The Apple Watch is the current hot topic, but I thought I would do a little test to see how it was to live with. So to give a comparison, I wore a Pebble Steel for a month – then an Apple Watch for a month, to get a real-life comparison in my day-to-day work.
I am a director in a design agency and manage the social media team as well, so in my day I receive email, BBC news alerts, meeting alerts, texts and social media alerts… so a fair few in a day.
The Apple watch is lovely. The experience of setting it up was 'very Apple’: exciting, simple, and (as long as you have all passwords) fairly easy. The alerts seemed native to the source so they all made different sounds; some vibrated and had accompanying audio; some were just visual – so a bit of a mix, and I did miss some because of this. The diary alerts were poor but text was fine. The email on the watch was excellent; readable and as practical as reading your email on a 1st Class postage stamp. One of the biggest downfalls is the watch part – it is rubbish. You have to move your arm to get the screen to show the watch, so you can end up waving your left arm around randomly just to see the time! Power is a big issue as the battery only lasts for one day. The touch screen and image quality are great, but when you touch the screen to interact you leave fingerprints on it, so you end up having to wipe the screen all the time. (Apple watch was 42mm £618 purchase cost)
The Pebble is far lighter and to be fair, feels less of a quality product. It uses e-paper as the screen technology meaning it is on all the time, so it does actually work as a normal watch. Setting up was simple, getting other apps and watch faces, weather, BBC news all very easy to install. The alerts are all the same. I had it set up to vibrate and I never missed one, and as they were all the same format very easy to read. One of the best parts for me was the meeting alerts: in a full day it told me 15mins before each meeting where I should be and the subject. The pebble has four buttons: up, down, select/confirm and back – making it very easy to navigate. One of the deciders for me was the 5 day battery life; I could wear it Monday to Friday on one charge – a HUGE difference to the Apple. (Pebble Steel £204 with steel strap)
In Summary the Apple Watch is a mini iPhone and a rubbish watch. It’s neat and has the usual Apple lovely quality, but did not actually help me out as wearable technology. It gave me something that I did not have time to play with as it is play at the moment. The Pebble I loved; a good watch, simple, alerts and the battery life was not amazing but enough to get through the week. The Apple Watch feels very version 1. I am sure when it is slimmer, has a better battery life and maybe some change to the screen so it does not end up smudged all the time it will be great, but at the moment you’ve got to really love it to live with it.