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I really wanted to hate the Apple Watch

Published Apr 27th, 2015 2:07PM EDT
Apple Watch Review
Image: Apple Inc.

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Anyone who listens to our podcast knows how unbelievably excited BGR founder Jonathan Geller has been leading up to the Apple Watch’s debut. You’ll also recall that I, on the other hand, really haven’t been excited at all on a personal level. Professionally, I’m beyond excited to see the biggest tech company on the planet branch out into an entirely new category that merges wearables with fashion. This could indeed become a massive piece of Apple’s business in the future, as practically everything in our lives becomes connected.

But personally, the Apple Watch initially didn’t pique my interest very much at all. Do I really want a device that’s going to completely replace the watch collection I love so much? Do I really want to add yet another digital device to my life? Worse yet, do I really want a device that can’t even replace any other digital device I own?

Yeah, I guess I do.

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None of the Apple Watch’s main selling points leading up to launch appealed to me at all, and I really wanted to skip it completely following Apple’s unveiling.

The idea of notifications on my wrist was appalling. My life changed for the better when I completely disabled email notifications a couple of years ago, and the thought of iMessage, phone call and SMS notifications buzzing on yet another device was hardly appealing.

Yes, for many people the thought of not having to remove your phone from your pocket with each and every buzz or ding is a clear selling point. For me, not so much.

Then there’s the problem of interacting with the Apple Watch. For the time being and for the foreseeable future, under no circumstances is it ever OK to talk to your watch. With Siri on the Apple Watch rendered useless by its sheer absurdity, the device’s utility is severely limited.

Another issue for me is the fact that the Apple Watch can’t replace my fitness tracking band. The device’s one-day battery life is hardly cause for complaint for most people, but sleep-tracking is very important to me and the Watch can’t track my sleep while it’s sitting on my dresser charging overnight.

So that’s that, right? I can skip the Apple Watch and never look back, right?

Then, I tried it.

The Apple Watch is, without question, a first-generation product. It’s not perfect and it’s not even close, but it really is a phenomenal smartwatch. There is nothing like it on the market, and it will likely be some time before any rival devices can compete.

In terms of design and build quality, it’s a home run. There is no question that the Apple Watch is on par with low-end and even some mid-range luxury Swiss watches. It’s a piece of jewelry first, and it just happens to be “smart.”

The display and interface are also stunning. The graphics are bold and bright, and the interface is smooth and responsive. The UI is perfectly suited for a small display, and the level of detail in the faces and other areas of the interface is astounding. In a nutshell, it’s everything that Android Wear isn’t.

And as is the case with the iPhone and iPad, third-party apps will seal the deal with the Apple Watch.

There are definitely some areas where the Apple Watch falls short. One good example is the bands Apple is offering at launch.

Going into my first appointment to test the Watch after having explored all of the bands online, I expected to like each and every one aside from the rubber Sport band. After handling them all extensively, the exact opposite is the case.

Apple’s Sport bands are fantastic. They have a great look and feel, and the design suits the Watch perfectly. Every other band, from Link and Milanese to Leather Loop and Classic Buckle, is just awful. They all feel cheap and thin, and watch lovers will loathe them.

Thankfully, adapters are in the works and we’ll soon be able to buy better quality third-party straps for the Apple Watch.

I’ll have plenty more to say about the Apple Watch in the coming weeks and months. In the meantime, suffice it to say that this is one case where you absolutely should not judge a book by its cover.

Apple has done a surprisingly unimpressive job of pitching the Watch to prospective buyers. Actually, considering how much of a mess the launch has been, I suppose it’s actually not that surprising. But don’t make the same mistake I made. Try it before you judge it. Even if it’s not for you, you’ll absolutely appreciate the tiny taste of the future that is the Apple Watch.

Zach Epstein
Zach Epstein Executive Editor

Zach Epstein has been the Executive Editor at BGR for more than 10 years. He manages BGR’s editorial team and ensures that best practices are adhered to. He also oversees the Ecommerce team and directs the daily flow of all content. Zach first joined BGR in 2007 as a Staff Writer covering business, technology, and entertainment.

His work has been quoted by countless top news organizations, and he was recently named one of the world's top 10 “power mobile influencers” by Forbes. Prior to BGR, Zach worked as an executive in marketing and business development with two private telcos.