Apple Watch: a long-term review

Apple hasn’t even marketed the best feature of the Apple Watch.

Meryl D'Souza May 18, 2016

This is a long-term review of the Apple Watch. Check back for updates throughout the next few weeks.

June 13, 2016

Doesn’t play nice with Android

Being an Android user, you can imagine my disappointment with the Apple Watch not being compatible with any Android device. It’s a shame especially when you consider that Android smartwatches can be paired with the iPhone. One would hope that the geniuses over at Cupertino would return the favour.

Apple chooses to force consumers into making the switch. Whether you like it or not, your Apple Watch needs an iOS device. Without it, it’s not a smartwatch at all.

Forcing people to make the switch instead of persuading them by offering better features on an iOS device feels like a douchey move. And that could turn many the wrong way.

Apple wants you to be fit

When first firing up the Activity app, it prompts you to input your sex, age, weight, height and general activity level in terms of daily calorie burn. The app uses this information to recommend daily movement and exercise goals that can be adjusted manually as well.

It then goes on to track you in three ways using the Watch's accelerometer: Move, Stand and Exercise. The aim is to give a comprehensive look at your daily activity and motivate you to stop being such a slothful meatbag. 

But its own energy levels are poor

Where the Samsung Gear S2 lasted almost two days on a single charge, the Apple Watch died in 24 hours. On paper, the Apple Watch is supposed to last for about 18 hours. While it exceeds that by lasting a whole day if you’re smart with usage, a little extra wouldn’t hurt.

You may think I’m nitpicking, but let me explain. The fact that you have to use an Apple Watch sparingly just so that you can prolong its battery life doesn’t make sense for Apple in the long run. What’s the point of owning one of the best smartwatches around if you’re going to be thrifty with its features just so that it doesn’t die on you?

Sure the watch goes from dead to 100 per cent battery life in two hours, but that’s an average for most smartwatches these days. The battery life is what really hinders the otherwise spectacular Apple Watch.

May 18, 2016

It takes some getting used to

As an Android user, coming into the Apple ecosystem is hard work. I realised that I used Google and its many services so much that when I was forced to switch over – just so that I could cover the Apple Watch – I couldn’t help but feel powerless.

The design of the watch is a bit polarizing. You’re either going to think of it as a terrific example of fashion blending with tech, or a square boxy abomination. For what it’s worth, we don’t dig the boxy design.

Unlike the Samsung Gear S2 Classic, it didn’t invite as many compliments for its looks. But the design is the only thing that takes away from the watch… So far. 

In terms of functionality, the Apple Watch is everything you expect from a smartwatch. Apart from showing you notifications, reading your heart rate and of course telling the time, the Apple Watch also lets you answer calls.

That last bit is particularly interesting because, while you may look like a clumsy little fool who’s talking to his watch, at least you don’t have frantically run towards or look for your phone every time it rings.

Another huge win for the Apple watch over the Samsung Gear S2 is the voice assistant. With the absence of a keyboard on the watch, Apple made sure it’s voice assistant worked seamlessly. Replying to texts by simply saying what you want is a lifesaver for people with stubby fingers – whether its on the watch or smartphone.

Never lose your iPhone

The ping feature, thus far, is my favourite feature of the Apple Watch. Sure, I'm still getting to know its various charms, but right from the start I've come to rely – rather heavily – upon and love the ability to ping my iPhone from the Apple Watch, saving me from needing to ask a friend to call my phone to help me find it.

To ping a misplaced iPhone, swipe up from the watch-face view to call up Glances. The leftmost Glances screen features the ping button below the Airplane Mode, Do Not Disturb and Silent Mode buttons.

Tap the ping button and your iPhone will emit a short pinging sound to help you locate it, and your iPhone will play this sound even if it's in silent mode. Additionally, if you tap and hold the ping button, your iPhone will flash its LED light as it plays the pinging sound.

The Apple watch retails starting at AED 1,199.