Design & Build Quality
Apple Watch review: Design
Is the Apple Watch a fantastic or a terrible product? That is the question the Macworld team debates in this slightly opinionated video review after having used the device for four months.
The Apple Watch is exquisitely crafted and engineered, with a stylish design and a pleasing tactile experience. Its rounded, chunky body bears a resemblance to the original iPhone, but with a modern and satisfying feel. Moreover, the Apple Watch is remarkably comfortable to wear.
In the world of fitness trackers, most devices lack fashion appeal, typically sporting plasticky wristbands. One brand even attempted to market their tracker as a fashion accessory for women, suggesting that it could be worn around the neck like a necklace. However, none of these trackers truly resemble jewelry.
Smartwatches face a similar dilemma. While they have gained popularity among tech-savvy men, they often fail to appeal to a broader audience. A significant issue is that most smartwatches are designed for larger wrists, making them uncomfortable for individuals with smaller wrists.
Apple Watch review: Dimensions
The Apple Watch comes in two sizes: the 38mm model, which measures 38.6 x 33.3 x 10.5mm, and the 42mm model, which measures 42.0 x 35.9 x 10.5mm. Both models have a thickness of 10.5mm.
The Apple Watch offers three material options for its construction: aluminum for the Watch Sport, stainless steel for the Watch, and 18-carat gold for the Watch Edition. The Watch and Watch Edition models feature sapphire screens, while the Sport version is equipped with ion-x glass.
The Apple Watch impresses with its aesthetics and durability. After nearly a year of use, there are no scratches on the body or screen, although one of the Sport Band straps is starting to look a bit dirty.
While the Apple Watch is water-resistant to a depth of 1 meter for 30 minutes, it is not recommended for swimming. Although some reviews have tested its water resistance, it is safer to follow Apple’s guidelines and avoid exposing the watch to water.
However, reckless reviewers have reported no damage after submerging the watch, suggesting that it may indeed be waterproof. Nevertheless, it is important to exercise caution and not push the limits of its water resistance.
When choosing a strap for your Apple Watch, there is a wide selection available, including options like 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 come in multiple color choices. In contrast, the Milanese Loop and Link Bracelet are offered in only two colors. The Sport Band, for example, is available in 22 different colors, including black, white, pink, yellow, blue, gray, lime green, lavender, antique white, stone, and midnight blue.
The resolution of the Apple Watch screen depends on the model. The 38mm Apple Watch has a resolution of 272×340 on a 1.32-inch screen, while the 42mm model offers 312×390 on a 1.5-inch screen. Both models boast a pixel density of 326 pixels per inch (ppi).
The Apple Watch screen is officially branded as Retina-quality and delivers a sharp and vibrant display with no noticeable pixelation.
The touchscreen functionality of the Apple Watch is highly responsive, allowing for smooth swiping and navigation. While some options can be accessed through the Digital Crown, the majority of users prefer using the touchscreen for ease of use.
Apple’s expertise in design shines through in the user interface of the Apple Watch. Unlike many smartwatches, which suffer from a crowded interface on a small display, Apple has created a streamlined and intuitive user experience.
The UI is designed to make navigating the watch’s features easy, leveraging gestures and the Digital Crown to interact with the software.
Using the Screen
One way to interact with the Apple Watch is through its touchscreen. You can scroll, tap, and press harder to access additional options, similar to right-clicking on a mouse. Swiping up on the watch face brings up Glances, offering quick access to various app features.
The Apple Watch also introduces Apple’s Force Touch technology, which responds to the pressure applied to the screen. It differentiates between a simple tap and a forceful press, providing users with an alternative method of interaction.
The overall speed and performance of the Apple Watch can vary based on individual usage and factors such as running apps and Glances. Some reviewers have reported sluggishness and delays in certain actions.
Please note that this section is based on the original Apple Watch and not the Series 1 or 2, which feature faster processors.
While Apple strives to improve performance with each new iteration, third-party apps can still experience slower startup times. Despite watchOS 2’s attempt to enhance speed, many users find themselves resorting to iPhone apps due to sluggishness.
Apple has innovatively repurposed the traditional crown found on watches by introducing the Digital Crown. This versatile control mechanism solves the challenge of navigating the watch’s interface on a small display. The Digital Crown is accompanied by a button that serves as a home screen shortcut and facilitates Apple Pay transactions.
The Apple Watch’s battery life is estimated to last for approximately 18 hours with typical use. However, this means that users will need to charge the watch daily. It is worth noting that wearing the Apple Watch while sleeping is not practical.
Actual battery life can vary depending on individual usage patterns. During Apple’s tests, the battery lasted 6.5 hours during workouts and 6.5 hours of audio playback. It is important to manage battery usage carefully, especially during activities that consume more power.
Pricing and Availability
The price of the Apple Watch varies depending on the model and strap chosen. In the UK, the starting price for the 38mm Apple Watch Sport is £259, while the 42mm version starts at £299. The stainless steel Apple Watch begins at £479, and the high-end Apple Watch Hermes starts at £1,000, while the 18-carat gold Apple Watch Edition is priced at a staggering £8,000.
The Apple Watch may not be the first smartwatch on the market, and it may not offer any groundbreaking features beyond its competitors. However, it excels in what it sets out to do, thanks to Apple’s expertise in user interface design. While it may take some time to become fully accustomed to its functionalities, the Apple Watch delivers a seamless and refined user experience.