Apple Watch has some of the best features there are — but on the other hand... - The Independent

The design

Apple's Watch looks tremendous: classy, elegant and beautifully crafted. Every model, from the basic aluminium Sport model to the 18-carat gold Apple Watch Edition has immaculate build quality. The Sport has a glass face, but the sapphire crystal on the other models is super-strong and scratch-resistant. The most beautiful model, I'd say, is the Space Black stainless steel model, but the design strengths stretch to the band as well – the magnetised Milanese Loop is especially attractive.

On the other hand

There are plenty of other smart watches available for much less money, if you don't mind compromising on looks, among other things.

Hands on: Apple Watch's timekeeping is precise to within 50 millisecondsHands on: Apple Watch's timekeeping is precise to within 50 milliseconds  

Taptic Engine

Haptic feedback is the vibration effect found on lots of smartphones and some tablets. It's a useful way of confirming you've pressed on the part of the touchscreen you think you have, though too much can make the gadget feel rattly. Here, Apple has developed an effect which is supremely subtle. The company has come up with its own name (as it usually does) and Taptic is appropriate: it really feels like someone's tapping you on the wrist. Just enough to be noticeable, not enough to be annoying. It's enough to tell you an email or other notification has arrived, or that you've reached a fitness milestone.

On the other hand

You can adjust the force of the tap but if you're busy you can miss some notifications even when it's turned up to the max.



Other companies are working on voice recognition as well as Apple. Google's is pretty amazing and Microsoft's Cortana is versatile and capable. Siri remains the best, though, for its accuracy and occasional witty responses. On the Watch, Siri is great. Setting a timer while you're cooking, dictating a reply to a text message or asking what tomorrow's weather is like all work well. For more complex instructions it hands you back to the iPhone. Typing on a screen the size of the Watch's would be impossible and Siri is an effective solution.

On the other hand

It's not good at names, mind, which can be frustrating.

Apple CEO Tim Cook announces the Apple Watch in March – but did he remember to meet Ken for lunch?Apple CEO Tim Cook announces the Apple Watch in March – but did he remember to meet Ken for lunch?  

Force Touch

This is one of the most exciting interface innovations on the Watch. Press more firmly and a series of electrodes around the display knows about it, showing a series of extra menu options. It's like right-click for a Watch. It's already very useful and adds more features without adding space. And just imagine what versatility it would add if this kind of screen was build into an iPhone…

On the other hand

Until you get used to it, it's easy to press too hard and activate this when you don't mean to.


The battery life

It had been feared that the battery would fail during the day, as other smart watches have. But the battery life here is tremendous, gliding through a full day with ease and rarely getting to the 10 per cent capacity, when you'll panic.

On the other hand

It does deplete the battery on your iPhone faster, because the phone is doing most of the heavy lifting when you use the Watch.

Apple's CEO, Tim Cook, introduces the Apple Watch in San Francisco on MondayApple's CEO, Tim Cook, introduces the Apple Watch in San Francisco on Monday (AP)  

Activity and Workout

The Watch encourages you to get fit. Set an active calories target, take 30 minutes of brisk exercise and make sure you stand up for one minute every hour, and the Watch is happy. Every Monday it'll tell you how your last week was and gently encourage you to do better. The Workout app gives a good account of the exercise you take, especially outside where the GPS adds extra precision.

On the other hand

There are lots of fitness monitors on the market and some of them do more than the Apple Watch – there's no sleep monitoring, not least because you need to charge the Watch daily.

Tim Cook introduces the health and fitness tracking features of the Apple Watch at the event in September  


Never look like a tourist again, with the Apple Watch. Instead of having your face buried in your expensive smartphone as you walk along – never a good look in a strange part of town, just dictate your destination and the Watch will give you your route on your wrist. Glancing down at that is much easier than pulling out the phone. Even better, it taps you on the wrist as you approach a junction to tell you to turn and since the Taptic Engine is so versatile, it gives you distinct taps for left and right.

On the other hand

Make sure you specify that you want to walk or it may give you driving directions. And the first instruction is usually "Proceed to" the street you're actually on, which can be confusing.

Gold timing: the Apple Watch EditionGold timing: the Apple Watch Edition  

It tells the time

Granted, this is a watch, so this is less of an advanced function and more of what's called the bare minimum. But it does it so well. Not just that it's accurate to fifty milliseconds or that if you put two Apple Watches together they'll tip from 11.29.59 to 11.30 in perfect synchronicity. No, it's also that there are ten different watch faces to choose from, including chronograph, gorgeous videos of blossoming flowers or one that shows you exactly where on the Earth you are and when darkness will fall. It's very cool and only Apple would go to this detail.

On the other hand

Even the cheapest watch tells the time.


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