Only a crazed Apple fanboys would pay $350 for a watch running watch OS. Only a savvy consumer (such as myself) would pay $350 for a watch running watch OS 2 if the package also includes a $100 Target gift card.
When the Apple watch was announced over a year ago I walked myself through the door of a Target to purchase a … wait for it … Pebble. And I loved the Pebble. It did everything I thought I wanted a connected watch to do. It can send texts to my wrist? It can control my music? It can fulfill very basic activity tracking functions with third-party apps? Sweet!
Then, the months went by, and my Pebble stayed locked to my wrist unchanged. Stilted in the world of evolution. I found myself relying on it less and less and pulling my phone out more and more. I couldn’t start or continue conversations from my Pebble, but the biggest concern was my inability to fetch email from my watch.
This may come as a surprise to many, but I actually get paid money to type words on a computer. My ability to continue receiving actual money for typing depends on my ability to be available to a number of editors at a moments notice. Spoiler alert: Playing Trouble with the kids is way less fun if I’m constantly missing my turn as I’m refreshing my email on my phone or hustling back and forth to my Mac. Something needed to change so I could focus on mercilessly trouncing a 4 and 6-year-old at the entire Milton-Bradley collection.
And then came the Black Friday ads. Target offered up a $100 gift card with purchase of any Apple watch making my 38mm (I have small wrists. I will hide in shame no longer) space grey sport a killer deal.
I got it home charged it up, installed Watch OS 2, which proved to be a lengthy process. Just long enough to let the anticipation spike through the roof.
I put it on and here’s my thoughts:
- It looks better than my Pebble.
- It feels super comfortable and the weight is right.
- The activity tracking doesn’t strike me as super accurate. I can do an Insanity workout and get the same exercise minutes as I do while walking to the post office.
- The watch faces that were expanded in OS 2 are still pretty limited. It took a while to find an option that I wanted to stick with.
- The glances are pretty slick, but I removed many to keep it streamlined and simple.
- The side button seems completely useless since finding friends in a pinch is never a priority. Apple should make this a shortcut button like on the Pebble. Quicker access to mail or music makes more sense to me.
- I was disappointed a text will only go to the watch when the phone is sleeping, not simultaneously.
- Early tests prove that I can play Bluetooth music while using an activity tracking app like Runkeeper, which means that I can run without my phone. Woohoo.
- Nightstand mode is surprisingly awesome. No more clunky alarm clock. The watch in nightstand mode will turn on the screen a few minutes before your set time and then make an audible alarm.
- Finally, I was happy to see that when the mail app is open on the watch, it will constantly fetch new mail. This is the holy grail of the freelance writer. At last, Hungry Hungry Hippo success will be mine.
Having the Apple Watch now makes that Pebble look like a joke. All of the pluses of the Pebble become negatives. Who cares about battery life? I don’t wanna sleep with a watch anymore. Nightstand mode, baby. Price? Pebble Time is coming in between $200 and $130. For $50 to $100 more the Apple watch upgrades you from a toy to a valuable tool. Durability? My Pebble was a trooper, but the Apple watch will be treated with tender, loving, care.
As with any Apple product, the thing that pains me the most is the next watch is going to be so much cooler.
Until then, Consume.Review.Repeat. gives the Apple watch sport 9.8 Cupertinos out of 10.