Gear Review | A Few Weeks with Apple Watch

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Yes, I have an Apple Watch. For those of you who know me, I’m sure you saw this coming. However, I didn’t just jump on the bandwagon because I’m an Apple fanatic. Apple products make up a large part of my work/home life because they integrate with each other so well and they just work. I've been using Apple stuff since college and for me, there was value in owning an Apple Watch, even in the product’s infancy. I bought it knowing that it wouldn’t be perfect, that there would be improvements as time goes on and that the overall usability would take some getting used to. But the fact of the matter is that in spite of its newborn limitations, the Apple Watch is off to a great start and I love it. There’s been quite a few in-depth reviews of the watch thus far so I’m going to keep this one short, sweet and visual. I'll touch on a few reasons why I bought the watch and summarize how it’s integrated into my life thus far. If you have any questions, please feel free to email. Enjoy.

I purchased the Apple Watch Sport in the smaller watch face size. It comes in two sizes, 38mm and 42mm. I purchased the space grey color with the black sport band. Apple makes 3 different versions of the watch. The differences are simply the materials used to make the watch (aluminum, stainless steel and gold), and also the bands that come with them (leather, metal, etc). The functionality of the watches are all the same and the bands are all compatible with each version of the watch. In the future, I fully expect 3rd party companies to offer a more affordable variety of bands for the watch. Right now though, the black on black combination (in my opinion), goes with whatever I'm wearing, be it casual or dressy clothes. 

There are two reasons I bought an Apple Watch. The first and probably the foremost reason was for the fitness functionality. The watch offers a unique combination of health information, essentially blending the functionality of a heart rate watch and a fitness bracelet into one unit. The watch automatically tracks my steps, calories burned and how often I stand up and move around. It also alerts me to my progress in attaining these goals on a daily basis. The exercise app allows me to pick from a variety of indoor and outdoor exercises and then, tracks my pace, distance, calories burned, heart rate and time. For this reason alone, the watch is well worth it. My Suunto GPS watch with a heart rate chest strap was strictly a fitness watch. It didn’t serve as an all-day health device and it was heavy and bulky. By comparison, the Apple Watch is light, does not require a chest strap, costs roughly the same and adds functions outside of the realm of fitness and health.

The second reason for purchasing the watch was for improved hands-free functionality. Certain functions that I use on a daily basis are made much easier with the watch. I communicate a lot throughout my day. And typically, I have to respond to phone calls or text messages while packing camera gear, feeding babies, driving, cycling, eating, and everything else that comes with a busy life. Taking phone calls and dictating text message responses to a watch on my arm vs. a phone in my hand is a welcome change. Likewise, being able to talk to a watch on my arm while driving vs. talking on a phone that I'm holding is also nice. Receiving GPS directions on my watch while driving vs. having to look down at a phone in my lap was a feature I wasn't thinking of when I purchased the watch but after using, have come to truly appreciate. 

Taking a phone call on the watch feels both natural and new. I took a phone call while driving the other day and the placement of my hands on the steering wheel allowed me to navigate the roads while talking. I could use a little more volume from the watch when listening to the person on the other end, but I suspect that the real reason I couldn’t hear was due to the road noise of the Novomobile’s mud tires. I took another call while changing a diaper and aside from my child trying to grab at the watch while I was talking, the experience was noticeably easy and natural. 

Overall, I’m impressed. I think it’s a great product that will only get better and better over time. In my opinion, the sport model is the best value. You get all the functionality of the watch itself and a comfortable rubber band for hundreds or even thousands less than the other models. Is it for everyone? Probably not. Some people might not want or need another device in their lives. For some, using their physical phone for exercise and phone calls might be enough. But for those who desire some simplification and freedom from their phone, well thanks to Apple, there's a watch for that.

The watch automatically sets itself via your phone. The time, date, current temperature and calendar functions were there from the get-go. The watch face is customizable so that the information shown and the design of the face itself are changeable. 

The watch automatically sets itself via your phone. The time, date, current temperature and calendar functions were there from the get-go. The watch face is customizable so that the information shown and the design of the face itself are changeable. 

Within the first hour of wearing the watch, I have my first phone conversation while driving. Now, I'm even more impressed. Aside from the ambient car noise hindering the volume, this is the next best thing to hands free talking while driving.

Within the first hour of wearing the watch, I have my first phone conversation while driving. Now, I'm even more impressed. Aside from the ambient car noise hindering the volume, this is the next best thing to hands free talking while driving.

Early the next morning while enjoying a cup of coffee, my watch chimes and notifies me of the "word of the day". This is a feature made possible by an app on my iPhone and has now, been pushed to my watch. It seems as though there is a notification for everything. This is one that I'll probably keep on, simply because I love new words. Some of the other ones will definitely be shut off. 

Early the next morning while enjoying a cup of coffee, my watch chimes and notifies me of the "word of the day". This is a feature made possible by an app on my iPhone and has now, been pushed to my watch. It seems as though there is a notification for everything. This is one that I'll probably keep on, simply because I love new words. Some of the other ones will definitely be shut off. 

I've used the watch on multiple exercise routines. The one I'm most excited about however, is the cycling function. Not only does it track my heart rate, mileage, calories burned and time, it also wirelessly controls music on my iPhone which I conveniently keep in my cycling backpack. You can also store up to 1gb of music on the watch itself and connect wireless headphones to it. 

I've used the watch on multiple exercise routines. The one I'm most excited about however, is the cycling function. Not only does it track my heart rate, mileage, calories burned and time, it also wirelessly controls music on my iPhone which I conveniently keep in my cycling backpack. You can also store up to 1gb of music on the watch itself and connect wireless headphones to it. 

Say hello the activity monitor. It's bright, colorful and very informative. I welcome the reminders to stand up and move around and of course, it's nice to see my steps and mileage, especially after a photoshoot. 

Say hello the activity monitor. It's bright, colorful and very informative. I welcome the reminders to stand up and move around and of course, it's nice to see my steps and mileage, especially after a photoshoot. 

The watch compared to a fitness bracelet. 

The watch compared to a fitness bracelet. 

The Apple Watch compared to a few other smart watches.

The Apple Watch compared to a few other smart watches.

Using navigation with the watch is a huge help. Again, the elimination of casting glances to my phone while driving is a welcome change. The watch connects to the Apple Maps app on the phone so when you plug in a route on your phone, the directions and notifications are pushed to the watch. The watch taps you on the wrist and chirps when a turn is coming up. Glancing down shows you either the next direction or a map overview. 

Using navigation with the watch is a huge help. Again, the elimination of casting glances to my phone while driving is a welcome change. The watch connects to the Apple Maps app on the phone so when you plug in a route on your phone, the directions and notifications are pushed to the watch. The watch taps you on the wrist and chirps when a turn is coming up. Glancing down shows you either the next direction or a map overview. 

The New York Times app pushes breaking news headlines to the watch. It's nice to see current events unfold, even if some of them are blatantly obvious and not so urgent. 

The New York Times app pushes breaking news headlines to the watch. It's nice to see current events unfold, even if some of them are blatantly obvious and not so urgent. 

My son is already captivated with the Apple Watch. His review must count for something :)

My son is already captivated with the Apple Watch. His review must count for something :)

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