I’d had my eye on the Apple Watch for a while, I’d always used a Garmin and had never had any issues with it but loved the idea of being able to use the Apple Watch for more than just running. The first series didn’t have GPS so that was a good enough reason for me not to go for it, I don’t like carrying a phone all the time and with the first series you’d need to for accuracy. Another advantage of waiting for the second series is that it’s waterproof and can therefore be used for swimming (not that I do this very often, but still a nice option to have). I decided to go for the Nike plus version, there was no other reason for this other than because I preferred the look of the strap which is sportier and I imagined more comfortable when running. What’s great with these watches is that the straps can be changed so when going out you can put a less sporty, smarter strap on however these are expensive so I am yet to give a different strap a go.
As I have the Nike plus version of the watch I have either the workout app or the Nike plus app to choose from along with any others available (although I believe you would need to carry your phone with many of the others). So I tested out both apps during the first week of having the watch and found the workout app most useful as I could get a lot more data on the watch face when running. Although I know others who use the Nike plus app because they prefer that it speaks to you, giving you data on the go but both apps appear as accurate as each other. You are able to amend which details are shown on the screen for both apps but workout has more available. Once you have completed your workout and connect to your phone further details are available on the activity app, these details are great – there’s no further information I would need or be interested in for my training. I haven’t felt the need to go back to my Garmin watch although I have kept this just in case. My biggest concern is how long the battery would last on a long run, so far it has had to go for 4hrs 50mins and only just about made it. This could be a worry for a marathon, although you have the opportunity to stop the heart rate monitor or if you also carry your phone it saves battery on the watch but sucks the life from the phone. I assume this is because your phone would be doing all the gps work.
I’ve only used the swimming option on the workout app once, after entering details of the pool length it was very accurate, it counted how many laps completed, distance and time. The watch becomes waterproof as soon as you select start on the swim app. I wanted to ensure the watch was on waterproof mode as soon as I was in the vicinity of the pool which meant I actually started the timer before I’d got into the pool. This meant my time was not accurate, however I could have and should have popped the watch onto waterproof mode then as I got in the pool turned it off waterproof mode and straight on to swim mode. I will try this on my next swim.
Using the watch for an outside cycle was good, it tracked how far I’d gone, the route, calories burnt etc. However it’s not a replacement for a speedo as it’s not easy to look at whilst on the move and I know a lot of ‘proper’ cyclists would want to know details such as top speeds etc and I’ve not seen where I could find this information, average speed and speed of each mile yes but not top speed.
Outside walk – I don’t tend to set this up for every walk I take, but if I am off out for a nice long one I will use the outside walking option. This will give much the same detail as the running section, all I really like to know for this is distance and time.
Inside workouts are available for when I go to the gym, this doesn’t happen often but when I have used it I get all the information I need and it matches the machines pretty closely.
As a whole I think the watch is great, I wear it every day for general use and love that it alerts me to notifications as per my phone. I can read texts etc. easily from the watch although replying is best done through the phone. I can answer calls but I must admit I don’t feel comfortable doing this in public! It also reads your heart rate which I have found interesting. I like the activity app which you can set to how many calories you’d like to burn each day and it sets a 30 min exercise and 12 hour stand target. You will be alerted if you’ve not stood enough within the hour and it encourages you to get up and go for a walk. There’s many apps which can connect to the watch so you can personalise this to whatever you’d like. For an all round smart watch for someone who works out I would 100% recommend this watch, however if you are after a specialist running or cycling watch I think the Garmin or a watch made specifically for the one activity you are after would be a better option. It really depends if you want to get notifications through from your phone or if you just want an activity watch.
Update to this review – I wore the watch for Brighton marathon at the weekend, I turned the the heart rate monitor off in an attempt to save the battery and it did survive but had I taken much longer I’m not convinced it would have made it. For the first time since buying the watch it let me down. At 2.5 miles it bleeped for 3, apparently I’d done a 7 minute mile – it’d be nice if I could manage that on a 1 mile time trial let alone in a marathon! This meant it was half a mile out for the remainder of the marathon – not ideal. I’m not giving up on the watch for this one mishap but I am disappointed it happened at this event.