My Apple Watch Review, vis a vis Fitbit Surge

I sold my Apple Watch after 1 week of use, here’s why!

After a sordid 1 week fling with the Apple Watch, i decided this AM that I had had enough and i posted it for sale on my internal company bulletin board.  I hope to unload it quickly to a lucky colleague so that she/he can have at least a week of fun, if not a lifetime!

Apple Watch

Here’s my experience with the Apple Watch, starting with the many cons/problems that led me to such a rapid falling out of interest for what otherwise should have been an exciting new product for a ultra geek early adopter like me! :

  • Another device that needs to be charged every night and that with any kind of active use during the day, runs out of battery before dinner time (and thus creates more battery anxiety that governs the use of the device during the day!)
  • Another USB cable to take on business trips or vacations, with a completely proprietary charging end which thus requires that this cable be taken anywhere if the watch is going to be used for more than 1 day!
  • I’m not a watch guy to begin with–haven’t worn a watch for 10+ years, and only started to have a time-piece on my wrist in the last year because of my interest in activity trackers (i’ve owned 3 to date, and found myself liking having the time on my wrist again and not needing to reach for my phone to get the time throughout the day).  But the Nike Fuel Band, FitBit v1, and FitBit Surge (the 3 trackers i’ve owned) are all much better casual time-checking tools as they are smaller/lighter and or can be charged 1x per 7 days.  This is a huge tradeoff for me–i can take a business trip and not need another cable, and, they use a standard cable that works with other things besides themselves.
  • The daily activity app is lame.  I like the visualization with the cool colors and wheels, but am totally disinterested in tracking “minutes of activity”, “number of hours in the day where you stood for at least 1 minute”, and “calories”.  I’m much more interested in tracking miles walked/traveled, stairs climbed, points against an index of activity (such as fitbit steps or nike fuel), etc. type metrics
  • The exercise tracking app is lame.  I’ve had a lot of experience with FitBit and Strava apps as well as MapMyRun.  All much better than the app on the watch which does not integrate with any gps/map functionality despite its dependency on the phone?  Or if it does, after 1 week of use I couldn’t figure out how to do that, which means it is an impossibly confusing and hard to use device which is just as bad!  The heartbeat tracking on the watch is very intermittent (not continuos throughout the day, like the FitbitSurge), which makes it just a “approximate” tracker of heartrate at best, and at worst a waste of battery since it read my heart rate at 180 beats per minute for a contiguous 30 minutes today on a run (which is at least 10% too high as that rate of beats would have killed me!)–i sense the heart rate reader is just crap bad (maybe they can fix with a future software update).
  • The UI for finding and loading apps is lame.  It has a dedicated button to get to “friends” screen, which in 1 week i didn’t use once.  When i want to IM or call a friend I reach for my phone.  However, when I want to use the various apps on the Watch (which I did often) such as the exercise, music play controller, Strava app, stock picker, settings menu, New York Times reader, etc. you enter into wacky land of hunting and pecking with tiny screen real-estate and the scrollable nob.  I found that by the time i found the app and got it to load (very slow to load apps, eg: 3-5 seconds per app) i could have much more quickly reached to my pocket and pulled out phone and gotten to the information/app i wanted.
  • The actual “killer apps” for me on the Apple Watch turned out to be…. none.  there is nothing that i found myself using the watch for that was actually useful, or fun, or exciting, or … anything other than “meh!”.  That coupled with the hassle of taking it off to shower (it is not water proof), taking it off to charge each night, and having to look at yet another cable to drag with me everywhere I go so it can be charged… wow, really underwhelmed.

Just to state some positives for fun, and to practice being a positive person:

  • Its cool how it lights up the screen when it senses i’ve raised my wrist or otherwise gestured with the intent of looking at the screen.  it works most of the time–only a few times did I find myself having to tell it to turn on by touching the face
  • several nifty/cool UI concepts at play that with iteration could really be fun/work.
  • lots of support from 3rd party apps–good for apple to being such a powerhouse monopoly with the attention of phone app developers… there were almost TOO many applications, i found myself almost wishing there were fewer so i could focus on a few great ones (most of them are not that interesting)
  • the band fits really nicely, doesn’t chafe, and snaps on/off easily but securely.
  • The dictation voice-to-text is good, you could use to send text messages to friends without pulling your phone out of your pocket (if you aren’t a total Dick Tracy want to be dweeb!)
  • The talking to the thing as a microphone/speaker to answer a call works if you are Dick Tracy and don’t mind being a dweeb!dich tracy

So i’m going to go back to my FitBit Surge–charges 1x a week, tells the time, is a better health tracker for both casual activity (walking around) and exercise (has GPS and more accurate distance and performance tracking, and a great community of friends that use fitbit, and integration with Strava which I use for more serious training for marathons and such).  Here’s a photo of the surge next to my apple watch on its last day of use (when i wore them both to compare the data they generated).

Apple Watch and Surge

I actually am not sure who the Apple Watch is for other than people that really like watches?  If the battery life approached 5-7 days on 1 charge, it was 50% thinner, and the physical buttons or other macro gestures could be linked to the 3-4 apps I actually care about (so it was faster to get it to load the info/app that I want when i want to use it), i would give it another try.  Otherwise, this is the first apple product in 15 years or so that I wish I hadn’t bought (last time that happened was… wait, that has never happened!?)

God forbid anyone would buy a product like this and pay $10k+ for the Gold Edition.  I can’t think of a less practical way to spend that kind of money–the shelf life on this thing, at very best, will be 1 year.  Apple desperately needs to make a v2 of this product that overcomes the many, many, many v1 deficiencies that I think make this a product strictly for super-fan-boys and or fetishist of watches.

Update: after a day on my company bulletin board i had no offers–i guess the demand amongst my peers is zero?  So i ran it over to the Apple store and was given a full refund, no questions asked–A+ customer service Apple, once again.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s