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Reviewed: Apple Watch (Gen. 3)

As I mentioned in my “favorite discoveries in 2017“-post, one of the devices I picked up during the year was an Apple Watch. Here’s the review I promised.

To the complete surprise of no-one, I happen to prefer iPhone over Android – and Mac over Windows – when I have a choice. I’m not saying that the alternatives are bad; I’m simply saying that this is my preferred platform. It shouldn’t be too much of a surprise, then, that when I considered companion devices last year, among the contenders on the short list was the Apple Watch. I am not generally speaking an early adopter, and waited until the third generation of Apple Watch came to market to buy one, simply because I wanted to allow the platform time to mature and come into its own.

It has been my experience that Apple products tend to be best in class when it comes to ease of setup. The Apple Watch is no exception. When you turn on your brand new Apple Watch, it will immediately start looking for compatible devices (read: iPhones), and a popup shows up prompting you to set up the Apple Watch. Once that is done, your phone and watch collaborate to download and install apps to the Watch. I did so over mobile network, and was fully up and running within thirty minutes of the watch working on its own.

Like most users, I wear my Apple Watch daily, and it has changed my use of other devices noticeably. I pick up my iPhone significantly less often leading to increased battery life. For most things, such as checking appointments, starting/stopping playback, reading texts and so on, I simply use the Watch, leaving my iPhone alone.

Because the watch simply sits on my wrist all day, I also get a lot of data about my day, such as how many steps I’ve walked, whether I’ve been standing enough, and whether I’ve gotten enough exercise. It notifies me to keep moving, to stand up, and to reach the goals, and prompts me to update the goals on a weekly basis. The net effect is that I move more now than I did before.

Being a Mac user, I have found the auto unlock feature to be particularly useful. Naturally, I have set up my Apple Watch with a pin code, and was surprised when I found that I could access it without unlocking it after putting it on in the morning. As it turns out; it had been unlocked when I unlocked my iPhone, a feature of which I was previously unaware. On my Apple Watch it was set up by default, but if it isn’t – or if you want to turn it off – that’s something I’ve covered earlier.

The fluoroelastomer sports band is far more comfortable than I had expected, and is a breeze to put on and take off. Other bands are available both from Apple and from third-party manufacturers, at a range of prices. I have picked up a third-party leather band for day-to-day use, which serves me very well. When it comes to battery life, I charge the Watch every other night, and have yet to see the need to get a second charging cable, a charging dock, or another accessory like that – your mileage may naturally vary.

All in all, I am very happy with my Apple Watch. It provides a lot of utility and at-a-glance information, and is intuitive in use once you’ve gone through the very brief tutorial after setting it up. It pushes me to move more, and serves its purpose as a companion device very well indeed.

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