I had a strong reason for becoming an early adopter of the smartwatch. It was a mix of two things—one, my inability to step out of the house without a watch; and two, my need to keep track of my activity and calorie burn since I had ended up with diabetes at a rather early age. My first smartwatch was the Pebble, which accommodated both my needs and did a little bit more, like offer a quirky watch face or a weather alert from the smartphone it was yoked to. I have tried a host of other smartwatches in the years since—from Android Wear to Samsung’s Tizen-based Gear series and even some flash-in-the-pan attempts by others—but have always come back to the Apple Watch as my primary smartwatch, and there are some time-tested reasons for it.
I have been using Apple Watches since the first version a couple of years back. Things have changed a bit with the Apple Watch 3, which I have been using since end of September. That is because I feel the battery life has improved immensely with this version. Unlike the earlier iterations, I can actually risk going on a two-day trip without the charger in my bag.
For me a regular day starts with a 45-minute walk from 7.15 in the morning. The Apple Watch 3 is usually charged full at this point. During the walks, especially in recent weeks, I have been streaming music directly from the watch to Bluetooth earphones. I even have some playlists just for this. If I remember, I switch on the Outdoor Walk workout—there are many other options to choose from—so that I can see my heart rate and progress on the same card. Music comes on in one swipe and in that situation, this is the best interface to use. However, my issue with this is that I usually forget to end the activity even when I’m done with my morning walk. Apple could do well if it suggests to the user, based on the tapering down of activity and heart rate, that it is time to end this workout session on the watch. At the moment, most of my workouts end up being hours long. Anyway, the morning exertion usually takes up about 10% of the battery even before I start for work.
It is good that you don’t really have to bother about taking the watch off even when you are getting into the shower after your morning walk for this watch is waterproof. At work, the Watch is usually forgotten as I go about my busy schedule. It rarely needs to remind me to stand up, as I am anyway running around the office. It does help me read messages at meetings without seeming to be bored with the conversation, though there are those who might take this constant glances at the watch a sign of the same.
The new Apple Watch 3 has a new feature that sends you an alert if your heart rate spikes when you are actually not active. Thankfully, this has shown up for me only twice in the past three months and on both occasions I was not wearing the watch. In fact, the heart rate sensor does give some false positives when you are not wearing the watch.
So is the Apple Watch 3 worth it? When you compare the price of the Apple Watch to other high-end watches available in the market, you would realise that the smartwatch at least justifies its price to a certain extent. So I suggest the Apple Watch 3 is a good buy purely as a watch, even if you are not that enamoured by its smart features.
Estimated street price: Rs 29,990+