How does a watch guy fall for the Apple Watch?

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When I reviewed the series 4 Apple Watch a few weeks ago I was somewhat disparaging about certain aspects. The battery life was a big downside for me, but perhaps more than anything the fact it is not a ‘real’ watch stuck with me more than anything.

I returned the watch to Apple and was happy enough, but something was nagging at me. A sense that something was missing and this was enhanced by continuing disappointment with Fitbit’s latest products. The Fitbit Charge 3 has proved to be as poor as the Fitbit Versa in terms of accuracy and with fitness currently being very important to me it was time to give up on a brand that had helped me get to the weight I was at 21 years old and which made me fitter than I had been since that age.

My experience of Apple Watch fitness has been poor over the years for a number of reasons. I don’t like the rings idea and in particular the ridiculous stand ring which is a novelty at best. However, the hardware is very accurate and I have found much consistency in the step counting, calorie calculations and the heart rate averages. This builds confidence and has given me a platform to build a fitness setup that works for me – more on that in a future article, but it’s safe to say that I have replaced the Fitbit hardware and software with arguably a much better solution.

So, the fitness was covered, after much research, and I took a punt and bought another series 4 Apple Watch. In the first few days of use I realised what had been nagging at me previously.

It’s the little things that build up to create a solution that in time feels necessary. These two examples may feel incredibly pointless, but they exemplify things that the iPhone could not do in certain situations-

I was in a meeting with a senior manager at work and my wife sent me a message asking if I wanted to walk the dog after work or if I was happy for her to do it. Being that it was a cold day I didn’t fancy ending my day getting even colder and the senior manager was sat directly opposite me so I could get my phone out without it seeming too obvious. I caught the message on the Apple Watch and managed to scroll down and send ‘OK’ as a response. The result was an hour saved later in the day and I could stay a little warmer.

The next day my daughter attended her first night at Police Cadets and was very nervous about going. We dropped her off and she had to fill in some forms, but she did not know all of the details required, which would likely have made her even more nervous. I didn’t have my iPhone with me when I saw the panicked message on my watch asking for a list of information so she could complete the forms. I replied, she was happy and the nerves subsided a little for her. This may sound unimportant, but she has had a hard time of late and attending events with groups of people is a big thing for her, and in that instance the watch helped.

So that was some of the use case covered and after wearing the Apple Watch for two weeks straight it kind of became normal. Worryingly I wasn’t missing my Oris watch as much as I expected, but there was one aspect that still bugged me. The Apple Watch felt like a bit of plastic strapped to my wrist and offer zero personality to me which is a problem for those of us who have obsessed over watches as the only bit of jewellery we wear.

I am fortunate in that I could sell a watch which would pay for a stainless steel series 4 Apple Watch and that is what I did. The final part of the experiment was to see if it felt like a real watch on the wrist while offering the functionality that I had become used to.

With the addition of a few straps to play around with I found that I started to enjoy the look of the series 4 and to this day it has remained on my wrist as my main fitness tracker, time teller and assistant which ensure I miss nothing and that my iPhone gets less use than it did before.

My wife also bought a series 4 as she was experiencing the same Fitbit problems as I was and strangely she went for the gold 44mm version. She is tiny and has small wrists, but she felt that the bigger watch looked better proportioned and despite its size it really does look good on her. Big watches on petite women always look good in my view.

The next step for me will be to see how the cellular functionality changes my usage and when my contract is moved over in a couple of days I will write about that experience, but for now I find myself surprised at the fact I am not wearing a real watch anymore and just a little bit sad at the thought of it.

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