Why I returned my Apple Watch

This is just a random list of my thoughts about the Apple Watch. Some positive, some negative. I have worn it since it arrived on the 24th April.

And yes, I have decided to return it (after a week of wear).

Disclaimer

I appreciate some people get upset when negative things are implied about Apple products so if you’re of that kind then please do not read any further — go about your life as if everything is rosy.

What I like.

  • HR gave impressively similar results to using a chest strap HRM.
  • Being able to flip the face/button orientation is nice feature (especially as I wear my watches on my right wrist).
  • Considering it has no GPS, the distance/pace on an outdoor run was very accurate.
  • There is an awful lot to this for a v1.0! Quite impressive the amount they have put in, which surprised me. A lot of stuff has been thought about here (like the choice to mirror notifications, or have different ones on the Watch).
  • The home screen icons are more usable than you’d think.
  • Nice, really crisp, high resolution display (although see below for caveats).

What I don’t like.

  • To delete an email (via the notification) you have to scroll to the end of the email. That’s fine with emails that are pictures as the watch won’t display them (and will just say words long the lines of “apple watch can’t display this message”) so you don’t have to scroll much. Text content emails require a lot of scrolling before you can delete the email. I want to be able to deal with these incoming emails as quickly as possible. I can tell if I want to delete an email the second I see the subject or first line of the email. Don’t make me wade through it all. — Update: There is a quicker way. Tap the email icon on the notification. That launches the email app, then you can swipe to the right on the email and a delete icon appears. Still a bit of a process but less scrolling.
  • Often notifications don’t show the entire contents of a tweet or Skype message and they get truncated. How are you supposed to reply to a message when you can’t even read all of it? No idea if this is a problem with Watch, or the apps themselves.
  • Actually replying to twitter/skype is very difficult. You can either use pre canned responses (“on my way” etc) or an emoji, or Siri (see Siri issue below). I end up getting my phone out and using that.
  • I didn’t find Siri to be very accurate at all so I gave up trying to use it.
  • Case/style very bland imho although the edges are very nicely rounded. It’s just not that interesting to look at (which I believe a watch should be).
  • Sports strap not very comfortable (although it is a nice touch it comes with two tail parts for different sizes). Awkward to do up and has a tendency to just flop off when undoing it!
  • The system fonts used aren’t personally very appealing.
  • Range of watch faces isn’t that great. They either fall into simple analogue style watch face, useless full screen image, or mickey mouse (which you could argue is a useless full screen image).
  • Still has same problem as iOS of not being able to remove stock Apple apps like stocks/remote/passbook etc.
  • Again, same as Microsoft, closed ecosystem for the health stuff. You can use extra apps for running/cycling but then you’re into needing your phone (see above).
  • Apps are often slow (several seconds) to load by which time the screen has often timed out. Once loaded, functionality is limited. Apps which are news feed style (like BBC News) often have headlines then say to use your iPhone to read the rest.
  • Battery life - I’ve had it last a day without issue then the next day be down to 29% by 4pm (from 8am!). For the most part it seems OK but I shouldn’t have to worry about these things. Infact I am rapidly approaching the point where I am starting to resent having to charge various things nightly in general!
  • I have 2 people I regularly contact (both in my favourites). There is a button dedicated to bringing those contacts up so I can call or text them, or even “better” if they have an iPhone (which neither do) I can send them an image or heart beat. I really wish you could re-purpose that button. I saw someone suggest using it to return you to the watch app which is a good idea.
  • Often get duplicated notifications. i.e. when I’m using my phone, they come through on there, then come through on the watch too. Have also had a situation where that’s happened but there has been a few minutes delay between receiving notification on the watch.
  • In its current state, I just don’t think it offers anything that Android Wear, Pebble, or MS Band don’t offer. Sure it has some refinement of the features it does have in common, but thats not enough to make me want to keep it. So for now it’s my regular watches for day to day, and Garmin Forerunner 620 for running.
  • Tilting wrist to activate the screen is quite hit and miss for me. To be fair its more hit than miss, but having to tap or jiggle my wrist around when it doesn’t work can be frustrating.
  • Not very readable outdoors in sunlight.
  • No GPS, and I don’t run with my phone (I use an iPod) so no maps recorded. Shame. Maybe in the inevitable v2.0 hardware? I did know this before buying it. #JustSaying
  • Calendar only shows the current month!
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