Traveling with Apple Watch – a practical product review
The Apple Watch is now just over two months old and I was fortunate enough to be one of the first to use it everyday to determine if the smart wearable devise is worth the investment and hype. Is the Apple Watch really the most personal devise you will own? How well does the watch travel and more importantly will it make my travel experience better?
My observations are as follows:
-> Love having the Apple Watch keeping me on task. The iCalendar feature with reminder alerts is great. We live hectic lives and the haptic tapping on the wrist alerting me when a meeting is coming up is great. I have programmed reminders 10min before the meeting is up to ensure we start wrapping it up. It also helped while traveling in reminding me to get back to a meeting point while I was on tours. We all get distracted in some of the exciting sights and sounds, and it is easy to lose track of time. While on a cruise with Paul Gauguin, similar to other cruise lines, they have various activities. I would create appointments in my calendar to remind me of some of the unique and interesting events I wanted to take in.
-> Love getting notifications such as email, SMS, twitter, Facebook, Swarm, etc. on what is happening with the tap tap on the wrist, a quick glance to determine if I need to go to the iPhone or laptop to take action, quick reply, or dismiss the notification. You are able to limit the notifications by choosing which apps you will get a ping for, as well as, you can “Do Not Disturb” your watch which will stop any alerts coming in.
-> Love the health App. I appreciate the “Reminder to Stand Up” and move about. It is so easy to get into a groove and before I know it I have been sitting in front of my computer for six hours or more. This app in particular is great in two ways:
1) it gets me up and moving
2) it gives my eyes a break as I am no longer staring at my screen, this makes my optometrist happy in preventing eye strain. I have found by doing this I have been able to be a bit more focused and productive. The “Move” and “Calories” goals is also great. It makes me much more conscious on how active I am in a day and the watch will give gentle reminders to say “hey get up and start moving.” When you achieve goals the watch suddenly gives you a “reward” and really, who doesn’t like getting a gold star occasionally?
-> Love that I am now able to keep my iPhone on silent and the Apple Watch will notify me when my phone is ringing. I can take calls on my wrist even if my phone is at my desk and I am in the lunch room. Being out at a night club where you need to shout at your friend standing a foot away, it is virtually impossible to hear or feel your phone vibrate, but with the Apple Watch, that electric pulse on the wrist, grabs your attention where you can answer the phone and head off where it is a bit quieter or perhaps decline the call and call back – so much better than having a missed call.
-> Love “PING” my iPhone – if you are like me, I am forever misplacing my phone. It is usually buried in a mountain of paper work or fell out my pocket and down in between a seat cushion. Since I usually have my ringer on silent, calling my phone is not very practical. However regardless of the ringer/volume of your phone when you Ping from your watch an audible ping is sounded guiding you back to your lifeline.
-> Maps – Navigation synchs nicely with the iPhone. The tap tap on the wrist alerts you nicely on your next direction notification. A quick glance at either your wrist or iPhone to get the info you need and your eyes on the road.
-> Like the Traveling Apps. I was able to use United, Air New Zealand, Passbook, and TripIt on both domestic and International travel. Having the QR code as a boarding pass on your wrist was great for Domestic travel, however International travel it was not practical. Most airlines require a paper boarding pass that has been stamped to verify you have the correct travel documents (passport, visas, etc.) to travel to your next destination. So using the QR code technically would work, the gate agents will not accept it. Also some of the scanners are designed for paper documents making passing your wrist under the scanner impossible so you would need to remove your watch and hand to the gate agent to scan. Also, going through security scanners you will need to remove the watch as it will set the scanner off.
Like that the watch just works. For instance when your notifications go crazy instead of going in and clearing them individually you can use “Force Touch” and clear all. You can use the “Force Touch” in other applications like mail to to “unread”, “flag”, or “delete” the mail message right from your wrist.
! Battery life for the most part, last for a day. I usually get the watch to last two days by shutting the watch off at night and turning it one the next morning. If you use some of the features like iCamera remote for the iPhone or GoPro the battery dies quite quickly.
! If you are not on data roaming or WIFI with your iPhone many of the Apps naturally do not work. The upside is that this will actually extend your battery life slightly.
! Some of the customized watch faces would be nice if they stayed on all the time rather than being a dark screen until you turn your wrist to check the time. When you have a Rolex, TAG or for that matter a SWATCH it is a fashion accessory that you would like to show off. Personally I would love to have the butterfly or Earth glowing all the time. This of course would no doubt drain the battery.
! Waterproof or lack there of. My apprehension of getting the watch wet was put at ease when I saw the review posted by triathlete Ray Maker “DC Rainmaker” showing that the watch is able to withstand being submerged for up to thirty minutes and up to 40 meters underwater. There were a couple times when I forgot to take the watch off when I went snorkeling or hanging out at the pool. The touch screen does not work so well with wet fingers and as Maker also shared in his review.
In my opinion, the Apple Watch, works for me. Sure there are a few flaws but for the first “most personal device” Apple has ever made, I think they have done a pretty good job. I enjoyed traveling with the watch and I am sure I would have enjoyed it even more if all the applications worked that require Data Roaming / WIFI from your iPhone. Would I invest in only the Sports Apple Watch at this stage. They still have a few things to work out and I feel the premium watches are nice, they are just not worth the investment at this time.
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