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Deep-dive review: The Apple Watch after a month of use

Michael deAgonia | June 9, 2015
Every once in a while, there comes a bit of tech that lets you do what you're already doing, but in simpler and more effective ways. After using the Apple Watch for a month, I've decided that the watch is that kind of product. If you're already in the Apple ecosystem, chances are that you'll want one.

However, a workout involving pushups — or the motion one makes when lifting weights — doesn't always trigger a proper reading. It seems the lack of arm movement has a lot to do with this; this has been confirmed by Apple support reps. The readings aren't just off, but really off: after a set of weights, my heart is usually beating at 120-140 beats per minute, and the Watch would report results in the 70 bpm range.

With the recent 1.01 update, the device's behavior changed: Now, if the Watch senses arm movement and it's not in Workout mode, it skips the attempt to get your heart rate. I found this disappointing: I would much rather that the Watch should automatically check for increased heart rate when it detects movement — that would give a more accurate reading of the day's activities and calories burned.

Interestingly, there was one aspect of the Watch I didn't expect, and that involved the negative social implications inherent to checking for a Notification, especially when someone is speaking to you. It feels ruder than with the Microsoft Band, which is easier to discreetly check because you can keep the Band display on the inside of your wrist.

Bottom line

I consider the Watch a breakthrough product — but that doesn't mean it's for everyone. It's a relatively expensive accessory for the iPhone rather than a necessity, and as a fitness tracker, there are alternatives that are much cheaper yet do the same things — some even offer features the Watch doesn't include, like live UV sensor and proper water-proofing.

Overall, the Watch is well-designed, well-executed, fits perfectly into the Apple digital lifestyle, and offers access to an entire ecosystem of apps, hardware accessories, and media that Apple has spent over a decade building up. Over all, after a month of use, I'm very positive on the Apple Watch, but the folks at Apple have a much larger audience to convince. Time will tell if the combination of functions and fashion will be enough to lure even more users than the rush of early adopters.

 

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