Tuesday, 15 September 2015

Apple Watch

Smart watches are slowly becoming more and more popular, but with the Apple Watch costing a small fortune are the benefits worth the high price tag? Available in three different versions; the Apple Watch Sport, the Apple Watch and the Apple Watch Edition, they range from prices in the hundreds to well over 10k. The Sport features an anodised aluminium case and Ion-X glass display, whereas the standard Apple Watch features a stainless steel case and sapphire crystal display. There’s not really any difference in display quality, but the sapphire crystal display is much more scratch resistant.

Measuring in with a depth of just 10.5mm, the Apple Watch is actually slimmer than quite a few other smart watches and even some non-smart watches. The Digital Crown is essentially the enter, up and down button for the watch. A second side button is situated below the crown and is used for turning the device off and on, as well as to access a few other features of the watch. The underside of the watch is where the majority of the sensors are located as well as the charging port, which uses a magnet to provide power to the battery.

Wi-Fi is the real source of power for the Apple Watch though. Without it you’re left with an expensive heart rate monitor. Bluetooth 4.0 is used to send and receive data to and from your phone, as well as the sharing of the iPhone’s Wi-Fi connection. Even when not paired with your iPhone you can still use your watch, but you’ll have very limited functionality. This is where the built-in Wi-Fi takes over and connects to the hotspot you were previously using on your phone (as long as it’s still in range) allowing you to still send and receive iMessages, Digital Touch messages and use Siri.

Digital Touch is a really cool messaging service between contacts within your “favourite friends” section, allowing you to send small sketches, a tap on the wrist using the built-in Taptic Engine, and also your own heart beat. The apps on your Apple Watch are called Glances. The name kind of gives it away; the watch version of an app is merely a “glance” at the whole app, meaning that functionality is limited. A good example is the mail application. You’re able to view messages, but sending a reply is something you’ll have to do on your iPhone.

The benefits of the Apple Watch with regards to health and fitness can definitely be appreciated as well. Whether you’re at the gym, or sat down at your desk, the watch tracks your overall fitness and exercise levels and can judge whether or not you need to get up and stretch your legs. You can also log any exercise you’ve completed. The watch will work out the calories burned, thanks to the built-in heart rate monitor, and alert you when you’ve reached various goals.

From my short time with the Apple Watch, I’m impressed with how well the watch works. It is, however, just an expensive extension to your iPhone. You’ll also need at least an iPhone 5 for the watch to work properly. An update to WatchOS is due to appear this fall as well, so new features and improvements could be on the horizon. For the more durable classic version you’re looking at a pretty high starting, which is absolutely insane in my opinion. There are many other smart watches available with a much lower price tag. Some offering very similar features as well.

Battery life was impressive as I managed to get a whole days use out of the watch, with it being fully charged when I woke to around 5 per cent when I went to bed. Use it too often though and you could end up with an expensive bracelet wrapped around your wrist.

The Apple Watch gets a very respectful 4/5.

Matthew Scott

Apple Watch at CeX

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