Curious about what the Apple Watch does exactly? Is such a smart watch something you really need?
Let me go over the Apple Watch features with you, the good, the bad and the ugly, and also present you some way less costly alternatives.
The cheapest version of the Apple Watch, the Watch Sport is yours for €419 (for the 38mm) model or 469 (for the 42mm model).
The more expensive version, the “Watch”, costs respectively €669 and €719 (!)
Strangely enough, there is no difference between the two and all the (extra) bands are mutually compatible. Moreover, tests seem to show that the cheaper version is more scratch resistant than the more expensive one.
No Smart Watch Without An IPhone!
To use the Apple Watch, you do need an iPhone (iPhone 5 or later).
If your iPhone is not physically close to you, you can read only the time, use the “activity app”, listen to locally stored music and read cached e-mails or messages (but not answer).
The battery in the watch needs charging every day – depending on your use, once or twice (!)
If you are not looking at the Watch, the screen will automatically switch to black (to save power).
Force Touch And Notifications
When a message or an e-mail comes in, then the watch will alert you with a discreet beep or a short vibration: you feel a tap on the wrist. This way you don’t need to keep an eye on your IPhone all the time.
If you tap a message, you can reply with some preset phrases (eg. OK, yes, I’m coming, I’ll call you later, etc.).
Force touch (just push a little harder) is used to quickly mark messages as ‘read’.
The watch also includes Siri, so you can leave a spoken response. This spoken response is then converted into written text, or you can also just send it as audio.
You can also make a call via the Watch (mobile or FaceTime Audio).
Apps And Health
On the side of the watch there is a digital crown. If you press that button, it shows you all the apps (eg. Messages, Mail, Clock, etc.). When you turn the button, you can zoom in and out and select an app.
In many apps, you can also turn the digital crown to scroll or to make a selection.
You can’t install Apps directly though: Many iPhone apps come with a watch-app included, which is automatically installed on the watch.
Making use of the Watch App on the IPhone you can delete apps or install them manually. Apps without a watch-version (eg. WhatsApp), are not possible to use on the watch, but you do still get an alert.
Interesting is the built-in activity app for health and fitness. All the built-in sensors in the Watch measure how often you are standing up, moving, training, what your heart rate is, etc. All this information is then (clearly) visible in the app on the iPhone.
Alternatives For The Apple Smart Watch
Apple is not the only one with a smart watch. The PebbleTime was on the market before the Apple Smart Watch and you can buy them starting from €250 and up. The battery lasts almost a week and you can also use the watch on Android.
There are also many manufacturers who use Android Wear, like LG, Huawei and Motorola (from €160 and up) I have to say, they offer a lot of different styles and these watches are actually beautiful!
Now there is also an iOS app available for Android Wear.
Joy of Android has a very interesting “Ultimate Guide” on Android Smart Watches, so be sure to check that out.
A smart watch is certainly not indispensable. You can consider one if you want access to mail messages and apps without having to consult your smartphone.