So i finally put my foot down and purchased the new Apple watch series 3. Now, one thing you should know right away if you’re in India is that you only get the GPS model. The LTE model will not come to india because none of the telecom companies have volunteered to provide a service for this. Which also means there won’t be any stainless steel or ceramic models and you’re stuck with the aluminium. Which isnt a deal breaker really.
Now, no doubt the apple watch had my attending right from the first series that was launched a few years ago but as is the case with every new technology, it takes a few years to work out the bugs, errors and functionality issues. Having previously owned a Garmin Fenix 3 HR and a few Fitbits, i was curious to know how would the apple watch compete with rival brands. As an apple loyalist for many years, i was rooting for them but i know how things have a tendency to let you down.
Right away i could tell there is a much larger functionality on the watch itself. I found myself barely looking at my phone while i was outside and i could do a variety of tasks on the watch itself while it was paired with the phone. I could send and receive messages, answer calls, read emails and even book a cab. The new improved Siri somehow responds better on the watch compared to the iPhone. wonder how that works but i found that Siri was able to pick up voice cues with incredible accuracy which is something i cannot say about the iPhone or the iPad.
It is light in weight and even with a case and a screen guard, it weights much less that a bulky Garmin which occupies most of your wrist and becomes a pain to wear on those long runs. With Garmin, my biggest beef was that the app was ridiculously slow and cumbersome. Getting it synced was a nightmare and the app would often forget all data synced previously. So you’re stuck with today’s data only. Also, that even though it was called a “smartwatch”, it barely had any features. You could get notifications but barely do anything about them. While on the run screen, you cannot switch back to any other screen unless you end your session. Although to be fair, it had an incredible battery life.
With the Fitbit, the app was good and i liked the challenges you could compete in with your friends but the band offered very little apart from that. I would’ve liked a few more features for that kind of a price but it was a let down. Yet, it still remains everyone’s entry level fitness band.
Another rival brand which is rapidly gaining popularity in the fitness world is TomTom. Now their biggest asset is their ability to store music and a decent enough battery life. The features are still limited and offer little else apart from tracking your runs etc.
The Apple watch adds to the functionality of a Garmin, the music capability of a TomTom and the seamless syncing of a Fitbit and makes it even better. The watch is incredibly useful and offers a ton of third party support as well. I have downloaded all of runtastic’s fitness apps and i now have all my workouts on my wrist. I have synced music on my watch and i get about 10 hours of music and tracking. And all my data gets synced in the blink of an eye and i am a fan of the fitness rings and i strive to get all of them closed every day. which isn’t always easy.
Coming to the cons, i’m afraid there are some. The battery life isnt great but if you are really careful with your use, you can get about 3 days. I personally have it on airplane mode all day when im home. That way it tracks my movements but doesn’t use up a lot of battery. at night i switch to power saver mode with barely uses any battery at all and still gives you the functionality of a watch. When i step out, i have my phone and my watch synced and i am glad i am not one of those people who have their faces constantly buried inside their phones. I can do pretty much everything i need to do right from my wrist.
Another con is that once you sync your phone and your watch or when your watch connects to wifi, you download all of the day’s messages on to your watch. Even the ones you read and discarded. If a message is on your watch, it stays on your watch and you have to delete it from the watch. Deleting a message or an email on your phone does not delete the message from your watch. And that becomes a bit annoying. I personally get a lot of spam texts from restaurants, real estate agents etc and deleting them twice, once on my phone and then on my watch is a pain. And there is no option to delete multiple messages at once. So you have to deal with them one by one.
Apart from that, it dont really see anything else that bothers me. I love the apps, i like the feel of the OS and the responsiveness has improved greatly over the previous generations. And while other brands cost a lot more and offer a lot less, i feel that this is worthy of it’s price tag.
My verdict : Definitely the right purchase if you’re looking to a wearable for workouts, runs etc. and for daily use as well.