Matthew Price

Apple Watch: First Impressions

The Apple Watch try-ons have officially begun, and yours truly was one of the first to check it out. James and I discussed this a little bit on episode two of Refactor, but I’ve written my full first impressions below. The list isn’t written in any particular order, but it is from the viewpoint of a casual watch wearer.1

Screen & Software

  • The retina display is gorgeous. I didn’t see any “air gap” on the units I played with, although I did see the screen edges at certain angles and lighting. That’s disappointing, but it’s not a deal-breaker.
  • While some people are reporting the demo units are laggy, the applications and animations I experienced ran smoothly. Data loaded from an iPhone over bluetooth will certainly be a different experience, but my impression of the built-in software was good.
  • I enjoyed using the digital crown. It’s a little awkward to use on the demo/table units but not on the units that you wear. I think I’ll prefer using it since you don’t have to stop and lift your finger to look at the screen—just keep on scrollin’.
  • If you’re used to mashing your finger on the screen, it might take you some time to adjust to Force Touch. When I first tried to interact with the Watch, a lot of my presses were registering as a Force Touch instead of a regular touch. Until I figured that out, I thought the software was buggy.

Models & Sizes

  • Both size watches are smaller than I expected. I went in thinking the 42mm would be too large for my wrist, but it’s actually smaller than my current watch. I suspect the size people choose will be much more about personal preference than a size “required” by their wrist.
  • Both size watches are simultaneously lighter and heavier than other watches I’ve worn, so you need to try one on in person if you’re worried about the weight. Overall, all models and sizes are light enough that I don’t think weight is a good primary reason to avoid buying one.
  • The silver Sport lived up to my expectations. It looks very similar to a MacBook or iPhone, but it’s not something I would feel proud wearing on my wrist each day since my current watch is stainless steel. If you can’t afford the stainless steel, the space gray is definitely more elegant, and it looks perfect with a black Leather Loop if you can afford to upgrade the band.

Bands

  • The Sport band is definitely softer and smoother than I expect of rubber watch bands. I didn’t notice a difference between the different colors, but some people have.
  • The Classic Buckle is amazingly soft leather, especially for its position in the pricing lineup. You won’t be disappointed if you’re looking for a simple, standard band.
  • The Leather Loop is a harder leather, probably because the magnets inside force it to be both thin and durable. It still feels great against your wrist, and I didn’t have any problems adjusting it to different sizes. I thought it was much easier to put on and adjust than the Sport and Classic Buckle.
  • The Milanese Loop was very smooth and bends more like a fabric than a metal.
  • The magnetic clasp in all the applicable bands was stronger than I expected, especially on the Milanese Loop. I feel confident they won’t accidentally come undone throughout the day.
  • I don’t care for link watch bands, so I don’t have a huge opinion on the Link Bracelet; however, it does seem much nicer than other link bands I’ve worn. If you like that kind of band, it’s worth the cost.