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Apple Watch preorders begin: 5 reasons to splurge, 5 reasons to skip

Caitlin McGarry | April 13, 2015
Apple Watch preorders start today, but do you want to buy a first-generation gadget? We weigh the pros and cons.

Because you love Apple products and have $$$ to spend: Well, this is an easy one. If $349 plus tax is no big deal for your wallet and you like to keep up with what Apple's working on, it makes sense to snag the entry-level Apple Watch Sport to see what it's like.

Why you should skip it

Because it's first-gen: The first generation of any product has all kinds of bugs. Those early problems are always solved with later hardware releases, but that means you'll have to shell out another few hundred dollars (or thousands, depending on which Watch you buy) to get a better version in a couple years.

Because it relies too much on iPhone: Like other smartwatches, Apple Watch has to be paired with your phone to be fully functional. But the dependence can be a problem--advance looks at Apple Watch in the days leading up to preorders indicate that the Watch can be sluggish when trying to pull information from the iPhone. That wouldn't be so bad except the Watch has to rely on the iPhone for quite a bit of information if you're using any third-party apps (which you will).

Because there are few accessories for now: If you choose the most luxurious Apple Watch, the Watch Edition in rose gold with a modern buckle band, you're looking to spend $17,000. The modern buckle is a beautiful accessory, so you might be satisfied with it. But those who pick the lower-priced Apple Watch Sport might want to swap out their bands when they're heading to events where a fluoroelastomer strap doesn't seem suitable. Unfortunately, the modern buckle is $250 on its own, and doesn't exactly go with the aluminum Watch Sport, so Sport owners are out of luck when it comes to accessories on launch day. But we expect that to change quickly. Hopefully.

Because it falls short at telling time: One of Apple Watch's biggest criticisms from watch people (people who have worn watches their entire lives) is its inherent lack of watchiness. It doesn't immediately show you the time all the time. This is one of the major criticisms Daring Fireball's John Gruber leveled at the Watch: Its watch face isn't always on. It sometimes doesn't even activate when you raise your wrist, as it should. And there's a small delay when you do raise your wrist to activate the clock face, a delay that doesn't exist in mechanical watches. If you are a watch person, Apple Watch might not be the timepiece for you.

Because it's really expensive: It's going to be tough for many people, even diehard Apple fans, to justify buying a smartwatch. The Apple Watch Sport's $349 price tag is more than an iPhone costs with a two-year contract, and you need an iPhone to get any use out of the Watch. As prices come down and the Apple Watch proves its worth, people will be more likely to buy.


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