Over the past year, the Apple Watch has been way up there when it comes to smartwatches.
I have been diabetic for a few years now and since the first Pebble, I have been using wearables to keep track on my calorie burn and activity. I have tried all types of wearables from the basic step trackers to the complex Android Wear. Over the past year, the Apple Watch has been way up there when it comes to smartwatches. The Apple Watch, despite emerging as the second largest watch brand in the world in value, has not really been perfect. With the Apple Watch Series 2, there seems to be a serious effort to get nearer to perfection.
The Apple Watch 2 is not different on the design front, though Apple has roped in some new variants like the ceramic. It is still a stylish, good-looking watch that you would want to wear without the whole world looking at your wrist. Also, the basic Apple Watch bands are the most comfortable to wear over a long period of time, especially if you are the type that likes to take wearables to your bed.
What is good?
I have used the first Apple Watch on and off during the past year. It’s a great device for keeping track of your activity and being ahead of your notifications. However, I needed to use only a third of the watch’s functionality. But with the actionable complications and app dock in Watch OS 3, I ended up using the apps more. Now I tap on the activity icons on the watch face to see my steps or heart rate, avoiding multiple swipes and taps like before. Also, I can easily switch to my favourite app and not go to the app screen which I still find very complicated.
I was caught in a deluge while on a recent trip to Kochi. With any other wearable I would have quickly taken the band off and slipped it into my pocket. But the Apple Watch 2 is waterproof and intelligently so. It has speaker holes which can be taken in water, but there is also a neat functionality that uses a certain frequency of sound to dispel any moisture that might have come inside the device. And being soaked does not affect the performance one bit.
Apple has launched a new set of watch faces which are very stylish. But they also utilise the abilities of a smartwatch better. There are the screen now that show you a lot of information, each actionable on a single tap. The new processor is faster than before and you can feel it. The slight wait for apps to open on the first version is now gone for good. Apps load instantly and switching between apps is a breeze too.
The Watch 2 comes with GPS. So it can track your route even if you don’t have the phone with you. However, to save battery this feature is not kept on all the time, but only when you have selected an outdoor run or walk. And when the phone is nearby, it will use the GPS on the phone as default.
I found the new breathe feature really handy in coping with stress at work. It helped me relax and refocus on work and not get stressed all over again. The battery life has improved. There have been days when I have squeezed out close to 22 hours. This is the brightest display on pretty much any device at the moment. So no squinting to read under a bright sun.
What is not that great?
The Apple Watch still takes close to 90 minutes to reach full charge. So if you have forgotten to keep the watch on the dock overnight or at least early in the morning, you have an issue. The app screen on Watch OS is still something I fail to comprehend, at least at first glance. It is rarely that you have the information there or open an app from there. Apple needs to figure out a better way.
The Apple Watch is smart enough to understand what you are doing and log it likewise. However, it does not switch off the GPS if you have completed your outdoor activity and I realised I am not smart enough to do it myself at the end of walks. This could be something Apple could work on.
Given the build quality and sheer usability, the Apple Watch 2 is now the best smartwatch out there.
Buy this is if you want to make a style statement and a lifestyle statement. For me, the Apple Watch, especially the satisfaction of seeing those full rings at the end of the day, has been a good motivating factor that helped me lose a couple of kilos
after many years.
Estimated street price: Rs 32,900+