- Robert Galbraith/Reuters
The Apple Watch may be the stepchild of the tech giant’s product suite.
While iPhones seem ubiquitous in cities like San Francisco and New York City, their sibling, the Apple Watch, never took off outside Apple fanboys and girls and startup employees. It’s essentially a mini computer strapped across your wrist, which leaves some consumers asking, “Why do I need a device that does things my phone can do – just not as well?”
The company sold 1.1 million Apple Watches in the third quarter of 2016, down from 3.9 million a year earlier, and its lion’s share of the smartwatch market is starting to slip.
I got an Apple Watch Series 2 soon after it was released in September. Here’s what my experience has been like.
I’ve worn an Apple Watch Series 2 nearly every day for three months.
- Courtesy of Melia Robinson
Overall, I love it.
The Apple Watch Series 2 packs processing power, clean design, and elegance.
It looks and feels like an Apple product.
For me, the biggest plus of owning an Apple Watch is the notification feature.
I am someone who puts her phone away at dinnertime and doesn’t panic if she forgets it at home. Owning an Apple Watch allows me to loosen the leash even more.
The Apple Watch gives a quick buzz and flashes a notification when I receive a text message, have a calendar event coming up, or get mentioned in a tweet.
I can glimpse my wrist and decide whether to whip out my phone and act on the notification or dismiss it immediately. It helps me triage incoming information.
In settings, I can enable notifications from even more applications such as email and Facebook.
I reference the watch’s fitness feature multiple times a day. Three “activity rings” show progress toward my health goals and send reminders when I’m falling behind.
There are three barometers of success: an exercise goal, a move goal, and a stand goal. I configured my settings based on the app’s recommendations so that I achieve 30 minutes of exercise, burn 300 calories, and stand for about a minute every hour for 12 hours in the day.
When I start to fall behind on a goal, the watch sends me a friendly reminder to get moving.
I can also view weekly charts that show how many days I met my goals.
The newest version of the Apple Watch is water-resistant. I don’t bother to take off my watch when washing the dishes, and I never worry about tinkering with it in the rain.
I have access to a set of emoji animations that are exclusive to the Apple Watch.
- Reuters/Christian Hartmann
I don’t use this feature often, except for when I want to send animated emojis or doodles to my mom or boyfriend. They both own Apple Watches and can respond with drawings of their own.
But the watch isn’t for everyone. One factor that may be holding people back is the cost. My model sells for a whopping $1,149, more than an (unsubsidized) iPhone 7.
- REUTERS/Robert Galbraith
My Apple Watch features a stainless steel case and a pebble leather band from Hermes. In retrospect, I probably would have been just as happy with an aluminum case and a “classic” leather buckle, which are cheaper. You can buy an Apple Watch Series 2 for as little as $369.
The hardware leaves much to be desired. While the look is sleek, the 38-millimeter case feels bulky on my wrist. Plus, it’s no smaller than the previous generation.
- REUTERS/Robert Galbraith
The Apple Watch Series 2 is a hair thicker than its predecessor, which is surprising coming from a company that ditched the headphone jack in its iPhones to make slimmer bodies.
While the newest iteration of the Apple Watch added GPS technology – the likely culprit for the increase in size – it made no gains in style or comfort over Series 1, which was released in spring 2015.
It has the worst home screen of any Apple device I’ve ever owned.
- Issei Kato / Reuters
Clicking the digital crown on the side of the device takes the wearer to the home screen, which is a terrible name for this interface considering it’s not the first thing you see when you wake the Apple Watch. That would be the watchface, which shows you the time.
I never use the home screen to access apps because pushing a button is like trying to play a game of Operation blindfolded. My very normal-sized hands always fail to hit the right icon.
It’s also impossible to organize the apps in a way that makes any sense. When you try to relocate one on the home screen, it shifts all neighboring icons, undoing your efforts.
While the Apple Watch Series 2 looks and feels like an Apple product, it’s not as easy to navigate as I’d hope. Three months in, I still haven’t mastered gestures or displays.
- REUTERS/Toru Hanai
“Intuitive” may describe most Apple products, but not the watch.
It took me weeks to learn where I find my text messages, which swipes bring about different screens, and what watchface style best suits my needs. As such, I’m less likely to install new apps because it feels like one more thing I have to fumble my way through learning.
Overall, getting an Apple Watch has been worthwhile. But Apple has its work cut out for it when the time comes to sell a third-generation model.