Hi guys! I am so excited to share my first impressions on the Apple Watch Series 4. This post is all about my very first impressions and based on my use of just over a month, and it is not meant to substitute a full and thorough review – which, I will be happy to write once I have had the chance to use it more.
It’s been four years since Apple first launched the Apple Watch and with the Series 4 upgrade everyone is raving about how great it is. The watch has definitely evolved throughout the years and it has now turned into a cellular, fitness and medical device.
I’ve had the watch on my wish list for a while now and once the Series 4 upgrade came out, I knew it was about time to get my hands on it. I went for getting the stainless steel version in gold – that also comes with cellular – as I saw it as an investment towards my next watch for the next few years.
Look & Feel
I believe this needs no introduction, Johny Ive has done all the work for you and for putting in your hands a product that is perfectly polished and with a design that is clean and elegant and can complete any outfit: from sporty to casual and business.
The watch bands play a major role in this. You can go for a rubber band or a Milanese loop and will 180° the feel. For now I am using both the default rubber band as well as a milanese loop one. I am also on the look for a beautiful leather strap one to complete the business look.
The feature that everyone loves is the changing faces of the watch; it’s so much fun. You can switch between an elegant, plain face that only shows the time to a full-blown modular face with activity rings, the weather, the UV index or the sun time, to a fun Mickey Mouse face that tells the time out loud whenever you tap on it. You can also customize each face by adding complications – the empty spots on your watch face, like the corners of the screen, that support the display of quick information from an app. Most apps support complications, so you can have your next event displayed, ordering an Uber ride, new messages or your heart rate.
How does the screen feel? Isn’t it too samll to read anything?
Not at all. Somehow, the screen is incredibly easy to use and to read. It does not feel too small and you can do pretty much everything and very comfortably, from scrolling through your activity data , checking and sending quick messages and even reading full length emails if in a rush or using public transport.
When I charged it for the very first time, the battery lasted two days and this rhythm is still going (colleagues told me that their Series 2 & 3 have preserved the battery capacity to this day with no major degradation). It needs two hours for a complete charge, so you need to make you time the charging time correctly so it does not disrupt your routine – I usually go for charging it when I go to bed or early in the morning as I don’t sleep with the watch on. Just make sure you plan well, as you won’t like to lose the battery life when you are in the middle of a workout or just went out for a walk.
Notifications, Messages & Emails
You can choose which apps should be available on your phone and therefore which can send you notifications. For example, I don’t like to get email notifications from work on my watch/phone and only keep the meetings notifications which are very useful – a gentle vibration on the wrist lets you know that in 15 minutes you will have a meeting.
How does taking a call on it feel?
With the wi-fi connection, whenever you have your phone nearby you can use the watch to make a quick call. Mic and speaker are great if you need to answer your call on the treadmill, your voice will get picked up without the need of holding your watch directly in front of your mouth. If you have cellular, you should also be able to leave your phone at home and get the same connection-reliant activities enabled, like getting messages and calls. Disclaimer: even though I have the cellular version I did not get myself a separate SIM card yet simply because I don’t have the use case for it currently.
I love this feature, it is probably the best feature of the watch, it can easily motivate you to set your daily goals and smash them as often as possible. This system is beyond addictive. They also have a system of rewards and badges, similar to the Nike+ app, which are simple animations on your screen, but make you feel bad if you don’t get them. There are three activity circles: a calories burnt goal, minutes of exercising and number of times for standing up a day. You get reminders throughout the day to close the rings, stand up (you need to stand up for at least a minute of every hour) go for a walk and so on.
Also the Breath app, that comes by default and is part of the experience is pretty cool. Throughout the day, the watch reminds you to take a moment to breathe and it gives you guidance on breathing/meditating for a minute at a time and several times throughout the day. You can of course set the timing from one minute to as many as you need, every time you do it.
Fitness & Health
I love all the health features that the watch has. Besides the activity rings, you can also record pretty much any sport activity, from yoga to outdoor walking or HIIT training, and it monitors your heart rate to calculate the calories burnt.
You can check your resting heart rate, walking or exercising stats. The data pulled in and presented on the Apple Watch is also expanded on the iPhone. So when you go into the Activity app on your phone you will be able to get all the details.
There are plenty of built-in native functionalities Apple doesn’t bother talking about. For example, you can use the watch as a viewfinder for your iPhone’s camera, which is pretty handy if you want to take a selfie with your main camera. You can activate the camera remotely and switch to front/back cameras as well. Another thing I enjoy is controlling my iTunes using Remote. Since we have speakers connected directly to the laptop I can always control iTunes faster if we are cooking in the kitchen.
Another handy feature is the ability to download podcasts directly to your watch and listen to them through your Bluetooth headphones. Also, now that Apple Pay has been finally introduced in Germany as well, I am using only my watch to pay. It’s such a liberation to be able to leave your house with just your watch (Apple Pay works even if your Watch is fully offline) or your phone – of course only as long as your battery won’t die!
Is it worth it?
Well, it depends. If you don’t check your phone often and aren’t interested in tracking your basic activity, the this investment would definitely be misplaced. On the other hand, if you are looking for a digital companion and are already wielding an iPhone, this smartwatch is the way to go. Over the past month, I felt as if this watch is my digital life organiser: waking me up in the morning, reminding me about meetings, holding me accountable to stay active throughout the day and updating me on how intensive my workout is in the evening. Additionally, I can afford to check my iPhone much less often.
All in all, I am completely in love with my Apple Watch. First things first, it is a beautiful and elegant wristwatch, no matter what mechanical watch purists would say. Secondly, it is a great fitness device that’s always with you, which will only improve with the future updates. And lastly, I think this device is a great enabler to be a bit healthier and more organised on a daily basis. Definitely would recommend!
P.S. The post has turned out to be pretty long already, so I decided to leave some things out. If you have any questions with regards to the Apple Watch, would be happy to answer all of them.