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Design & Build Quality

Apple Watch review: Design

For an opinionated take on the video review above, here’s the male half of the Macworld team arguing (after four months with this device) about whether the Apple Watch is amazing or terrible:

The Apple Watch is exquisitely crafted with a fantastic appearance and feel. Its rounded, chunky body is reminiscent of the original iPhone, yet it maintains a modern and satisfying aesthetic. Furthermore, the Apple Watch is remarkably comfortable to wear.

We’ve observed countless fitness trackers over the years, and they’ve always seemed rather formulaic: plastic wristbands lacking fashion appeal. One brand even attempted to convince us that their tracker was designed to cater to fashion-conscious women, going as far as suggesting it could be worn as a necklace. But, in the end, it wasn’t jewelry. None of the fitness trackers on the market are.

Smartwatches have a similar story. While they have gained popularity among tech-savvy men, they fail to resonate with everyone. One major issue is that most smartwatches are designed for men and do not fit comfortably on smaller wrists.


Apple Watch review: Dimensions

There are two watch sizes available: the 38mm model (measuring 38.6 by 33.3 mm) and the 42mm model (measuring 42 by 35.9 mm). Both watches have a thickness of 10.5mm.

  • 38mm model: 38.6 x 33.3 x 10.5mm
  • 42mm model: 42.0 x 35.9 x 10.5mm

Here’s how a 38mm Apple Watch looks on Karen’s wrist:


Build Quality

The Apple Watch is made from three different materials: aluminum for the Watch Sport, stainless steel for the Watch, and 18-carat gold for the Watch Edition. The Watch and Watch Edition models come with sapphire screens, while the Sport version features ion-x glass.

We absolutely love the look and feel of the Apple Watch. As mentioned earlier, it resembles a shrunken version of the original iPhone and is exceptionally durable. After nearly a year of use, there are no scratches on the body or screen, although one of our Sport Band straps is starting to look a bit dirty.

Apple does not recommend submerging the first-generation Apple Watch in water, as it is only described as “splash- and water-resistant” but not waterproof. However, numerous reviewers have taken the risk and used the Apple Watch in water without any reported damage. While we do not encourage such behavior, it seems that the Apple Watch is indeed waterproof.


When it comes to straps, there are several options to choose from. Some of the most popular choices are the Link Bracelet, Sport Band, Leather Loop, Classic Buckle, Modern Buckle, Milanese Loop, Nylon band, and Hermes straps.

The Leather Loop, Classic Buckle, Leather Loop, Modern Buckle, Woven Nylon, and Sport Band options are available in multiple color choices, while the Milanese Loop and Link Bracelet are only offered in two colors. The Sport Band alone comes in 22 different colors, including black, white, pink, yellow, blue, grey, lime green, lavender, antique white, stone, and midnight blue.


The resolution of the Apple Watch screen depends on the model chosen. The 38mm Apple Watch (measuring 1.32 inches diagonally) has a resolution of 272×340, while the 42mm model offers a resolution of 312×390 on a 1.5-inch screen. Both models boast a pixel density of 326 pixels per inch (ppi).

In both cases, the Apple Watch screen is officially branded as Retina-quality and presents sharp, vivid colors without any visible pixelation. Additionally, the touchscreen is highly responsive, making it a pleasure to use. However, quitting apps and glances can be a bit tricky compared to the iPhone’s simple process.

User Interface


Apple’s expertise in design is only a small part of what sets the Apple Watch apart. Its user interface is another standout feature. Many smartwatches struggle with fitting the user interface onto a tiny display, resulting in frustrating experiences when trying to navigate the device using large fingers.

Below, we will explore Apple’s method for controlling the user interface and discuss the software you can expect to find on the Apple Watch.

Using the Screen

One way to interact with the Apple Watch is through its touchscreen. You can scroll around, tap on items to select them, or press harder to access additional options, similar to using the right-click function on a mouse. Various gestures can reveal different elements of the operating system, such as Glances, which are accessed by swiping up on the watch face.


Apple’s Force Touch technology, which senses the pressure applied to the screen, further enhances the user experience. It distinguishes between a light tap and a harder press, providing additional functionality. However, using third-party apps can sometimes be slow to start up.


Apple Watch review: Speed/Performance

One potential weakness of the Apple Watch, depending on your expectations for wearable tech, is its overall speed. Some reviewers have found the interface to be sluggish at times, with noticeable delays in certain actions.

Please note that this section is based on the original Apple Watch and not the Series 1 or 2 models, which feature a 50 percent faster processor.

Performance can vary among users, influenced by factors such as the apps and Glances running concurrently. While apps open quickly, they may still hang, leaving users staring at a black loading screen. Syncing with the iPhone over Bluetooth can also be sluggish.

Despite the introduction of watchOS 2, which aimed to speed up third-party apps by allowing them to run natively on the Apple Watch, many users still find these apps to be slow. Consequently, they often resort to using the corresponding iPhone apps instead.

Using the Digital Crown


Apple’s solution to the navigation problem is the Digital Crown—a modern adaptation of the traditional watch crown. This innovative feature eliminates the need to swipe through icons on a small display.

Located on the side of the watch, underneath the Digital Crown, is another button. This button serves multiple purposes, such as returning to the home screen, accessing the Friends app for contacting friends, and facilitating payments through Apple Pay.

Battery Life


Apple claims that the Apple Watch can achieve 18 hours of battery life with typical usage. In other words, it should last a full day, but charging overnight is necessary. Consequently, wearing the watch while sleeping—for those interested in sleep-related apps—is not feasible.

Battery life may vary depending on individual usage. Apple’s tests included a half-hour workout, during which the battery lasted 6.5 hours. If you use the Apple Watch for music playback, you may experience faster battery drain. However, the Apple Watch should comfortably last through a marathon before running out of power.

Pricing and Availability

Apple Watch review: Apple Watch UK price

The pricing of the Apple Watch varies depending on the model and strap selected. For more information, refer to our Apple Watch buying advice.

In the UK, the Apple Watch starts at £259 for the 38mm Apple Watch Sport with a plastic band and £299 for the 42mm version. The stainless steel Apple Watch begins at £479, while the newer Apple Watch Hermes starts at £1000. The 18-carat gold Apple Watch Edition is available starting at a staggering £8,000.

Our Verdict

The Apple Watch may not be the first smartwatch on the market, nor does it introduce revolutionary features. However, it excels in areas where rival products fall short, thanks to Apple’s expertise in user interface design. While it may not be immediately intuitive, with regular use, the Apple Watch becomes increasingly familiar and user-friendly.

This article was edited by

THCS Hồng Thái

“Đừng xấu hổ khi không biết, chỉ xấu hổ khi không học.” Khuyết Danh

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