Apple Watch review: Design
Apple Watch review: Design
For a slightly more opinionated version of 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 a great or a terrible product:
The Apple Watch is beautifully designed and engineered, with a great look and feel. It’s chunky, rounded body is faintly reminiscent of the original iPhone, yet simultaneously modern-looking and very satisfying to hold. The Apple Watch is also pleasingly comfortable on the wrist.
We’ve seen lots of fitness trackers over the years, and they’ve typically struck us as pretty formulaic: plasticky wristbands with little fashion appeal. One activity tracker brand tried to convince us that their activity tracker was designed to appeal to a fashion-conscious woman; they even thought that women would wear it around their neck like a necklace. But at the end of the day, it wasn’t jewellery. None of the fitness trackers on the market is.
It’s a similar story with smartwatches. Sure, over the past year they’ve become more and more popular with guys looking for the latest tech gadget, but they don’t appeal to everyone. One major issue is that most smartwatches are designed for men. They wouldn’t sit comfortably on a smaller wrist.
Apple Watch review: Build quality
Speaking of the materials the watch is made from, there are three options: aluminium for the Watch Sport, stainless steel for the Watch, and 18-carat gold for the Watch Edition. The Watch and Watch Edition come with sapphire screens, and the Sport version with ion-x glass.
We love the look and feel of the Apple Watch. As we mentioned above, it looks a bit like a shrunk-down version of the original iPhone, and it’s reassuringly robust – after almost a year with the Watch, there no scratches on the body or screen, although the brighter of our two Sport Band straps is starting to look a bit grubby.
Apple doesn’t recommend dunking your Apple Watch first-gen in water. While the watch is rated as water-resistant to the IPX7 standard, which should mean it will survive in water up to a depth of 1 metre for up to 30 minutes, Apple describes it as “splash- and water-resistant but not waterproof”. So it’s ok to use it in the shower – as Apple’s CEO Tim Cook apparently does – but it’s not to be taken swimming.
Having said that, plenty of reckless reviewers have done exactly that, and we’ve yet to hear anyone complain that their watch was damaged by the experience. We don’t recommend taking the risk, and you obviously won’t have a leg to stand on with Apple if something does go wrong since they’ve been careful to only claim it’s water-resistant. But it appears that yes, the Apple Watch is waterproof.
Apple Watch review: Straps
While we’re on the subject of straps, which one should you pick to go with your beautiful Apple Watch?
There are a wide collection of straps to choose from, including Link Bracelet, Sport Band, Leather Loop, Classic Buckle, Modern Buckle, Milanese Loop and more recently, Nylon band and Hermes straps.
The Leather Loop, Classic Buckle, Leather Loop, Modern Buckle
The Leather Loop, Classic Buckle, Leather Loop, Modern Buckle, Woven Nylon and Sport Band options are offered in multiple colour choices while the Milanese Loop and Link Bracelet are only available in two colours. The Sport Band comes in 22 different colours including black, white, pink, yellow, blue, grey, lime green, lavender, antique white, stone and midnight blue, for example.
Apple Watch review: Screen
While doing our best to extend the watch’s battery life, we wanted to force-quit some apps and found the method of doing so deeply counterintuitive.
Returning to the screen, the resolution depends on the watch you choose. The resolution of the screen on the 38mm Apple Watch (which measures 1.32 inches diagonally) is 272×340 while the 42mm model offers 312×390 on a screen that measures 1.5 inches. Both models, therefore, offer a pixel density of 326 pixels per inch, or ppi.
In both cases, the Apple Watch screen is officially rated (or perhaps we should say branded) as Retina-quality, and our subjective experience with it has been great. It’s sharp and vividly colourful and we’ve yet to notice any pixellation.
The touchscreen aspects work terrifically too: it’s highly responsive, and we found we tend to fall back on old habits, swiping through screens whenever possible by using the touchscreen even if a scrolling option is available via the Digital Crown. It ought to be as easy to quit apps and glances as it is on the iPhone – but it isn’t. To quit an app you have to press and hold the side button, and then do the same again. Nobody is going to stumble on that by accident.
Apple Watch review: Apple Watch UK price
Pricing varies depending on the watch and strap you choose. For more information about Watch prices, read our Apple Watch buying advice.
The Apple Watch price starts at £259 in the UK; that’s for the 38mm Apple Watch Sport with a plastic band, and £299 for the 42mm version. The stainless steel Apple Watch starts at £479 and the newer Apple Watch Hermes starts at £1000, while the 18-carat gold Apple Watch Edition starts at an eye-watering £8,000.
The Apple Watch isn’t the first ever smartwatch, and it doesn’t really do anything rival products don’t do. But what it does do, it does as well as any smartwatch out there, thanks to Apple’s user interface expertise. It’s a slick device to use, although you should be warned that it isn’t completely intuitive, particularly at first. With use it will become more familiar and user-friendly.