Apple Watch: what the reviews are saying?
Apple Watch reviews are starting to filter through. And if there’s one thing that’s clear from what they’re saying, it’s that the tech industry is finally excited about a smartwatch. Does this excitement mean that Apple has nailed it with the Apple Watch? Well, that’s less clear. See also: Apple watch release date, features and price.
The Apple Watch is Apple’s first new product in five years – the last being the iPad – and also its first major launch since the death of Steve Jobs. Simply put: there’s a lot of people questioning whether Apple can still claim to be a innovative company in 2015.
To get an early idea as to whether the Watch will be a success or not we’re going to break down reviews from the industries top experts into several different categories.
Apple Watch reviews: design
The consensus is that the Apple Watch is definitely the best smartwatch around. It’s design, features and flexibility put it ahead of its rivals such as the Moto 360, LG G Watch R and Sony’s Smartwatch. See also: what’s the best smartwatch of 2014?
- “First off, like all good watches, the Apple Watch is a luxurious, even beautiful fashion accessory” – The Telegraph
The Telegraph’s Farhad Manjoo is not alone in his assessment of the look and feel of the Apple Watch. What separates this device from the scores of Android Wear rivals is it’s premium quality.
- “It is unbelievably high tech and a little bit silly, a masterpiece of engineering with a Mickey Mouse face. It is quintessentially Apple.” The Verge
Where the clunky and often uncomfortable one-size-fits-all approach has been adopted by the rest of the market, Apple has taken the time (excuse the pun) and care to make its Watch able to fit you.
The attention to detail on the watch’s design is best described by Lance Ulanoff (Mashable) who likens adding and removing the uniquely designed links to “child’s play”.
Ignoring how it feels and concentrating entirely on how it looks, the Watch passes the reviewers fashion tastes easily. Perhaps the most affectionate quote can be pulled from Joshua Topolsky’s review on Bloomberg Business’ website as he says “you have to love the way this looks on you”. We’d advise taking fashion advice from technology journalists with a pinch of salt though.
Apple Watch reviews: what’s it actually like?
One of the biggest questions over the Apple Watch, and any smartwatch for that matter, is still “what does it do?” Well, the answer is that it will annoy you. At first anyway. After this though, you’re likely to learn to love it.
- “It took three days — three long, often confusing and frustrating days — for me to fall for the Apple Watch. But once I fell, I fell hard.” NY Times
The Verge highlights this point in a (slicker than) slick video. In the video Nilay Patel gives the performance of his life portraying a popular man wearing the Apple Watch during business meeting. The message, The Verge, goes to admirable lengths to get across is that notifications are a problem with the device. The problem with the notifications is that they are linked to your iPhone. So you can’t pick and choose which ones chime on your Watch and stay silent on your iPhone (and vice versa). The result, Patel says, “is noing more about what’s happening on my phone than ever before.” See the video here.
The rocky start to life with the smartwatch is backed up by the New York Times’ review which has a title that says all you need to know about what to expect from your early days with it: “Apple Watch review: Bliss, but only after a steep learning curve”. Aw.
However, things get more positive as the reviewers spend more time using the Apple Watch. One of the most loved features is that the watch doesn’t vibrate, but taps you for notifications. “It’s the wildest, strangest thing. It’s subtle but unmissable” says David Pogue from Yahoo.
- “After using it, I had no question that the Apple Watch is the most advanced piece of wearable technology you can buy today.” Bloomberg Business
Another point that is touched upon in most reviews is that its no speedster. “The S1 chip has pep, but the watch could lag” said Mashable, which was backed up by The Verge who stated “Sometimes it’s just unresponsive for a few seconds while it thinks and then it comes back.”
Another thing all the reviews agree on is that is has a lot more useful features than its nearest competitor. Yes, Mashable raises concerns about the difficulty or drawing/writing things on its tiny screen. But as a device, it does what it’s designed to do, and that’s take some of the heat of your iPhone.
- “I’m less likely to absent-mindedly reach for my phone, or feel compelled to leave it on the table during supper.” Geoffrey A. Fowler – WSJ
Apple Watch reviews: communications
It’s clear to see that the Apple Watch has no issues with alerting its users to notifications on their iPhone, although it might suffer from lag now and then. But what’s it like a dealing with outgoing messages and phone calls?
- “It’s also extremely susceptible to background noise … In a coffee shop, it was thwarted by the background music” – The Verge
Surprisingly (for me) the watch has received okay remarks about its ability to handle voice calls. Yahoo describes the feature as “fine” as long as you’re in a “quiet room” although the article does reveal you look a little “demented” talking to your wrist.
What’s also interesting is that the same Yahoo revier, David Pogue, claims that the Watch’s logical response is “absolutely amazing” when it works. He also pays heavy tribute to the animated emojis available and makes the bold – but not too far fetched – prediction that this feature will be what sells more Apple Watches than any other.
Apple Watch reviews: battery
The battery life of this device was always going to be a big talking point. After all it’s going up against an established watch market that measures battery life in years not hours. The official word from Apple is that the Watch will have an 18-hour battery life. Take a look at the 8 best Apple Watch apps too.
- “According to Apple, the watch’s battery runs about 18 hours on a charge. In typical Apple fashion, that’s being modest” – Yahoo
This is a two-sided story though, with some saying the battery life it better than you’d imagine, while others claim this is not the case.
Cnet is of the opinion that you don’t get more than a day’s charge. Instead it suggests that a more realistic expectation for the device is 16 hours with average use. The Cnet reviewer’s (Scott Stein) story of heavier usage is grim, as he recalls the battery going from from 80% to 45% in three hours when using it for map guidance on a drive.
Mashable, on the other hand thinks “battery life may have been the best surprise of all”, and that most days ended with 30% of the power left.
However, there is consensus on the fact that will have to charge the phone every single night. Yahoo points this is disappointing because the watch has a cool feature that enables you to set an silent alarm that wakes/alerts you by tapping you on the wrist, which is obviously now redundant.
Apple watch reviews: verdict
On the whole the Apple Watch has been well received by the first round of reviews. There’s a genuine feeling that the concept and device will succeed. That said, there are obvious teething problems occurring. Issues with its notifications, battery life a general lag seem to be the main gripes reviewers have.
Despite all of that, a lot of the reviewer send out positive signals. Initially there was a lot of scepticism about the watch, whether it was gimmicky, and if it could be incorporated successfully into the reviewers’ lives. But, at large, the device’s features (when they work) combined with its sophisticated look and feel win the hearts of those who have used it.
What’s even more clear to see, is that the collective wisdom isn’t telling you to rush and buy one immediately. Cnet‘s closing statement somes up the buying advice nicely:
- “I’d wait and see how the apps shape up.” – Cnet