Yesterday the Series 4 was charged to 100% when I left home for work at 6:05am.
At precisely 3:07pm it had dropped down to 65% with one outdoor walk monitored using GPS – this walk was approx.. 35 minutes. The rest of the usage was standard notifications and just telling the time.
It took until 3:57pm to get back to 100% which may not sound like a bad time, but take that to charging from 0% and you get 114 minutes. That, in my opinion, is a lot of time to have to charge a smartwatch each day, and it is time that gets in the way of what you may have bought it for in the first place.
Now, I get that most people will plonk their Apple Watch on the charger overnight and that they will start the day at 100%, which should get it through the whole day, but what about sleep tracking?
I realise that this is not a standard feature of the Apple Watch, but boy does Apple bang on about the fitness and health benefits of the product, and it cannot monitor one of the most important health areas? Using a third party app such as AutoSleep does this very well, but it means that you have to wear the watch all night and then you need to find time in the day to charge it. You need to find approx.. 2 hours.
Anyway, forget all of that because it is not just about sleep tracking.
Firstly, it is about the hassle and having to remember to charge it every day. This is an annoyance and one which should not be there in 2018, and especially not in a watch. There is no excuse for it if you ask me and especially when I look at what the competition can do.
Take the Fitbit Versa, the Ionic, the Garmin smartwatches and many others. Five days of continuous battery life with GPS, sleep tracking, heart rate sensors, workout tracking and in some cases an always on screen. How can they do that when Apple can barely manage one day?
There is a very good argument surrounding the quality of the display and the completeness of WatchOS, but why would you push the limits of battery performance on a device that you wear? It is a huge downside for anyone who really does want to use the Apple Watch all of the time, and especially so because Series 4 is otherwise quite brilliant.
I find the Apple Watch to be a device that could potentially offer many advantages that collectively build to create a new type of device that can take you away from your phone for extended periods. It needs to be seamless in operation though and for this to happen you don’t want to be worrying about where the power is coming from.
As good as the Series 4 is, until Apple realises that sometimes you have to accept the technical limitations of the time to create a truly positive user experience the product may feel like a struggle to some users. With such potential a product like this needs to be extremely easy to leverage in terms of the capability it offers, but for me personally that means looking at the fundamental issue of power.
I will return to this subject in a few days because the today I was at 68% by 6pm. Go figure? Maybe it is taking time for the battery to charge up fully – we shall see.