Enough months have passed since the highly anticipated debut of the Apple Watch that the device is now available for in-store purchase (a June date that seemed forever away when pre-orders went live back in April). Similarly marking the passage of time, most self-appointed tech experts have gone on the record expressing their disdain for, in more cases, love of the Apple smartwatch.
But at Wearables.com, we’re especially interested in what our community of wearables consumers has to say about the experience he or she has the wearable technology we’re so passionate about. Much to our delight, the two winners of our May 2015 Apple Watch giveaway dutifully — and excitedly, might we add — came pouring forth with feedback on the device, and their ratings of their experiences living with it are below.
Apple, you might want to pay good and close attention to what Jackie Zhang and Jade Taylor have to say in the following Apple Watch review.
Battery Life: 4*
(*note, all scores are averages of the two users’ ratings)
Jackie Zhang: Jackie reported an average of 16 hours when it came to battery life — a comparatively small amount (when compared to, say, Pebble) that didn’t seem to bother him. “The battery life was overall great. One charge is definitely enough to last a day. . .In about 1-1.5 hours you should be able to get a full charge. For the colors and screen resolution, it is definitely good for the battery life!”
Jade Taylor: Jade also heavily used the watch and was pleased with the length of charge, unable to discern any ill effects on her smartphone’s battery life. “The battery life was way better than expected, especially after know that several sensors were always on in order to check if the watch is even being worn… I also tried many other watch faces, like all the motion watch faces. I was expecting the animation to dramatically decrease the battery life but I still ended with 50 percent at 10pm. I would compare this to the Samsung Gear Live and the Motorola Moto 360.”
JZ: Jackie noted the great fit as far as length of watch band goes, furthering, “The watch is extremely light, when put on wrist, one can barely feel it over time. After charging, it does release a tiny bit of warmth but it is not enough for it to be a bother. Because the length of the wrist is perfect dimensions for me, it fit perfectly.”
JT: “The sport band is one of the most comfortable and creepiest-feeling things I’ve worn. Ever,” Jade hilariously explains. “It’s made out of this material called ‘fluoroelastomer,’ and the best way to describe how it feels is like that odd soft feeling when you hold the circus peanut candies. It seriously feels like a circus peanut. Other than that candy feel the band is really light and much softer than all the other competitors. I honestly recommend the sport band and plan on buying a different band for those more nicely dressed days.”
Easy to Put on: 4.5
JZ: Super easy, according to Jackie, who gave a 5-star rating here: “The strap slips itself in extremely easily. It takes less than 3 seconds to take the watch on and off with ease.”
JT: Jade had more trouble: “It was quite funky for the first time… I let more of my friends and companions attempt to try it on almost of them were slightly confused and all end with an ‘ah-ha’ moment.”
App Experience: 4
JZ: Despite having to be tethered to the iPhone, Jackie found “compared to many other smart watches, it has the most functionality and flexibility I have ever seen in terms of a user’s app experience.” “Because the new OS hasn’t came out yet, the app store is still extremely limited in terms of the different apps that it can have,” he continues.
JT: Jade enjoyed the Apple Watch app experience more than that of Android Wear. “The digital crown makes it quite intriguing on how you navigate around. The crown made accessing the “app drawer” (Android term) quite easy to access. I have to say with my previous ventures with Samsung smartwatches and Android Wear; but this by far had the best app experience.”
Style + Design: 4
JZ: “Apple has always been the king of design and this time it did not disappoint,” Jackie said in reverence. “The watch has a slick look to it and the scroll in the side is definitely a plus. It is extremely small and extremely easy to scroll as well. The screen is beautiful with the glass on top and the simplistic look to it makes it looks luxurious.”
JT: Jade, on the other hand, was not bowled over. “I’m not going to lie but the watch is far from sexy or gorgeous, I honestly think it looks quite geeky.” “I honestly think that this smartwatch only looks good on the leather and stainless steel bands, but the Sport looks too much like an over-complicated nerd watch.”
JZ: After a few weeks, Jackie reports satisfactory strength. “So far it seems durable, because of the glass display the watch has a layer of protection to protect it from scratches as well as drops. Overall, it is extremely durable compared to many of the watches I’ve seen.”
JT: “I have hit against the corners of walls and I have hit several times, but still now know damage yet — not even a small scratch,” says Jade.
Water Resistance: 4
JZ: Jackie went swimming and reported fine functionality, adding “It can definitely resist everyday uses like showering and washing your hands.”
JT: “It has done great,” says Jade, saying he even got got in the rain with it. “It held up just fine, but I was recommended by Apple to not go swimming with it. I give it a 4 out of 5 just because of the fact that is is not rated at IPX7.”
JZ: “Because of the Apple brand, it definitely is more expensive than most other watches. However, because of all the parts of the watch, it is worth the price — if one can operate all of the functionality, of course.”
JT: “This is really its only big weakness,” Jade says, “I cannot stress this enough.” He’s not opposed to expensive smartwatches, though. “By all means, I do believe a smart watch is worth more than $300, especially when the watch is made out of aluminum. Other manufactures like the Motorola are made from stainless steal but only run you $150. The stainless steel Watch model starts at $600, and that’s way too out of my price range.”
Unboxing Experience: 3.5
JZ: “The box is exceptionally big for the package and the Apple Watch Sport does not seem extremely luxurious,” Jackie explains, noting a lot of wasted material. “It seems like the other Apple Watch models have prettier packaging to make it luxurious.”
JT: “I will have to say that the watch box was overwhelming,” Jade describes with disappointment. “It’s huge and doesn’t make sense why it’s so big.” For Jade, though, the unboxing experience was improved by the pairing experience: “It makes you feel like you earned this moment and that you are living in a sci-fi movie. I say this because in order to pair the apple watch to the iPhone you must use the apple watch app to scan the cool Scientific-QR-Code.”
Beyond star ratings, we also asked our users what they’d compare the device to.
JZ: “Other similar watches would be the Pebble and the Galaxy Gear. The Pebble watch recently introduced the neat timeline feature, though in terms of apps, it is lagging behind the Apple Watch. However, a Pebble is not only cheaper than an Apple Watch its battery lasts longer and the gold edition is luxurious looking for a more affordable price. The perk of the Galaxy Gear would be that it can run the Android apps, but the battery life isn’t great.
JT: “The only smart watch I would compare this to would something like the LG Urbane and the ZenWatch 2.”
Both gave special shout-outs to the fitness tracking capabilities:
JZ: “If you like to run, walk, or track your daily physical activities, as well as grab calls, text, and see notifications — this is a great watch for you! Also it keeps track of activities overall and give you a good graphical representation of data about yourself that is useful.”
JT: “I think the fitness aspect is great and I tested out the heart rate sensor and even double check at the same time and it was only off by 1-5 BPM every time. Knowing that, it’s great to have an accurate heart rate sensor and made my runs amazing and accurate.”
And, in summary, their overall thoughts?
JZ: “Overall, the Apple Watch is a revolutionary watch and has definitely set the standards high for future smartwatches. While the cost is high and it could use some minor improvements, the Apple Watch makes life much more convenient. I find myself using my iPhone significantly less because of the Watch and became a healthier person overall. It also allowed me to be a much more responsive in my messages to people, because I know when I am receiving them.”
JT: “Completely shattered my expectations. I thought it was going to be another phone pager where it just showed you what messages you got. Apple Pay, battery life, Siri, the app support, and the digital crown made all the difference. It absolutely blows all my previous smartwatches out of the water. It felt like Apple combined the Gear S with the Android Wear OS — but all in the right ways!” Jade offered another bit of sage advice: “You are buying a smartwatch, not a time machine or the next scientific discovery. Many people go in with this mentality and usually get quite disappointed with the fact that it is mainly an accessory that is used as an extension of their smartphone.”
Thanks, Jackie and Jade! Photos courtesy of Jackie Zhang.