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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?

" In my opinion, the volume for Watch alerts is too low, even when the sound is set to its highest setting.

Also, the haptic engine is a lot softer than I thought it would be. It's possible that I received a defective unit — according to The Wall Street Journal, problems with this component is the primary reason for the Watch's delay and short supplies. (When the madness dies down, I'm going to visit an Apple store and see if it there is a problem with my Watch. In my follow-up review later this month I should have more information.)

" I use Siri all of the time on my iPhone, and I'm using it even more on the Watch. The only problem is that the "Hey, Siri" command to activate the feature sometimes isn't recognized and I often have to repeat myself.

" Whenever I lift the Watch, it's usually to look at the face to tell the time. But sometimes I want to view the last app and continue doing what I was doing. You can set this option in the Watch app on your iPhone, or on the fly, just double-press the Digital Crown. That returns you to the last app used.

" I have read some reviews complaining that raising the Watch doesn't activate the display fast enough. I feel the Watch responds appropriately, but then again, I'm not a traditional watch wearer. For the past six months I've been using a Microsoft Band, and I'm accustomed to having to press a button to check the time. The fact that the Apple Watch turns on the display with a flick of the wrist is a step up for me.

That said, I can see how the Watch — which keeps the display off most of the time to save power — might seem slow to someone accustomed to a traditional watch.

What is a problem, though, is that the Watch display turns off far too quickly. Sometimes the Watch will turn itself off before an App or Glance has even finished loading. Touching the Watch display instantly turns it on again, but that should be unnecessary. There should be a way to lengthen the time before the display shuts itself off.

" I really like how Handoff — the process of moving a task from the Watch to your iPhone — is implemented. For example, at one point I dictated a note using the Watch; however, I then got an alert saying that I had to complete the task on the phone. I pulled out my iPhone, pressed the Home Button to turn on the display, and swiped up on the little Siri icon on the bottom left of the Lock Screen. When I did that, Siri on the iPhone confirmed that my note was taken.

 

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