With so many fresh entrants to the smartwatch market of late, it’s easy to forget that Apple are still at the top of the heap. Their Apple Watch is the top-shelf choice for the smartwatch user, and the new model is user-friendly and practical enough to rope in plenty of folks still sitting on the fence.

There are a few versions available, so here’s a rundown of the most noteworthy options available to you. With the holidays right around the corner, it wouldn’t be fair to consider just one.

A New Focus on Fitness

The original Apple Watch was a capable, trendy device. But in all, critics thought it lacked focus. As a pure companion for the iPhone, it didn’t seem… Necessary. It was an all-around less favorable choice for performing complex tasks than its more robust smartphone and tablet cousins. That is, unless it comes to fitness.
Apple noted that most of its users were taking the smartwatch for runs, monitoring their fitness and dieting goals, and as an all-purpose health companion. In response to this, the new watch is more focused on those initiatives, providing users with a capable GPS system and durable construction that ensures the Apple Watch can handle whatever you throw at it.

Features

To kick off the Apple Watch’s list of exercise-friendly features, the watch’s display is the brightest of any device Apple have ever shipped. It’s clearly meant for use in broad daylight and to be visible during periods of heavy use, so you won’t want for much if you need something digital that works well outdoors. That’s something that’s been sorely missing from the timepiece industry since its inception, and the problem has only been solved recently. Apple have the best approach to solving that problem now, as the screen is bright, clear, and won’t disappoint.

The device is constantly tracking metrics like heart rate and distance travelled, and makes them easily digestible to the wearer. With such a clean and impressive interface, it’s fair to assume that some people do become measurably more active just from owning a smartwatch. It turns moving around into something of a game, or a reward system for living a healthy life.

As for performance, all the Apple Watch models are very capable. They don’t need to do too much, mind you, as they’re meant to always have the more powerful and handy iPhone nearby… but the gap is closing a bit. The new Apple Watch features a new chipset which is 50% faster than the original, meaning its onboard OS can complete complex tasks and launch apps faster. This makes it more convenient, and it’s the one area where the Series 1 watch shines – it’s the first-generation Apple Watch with the updated chip from the new model. Pick your poison.

Apple Watch Sleeps with the Fishes…

There’s something very special and noteworthy about the second-generation Apple Watch that does stand out like a sore thumb. In the best way possible, that is — it’s what Apple are calling “swimproof,” which is a term they’re using to describe what you and I might call “extremely waterproof.”

Many of the photos Apple are using to promote the new Apple Watch feature the piece functioning underwater, and many feature the watch sitting snugly on the wrist of an underwater user. The new watch is water-resistant up to any depth you can reasonably hope to reach with your own two lungs, and its functionality 10,000 leagues under the sea is quite impressive. Once you step out of the pool, dry off your Apple Watch, and it’s good to go.

What’s Your Favorite Band?

The Apple Watch is distinguished, but you might have difficulty spotting it in a crowd. It fits right in – due largely to the variety of wrist bands Apple have made available through partnerships with a handful of designers.
Of note, you can grab a stylish brown leather Hermes band, or you can opt for something more modern, sporty, or utilitarian. Whatever your routine in life, the Apple Watch (all of them) comes with enough strap customizations to allow the watch to happily sit on your wrist without standing out.

Drawbacks

There are a few drawbacks with the Apple Watch, but nothing you couldn’t figure out or guess on your own. Given it’s such a small device running so many apps and pieces of software, paired with a bright screen meant for daytime use, it isn’t exactly long on battery life.

A typical charge only lasts about five hours, if you’re running the watch full-tilt. Apple do say that the watch can be worn for longer periods, but it requires disabling some of the onboard features, such as GPS, which is both a battery and a resource hog.

Still, though, this shouldn’t be much of an issue so long as you keep the watch’s limitations in mind – even Apple have scaled back their “everything under the sun” approach with the second Apple Watch and redesigned it around fitness. Think runs, swims, bursts of activity, etc. If you’re using it at the office, you can charge it at your desk for a few minutes during lunch to get a full day’s use out of it. Understandably, this can play into the Apple Watch’s learning curve.

The Original Apple Watch is Still Competitive

We’re talking about three Apple Watches here, really. There’s the original, which played its part in kicking off the entire smartwatch market and is very much still a competitive option. There’s an updated “year 1+” model which bridges the gap between this year and last. The third, newest option, which is available in time for the holidays and is the only one with Swimproofing, GPS, etc., is the second-generation Apple Watch.

If you’re an Apple fan, there are enough new features and all-around improvements in the new Apple watch to justify jumping to the latest model straight away. If you’re new to the club or aren’t sure how a smart watch would work for your life, the other Apple Watches aren’t bad at all. In many ways, especially to the casual wearer, they’re as capable as the new model. They’re priced better too, so they make a decent entry-level purchase for the aspiring smartwatch user.

Warranty

The warranty that comes with the Apple Watch isn’t too bad. Every watch sold, including the Nike+ model comes with one year of coverage, and up to 9o days 0f free support from Apple. The Hermes model doubles down, and brings two years of coverage.

Pairing either warranty with AppleCare+ will net users two incidents of accidental repair coverage. That’s two dings, scrapes, whacks, whatever – that your smartwatch can take on the company’s dime. Not too bad.

Conclusion

If you’re an Apple fan, you’ll love the Apple Watch, and that goes for all iterations of it. That’s a given. Apple know what their customers love, and they take good care of them, especially when it comes to incorporating feedback.

If you’re not already sold on Apple’s products or have reservations about ditching the analog style of watches that have been around forever, you might find the Apple Watch to have a bit of a learning curve. It may take some time for the watch’s numerous features and amenities to win over your heart, but it’s sure to, thanks to its capabilities and usability.

If you or someone in the family are keen on Apple products or are the least bit techy, this is a good one.

Video courtesy of Apple Watch World

 

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