Friday, May 15, 2015

Apple Watch II: The more reviewy review

Most useful watch-face
So, I guess this is the "real" review. Brad complained that I needed more details in that last post. Fine. The squeaky wheel gets the something, something...

18 Days in. This isn't meant to be exhaustive. These are things that stand out for one reason or another.

In a nutshell? I love this watch. I missed having a watch and this is so much more. I would probably be quite happy with almost any of the smart watches on the market. I considered buying quite a few of them. I waited and waited for this one and I think it was a good decision.

I use my phone a lot less now. A lot less. I have been keeping track and instead of going to my phone every few minutes it is now often an hour or more between times when I unlock it. I love that.

On the watch face to the right, I can touch any of items on the screen to get more information and I can (and do) sometimes change those fields for different sorts of info...

Works (for me)

Time. There seem to be complaints out in the world that the time should be visible constantly. Stupid. That's just convention. You don't have your phone screen on all the time and yet it's a pretty awesome way to check the time. Enough that it killed traditional watches for a lot of people. I love that it is off most of the time (especially when a notification comes in).

I'm not much for texting. Having it on my wrist makes it AWESOME. So fast to respond. This is how it was meant to be.

I tried to kill the battery this day. Fail!
Battery. Lasts all day. I'm happy with that. I could, if I chose wear it all night and charge it while I have breakfast and coffee. Instead I charge it at night, while I'm sleeping.

"But, my Rolex, Casio, Timex, etc... lasts years--nay DECADES without replacing the battery."

Great! You don't want this watch then. Instead of using the classic watch as the standard, let us compare more directly. Apple Watch is a modern computer. What computer do you take everywhere with you that runs for more than a day without charging? Electric car? Nope. Laptop? Nope. Cell Phone? Nope. Tablet? Nope. Calculator. Yes, but you don't carry one anymore. Let's be honest.

The only example that I can come up with is the Pebble Watch. I was close to buying one. In the end, I decided to wait for the beauty and refinement that Apple would inevitably provide. Pebble is a fine device. I'm not telling you what to get. This is my experience.

Fantastic. I'm forgetful and constantly program appointments and reminders into my phone. Sadly, I miss quite a few reminders on my phone. On the watch, the notifications are subtle and insistent at the same time. I hate having my phone vibrate while sitting on a table or when I'm with others in a quite space. My Apple Watch uses a vibration that feels more like a tap on the wrist. I can just hear it if my ear is right beside the watch, but there is no fear that it will be noticed by others.

At the same time, the tapping is pretty distinctive. I can miss the tap if I am running or jumping around, but I notice them FAR more reliably than I ever did on my phone. If I do miss a notification, a small dot shows on the watch face next time I look at it.

I love quick access to calendars
Pretty flawless. It occasionally hangs and I have to dismiss and restart the query. Not much different than on my phone.

Calendar Integration.
Great. Pulls all the calendars that are available on my phone and lets me see the next event on the watch face along with the time.

Paying for stuff.
Currently, in Canada, I can't use Apple Pay. That should come in November. When that happens, I will feel liberated from the tyranny of my wallet. For the time being I am quite happy paying for Tim Hortons and Starbucks from my wrist (yes, Brad, I am using a strong and unique password).

Appeal (form, comfort, touch-ability).
There is no arguing with individual taste, but I love the look of it. It feels amazing on. The band is comfortable (even when sweating profusely). Touching the screen makes smudge marks. That makes me want to cry. I'm waiting for a solution to that ;)

I use this face when running the tower stairs

Doesn't Work (for me)

I love that I can read email snippits in Gmail  and Outlook and the whole email in Apple Mail. But, I won't be happy unless I can dictate a reply to an email the way I can while texting.

Move/Exercise/Stand rings. (Sort of)
"Move" isn't really about moving. It's about calorie burn. "Exercise" is really about a particular (and unchangeable) threshold of exercise. Stand doesn't really measure if I am standing. It seems to discern if I am moving (wouldn't that make it part of the "move" ring?) around a lot or if my heart-rate is up.

So the names are misleading and/or wrong. That said, I love to be measured. Even if your measurement system is a bit flaky. It definitely encourages me to do better from day to day and attempt to "close" my rings or beat last weeks record. The most useful data here is still my step count and my calorie burn.

"Hey, Siri" (sort of)
This feature is laggy. I raise my wrist and say, "hey Siri," followed by a query. It misses quite a bit. I mostly ignore the feature now and invoke my ghostly assistant by holding in the "digital crown" (it's a button that can also spin).

3rd party apps. (Almost without exception)
Very few have failed to frustrate me. There are only a couple that have it right. Currently, I don't know whether to blame Apple (for limiting what the apps can do and how they are loaded) or the developers (for rushing their apps out before they are useable).

I mostly don't care. If there is extra functionality to be had down the road, that will be nice. But, I am very happy with the core functions of this device.