Why I sold my Apple Watch
I’m not really an early adopter, but in December I picked up the Apple Watch for “free” by activating the Discovery Vitality Apple Watch Benefit on their Active Rewards program. A couple of months later I sold it. Here is why…
The challenge was to achieve my weekly training targets for the next 24 months and have Discovery reward me with a subsidised or even free Apple Watch. Lots of people have followed the same thought processes and there are probably thousands of Apple Watches all over the country thanks to this perk on the Active Rewards program.
I’ve also read some interesting posts about how casual fitness enthusiast or sedentary users have used the watch to help them maintain training programs and more active lifestyles (check this story out Part 1 and Part 2)
But, is it really a fitness device or just a smartwatch with some cool features?
- Like most Apple products, it was intuitive and easy to pick up and use
- The strap is really comfortable and it features a cool tuck-away section which I’d like to see more on watches
- We all know how crap it is to stop your run and to fish your phone out of a backpack. Now you can just talk to your wrist! This feature came in handy when Aanikah called me during a CT Cycle Tour training session
- You can track your time standing, moving, or during a workout and then have a caloric counter tied to your heart-rate
- The Optical Heart Rate sensor is slick and tracks you all day thus eliminating the need for the traditional chest strap
- It links to Strava and built in workout apps to track all kinds of workouts (running, cycling, gym etc.), plus many other 3rd party apps are available
What needs work
- No built in GPS!!! You will still have to carry your phone around on your training sessions (security risk plus potential water damage – see next point). However, it is able to estimate your distance based on stride length and some other variables, but you will have to calibrate it to improve accuracy. This is still not foolproof and inaccuracies will probably still occur
- Apple have warned users against any real water exposure and the warranty does not cover this. At best the watch is splash-proof so don’t go shower with it and definitely no triathlons 🙂 FYI – DC Rainmaker had the balls to go full-out on the water testing in this post
- Battery doesn’t last long at all and gets chowed during activities. You will find yourself charging it each day – I’m already over having to charge my phone each day so adding another device is a schlep
- While using the native apps and Strava on a run, the pace indicator is not immediate and there are a couple of seconds of lag to display data when you glance down at your arm. I really like instantaneous pace data and I almost tripped a couple of times trying to see how fast I was going – look in front of you Fareed
- The charger doesn’t use any clips on the watch itself. You basically lay the watch on the magnetic charger and it connects. If you don’t do it properly, you could be leaving for a run with very little battery power – it’s happened to me a few times
- User reviews have shown it to scratch quite easily so you will need to invest in a protective case/cover to shield it – I was extremely careful and was lucky to keep mine unscathed 🙂
Yes, it looks cool and you can go all spy-mode by talking into your wrist watch. But, honestly it’s an expensive pedometer with a heart rate monitor built in. Don’t get me wrong, there are real benefits when you look at it from a smartwatch perspective – but to be very clear: this is a smartwatch with additional features and not a fitness device with smartwatch functionality (à la Garmin Fenix 3).
In the context of the Apple Watch and the Discovery Vitality Active Rewards program, it can definitely assist in developing lasting healthy habits in those who don’t already ascribe to an active lifestyle.
However, if you’re already engaging in an active lifestyle and are looking for a fitness watch for running etc. then I’d rather recommend options like the Polar M400, TomTom Runner 2 Cardio, Garmin 920 XT or Fenix 3. These are all available for cheaper, have built in GPS units, are waterproof to 50m, will give you multiple days in battery life and include Bluetooth so you can receive phone notifications on your wrist.
They just do the job better.
The Apple Watch is a first generation luxury item. Maybe in future things will improve. But for now, I sold mine.
Do you have an Apple Watch? Feel free to share your experience with it below.
Just run with your cellphone
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