handy, others may still deny a proper usability for the Watch and some may (like me) get the “Wow” effect.

So what’s the rating of that little gizmo on my wrist?


  Weight Watch Sport Watch Watch Edition
Quality of hardware 25% ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★+★*
Quality of Software 25% ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
Battery runtime 15% ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆ ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆ ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
Speed 15% ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
Handling/Setup 5% ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
Price / Performance 15% ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆ ★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆
Overall 100% ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆ ★ ★ ★ ☆

Final words:

Okay let’s face it: Apple once again brought out a sensation piece of miniaturized IT hardware. Although it’s “just” a gadget, the little SoC seems to have tremendous power and still is gentle to the battery. Much credit goes to the updated WatchOS 2 that has risen the battery lifetime to a reasonable level.

Let’s head over to the footprint (*) – The extra star is well-earned for high quality material (24ct gold-plated paired with sapphire glass, that is!) but it’s up to you if you’re willing to fork out a whopping 18.500CHF for that little gadget. Exclusivity has it’s price, that said but hey, Apple also needs to outwit competitors, such as Vertu&Co.

The Apple Watch Sport has a fantastic value for the price that is called so there’s a full fiver in here!

Four stars for the Apple Watch therefore that the stainless steel tends to be less scratch resistant than the Aluminium 7000 of the Sport edition. However the sapphire glass makes a value up here. The milanese loop bracelet is fantastic and has an interesting clasp mechanism, but you better not let credit cards, ATM card and other magnetic-sensitive items come near the stron neodyme magnet. The interestingly unfurling mechanic clasp is however an eyecatcher combined with the stainless steel wristband. If there wasn’t the extremely high price tag of an Apple Watch sport for the wristband alone… *sigh*

Apple has just brought out another not-so-expensive Apple Watch Hermés edition that is equal to the Apple Watch but with interesting leather wristbands. Their price range between 1350 and 1800CHF at the moment this article is being written.

So the choice is yours! Which one will you wear if you could decide?

October 7, 2015 Netspark - 1594 posts - Member since: May 9th, 2011 No Comments »

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