I should have reviewed Apple Watch. That was the plan, but then, when Engadget first tested the tool, I was on vacation. In particular, I'm in France, where I run the Paris Marathon, my 26.2 mile sixth race in five years. As it happens, our Chief Editor Michael wrote a fair and comprehensive review of himself, and he also cut a good figure in the walkthrough stop motion video. If there is one thing that he does not describe in detail, however, this is Apple Watch's performance as a fitness device. Some background there: Michael is one of those skinny people with a very fast metabolism that does not need to work to stay slim. That's a good thing, because he hates exercising. That's why, when I finally got the chance to try Apple Watch myself (stainless steel model $ 649), I chose to focus on his ability as a fitness gadget - a fitting decision, given my running habits that kept me going. reviewing the watch in the first place.
Let's pretend we have not really bought the watch yet. If you are an athlete, you definitely want a silicone sports strap, even if you do not need it technically. That said, I always take the time to exchange in my bright green sport band, although the process of changing the rope can feel a bit boring. For starters, although Milan's circle stayed behind while I was running (and also resistant to perspiration), I could feel it off as I engaged in activities that required the use of my arm stronger - things like kickboxing and burpees. Never fell, thank goodness, but there were times during the practice when I stopped to re-adjust the band before continuing with anything I did. Meanwhile, the sport version is tight toned, and the finishing is soft and supple feels comfortable attached to the skin. Which is good, because I really do not need friction wounds anymore.
From there, you do not even need to open the Work-pre-loaded app; If you do not care about your distance or speed per mile, you can start running and watches will automatically detect that you are exercising, and count your calories burning accordingly. (You will also get credit for your practice time in a watch tracking health app.) That said, I am very concerned about speed and distance, and I suspect there is a runner who describes himself as well. At least, you care how long you run, do not you? To get the metrics, you definitely need to use the Workout app.
Open it, and you'll see options for different types of exercises: indoor running, outdoor running, elliptical and what you have. (There are other "Other" categories suitable for sports such as yoga exercises and circuits.) If I want to, I can lower my distance at some distance or time limit - say, two miles, or 20 minutes. And for most people, that's enough. So, incidentally, I'm a bit of a special case: I'm following a walking routine, where I run for a few minutes and then take a break before starting again. Therefore, I prefer watches with timed interval features so the device can snap at me when it's time to slow down or take steps. Apple Watch does not do that, at least without the help of third-party apps. Indeed, various applications can track your intervals without you constantly having to keep an eye on the clock.
The catch is you need your phone nearby to work - at least for now. That's because third-party apps do not currently have access to the built-in sensor of the watch (accelerometer, heart rate monitor, etc.), which means the app has to rely on the phone to get its data. That changed, though: Apple has said that third-party apps will get access to watch sensors this year. That would be good news indeed, though I still hope Apple will consider adding run-walk mode in future software updates. It's true, I probably outnumbered the "ordinary" runners who rarely stopped to walk, but I knew I was not the only one of my kind. Specifically, running runs are very popular among beginners and regular runners - yes know, it is precisely the kind of person who tends to use Apple Watch on a special running device.
Going the distance
As it happens, I need to bring my phone with me on some of my first operations. Everyone Here, this handset is like an exercise wheel, using a variety of navigation sensors to help calibrate the tracking distance of the watch. I did not know that when I first unbuttoned my watch, and was a little anxious to see it miscalculated my usual route about three-tenths of a mile from my Garmin 220, which actually had a more accurate built-in GPS. tracking. (By the way, this means my speed is also less than 50 seconds). Things improved somewhat after I took my iPhone 6 with me for some walking. When I ran a half marathon, the identification distance was also 0.18 miles from what my Garmin reported. For 13 miles, it produced a difference of 11 seconds in my average speed. It's nothing, of course, but the variant is pretty small, however, I know how fast (or in my case, slow) I go.
Although now, though, after a few weeks of testing, distance tracking still stops, with Apple Watch often saying that I went further than I knew I was going. Also, I noticed that while Apple Watch and Garmin might start out from the neck and neck in the distance, the two begin to digress whenever I follow the route that takes me under a thick canopy of trees. Even with my phone nearby, Apple Watch seems to be struggling more in areas with low signals. In the last run I observed a 0.12 mile difference between Apple Watch and my Garmin, which for four miles yielded a difference of about 20 seconds in my speed. And mind you, it's with my iPhone behind it. When I try to walk longer without my phone, the clearance gap is almost four-tenths of a mile, which for three milers translates to a 1:24 difference in speed. That's huge - and unacceptable. Even the weird one? Garmin and Apple gave me approximately the same calorie estimate for the same run, and almost every other exercise as well. Hah.
A nice piece of kit
All that said, Apple Watch is still a good hardware, especially for first generation devices. Besides being made very nice and pretty to look at, the battery life is longer than I expected - and that's even after reading the initial reviews. I usually have no problem making it through a long day, even one book with morning exercise and after-work drinks. As I type this, I've been wearing watches for seven hours, and still 71 percent left. And that's despite the fact that I did 75 minutes of exercise this morning and have checked the notifications periodically. As for the recent half marathon, it was a long race - almost three hours - and I still have plenty of battery life after I'm done. If you think you need more juice (say, in a full marathon), there is a power-saving mode that allows you to disable heart rate tracking while exercising. I would gladly change heartbeat data for a longer runtime time, and indeed have made this feature my default. However, I'm sure heart rate reading can not be negotiated at least for some of you.
Apple Watch is a great hardware, especially for first generation devices.
If anything, my concern with regards to battery life is that the inductive charger detached from the device is a little too easy, so runners may one day experience their worst nightmare come true: wake up the race day to find their watch didn 't charge overnight Luckily, a fitness god worked with me on my half-marathon day; I woke up at a cost of 100 percent, as planned. But there was at least one day when I woke up and found that I only had enough money for the bootcamp class in the morning. The watch was dead by the time I arrived at work, a little before 9:00. If I ever bought my own Apple Watch, I would make sure to get a backup charger to use it. I'll keep it in my office for days like that when bad luck strikes.
As for durability, the sapphire screen on my stainless steel edition remains free of scratches, as promised, although the veil and the Milanese band have not fared well enough; Both have experienced many mistakes in the weeks that I have tested. I also took her to the bathroom with me, and even got stuck in the rain on my half-marathon day; both watches and motor sport survive. By the way, the reason Apple is careful to call a waterproof clock instead of waterproof is it can not guarantee the device will be okay if you go swimming or even spend time in the sauna. So I refrain from doing those things - unlike Apple that does not warn us, does it? However, if you want a bit of vibration, DC Rainmaker's fitness bean takes a watch for a 1,000 meter swim and jumps off a high diving platform, and the device is still ticking. You can read the reviews here.
So I generally like hardware. But the software can use the job. Not just the fact that there is also no running path mode. That's another thing: some big, small. For example, there is no intuitive way to review past exercises. Compare to other exercise apps, like RunKeeper, Garmin Connect and Strava, which have long activity feeds that you can browse for, making it easy to see how your performance changes over time.
While I discuss this issue, I hope to export full practice to other apps, which is something Garmin and others let me do it. I can export to Apple Health, where I can send my data to certain compatible apps, like Garmin. Even then, I did not preserve the training archives, per se; I can just go back and see how many steps I take during the day. Fortunately, at least, some of the apps I've paired up with Apple Health can talk to a wider range of apps. So although I may not be able to send Apple Watch data directly to MyFitnessPal, at least I can send that information to Garmin, which will send it to MyFitnessPal. Again, full practice is not preserved, but at least my other fitness and nutrition apps know how many calories I burn in a day. That's something\
Being in use, I still feel annoyed pressing the pause button during the workout, to the point where I avoid doing it unless I really exercise. My choice is: Both long press ("Touch Use") on the screen and then tap again when I see the pause button, or swipe left while the stopwatch is running, then press pause. Both ways seem awkward. I do not like how the Force Touch option involves wiretapping twice (three times, if you count press the "end" button to stop the timer). But if I swipe left on the screen, I often hit other objects by accident, and finally, say, toggling time and time passes. It's much easier to just hit the physical button on my Garmin, like I would do with an old school stopwatch. That said, I can see where it would be a problem to use Apple Watch home buttons like that; It's also what you use to open the apps menu. However, what if there is an option to use the home button like a stopwatch while the workout is in progress?
By the way, I hope there is a "Do Not Disturb" mode for the exercise, where I can automatically postpone notifications while exercising. Indeed, there are times when I stop walking, lifting my wrist to check the distance and see Gmail notifications on the screen. I'm sure some athletes really prefer this way, but it would be better if it had the option to cover all things while I was in my running zone.
While the Workout app needs a polish, there's a bright spot, and it's a separate Activity app, mirrored on the watch itself and also the iPhone. Apple Watch may be limited as a running gadget, but this makes a great fitness tracker. Part of that is that Apple puts the fitness in the things I can understand - that is, tracking my calorie burning, a few minutes spent time exercising and whether I wake up to move on a regular basis. It's more useful than knowing how many steps you take, is not it? Each person's goals can be customized, but whatever your choice, the app layout is the same: You'll see your progress represented in three concentric rings, each with a different color: pink for calories, yellow for sport and blue for standing time.
In addition, you can see a basic graph that shows when you are active (or off, just the way it is.) Every time you check the app, you'll see those circles filled in front of your eyes, representing the activity you did since you last checked in. Meet your goals, and the ring will be completely filled, and even overlap on itself if you have become overachiever. Meet your goals consistently - like, every day of the week - and you'll open an awards association, unlike the badges you get at Foursquare.
Who should buy this?
The problem, of course, is that even at $ 349, the entry-level price, this is an expensive fitness tracker. And while it has top-class apps, it still has some features that competition offers, such as sleep tracking. Meanwhile, serious runners will be better served by dedicated watches, which cost a fortune in the $ 200 range. Then again, Apple watches are more stylish than those sold by Fitbit or even Jawbone, and also smartphone notifications, which are mostly rivals no.
So is it too expensive? With a price of $ 349, not necessarily. But at $ 649, the price I have to pay for my test unit is possible. As Michael says in his review, it depends how much you like the design; how many people are watching; how many status symbols are important to you As for me, I will not trade in my Garmin first, and maybe I will not spend $ 649 of my own money to buy Apple Watch. It's very much to spend on a device that mostly just sits on my wrist, but I also do not want to settle for the cheaper $ 349 model because I prefer the pricier stainless steel edition. But if someone wants to make me one as a gift, I would really appreciate it - both for pretty design and the Activity app. For me, Apple Watch is not practical, at least at this price. Even in the first iteration, this is a great fitness tracker and potentially a good shield. But it will not be until Apple lowers its price (or comes out with a better model) so more people will be willing to try it for themselves.