First looks on Apple Watch

First looks on Apple Watch

The Apple Watch hits Singapore shores June 26. From about 11am, the well-designed watch will be available at selected Apple retailers here and at Malmaison by The Hour Glass along Orchard Road.

I have been using the 38mm space black stainless steel version for a week. Apparently the 38mm black stainless steel version is much sought after by connoisseurs because it has sapphire crystal, retina display and special technology that makes it scratch resistant. No wonder, I waited 8 weeks for this watch after I ordered it online from the Hong Kong Apple store. My friends who had ordered different models received theirs within 4 weeks.

As first looks, the watch is not as intuitive out of the box as the iPhone, iPad or Apple's other products. It functions like a watch and you can see the time but you need to understand how the basic features work and then the rest will be more intuitive.

On the first day I was happy to unbox the Watch and pair it with my iPhone. Pairing takes a few minutes. Day 2, I discovered how to change the face of the watch by using Force Touch. Press harder on the face, and there appears 10 watch faces including Mickey Mouse, chronograph, digital and simple watch face. I chose chronograph.

A couple of days later, I went for a run and activated the fitness app that comes with it. The app lets you choose an outdoor or indoor walk, run or cycle. I chose outdoor walk and the number of calories I aim to work off. I could also choose time or distance of workout. It also takes heart rate.

All this information is synchronised with the iPhone. I can check my workout status in the Health app that comes with every iPhone.

The only complaint I have with the Watch is that battery life is just 16 to 18 hours. Depending on how many messages or voice calls I take on the phone, I am left with between 12 and 35 per cent of battery juice each day. If I have many notifications on a day and work longer hours, the Watch may just die on me. Thankfully that hasn't happened.

Charging is simple. The charger is magnetized so just tap it gently against the back of the Watch and the charging begins.

In the one week, I have used the Watch, I have found as a useful productive tool. When notifications like messages, voice calls and appointments appear on the Watch, I feel a small vibration on my wrist. By turning my wrist towards me, I can see the notifications. I don't have to whip out my iPhone to check which means it is less invasive and rude if I am in a meeting or with friends.

For my workouts, I have previously used the Polar or Garmin watches. Perhaps I can use just one Watch to track my physical activities. This needs to be checked out in greater detail.

I will be writing a fuller review when I have used the Watch for a couple more weeks.

Meanwhile here are six things that you need to know about the Watch before you rush out to buy one:

1.The Apple Watch comes in three different models, two different sizes, and six different finishes. Go to Apple store Singapore to see online the different models and the prices before you rush out to buy.

2.What if the watch strap doesn't fit? Each watch comes with an extra medium or large band. This can be easily swapped with the original strap. Don't like the colours? Apple sells different bands which can be used across with all models.

3.The watch can be used without the iPhone. For the outdoor activities, it can measure pulse, distance and time taken for the workout and calories spent on its own. This data is then synchronised with the iPhone.

4.The screen isn't too small to read time and messages. Even without my reading glasses, I can still see the time clearly and read the messages. Apple uses a special font that makes the numbers and words appear clearly.

5.Screen size of 38mm too small? There are two sizes, the other one being 42mm. Big watch faces? Sure, it is fashionable today to wear them. However, if you have small wrists like me, then the 38mm model of the Apple Watch rests better on your wrist and lets the Watch read your vital signs like heart rate better.

6.The Watch is turned off all the time? To people around you, the watch face is always "black" like it is turned off. It is not "dead" i.e. out of battery juice. Just turn your wrist towards you and the screen lights up.

Grace Chng is a senior correspondent with The Straits Times.

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