Please note: there are newer versions of the Apple Watch available! The Apple Watch (Series 2) and the Apple Watch (Series 3).

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Apple Watch Sport Band (38MM)


£139.99

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£199.97

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Apple Watch Sport Band (42MM)


£26.99

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£224.97

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Apple Watch Stainless Steel (38MM)


£64.95

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£349.99

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£599.00

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Apple Watch Stainless Steel (42MM)


£175.00

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£489.99

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£599.00

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Outside of certain parts of London, Silicon Valley and other “out there” places (where I hear the mythical bearded hipsters, early adopters and bears between the lines hang out), I wonder how much of the wearables market Apple has conquered.

That’s right! I don’t yet have a friend who owns an Apple Watch – oh my (hangs head in shame). But they are out there – surely? I mean I have one, it’s here. And now that more and more merchants (outside of Apple land) are stocking the much coverted smartwatch, perhaps things are set to change.

The Apple Watch certainly has something to offer for iOS users (especially if you’re into the whole health monitoring / fitness tracker stuff), but is it enough to get all of us to convert and don the latest in wearable tech?

 

Vogue, Strike A Pose

Sure. For most it’s an image thing. And lets face it, this “iWatch” (why didn’t Apple call it that?) is an attractively designed piece of techno-jewellery-gadgetry (as if we would expect anything else from the Cupertino-based outfit). But while some may argure the Apple Watch is essentially a digital square with rounded edges strapped to your wrist, there’s no denying this is one expertly built “digital sqaure”, packed full of nifty features.

Tech loving fashionistas have two sizes to choose from (38mm and 42mm), and can opt for a load of different straps (leather, metal, silicon and so on) and faces depending on the model (if I were a little richer, the 18 carat version would certainly tickle my fancy). However, while the exterior aesthetics and price tag varies, the software and tech specs are exactly the same – I have the Apple Watch Sport which is the entry level version.

 

Unexpected iTechnology

As something that’s effectively an augment to your iPhone, you’ll hear people argue that the Apple Watch is a bit pointless, that it isn’t revolutionary. The first point is certainly wrong (in your face Jeff), the latter perhaps a little more justified.

The Apple Watch makes life easier because it frees you from the smartphone pocket dance that some of us go through every day (we’ve all been there). It’s easier to check your inbox discreetly rather than rudely. Voice to text messages using Siri and search are a pleasure to do. Haptic technology (more of which below) is another aspect that offers you greater control and subtlety. Despite the fears before launch, the Apple Watch’s battery, is often better than that of your iPhone. I got a couple of days out of it, but then it depends on how you use it.

 

Pointless? Absolutely Not!

Whether it will ever change the way we live is a different question, but haptic technology and Apple’s Taptic Engine is a feature that has great potential. This is where your Apple Watch vibrates in different ways in order to relay information or forewarn you of a message. Driving is an area where this could be a help. Instead of having to glance at a screen or turn down your music, a vibration pattern tells you when to turn. Plus it potentially eliminates the need for sound alerts to calls.

Next, the fitness tracking element is actually pretty good at calculating distances and steps taken – not something that can be said for every activity band. The ability to send your heartbeat to a loved one is a bit weird (let’s be honest), but the fact that it has an optical HR sensor (even if they’re not as reliable as old-fashioned chest bands) is a big plus. Combine those with other apps and you have a great fitness / health tool.

Oh, and it has Apple Pay, too (cash is so last season).

 

Quibble Me Timbers

Apple tried to big it up, but the digital crown is a little bit redundant, as you’ll probably just end up swiping, whilst touch screens aren’t always brilliant when combined with sweaty fingers. Unlike uglier sports watches, the Apple Watch isn’t waterproof, so it’ll have to stay out the pool, although it is water-resistant. Finally, it isn’t always-on. That helps with a battery life, but occasionally the flick gesture that you make with your wrist to enable it doesn’t work, which can be a bit annoying and can make you look like you have some weird tick.

Another little niggle is that, while it is possible to use the Apple Watch without an iPhone, you’ll be very limited in what you can do. Want to connect to the Internet? Forget about it. Apple Watch collects its live data and GPS signal using (you’ve guessed it) your iPhone, which means a lot of the apps (e.g. Siri) will be useless. Basically, this smartwatch has been designed to work together with your iPhone and not independently, alienating anyone who doesn’t already own an iPhone.

No iPhone? Don’t fret! There are still some features that work without an iPhone. Here’s a few…

1. The Time

Who’d have funk it – Apple Watch can tell the time and all on its own. You can even set alarms, timers and use the stopwatch without an iPhone in sight.

2. Fitness Tracking

Okay, so GPS is out the window but you can still track your activity using the onboard sensors such as the accelerometer and the heart rate monitor. In addition to your heart rate, you can set goals and track steps taken, stairs climbed, oh and your stand-sit ratio. Although it will try and sync with the Health App on your non-existent iPhone.

3. Media Centre

While streaming music won’t be on the agenda (services like Spotify need the Interwebs), you can listen to your stored music, podcasts and audiobooks (up to 2GB) through the magic of bluetooth headphones. And if you’ve got iTunes on your comupter, you can use the app to control your playlists and listen iTunes Radio on your desktop – a little like a futuristic remote control. That goes for Apple TV too using Apple’s ‘Remote App‘.

4. Apple Pay

Bit of a cheat (as you’ll need an iPhone for this initially), but once you set up an Apple Pay account you can then use your Apple Watch to pay for stuff, even if the iPhone you used initially to set up the account is not around. Obviously this only applies to shops that have Apple Pay compatible technology of course.

5. Passbook

Like Apple Pay, Passbook helps ditch the plastic. Unlike Apple Pay however, it’s already on the Apple Watch so no need for an iPhone to set it up. Passbook lets you store your boarding passes, electronics tickets for the cinema and so on.

6. SPG Keyless

Another way that Apple Watch is helping you declutter your pockets is with SPG Keyless. This feature allows you to unlock Starwood Hotel Rooms with your Apple Watch and the magic of Bluetooth – not a key in sight. I’m not sure if this is just a US thing (for now), but it could mark the start of bluetooth locks for the home and elsewhere.

 

Boom! There It Is…

Will the Apple Watch change your life? Probably not. It won’t make you more Zen, or cut the noise and stress out of your life if you feel that’s there’s too much of it. But it is pretty cool, pretty useful and a pretty good all-in-one replacement if you own a normal watch, a fitness tracker, a sports watch that are constantly jangling up against one another on your overcrowded wrists.

  • Just like the majority of Apple products there’s several options. But rather than it being about memory size, it’s all about the finish with three different Apple Watch collections…

Apple Watch Sport

– As the name suggests, this is the sporty lightweight version. Choose between four different anodised aluminium cases: Silver, Space Grey, Rose Gold and Gold.
– That 7000 Series aluminium is 60% stronger than standard alloys.
– Each Apple Watch Sport has strengthened Ion-X Glass (that’s the same material used in the windows of space shuttles and high-speed trains). Not only is this aluminosilicate glass light, it’s tougher than standard glass.
– Ideal for Sport (duh, just look at the name), the Sport Band is made from high-performance fluoroelastomer.

Apple Watch

– This fine looking iWatch is the mid-range version of the Apple Watch.
– Made of refined 316L stainless steel (80% harder than standard steel), there’s two different finishes colour available for the case: Classic Stainless Steel or diamond-like carbon coated Space Black Stainless Steel.
– While there’s 20 different official models available overall (with even more unofficial ones)… Milanese Loop, Link Bracelet, Leather Loop, Classic Buckle, Sport Band… the list goes on.
– Both the Apple Watch (Stainless Steel) and Apple Watch Edition (18-carat Gold) come with a Sapphire crystal display, so you can rest assured that retina display will stay intact – Sapphire is one of the hardest transparent materials on earth don’t you know.

Apple Watch Edition

– Proving that Apple Watch is as much a statement jewellery piece as a high-tech wearable, Apple have created the Apple Watch Edition which has a case made out of 18-Carat Gold: Choose either Yellow Gold or Rose Gold.
– To avoid scratching your timepiece, Apple have engineered an entirely new alloy that’s up to twice as hard as standard gold.
– Like the Apple Watch (Stainless Steel), the Edition comes with a Sapphire glass display.

  • No matter which Apple Watch you choose, you have the option of either 38MM or 42MM size strap.
  • For the chunkier 42MM Watch the display is 1.5 inches with a 390×312 screen resolution and a 302ppi. While the 38MM version has a 1.32 inch screen with a 340×272 screen resolution and a 290ppi.
  • But that’s where the differences stop… more or less.
  • Each Apple Watch is fitted with an Apple S1 computer-on-a-chip processor and teamed with WatchOS2, which helps you handle business and apps like a boss.
  • While the integrated 802.11b/g/n 2.4GHz WiFi and Bluetooth 4.0 LE lets you continue larger tasks on your iPhone or other connected Apple device.
  • It works the other way too. Receive smart notifications on your wrist, discreetly with a gentle tap using Apple’s innovative Taptic Engine. Each notification has a distinct tap so you don’t even have to look. No need to let everyone know how popular you are.
  • For those who live for the sound of digital love, the mono speakers can give you audio cues.
  • And thanks to the built-in mic, you can use features such as Siri, take calls and reply to texts using your voice.
  • Or, if you’re feeling adventurous, you can stay in touch by sending your heart beat, an emoji, personalised sketch, voice message and even share your location with a little help from the HRM, Capacitive Touchscreen and
    GPS.
  • In addition to voice, there are a few ways to navigate the Apple Watch…

Digital Crown – More than a salute to the traditional watch, that Digital Crown lets you scroll through lists and zoom in on photos without your massive meat sticks getting in the way.

Side Button – Located just under the Digital Crown, the discreet button is your shortcut to your inner circle, Apple Pay and the almighty power.

Force Touch – More than merely recognising touch, Apple Watch senses the force of that touch. By pressing down harder, you’ll uncover additional controls such as Messages, Music and Calendar, let you choose different watch faces, pause workouts and search for addresses using the Maps app.

Capacitive Touch – Just like your smartphone, you can tap, swipe and flick your way into different options.

  • Worried if the size of the watch will hold you back, don’t be.
  • 8GB internal storage (2 GB for music, 75 MB for photos) isn’t much by today’s standards, but for a device meant to be used in unity with your main device (an iPhone), it’s plenty to get things done and then some.
  • While charge time is estimated to last up to 18 hours depending on usage:

Talk Time – 3hrs
Audio Playback – 6.5hrs
Workouts – 6.5hrs
Timepiece – 48hrs 
Power Reserve – 72hrs 

  • Charging is super easy too. Using MagSafe Technology, Apple Watch uses inductive charging. So simple, it can be connected in the dark. A Magnetic Charging Dock is also available, transforming your watch into a bedside clock when in nightstand mode.
  • It’s also pretty quick, taking 1.5 hours for an 80% charge and 2.5 hours for a 100% charge.
  • What really makes Apple Watch a contender though, is the bridging of Smartwatch and Activity Tracker thanks to the Accelerometer, Heart Rate Sensor and GPS. Hey, they did call part of their collection Apple Watch Sport afterall.

What’s in the Box

  • Apple Watch
  • Strap
  • USB Power Adapter
  • 2 Metre Magnetic Charging Cable
  • Quick Start Guide

Apple Watch (Series 1)
Need to de-clutter your wrists? Get an Apple Watch. It's a time-saving, fitness-aiding, lifestyle-organising piece of high-tech jewellery.
Design90%
Usability73%
Battery Life79%
Call Quality / Reception87%
Display91%
84%Overall Score
Reader Rating: (9 Votes)
38%