24-30 April 2015 #755

More than Time

An expensive smartwatch that might fail without a good battery life

After Apple first introduced the concept of wearing the iPod Nano on our wrists, consumers started anxiously waiting for the world’s most valuable company to launch its own smartwatch to match up with Pebble and other Android models. Wearable technologies today should deliver seamless compatibility with our other electronic devices, including the ability to do everything our smartphones already do and more.

At first glance, the new Apple Watch appears to have lived up to our expectations – allowing you to send and receive messages, calls, and mail right from your wrist. Heart-rate sensors along with built-in native apps to monitor your health and fitness, and turn-by-turn navigation using Google Maps and haptic feedback so you do not have to keep checking your watch. Its tap and sketch messaging capabilities using the Force Touch feature also makes this a very fun gadget to have, but perhaps only if your friend has one too to receive your messages.

However, early hands-on reports revealed a rather steep learning curve for new users, which is very uncharacteristic of Apple’s products. For the first time, there is an online guided tour in order to familiarise new users with the controls on the Apple Watch, even before any of the 2.3 million pre-orders are shipped.

Most of the features work as advertised, but heavy usage of the device takes a toll on its surprisingly short battery life. Ironically the only thing you can do in order for the battery to last a few days is to check the time only without using other features. This also means you have another gadget to worry about charging before you head to bed, in addition to your tablet, laptop and smartphone – more of a hassle than the convenience that smart devices should be providing.

What is still consistent with other Apple products though is the team’s meticulous attention to detail. The special alloys used in manufacturing the different beautifully designed Apple Watches is evidence of its high level of craftsmanship and engineering. The array of straps and types of Apple Watch – Normal, Sport, and Edition series – also makes it highly customisable.

YANTRICK’S VERDICT: With its costly price tag and features that will ultimately fail without a good battery life, it does make one wonder if we are really in need of a smartwatch.

The Apple Watch goes on sale on 24 April but Nepal might have to wait a little longer.

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