When Apple first announced it was releasing an Apple Watch for Spring 2015, my first thought was that I needed to have it. The only smartphones I have ever used are iPhones. I own an iPad. If I have to ever touch a PC instead of my beloved MacBook Pro, I want to throw said PC out the nearest window after about five seconds of use.
I had to have it. I showed some restraint by purchasing the cheapest model. $349 got me the simple white rubber band and the aluminum watch face.
Immediately, the Watch-compatible apps from my phone automatically downloaded to the watch. I was especially looking forward to seeing how the Workout app and MapMyRun (by Under Armour) worked out for me. I fooled around on the Watch-exclusive apps. I sent a text from my watch. I set my customizable home screen the exact way I wanted it. I was pumped.
However, the initial glamour of the watch wore off. I could only test my heartbeat using the Watch’s sensors so many times and could only send so many drawings to the two other people I knew who had Apple Watch.
While I look at my Watch often, the way I would a normal, non-smartwatch watch, every time I look at it, I ask myself: Was it really worth the almost $400 I paid?
For the sake of this blog, I turn to the oldest way of deciding: a pros and cons list.
Before I used the Apple Watch, I used a Garmin vivofit. It tracked steps taken, calories burned and distance traveled. The Apple Watch, using both my phone’s GPS and built-in sensors, is a much more accurate reader. Plus, with its watch face, it can offer you a lot more data at once.
I LOVE running with the Apple Watch. It doesn’t get too gross, and it runs the MapMyRun app well. I can start or stop my workout from my watch, see my distance, track calories and more.
I also have thoroughly tested the Apple Watch activity app, and I can say that it has actually motivated me. Based on your customization, along with your activity level, height and weight, you’ll receive certain fitness goals to hit every day: calories burned minutes of exercise and a “stand goal,” which gets you up and moving throughout the day.
It’s a fantastic motivator.
Pro No. 2: Smart notifications on my wrist
Before my Apple Watch, I spent so much time checking my phone constantly. Any time I heard it vibrate, I’d pull my phone out to check it, or I’d be looking at it always even if it wasn’t going off. Every email of a Google Alert or simple buzz, I’d check my phone. Not only did it keep me glued to my screen, but it also wore out my phone battery.
Well, no more! The Apple Watch is awesome in that it shows previews of all my top notifications. Now, I can simply dismiss a promotional email or Google Alert that comes up. If I receive a text that doesn’t require a response, I can simply look at it on my wrist and then ignore it. It’s so nice to not have to keep my phone out all of the time.
Pro No. 3: Comfort
The watch is also extremely comfortable even when I sweat in it. I generally forget it’s on my wrist. The rubber band I use is extremely flexible, and it fits nicely on my child-sized wrist.
Con No. 1: Extension of my phone
I really don’t need this thing. The other day, I left the house with my Watch sitting on my dresser. My life didn’t end, to say the least.
The Watch serves as nothing more than an extension to my phone. Sure, I didn’t have the Watch on my wrist to tell me the steps I traveled that day or the calories burned. But … I only went to my office that day, and I didn’t need a Watch to tell me I had a lazy day.
When I did receive a notification that day, it was on my phone. … Didn’t need a watch for that.
Granted, I got the smaller size of the Watch, but the display is too small for me.
It’s nice to glance at as a watch. It clearly shows the mileage I’ve traveled by running. I can see the temperature outside on the weather app. But, that’s it. If I want any sort of detail from any of the apps I use, I might as well look at my phone.
It’s too small to be a comprehensive, independent device.
Con No. 3: It’s not waterproof
Past fitness trackers I’ve used or jewelry I’ve had does fine in the shower or pool. This does not. Although it’s been fine with sweat or splashes of water from washing my hands, I can’t get it really wet. Granted, I knew this going in, but after seeing how much I wear the Watch, it’s frustrating.
For a device that’s supposed to fit so seamlessly in my life, this is disappointing to me.
When I first ordered the watch, I was afraid of one thing: that the short battery life (it only lasts one day) would be annoying. However, I currently have an iPhone 5s that I charge two or three times a day. The Watch is no different – actually, it’s better than that. I just charge it in the morning before leaving, and it’s fine! The Watch charges SO quickly.
However, the verdict after having it for a few weeks is this: The watch is nice, but it’s a luxury. If I were to lose it, I would be upset mainly because of the money lost, not because it actually inconvenienced my life.
For now, I’ll continue to use my Watch as an actual watch, as a fitness motivator and as a “Ooh, how do you like that?” conversation starter. It really is a cool device, but like I said, it’s a luxury.
I could live without it, and unless you have a few hundred bucks you have nothing better to do with, I’d suggest you do, too.
Olivia Witherite is a social media lover based in Baltimore. She is currently working on social media projects for PlayBetter.com, MASNsports.com and more. You can learn more about her career on LinkedIn and more about her personal life on Twitter.