Should you really get an Apple Watch?

Watchface Depicting the Date, Time, Most Recent Calendar Event, Weather, Fitness, Battery Percentage, and the icon for notifications pending in the top center.

How much do you hate your wallet is a better question. Ever since Apple released Watch in April of 2015 there has been much speculation around the wearable device along with much confusion. The $299 base priced wearable boasts increased productivity and the ability to “free ones self from their phone” but in all actuality all you’re doing is placing a small portal to their phone on their wrist.

I came originally from a Nexus 5, LG G Watch environment which I adored at the time. It was a great companion to the phone and allowed me to get information as I needed it through Android Watch’s cards interface. After awhile, and my complete disdain for the engine features cut in Android 5.x and above I switched to iOS to regain some stability in my phone.

Shortly thereafter I purchased an Apple Watch for the low low price of about $500. This was before their recent price cut and it’s an Sport Edition, 42mm. Seeing as I’ve used both platforms and have had ample time to compare both, this is where you’d expect me to begin praising one over the other or saying how much I enjoy Apple Watch over the LG G variant, which was technically the infancy stages of Android Watch.

My verdict on one or the other lies in it’s support and it’s features, as well as what you want out of a wearable device. Let’s just face the facts right now: Neither watch solution un-tethers you from your phone. It’s impossible. The watch relies on your phone to grab data to display on your wrist, it’s an extension of your phone on your wrist at best.

So what does Apple Watch offer? Now that it’s been a whole year since the release, Apple has wised up and removed a lot of the gimmicky things from the OS (including that weird function to send others your heartbeat) and focused more on having the watch be utilized as a tool to get information from your phone to your wrist without taking your phone out. Access to information from notifications is well received, and seeing as you can control which apps send notifications to the watch it gets a fairly good marks for that level of customization.

In terms of first-party applications, the Watch boasts a lot of fitness and health tracking apps, which is really great for people trying to keep track of things like their heartbeat and how often they are moving to burn calories. The integration with the Health app on iOS is seamless as expected by Apple and is a welcome addition to my tracking metrics, save the few times it registers my heartbeat as 30–40bpm.

Other first party applications include cut down versions of Calendar, Clock, Contacts, Maps, Messages, Phone, Maps, Photos, Weather and so on; however, One thing I found very important to me was the Watchface itself. having a Watchface to quickly see things like my next appointment, the weather, the battery life (more on that later), and the date and time made it simple for me to know what was coming up and what I had to do next without having to scan through my phone.

Since launch, other developers have begun making fairly decent apps for the watch’s interface, but with a pressure sensitive touch screen and a crown to work with the functionality is again limited at best.

This again highlights the difference in vision between the Apple and Android camps for Wearable Technology. The Apple Watch feels like a mini-phone on my wrist tethered to my real phone, almost as if I’m carrying two powerful pieces of technology both with well-polished interfaces, but the smaller of the two strapped to my wrist feels held back from its full potential for the sake of simplicity. Apple Watch in and of itself feels like I took my phone, shrunk it down, and slapped it to my wrist. It’s a useful little gadget, but it’s only a small little gadget meant to band-aid the problem of getting information quickly by fishing your phone out from your pocket.

Android Watch on the other hand seems to be designed to be an extension of ones phone, rather than a duplicate of it. Even if you can get information from the watchface you’ll still need to pull out your phone if you want to interact with it in a meaningful way, regardless of the app’s first or third party nature. Android Watch is a great extension, but without the phone it is a piece of circuitry attached to your wrist with no discernible functions or features apart from the obvious.

Where Apple Watch shines is that it comes with applications and functions like Calendar, Alarms, Notes, and so on that can still function without the Phone’s connectivity. Sure you will lose the information being streamed to the device, but the watch itself isn’t devoid of features should the phone suddenly be out of battery power, making it more useful than an Android Watch variant.

In terms of battery life, I’m sorry to say that you get about the same life expectancy (somehow) from each wearable currently on the market, which means Apple Watch is doing some sort of black magic seeing as it boasts a laundry list of features.

But let’s consider price for a moment. With the recent price drop of the Apple Watch to $299 the Motorola Moto 360 and other such wearables now have a very dangerous competitor on their hands. Once again it comes down to three major questions when deciding on the wearable: Do you have iOS, What functionality do you want out of a wearable piece of technology, and how much are you willing to spend for that technology?

If you have Android, sorry you’re out of the running and you’ll be using Android Wear. iOS users on the other hand.. well, Android Wear was recently released to the App Store, so you actually do have a choice in terms of wearable. And again that comes down to how much you’re willing to spend and what you want out of it.

Apple Watch is a great little thing, and if you’re willing to spend $300 on something that isn’t a complete necessity but also could increase your productivity if you find yourself on the go all the time, go ahead and pick one up.

But if you’re someone that doesn’t go places often or doesn’t run around all the time I can’t say I recommend paying $300 for what essentially is done by the phone sitting next to your keyboard right now.

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