Author: glassesandgadgets

Apple Watch Series 1: Part III – The First Days

Go Back to Part II

After reading and watching extensive reviews about how not great the battery life was, I left the watch on the charger right up until I left at 0830. I have small hands and dainty wrists so the 38 mm was a perfect fit, and the watch face was very unobtrusive. I sent a text using the Scribble feature, but unless you have really small fingers or a stylus where you can easy smush 5+ letters on the Scribble pad at a time, sending longer texts isn’t something I would recommend.

1100: after an hour of yoga, my battery was at 95%. I’m assuming because yoga isn’t exactly a high-intensity sport (despite how sore my muscles were the next day) because it didn’t register the activity. There’s also only about 5 categories including Cycling, Running and  “Other” and that’s about it, so that was kind of disappointing.

1300: A delicious brunch and about a dozen received emails later, my battery was at 91%.

1700: Started work with a battery of 84%.

1825: I work in an environment that can sometimes be considered high stress, plus dealing with some other incredibly stressful personal issues, so I guess the Breathe app could tell that my heart rate was running a little high and it encouraged me to take a few minutes towards mindfulness; which oddly was the exact thing that I needed at that moment. Guided visuals and vibrations from the watch aid in helping you to literally just breathe. It sounds kind of gimmicky, but with the type of personality I have where I can get stressed out really easily, I really enjoy this feature.

2000-0000: The battery was around 71% and seemed to just hemorrhage juice around midnight when it was at 57%. Considering I was mostly receiving email notifications and sent a couple texts, this was surprising. I ended up working almost 2 hours of overtime that night and used the watch to make a call and preview some emails that came in. Finally made it home and went to bed around 0100 and had 50% battery left after just under 18 hours of use.

Since the first couple days, I’ve easily gotten more that 24 hours out of my Watch and probably around 36-40 hours out of it. Sure, there other devices or other activity trackers can go weeks or months without being charged, but the Watch does have a full colour screen and does give me the option to do a lot more in terms of staying connected to my phone so I don’t really have a problem with the limited battery life, especially because I still have to charge my phone every night anyway. I would say that much like your smartphone, your battery life depends on how much you actually use your device. The more time you spend with the screen on, whatever you’re doing, your battery is just going to drain faster. As long as I make sure I charge it before I’m about to head out, I haven’t find myself constantly carrying around my charger.


THE VERDICT

Pros

  • Full compatibility with the iPhone
  • Call quality is pretty decent considering how tiny the speaker is (can’t use in noisy spaces though)
  • Battery life is better than reported (24-40 as compared to 18)
  • Design is minimalist and unobtrusive

Cons

  • Apple Watch apps are limited and the 3rd party apps that are available can be pretty crappy; also can’t remove stock apps
  • Activity Tracking is non-existent for low-intensity activities (you would have to remember set up the Watch to track before you start)
  • Can only make it about 30 feet away from your iPhone before you lose connectivity (which means if you want to get notifications on the go, you still need to carry your phone with you)
  • Higher price than activity trackers or just dumb watches
  • Limited customizability in the Faces menu
  • Limited detail in notifications

So do you buy the Apple Watch? I’m gonna be honest with you – if you’re just looking for an activity tracker, you’re definitely better off spending less money on something the Garmin VivoFit or the Jawbone Up. If you don’t even want a screen then something like the Misfit would be perfect. Here I am, about a month later and I’m still not overly thrilled with the Watch, if anything I have decided to keep it more because of the compatibility issues with other smartwatches. But, if you love Apple products, the idea of continuity through all your devices, and have the money to spend, then go for it.

Apple Watch Series 1 Review; Part II – The Setup

Go Back to Part I

I obviously wanted to play around with it the second I got it, but I had a bunch of errands to run afterwards so it was another few hours before I actually opened the box. As I began setting up, I didn’t even make it past the Language preference screen before I was prompted to charge, with the battery being at 43%. I also had to work that night so I didn’t even get to play around with the watch until around 11 pm that night.

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The first thing I noticed is that the Apple Watch takes a REALLY long time to boot up. Like if the Apple Watch had a race against my mom’s 2008 Dell Studio running Windows XP, the Dell could take the time to connect to the Wifi and STILL beat the Apple Watch. So right from the jump I knew I’d definitely have to avoid turning it off or letting it die completely at all costs. When I did finally get into the set up, I did like that it asks you specifically which wrist you wear your watch on and which side you wear the crown on (I’m sure most if not all smart watches/activity trackers do this as I did have to do it for my Fitbit, but I still enjoy having these options).

 

I wasn’t particularly overjoyed with the Faces options either. A few of them I wish I could have combined together to get exactly what I wanted, but I ended up choosing the Modular Face with a digital clock and customized to have the battery life, Activity, Messages and Phone. I will admit I was a little dumb setting this part up, but I didn’t realize that to Sync Photos, the default album the photos come from is Favourites (I still haven’t figured out how to pull them from another album) and I spent at least a 15 minutes trying to figure that out.

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Next, I chose the apps I wanted to come up in the menu. This may be less of Apple’s fault and more the fault of the developers of the Apps I use but basic things like my Scotiabank app wouldn’t work. I tried half a dozen times to get Quick Balance to work and I either got “Unable to Process Request” or the just the spinning wheel of death. I finally gave up and uninstalled the app from the watch.

The Instagram app is just absolute trash. You can’t zoom in to see photos (which might be a little helpful considering you’re looking at a 1.5” – 1.75” screen!), and you can’t switch accounts. The feed is also extremely limited, and you’ll get through maybe 10 pictures before it’s considered the “end”. I stopped using Apple’s native Mail app just about 8 months ago when iOS 10 came out and Mail stopped working on my iPhone. I’ve since used Alto and Spark, but I can’t read emails past the first couple sentences and still have to go to my phone to read them.

Even the Twitter feed, again, it’s pretty limited. Perhaps my expectations of what a smart watch should be were skewed as but I was hoping that because the Apple Watch is specifically made for the iPhone, it would be more of an extension than I guess an extra step. With the ability to remove stock apps from the iPhone with iOS 10, I was definitely disappointed when I couldn’t remove stock apps from the Watch. The screen is only an inch and a bit long and it gets cluttered pretty quickly so I would have preferred the ability to clean things up a bit.

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Pictured (Left-Right, Top-Bottom): Weather, Camera, Mail, Photos, Phone, Map, Calendar, Word Clock, Clock, Timer, Workout, Messages, Wallet, Time, Breathe, Activity & Facebook Messenger. I use about 4 of these apps.

Part III

Apple Watch Series 1 Review; Part I – The Purchase

To make this review a little easier to digest, I’m gonna break this post down into 3 smaller posts. Keep scrolling for Part I, or click here for Part II and Part III.

Back in November, my Fitbit decided it was done with life. It was a relatively slow process though. It started with a little air bubble on the band, right under the computer.

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The air bubble kept getting bigger and bigger until I finally contacted Fitbit. Since I was out of warranty, they wouldn’t send me a new one and that was completely fine, but I was willing to pay to get it fixed. Fitbit doesn’t fix their products. The best that they could offer me was 25% off a new tracker, but only if I spent $200 or more. Considering the only Fitbit that’s over $200 was the Blaze and that clocks in right at $200 before taxes. If that 25% coupon could have been applied to the Alta, there’s a good chance I’d still be using a Fitbit, but alas, lesson learned. If a company won’t take your money to fix their product, there’s a REALLY GOOD chance that the actual cost to make that product is pretty low and they’re making a killing selling it at a 1000% markup.

After that unfortunate experience, I was left watch/tracker-less for around 6 months. Yes, I could have just bought any old watch, but as a self-identified tech geek, what fun would that be? I had been contemplating purchasing smart watch for a while, but all the ones that I loved either didn’t have the compatibility with the iPhone (like the Moto360 or Samsung Gear) or just really weren’t that cute (sorry, Pebble lovers). I’m pretty deep into the Apple ecosystem now (iPhone 6s Plus, MacBook Pro, 2nd Gen Apple TV & 2nd Gen iPad), so breaking away from the ecosystem just to get a smart watch that wasn’t even fully compatible with my phone didn’t exactly seem the most reasonable. That left me with just one option – the Apple Watch.

Anyone who knows me knows that I do a stupid amount of research before I buy anything, and  in reality I think I just wanted a new activity tracker, but a lot of them don’t actually have watch faces (Jawbone UP, Misfit, Moov Now) or they have those “sport” bands similar to the Fitbit (Garmin VivoFit, Samsung Gear Fit 2) and after everything that happened with that, it left me a little apprehensive. The research I do prior to buying is to:

1) make sure the exorbitant amount of money that I’m probably going to spend on this item is actually worth it, and,

2) to see if the capabilities and functionalities work into for my specific needs.

After looking into the Apple Watch, I wasn’t over the moon about it, especially when it was $359 CAD and didn’t exactly seem like something I needed. If I had a dollar for every time I did research on smart watches and activity trackers, I probably just could have bought them all and picked the best one for me based on my actual experience. Finally, after literal months of research and contemplation, I headed to the Apple Store. The Apple Store on the weekend is a hellish place to be. In the last 3 years haven’t been able to make it out of an Apple Store in no less than 1 hour, so I prepared myself for a long wait. Maybe it’s because they actually had an adequate amount of staff that day, or maybe it’s because I was the only person looking for a Watch at the time, but I made it out of there in less than 20 minutes with a brand new, Series 1 – 38 mm Apple Watch in Pink Sand.

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Part II

Welcome to the Updated Glasses & Gadgets!

Did you miss me?

Life can really be a fickle mistress sometimes. After going through a few major life changes, I went on a bit of an involuntary hiatus from writing. But now that things appear to be going on the right track, I’m back and ready to start writing again!

I’ve also updated my site layout, as well as a new logo. You can check them out on any of my social media channels:

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Thanks for sticking with me, you guys are the best. Stay tuned for new content coming very soon!