13 - The Apple Watch review over 39 days - Sport vs Steel / by Paul Solt

I have been using the Apple Watch for 39 days (since April 24th) and I have tried out 3 different models with the Apple Watch Sport and Apple Watch Steel using both 38mm and 42mm sizes. Learn about my one month impressions on the Apple Watch.

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Why Apple Watch?

Two goals: fitness and coffee app

  1. A family member died recently and I wanted to step up my game on my fitness habits and tracking.
  2. I want to make a coffee brewing app for Apple Watch (limited functionality)

Battery

Lasts all day – no real problems except when I was really trying to test out a ton of apps (20-30% at night)

Screen

The screen is amazing – works great in doors and it's bright enough out doors. Out of all the screens for a smart watch, the Apple Watch is the best.

The other part that goes hand and hand with a good screen is good user input and no lag. Other smart watches are sluggish – the Apple Watch is very responsive with 60 FPS (frames per second). Overall the experience is very fluid.

Metal - Steel vs. Aluminum

My preference is Aluminum – I’m not big on jewelry and flashy objects. Brushed aluminum fits my style (jeans, shorts, and t-shirts)

The Aluminum also feels significantly lighter on my wrist – I don’t notice it as much as the Steel. 

The original watches I used to wear have all been sport watches, so that is my bias with the Apple Watch.

38mm vs 42mm

Bigger is better, as long as your not petite. Hands down I would recommend the 42mm size.

Buttons are all bigger and easier to hit with larger fingers (I’m only 5’5” 162.5lbs with a muscular build).

It’s a $50 difference in price for the aluminum and I think it’s worth it.

Plus you’ll get longer battery life with the 42mm over the 38mm Apple Watch.

Bands

My favorite band is the Apple Watch sport band – it’s so flexible and adapts to all my physical activities (ultimate frisbee).

The metal bands were too rigid for me – I want flexible.

The leather is ok, but I prefer the texture and feel of the sport band more.

Favorite colors are black and white sport bands.

Fitness App

I love the ease of use of the Fitness app to start a run, walk with my dog (Australian shepherd), or P90X3.

The built in heart sensor helps me understand exertion and when I need to back down or when I push harder again.

Activity App

This is a great way to make sure you are moving and that you fill in the circles. It gives you a few goals to work towards by the end of the day. Just the push I needed to keep going.

I can compare easily to Steph and that adds another level of commitment to staying active and working to be more healthy. 

Metronome

I have been trying to increase my running cadence – so I use the metronome app that works pretty well. You need both the iPhone + Apple Watch to do this, since there are no native APIs yet. Audio would probably need bluetooth headphones.

Music controller

On some runs or walks I’ll control my iPhone in a running belt using the music app on the Apple Watch. This works great – though I didn't’ realize I need to get blue tooth ear phones to listen to music without my iPhone on my runs.

App Development

I really would like to leverage more sensor data in some of my app ideas, but they currently are not possible without the native API. We’ll see when that roles out in the Fall of 2015. 

I experimented with some basic Apple Watch app prototypes, but put them on hold to work on the iPhone version of my new Brew Coffee App.

Apple Watch app idea - requires sensors

  • pushup app tracking/cadence app

Learn to program apps for iPhone

Real World iPhone app course - Swift iPhone app course for beginners

Problems, Issues, or Funny Stories

None of the issues have been major. There have been some frustrating syncing issues, but those might be fixed now with the new update. There have been a few funny moments using the Apple Watch too.

  • The Activity doesn’t always sync – some kind of bug with data. Quitting the app on iPhone sometimes fixes the issue or restarting the Apple Watch.
  • Some touches between Steph and I stopped sending, restarting the Apple Watch seemed to fix the issues.
  • I achieved my exercise goal while in the bathroom – not sure how that worked out.
  • Sometimes the Apple Watch tells me to stand up when I’m already standing at my standing desk. 
  • Last week it told Steph to stand up when we were making dinner in the Kitchen.
  • One night I was testing out the heart beats and sending them to Nick (with the Steel Apple Watch) and he was at the RIT Alumni Board dinner with the RIT Provost. They got a kick out of it – he only told me afterwards who was around as he was playing with it.
  • Siri is not great – less feedback than on iPhone and it sometimes works, but usually doesn’t. Apple still has a long way to go to make it better.

Who should buy the Apple Watch?

  • Fitness + health (heart beat)
  • Early adopters
  • App developers