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 are.

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: Dimensions

There are two sizes of watch: the 38mm model (which actually measures 38.6 by 33.3 mm) and the 42mm model (which measures 42 by 35.9 mm). Both have a thickness of 10.5mm.

[tie_list type=”checklist”]
  • 38mm model: 38.6 x 33.3 x 10.5mm
  • 42mm model: 42.0 x 35.9 x 10.5mm

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: User interface

Apple’s solution to the navigation problem is to use something that has always been a feature of watches in a new way.

The dial on the side of the watch – its proper name is the crown – has been brought into the 21st century and turned into what Apple calls the Digital Crown. This Digital Crown solves the problem of swiping through icons on a minuscule display.

elow the Digital Crown is another button. This button takes you to the home screen and to the Friends app, from which you can contact your friends (more on that below). This button is also used when you’re paying for things using Apple Pay (more on that below, also).

[tie_index]Battery life[/tie_index]

Apple Watch review: Battery life

Apple claims that on a typical day, with typical usage, you should get 18 hours of battery life from the Apple Watch. In other words, you ought to be able to get through a whole day, but that will be about it: expect to charge it every night. (Which, incidentally, rules out being able to sleep with the watch on – which is likely to be a disappointment to developers of sleep-related apps.)

In fact, your use may vary. Apple’s ‘typical day’ included a half-hour workout, but if you exercise more than that you may use up the battery quicker – in Apple’s tests, the battery lasted 6.5 hours during a workout (so you should at least be able to run that marathon without running out of battery). If you use the Apple Watch to play music you will also find that to be a bit of a battery hog. Apple got 6.5 hours of audio playback out of the test device before it ran out of power.

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.

OUR VERDICT

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.

 

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