Not only was the Apple Watch so significant for being the company’s first smartwatch, but it is also the first start-to-finish product since the iPad.

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We’ve had our hands on an Apple Watch for a few weeks now and have had some time to get to know this firsts smartwatch from Apple. The model we are trying out is the Apple Watch 38mm Stainless Steal Case with a Milanese Loop strap that we got from ShipandShop.

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At first it may feel like it is just a fashionable iPod on steroids, but the Apple Watch is so much more than that. The Apple Watch is a beautiful and well designed smartwatch that is a great, quick-glance companion your iPhone and is a powerful and useful wearable fitness device. It basically becomes part of your body and it knows when it’s on your wrist and when it leaves your wrist.

What Does it Do?

Everyone notices the Watch, but no one seems to know what it does and we were frequently asked questions like “What is it?”, “But what does it do?”, “Is it like a phone on your wrist?”, etc.

The first thing the Apple Watch obviously does is tell the time. You can customise your face with different designs and different display options like calendar events, the weather and the date.

Another thing you need to know is that the Watch isn’t an iPhone; it is a companion for your iPhone.

When you pair the Watch to an iPhone you’ll be able to carry certain phone features over to your Watch, which allows you to:

  • Make and receive speaker calls;
  • Receive Messages and be able to reply to them with emojis, short saved messages or you can dictate a message via Siri;
  • You can use Siri by pressing and holding down on the Digital Crown or you can activate Hey Siri, which lets active Siri by saying Hey Siri after waking you Watch;

Here’s how: Go to Settings on your Apple Watch > General > Siri > Turn on Hey Siri

  • It caries certain apps over like Instagram, Twitter and Mail, but these apps have been simplified and adjusted to be used on the Watch at glance and, again isn’t a full extension of your iPhone functionalities;
  • One of our favourite features is the camera viewing option. This option really makes the Watch feel like it’s some kind of James Bond spy watch and is obviously great for selfies;
  • Notifications from WhatsApp, Facebook, etc. are pushed to the Watch, but you can’t interact with these incompatible apps directly from the Watch, yet.

The Watch is an amazing fitness and health device and during our time using it, we love features like:

  • It tracks your 3 daily fitness goals – Stand, Exercise and Move – and will encourage you throughout the day to achieve these goals by for instance, poking you to stand up and move around for a minute;
  • The Watch has a built-in gyroscope and accelerometer so it is able to track your steps and the distance you’ve walked throughout the day. However, it has no onboard GPS and needs your paired iPhone within Bluetooth range to perform GPS-requiring functions;
  • There is a Workout app which you can use to track exercises like an Outdoor Walk, Indoor Run, Elliptical, Stair Stepper, etc. The data this app collects include the time spent, distance, average heart rate, calories burnt, etc.;
  • A heart rate sensor takes periodic readings of your heart rate throughout the day.

Design

As can be expected of any Apple product, the Apple Watch’s design is beautiful, durable and practical. As we mentioned above, we are using the Stainless Steal Case with a Milanese Loop strap Apple Watch. We love the simple and sleek stainless steel face, with Sapphire crystal Retina display. The Watch definitely looks like an Apple product and even though the design is so simple, it still feels like a luxurious time-piece and fashion statement. The Sapphire crystal screen and stainless steel face have not gotten any scratches or nicks since we started using the Apple Watch, which is reassuring since a watch is bound to get bumped around a little. Because the Watch is water-resistant you don’t have to be too precious about it when you are washing your hands or sweating a bit, but we wouldn’t recommend wearing it in the shower or pool.

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The Milanese Loop strap looks good on the Watch and follows the simple, yet luxurious style and is extremely practical and easy to adjust and close thanks to its magnetic buckle. The strap slides in perfectly and seamlessly into the face and looks like it is a natural part of the Watch.

The Digital Crown and a second button below it are the only things that break the continuous and seamless design. The Digital Crown on the side does not only make the Watch look like an actual watch but it’s also used as a type of home button as well as to scroll up and down. In fact, we preferred using the Digital Crown to scroll up and down because of the limited space on the screen of the Watch and your fingers can sometimes get in the way when you are scrolling. The another button below the crown brings up your favourite contacts.

The Watch has no port for headphones, but because it uses Bluetooth 4.0 you can connect it to wireless headphones or speakers to listen to your music.

Performance

The Apple Watch comes standard with Apple’s S1 processor, enabling the Watch to perform all of its many functions well. The Watch has a crystal clear Retina display and the touch functionality works perfectly. Navigation is quick and easy despite the small size of the small screen. Because it uses Bluetooth 4.0 and 802.11b/g/n.4GHz WiFi you can easily connected it to your iPhone or to wireless headphones and speakers without any issues or lag.

The Taptic engine, which creates different physical notifications, performs really well and is a lovely personal touch (no pun-intended). The Taptic system will for instance tap your arm when you receive a notification or will give left or right buzzes for navigation. If you know someone else with an Apple watch you can use Apple’s Digital Touch feature, which lets you send taps, sketches or even your heartbeat to friend.

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One thing the Watch is lacking in terms of performance is that it doesn’t always come on when you raise your wrist, especially when you for instance turn your wrist to show someone something. It isn’t a major problem because the Digital Crown can be used to turn the screen on, but it can become a little annoying. We also experienced some issues with the Watch registering when it was placed over our tattoos.

Battery Life

During our use of the Watch it had no problem getting through a whole day on a single charge, which was about 18 hours. It charges really quickly and you can use the Reserve Battery option if you are running low. The watch also turns the screen off when you lower your wrist or take it off to conserve battery life.

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Verdict

The Apple Watch is a luxurious time-piece and fully functional smartphone that looks good and feels great. There are many fun features to enjoy and the battery life doesn’t suffer due to the high performance and crystal clear display.

But this first wearable by Apple isn’t perfect and has the normal first-gen issues, which are sure to be addressed with updated versions. The price might also be too high for most people to afford.