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Hands-on: 48 hours with the Apple Watch

Michael deAgonia | May 4, 2015
It's seemed like a long wait from when rumors of the Apple Watch first emerged two years ago to April 10, 2015, when Apple began accepting pre-orders. I was one of the lucky early purchasers and my Watch has finally arrived. So was all that anticipation worth it?

It's seemed like a long wait from when rumors of the Apple Watch first emerged two years ago to April 10, 2015, when Apple began accepting pre-orders. I was one of the lucky early purchasers and my Watch has finally arrived. So was all that anticipation worth it?

I bought the 42mm stainless steel model with the black sports band for $599 (the smaller 38mm model costs $50 less); it arrived four days after the official April 24 ship date. Currently, orders placed online show a June ship date, and the devices are expected to be available in Apple stores in June.

As of this writing, I've spent about 48 hours with the Watch and I'm still growing accustomed to its ins and outs. So far, I've used it to track workouts, control music, send messages, get directions and look up currently-playing songs using Shazam — and I may have even looked at it once or twice to tell the time. This is a collection of my first impressions.

An impressive design

My first thought when I took the Watch out of its box was that it's much smaller than I expected; I even checked the label to make sure I had received the 42mm version. If you haven't seen one in person, it's clear that close-up photos let you see the design details, but definitely give the Watch an appearance of bulk. In the hand, or on the wrist, this isn't the case at all.

Neither the stainless steel nor the aluminum model (which I had a chance to look at earlier) feels cheap. The stainless steel version comes with a ceramic back, which covers the heart rate monitoring sensors, and a sapphire crystal display. The quality of the build process and materials used is evident, even with the sport band (which is made of fluoroelastomer, a material that feels like soft, rubberized plastic). I found the Watch to be very comfortable to wear and not obtrusive, whether I was working out or just wearing it casually.

The Watch looks and feels like an actual watch, complete with a crown on the side which Apple calls a Digital Crown. The Digital Crown gives the user manual control, allowing you to zoom into apps, scroll through lists, and make changes to settings. It works in concert with the Watch's haptic feedback, so it's easy to tell when you've reached the end of lists, for instance.

Next to the Digital Crown is the side button, which gives quick access to your list of contacts and different ways to connect with them. From that list, you can send them messages and emoticons, call their phones, or, if they have an Apple Watch, send sketches, taps or your heartbeat.

 

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