Apple Watch opinions? I'm on the purchasing fence.

So, after winning a fantasy football championship I find myself relatively flush and would like to buy myself a gift. The Apple watch intrigues me, but I’ve read some pretty mediocre reviews online. Any Dopers have one, and would you be willing to share your Pros and Cons?

Similar to you, I bought one after winning something (an iPad, which I already had, so I traded it for the watch).

It’s… pretty cool. Not for everyone, but I like it.


  • you feel like Dick Tracy when you answer a phone call on it. Plus, beyond the cool factor, it’s handy for quick calls.

  • I miss far fewer messages with it. I tend to put my phone in my purse, so if I’m out and about and Mr. Athena texts me, I miss it a lot. Not with the watch; it subtly taps your wrist whenever you get a message.

  • The speech-to-text functionality is pretty cool. Very handy to reply to texts via voice.

  • The activity monitor is moderately useful. I like that it reminds me to stand up when I sit for too long.

  • (obviously not for everyone) I’m a diabetic, and I have a continuous glucose monitor that interacts with the watch, so I can check my blood sugar on my wrist. That’s handy.


  • it’s not the prettiest thing. I didn’t want to spend the $$ on the higher end versions, and sometimes the sports band seems a little too casual. (you can buy third-party leather-look bands, I just haven’t yet)

  • it’s slow. I sometimes want to check the weather app or something and it takes foooorrreeevvver to update.

  • a lot of the apps are less-than-stellar. Not really the watches problem, but still.

  • it’s a lot harder to ignore messages when you want to. Like, I sometimes don’t want to be informed about every single facebook message I get. You can mute threads, but it doesn’t always seem to work.

I love it. It fits my lifestyle perfectly. My wife also has one and she loves it.

But, YMMV.

In my opinion, there is no single thing that makes it worth it–it is more the sum of all parts that makes the Apple Watch work for me.

I am a runner, so the fitness app works perfectly in my life. I really don’t care about what other runners are doing, and I don’t want to compete or compare my running with other runners, so the simplistic fitness app works perfectly for me. I go outside click “Start unlimited outdoor run” and go.

I work at home in my basement, where no cell signal can reach–but that’s not a problem since I leave my phone upstairs in the bedroom where it gets a great signal, and I answer calls on my watch (only good for short conversations since it is kind of annoying).

All texts and emails appear on my wrist. This can be filtered easily, so you can get it down to what you want. Since I’m not a texting fiend, I get a few a day, and the watch is perfect for showing me the text right away.

The weather app is more useful than you would think. For a runner, it is useful to know the current temp outside and time of sunset–both displayed as complications on my watch face. As Athena said, the weather app can be sort of sluggish, but they have improved things greatly in the last release of the OS.

I like seeing my next event as a complication on my watch face: right now it says “Change Musicademy Subscription” since I put in an event a month back for me to decide if I wanted to keep that subscription, and my watch is reminding me to do so tonight.

I can control the bluetooth playback of my phone using the watch. This is particularly useful while driving since the car radio controls don’t allow me to pause or skip songs on the paired phone–I just tap the controls on my wrist to do so.

Apple Pay is really cool when it works. I do my shopping at Acme or Shoprite, and both stores support Apple Pay, so it is fun to double-click the side button and hold my watch up to the terminal to pay. Unfortunately, few vendors support this, and infighting with competing technologies (e.g. CurrentC) is causing big players to drag their feet (Best Buy claimed they would support it in August and we are still waiting). The need for chip-and-PIN terminals is causing everyone to upgrade, so there is still hope.

With that said, many of the things advertised are gimmicky. My wife and I rarely use the drawing tool to send each other messages, and I think we sent our heartbeats to each other once. Apps that truly support the watch are surprisingly rare, even today.
I do like the heart rate monitor, but I don’t use it as often as I used to.

ETA: Athena, go for the aftermarket bands. That’s where the fun is. I have two beautiful SS bracelets I bought for around $25 each that get complements and look better than the $400 Apple SS band. I’m sure there are equally cool bands in leather available. The changing of bands is super easy, so I use different ones daily.

At this point, you might consider waiting for the Watch 2 (or the Watch 1S, the Watch Pro, the Watch Air, or whatever else they might call it).

MacRumors sez that Apple is planning a March 2016 event for the second gen watch. If it was me, I’d wait and see -

I like it, but it really should be $250 and not $450.

The main feature for me is the activity tracking. The watch more or less forced me to burn 1200 active kilocalories a day in September. Ouch. It’s great for inline skating: with a tap on the weather thingy I can see the chance of rain for the upcoming 11 hours and when I roll I tell the watch I’m cycling outside so it’ll use the GPS in my iPhone to tell me how fast I’m going and how much distance I’ve covered. (Of course you’re limited to whatever Apple deems useful, so there’s no “inline skating” activity. Or seconds for the digital watch faces, while the analog ones have a mandatory second hand.)

Notifications are also useful, but I don’t get enough of them for this to be a big deal. I like controlling audio playback from the watch, I don’t use headphones with a clicker anymore.

But third party applications are pretty slow and thus rarely worth the trouble. I haven’t checked in a few months, but the number of apps for the watch isn’t huge, and most don’t do anything useful anyway.

I’ve had one for about 6 months now. I’d buy it again, but I also would not feel completely lost without it.

The primary advantage I get from it is the text message taps. I keep my volume on the phone itself pretty low most of the time, and I used to not notice that I had received a text for quite a while. Now the watch taps me, and I can do a quick look at it to see who it is and if I need to reply.

I use it to screen calls, but rarely actually answer from the watch itself.

The Hey Siri feature is cool, I use that a fair bit.

I give it a 7 out of 10

Care to give me a link to the aftermarket bands you like? I’ve been looking at them on Amazon, and so far any that I find that I think look good get so-so reviews.

I don’t have one either, but if I do get one it will be so that I can race my bicycle when I’m on call for work and if I get a call it will tap me on the wrist and show me who’s calling. I’ll be able to see at a glance whether I need to stop and take the call or not. I’ve tried phone mounts for the bike before, and first they’re not technically allowed for racing, second I don’t reliably hear or see if I have an incoming call.

I utilize a lot of the features others have already mentioned, and there are a few others I use as well. I prefer the modular watch face, which is customizable in terms of what is always displayed. I have the time, the date, the current weather, the alarm clock, sunrise/sunset and a timer on my face at all times.

• The built in timer. I use it constantly during the day. If I’m doing laundry, I start the timer so I don’t forget to take it out of the machine/dryer. If I’m cooking, I use the timer. I use it whenever there is something I need to do so I don’t forget. I just finished grilling some treats for my dog, and I need to remember to put the cover on when the grill cools down, so my timer is set for a half-hour.

• Notifications from my credit card companies. Every time a purchase is made on any of my credit cards, I get instant notification on my watch. If a fraudulent purchase is made, I know it immediately, and can cancel the card immediately. This has happened once already.

• Grocery list. I use the app Buy Me A Pie for listmaking. It syncs across their website, the iPhone app, and the watch app. When I go to the store, I can call up the list on my watch and cross items off it, without having to pull out my iPhone.

It’s not perfect, and like any device it does need to be rebooted every now and again. I’ve had mine since mid-May, and I wouldn’t want to be without it.

They start at $350 from Apple. It looks like Best Buy currently is still offering a $100 discount held over from Black Friday, bringing it to $250, but who knows how long that will last.

I actually don’t find it very useful when I’m on my (city) bike, as the vibrations make me miss notifications and I can’t interact with the watch (for stuff like changing audio playback) because I need to keep at least one hand on the steer. But phone call notifications are much more prominent than the ones for notifications so maybe for that it works.

Meh. I bought it for sports (cycling in particular), but my Garmin and Wahoo are better at tracking my activity. Since I added the black band it’s not too ugly. I’ll sometimes wear it on casual Friday, but even today (casual Thursday) I chose to wear a much nicer Seiko (having decided to give both Citizens a break). I don’t even really like the Seiko. It’s a chronograph, so the second hand doesn’t sweep, but it’s still better than the Apple Watch.

The Apple Watch is kind of cool, the features are fairly neat, but I can’t read the time, which is the one basic function a watch has to provide. I can touch it to show the time, or I can gesticulate wildly to get it to show the time, but in general, the screen is always off.

On the other hand if you’re the type of person who has never worn a watch, I guess checking the time may not be important to you.

I have only tried metal aftermarket bracelets, though I am looking forward to trying some nice leather straps.

This JETech band is my favorite. They have bumped it up $5 from the $25 I paid for it in the summer.
It looks similar to the classic Rolex Oyster bracelet.

I also have this Oittm band, which my daughter says looks more modern and she prefers it. Again, they have bumped it up five bucks.

Both are very nice bands, heavy, and better than you would expect for the price. The original Apple SS band has an amazing tool-free removable link feature that the cheap guys don’t try to imitate–not a problem since these guys both shipped a (cheaply made) pin removal tool that works like a vise.

A word of caution: the end pieces of the Oittm band, and many others, are three-piece affairs, with tiny screws. These are similar to what Apple uses for leather straps. A look at the picture should be enough to show how fragile this arrangement is–if one screw comes loose the watch will fall to the pavement. For this reason, I used Locktite on the threads before putting it together.

Besides these metal bracelets, I have the original blue leather loop, the black sports, and the green sports band. Surprisingly, the black sports band looks just as good (IMHO) as their pricy black leather band.

My wife has a 38mm with the original Milanese Loop, and a white sports band. She uses the mesh band at church and the white one when it matches her outfit.

I am a watch geek, so when I dress up nice I don’t wear my Apple Watch–it’s Swiss stainless steel all the way.
Last week at church I was wearing my Omega Speedmaster Pro (the first watch worn on the moon :cool:).

ETA: One thing it fails miserably at is the sideways peek at the time when you are trying to be discreet. One more reason why I wear mechanical watches to church.

I would not trust the haptic notification for mission critical text messages or emails, but I think a phone call would be noticeable. When I am quietly reading or doing work I hear the pretty chime and feel the buzz quite well; however when I am running outdoors I miss some of the mile notifications (the same kind of tap).
When the phone rings it does a much more persistent buzzing, so that is easy to notice.

Ask a friend to let you see one in action.

Regardless, you can always give a quick glance at the top of the dial and you will see a red dot if there are notifications you haven’t looked at.

My wife has one. I didn’t see the need, but it has a lot of fitness stuff on it which she uses so that’s useful. Anything else it does that comes to mind is available on the iPhone so I don’t really see the point to the Apple Watch beyond fitness. I personally don’t want to be tethered to technology like that all the time to disrupt my daily activities with some unimportant news item, email or a post on Facebook. It is the reason I keep notifications off on my iPhone.

I’ve not borrowed it for fitness, but it has some app in there which tells the owner of the Apple Watch that it is time to get up and do some movement and it tracks your progress and goal. She feels it is much better than having a Fitbit.

Just curious, are there any substantial rumors about whether the next gen watch will have a camera or facetime feature?

That’s interesting, thanks. I notice when my fitbit vibrates, but maybe that’s stronger? Anyway, I’m not in any hurry to get one, partly because I got given a rather nice Tissot for my 40th birthday and don’t want to “replace” it so soon. My Mother has an Apple watch so I can sound her out about it.

Well I pulled the trigger on the 42mm Sport model yesterday. Thanks everyone for the insights. I’m still learning the ropes and customizing today. Just took a picture with my watch. That’s some pretty cool Dick Tracy shit right there.

There is a rumor that the 2nd (maybe 3rd) generation will have a FaceTime camera, but like everything Apple, who knows till they announce it.

Some evidence that points in the direction of a FaceTime camera is that WatchOS 2 introduced FaceTime audio support. Also, it’s a probably a safe bet that Apple is doing what it can to make the Watch a standalone product, no iPhone necessary, even if that’s a slow process, and that might mean its own FaceTime camera.