FULL DISCLOSURE – My lovely hubby and daughter got me an Apple Watch for my birthday a few weeks ago, and I LOVE it. I’m not a fashionista, and I’m not a tech guru, just a busy working mom with a slight tilt toward early adoption (not the type of bleeding edge where I will wait in line for hours to be the first to get the latest gadget, but I’m open and willing to try new things). This is not an in-depth review of the Watch, but instead my thoughts about it after using it in the real world for a few weeks.
My initial impetus for wanting an Apple Watch in the first place was for the fitness tracking – I have to admit I just hate the look of the typical FitBit wristband that just screams “I’m trying to get in shape” to everyone who sees the black plastic lump on your wrist. I had actually resigned myself to the FitBit One, which I at least could hide somewhere under my clothes, because I just couldn’t justify spending US $600+ on an Apple Watch. Lucky for me, hubby justified it in the name of my birthday!
And as far as the fitness and activity tracking goes, I’ve been thrilled with it! The built-in Activity and Workout apps (they get “turned on” on your iPhone when you first pair your watch to it) offer all a desk-bound mom with no time to work out needs to get off her behind and start moving. They track your general activity (i.e. steps), how much you stand during the day, and your exercise (moving at a quicker pace/heartbeat then normal walking). And darn it, I WANT to get those little achievement awards! I’ve already lost 2 pounds in 2 weeks, just through the Watch prodding me to move a bit more.
Customization and Style
One of the other things I am really enjoying about the Watch is the customization. The Watch comes with 9 standard watch faces, but with most of those you have an infinite number of additional customizations you can make, and what’s great is you can save them as well.
For example, for the Simple face, which, as its name implies, is pretty simple, I have several iterations saved that I can call up depending on what color outfit I’m wearing. I frequently wear Mickey Mouse on the weekends, and while we were recently experiencing a blue moon I was wearing the Astronomy face to track the moon’s phases.
As a *girl,* I love being able to customize my watch to match what I’m wearing. Both in terms of the watch face but also in terms of the band, which is so simple and easy to remove and replace (just one small button on each end of the underside of the watch). My Watch is the Stainless Steel with the Milanese Loop band. I’m so glad hubs chose that instead of the Sport watch, and let me tell you why. I’ve found great aftermarket Sport-type rubber bands for Watch that you would never know are not the real thing, but the third-party aftermarket Milanese loop or other stainless steel bands leave something to be desired. Apple has made much about the materials they’ve used with Watch, and they’re right. The quality of the leather and stainless Apple bands I’ve seen is really nice, but when I can get a Sport-like flurolastimer band for $4 that looks like the real thing (vs. $49 at Apple), I’m in. I’ve already purchased 2 colors of the MoKo band, and I may just get each one at that price!
I’ve tried a few times to use Apple Pay on my iPhone and in all honesty, it’s just as clunky to pull out my phone from my purse and fiddle with Passbook as it is for me to pull out my wallet and fiddle with my debit card. Other than the security aspect, I haven’t found using Apple Pay on iPhone to be worth the trouble most of the time. On Watch, however, it’s a much more elegant, seamless and enjoyable experience.
The credit cards on your iPhone passbook don’t sync with your Watch, so you do have to set them up separately. Once they are set up, though, using Apple Pay is as simple as tapping the button on the side of the Watch (the one below the digital crown), and gently holding your wrist above the card reader. That’s it. I’m actively LOOKING for places to use it now because it’s just so much simpler and easier that digging in the black hole that’s my purse for my phone OR wallet.
Connecting by Disconnecting
One of the most surprising aspects in using the Watch, however, is how it’s actually allowing me to put my phone DOWN for a change. I’ve set up my Notifications so that I’m only getting the gentle wrist tap and *ping* for VIP emails and certain text messages, and as a result, I find I don’t need to constantly look at my phone anymore. I can leave it in my purse or on my desk, and know that if it’s important, Watch will tell me.
Another unintended benefit is that I almost never can hear my phone ring when it’s in my purse, but Watch taps me to let me know when a call is coming in, and with a quick glance at my wrist (rather than fishing through my ever-expanding bag) I can see if it’s something I need to answer right away or can let go to voicemail.
As a result, I can relax more, knowing that Watch will let me know when I need to pay attention to my phone, rather than feeling like I have to constantly check and recheck it just to make sure I didn’t miss anything. In the end, adding this subtle, wearable tech has allowed me to let go of more intrusive tech.
And this is really the most important benefit of Apple Watch, but it’s also one that is hard to explain. It is really transformative once you experience it. One of the most thoughtful reviews on this that I’ve seen is Ben Bajarin’s My First Week with the Apple Watch on Techpinions. He really nails the experience with Notifications that I’ve had as well, just in a much more eloquent and tech-savvy way.
Thinking about the Watch, or not? Let me know in the comments below!