Apple Watch review: 'I'm really into you'

Apple Watch review: 'I'm really into you'

It was April 24, launch day for Apple's first smartwatch.

I had just landed in Tokyo, one of only nine markets where the Apple Watch was released, and I knew it was selling out fast.

Stepping into an electronics shop near my Shinjuku hotel, I asked: "Apple Watch?" Two left, he said, and went to check. He returned to apologise that there was only one.

"I'll take it!" I said immediately.

It was a 42mm stainless steel case with a classic black watchband priced at US$699 (S$926). The entry-level Sport costs US$349 and The Edition is US$10,000 and up. That is, if you can beg, borrow or steal. Pre-orders are backed up till July. I could not even get my hands on an extra watch band.

Look and feel

My stainless steel Apple Watch is absolutely gorgeous and exquisitely crafted, like a designer timepiece.

It weighs 70g with a leather watch band, but feels light on my wrist. The comfort level never drops, even when I go jogging with it.

On the right side of the watch, the digital crown looks a little different from other watch crowns. You turn it and press it to activate most functions. The Side Button next to it is a short cut that brings up your favourite contacts.

Everything, from the animated watch face to Instagram posts, looks good on the 390 x 312 pixel display. Sapphire crystal protects the display and the heart-rate sensors on the back, so I was not worried about it picking up scratches. The stainless steel case, though, may pick up some dings.

Maybe it is that the watch is so rare here. Heads turned and eyebrows lifted when the cognoscenti spot it on my wrist.

Set-up

First, upgrade to iOS 8.2, which includes the Watch app, on your Apple iPhone. Sorry, Android users, it does not work with your smartphones.

Charge the watch using the bundled cable with a puck that connects magnetically to its back. You can pair only one watch at a time with your iPhone.

Press the Side Button to power up. You will be asked to select a language. Tap Start Pairing on your iPhone and the watch. A pairing animation will appear on the watch. The app will show a virtual camera. Ensure that the watch face is in the centre of the viewfinder of your iPhone until a message announces: "Your Apple Watch is paired".

Easiest pairing ever.

On your iPhone, tap Set Up As New. Tap Left or Right on the iPhone to indicate the wrist on which you will wear the watch. This tells the watch its correct orientation and when it is in the right position to wake up the display.

The crown can be worn on either side of the watch. Though I'm right-handed, I wear my watch on my right hand and I prefer the crown on the right side. Next, tap Install All on the iPhone to sync all the apps that are compatible with the watch. Others will not sync. This took me nearly half an hour.

Usage

Simple is the word. To view the time or wake the display, raise or turn your wrist.

You can opt to show the watch face or resume your previous activity in the Watch app.

Press the Digital Crown to go to the home screen, where all apps appear as circular icons. Zoom in and out using the crown. Or tap the display to move the screen around to pick an app. Press the crown to centre the home screen; double tap to return to the watch face.

Swipe upwards on the watch face to bring up Glances, to access more functions of supported apps, such as the New York Times and Instagram. This lets you see a news feed and activity in greater detail. You can opt to take them out of Glances if you prefer to have fewer panels.

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