This isn’t going to be a full review of all the features this thing offer because that would be an incredible long and arduous article to read, instead I’m just going to focus on the fitness tracking elements of the device and make some comparisons with similar devices I’ve tried out.
I had this on my wrist for a few weeks now and I’m still undecided. At times I do think it looks pretty smart and sleek but at other times it looks a bit like a clunky Casio calculator watch from the 1980s. I can’t decide if I like it or not but one things for sure the 42mm is a large device with plenty of screen space. It never really feels like it’s getting in the way even when working out but it is certainly a large device.
The square design allows for plenty of screen space to read text etc. The button, strap and the digital crown all feel very well built and a joy to use as you would expect from an Apple device. The touchscreen works well even though it’s a tiny screen and overall its an incredibly well thought out piece of technology. There’s also a massive amount of straps and accessories to customise these to your liking.
This is the Nike sport strap and it is without a doubt the comfiest Watch I have ever owned. There an ingenious way of closing that pins the band and then tucks inside itself. It feels very secure and yet I can open it with one hand in a second. The material the band is made from is super smooth and doesn’t catch or rub against shirt sleeves like some rubber watch straps. Apple calls it fluoroelastomer and I’m really amazed by how good they are. This is the aluminium case which is super light although the stainless steel cases are a lot better looking their roughly double the price and won’t hold up to weight room abuse as well as the aluminium should.
The display is bright and easy to read and the interface isn’t lighting fast but is fast enough to keep me happy. This model is also swim proof. I’ve tried it out and works perfectly. There’s even a function for when you leave the pool that plays a sound through the speaker to expel out the water that it will have collected. (It’s the party trick that never gets old).
On the back of the watch case is the heart rate monitor. The way it works is all’s pretty genius: Blood is red because it reflects red light and absorbs green light. Apple Watch uses green LED lights paired with light‑sensitive photodiodes to detect the amount of blood flowing through your wrist at any given moment. When your heart beats, the blood flow in your wrist – and the green light absorption – is greater. Between beats, it’s less. By flashing its LED lights hundreds of times per second, Apple Watch can calculate the number of times the heart beats each minute – your heart rate. (Fitbits works the same)
Take this out on a run and this is where it really comes into its own. It is fantastic. Built in GPS tracks your distance and maps your route, heart rate monitor determines your calories burned and overall performance and best of all the watch can hold music playlists and songs to be played over a set of Bluetooth headphones. It allows you to leave the phone at home and if like me you own a gigantic ass iPhone + and you’re forced to drag it around on a run then is going to be a revelation. It’s a feature that Apple doesn’t highly advertise but for me it’s one of the best reasons to get one.
This is where things aren’t quite so great. Apple uses a “rings” system to display data. The red stands for move green is exercise and blue is stand. Confused? you should be, because it sucks.
The goals are set for you and the diagram shows how close you are to achieving it. I can’t for the life of me figure out how to set the goals myself, important information such as overall calories expenditure and total steps are buried in there somewhere so deep that you’ll have to go digging to find them.
To make matters worse, some of the information is displayed here on the Activity app and some is kept on a separate app called Health. You’ll have open one or the other depending on what you want to know.
Want to know your weekly expenditure? You can’t.
Want to work out your average daily steps? Of coarse you do. We’ll grab a pen and a calculator and do it yourself because the information just isn’t available.
It’s a mess, this is fitbits app for tracking information:
By comparison it’s clean, simple and concise. It takes a complex subject, breaks it down and displays all the the information in an easy to understand manner. You could give a fitbit to your grandmother and she’d understand the information. Apple in the other hand feels like an unfinished, poorly made afterthought. The information is harder to find or simply not there. Your grandmother would never be ripped.
Which brings is to the price. Even the cheapest model is still pretty steep. Now the Apple Watch is a smart watch and not just a stand alone fitness tracker. It does have tonnes of other features that I haven’t touched on here but to me I feel the software could do with a major overhaul. Fitbit on the other hand is a stand alone fitness tracker, some models come with extra features which make them smart watch like but they can’t really be considered to be in the same bracket.
However Fitbit do have their own smart watch on the horizon coming with superior software and a cheaper price tag I can see it take a chunk out of Apples sales, at least in the fitness community.
Wha would I recommend getting?
Fitbits devices are simple, affordable and well made, the software is awesome but I do feel they tend to overestimate calorie expenditure a bit. If you’re just looking for a simple, basic fitness tracker and nothing else, this is your guy.
The Apple Watch Sport although expensive is incredibly well made, come with countless features including downloadable apps, the customisation options are unlimited but the amazing hardware is let down by poor fitness tracking software. Calorie expenditure feels truer (if you can find that information) It’s good but it comes with a price tag. If you want smart watch first and a tracker second and want to leave your giant phone at home, it’s worth the extra cash.