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Apple Watch; A Week On The Wrist

November 20, 2017

I’ve been using the Apple Watch as my everyday watch/fitness tracker now for about a week and I wanted to share some of my experiences, it’s all well and good saying how much you love something when you’ve only just opened the box but using something on a daily basis and really testing it out is the only way to know if it’s the product you hoped it would be.

Well, for me it is everything I wanted it to be, don’t get me wrong there have been a few issues which I will address but overall I am so impressed with this Watch.

Fitness Tracking

Last weekend I decided to take it out for a walk, like a dog (haha) but I wanted to really see if it could track my steps whilst I had both hands on the pram.

It had done a fair job with this during the week on the way to nursery but it’s only a 4 minute walk so not a real test. I bundled Amelia up in the pram and we went for a walk around our neighbourhood. It was a great excuse to get some exercise in, all in the name of fair product testing right…

I recorded my step count at the beginning of my walk, as you can see from the photo below I started at 11am with 3632 steps recorded just from walking around at home.

I walked for 30 minutes (I would have gone for longer but it was so so cold I just needed to get back in the warmth of the house). I had both hands on the pram handle and didn’t tell the Watch I was doing any exercise (I didn’t use the Workout app).

After 30 minutes it had recorded me at 5778 steps as you can see below. I think this is pretty fair, it might be a little under but it had no arm swing to work off of and I wasn’t really walking fast enough for my heart rate to indicate that I was doing a workout so I think this is a really good level of tracking.

I’ve recorded over 18,000 steps on one of my days off when we walked into town in the morning and then to soft play in the afternoon. I walked for miles that day (my legs were so sore the next day) and other than walking about at home, it was all done pushing the pram or carrying Amelia so I’m super impressed it logged so many steps and I think the more you use it the more accurate it becomes because it’s uses your heart rate and GPS information to work out your stride and distance. It’s a clever little beast this Watch.

Unfortunately I have been having some major issues with using the Apple Watch with MyFitnessPal from a steps tracking perspective. I’ve reached out on Instagram and in MFP forums for helps and advice but been given both contradictory answers and an explanation so complicated by one of the MFP team that it might as well have been written in Russian.

My issue has been this; with my Fitbit I would track around 600 exercise calories when I had logged 11,000 steps as you can see from the screen shot below. So why then when I had logged over 12,000 steps using my Apple Watch did it only give me 196 exercise calories?

People tried to explain it to me as MFP only giving you exercise calories once you exceed your resting calorie allowance which is why the numbers are so different but here’s what I still to this day can’t figure out, MFP is recording the same or similar steps count so why is it interpreting the data so differently with the exercise calories?

In addition my Watch is also tracking Active Calories which Apple explains are calories burned over and above those required to be alive (resting calories) and yet on this day my Watch awarded me 811 Active Calories.

None of it makes sense to me, MFP have been less than helpful in their over technical jargon fueled response when I asked for help and I’ve resorted to manually inputting my Apple Watch Active Calories as exercise at the end of each day. This isn’t ideal and is a real pain but I genuinely think the issue is with MFP and not with the Watch. I’m hoping that some future updates might solve this, fingers crossed.

By the way, if anyone has any clue about this please please let me know your thoughts, I’ve had everything from “Fitbit is totally inaccurate so Apple Watch is correct” to “Fitbit is correct and Apple Watch is too low” but again why is MFP giving such different results with more or less the same data?

Phone Calls & Text Messages

I never thought I would be that person who answered calls or text on their Watch (if you remember I mentioned this in my 5 reasons for not getting the LTE Watch post) but you know what, it’s pretty good. My Dad was the first person to call me where I answered on my Watch. My phone was downstairs and I was in the nursery changing a rather nasty nappy. I didn’t even think about it, I just answered the call and started talking, it was super clear and I don’t think he noticed that I wasn’t on my phone so it must have sounded fine at his end too.

Since then I’ve answered and made a few more calls to Kev in the evenings, mainly to find out how long it will be until he is home from work and we can hear each other perfectly even when his call is connected to the car stereo. It’s super handy when you’re busy doing something like changing nappies or preparing dinner just to be able to chat away for a few minutes without having to stop what you’re doing. I won’t be using it in public though because it can make you look like a bit of a dick when you have to put your Watch to your ear if you can’t hear someone so I’m still happy about not getting the LTE version.

I’ve also used it to send and respond to texts as well, I’ve asked Siri to text my husband and let him know that I have collected Amelia from nursery and I’ve used dictation to reply to messages as well. Siri’s voice recognition is really good but you do have to speak clearly and slowly.

My only problem with it is you can’t correct a mistake so if it mishears one word you have to cancel the whole thing and start again. I can’t imagine how it would cope if you had a strong accent though because it’s gotten some of my words wrong and I don’t think I have a very strong accent seeing as I’m from the South Coast.

Waterproofing

This was a big problem for me with the original Watch because it wasn’t waterproof at all. This one is and you can shower and swim in it although it is recommended to put it in ‘Water’ mode (that’s probably not what it’s called). Putting it in ‘water’ mode seals the insides, it shuts down all the functionality of the Watch in order to prevent water from getting inside. You can see the front watch face but nothing more until you turn off ‘water’ mode.

I think this is a great way of protecting all the inner workings of the device and when you turn off ‘water’ mode it makes a beeping sound and then you can actually see any water being pushed out via the speaker on the side of the Watch.

The only concern I have is that Apple have said that things like soap and shower gels can affect the seal that is activated in ‘water’ mode and could potentially cause it to fail, allowing water inside that could then damage the Watch. Now despite this I did wear it in  the shower for the first couple of days, until I turned off ‘water’ mode and saw little soap bubbles being pushed out of the speaker. Then I started thinking, what if they’re right about it damaging the seal and I’m playing with fire here?

So on that note I’ve not worn it in the shower since but I have worn it to wash the dishes and to give Amelia her baths and it’s great not to have to worry about taking it off every time I come near water.

Notifications

These are spot on, just as you would want them to be. The Watch is so clever that it knows if your wearing it and it also knows if you’re using your phone as well. If you’re wearing your Watch and not using the phone, the notification will come through to your Watch but if you’re currently using your phone it will show up on the phone and not the Watch. Save you the double notifications and it’s all very smart.

It gives you everything you need as well, not just calls and texts but also Facebook, twitter, calendars, stand reminders, and some Instagram as well. Instagram has always been a funny one for me, you don’t need it buzzing and beeping every time you get a like on a photo but there are somethings that are good to be alerted to. This version of the Watch has it just right with a full notification for DMs and when someone you have opted into alerts for posts a photo. Things like comments and photo likes are there in the notification center if you swipe down but they don’t ping ping ping every 10 seconds making you want to throw your Watch out of the window.

Watch Faces

First and foremost this device is a Watch and it should tell you the time right, it does and you can choose how you view that information. There are loads of different watch faces to choose from and more that you can add from the Watch app on your phone. I’ve chosen to use the Modular face because there’s information that I want to be available to me at a glance so I have mine set up to show:

  • Time, obviously!
  • Date
  • Currently playing – this allows me quick access to control my music as well as see what song is playing.
  • Battery percentage
  • Activity rings – this shows how close I am to achieving all three of the activity rings; move, exercise and stand and gives quick access to the activity app where I can see my active calories burned, exercise minutes and current step count.
  • Workout shortcut – I’ve not actually used this one and there’s probably something else I could put in it’s place.

This watch face is also customisable in that you can change the colours of the information, there are loads of different colours to choose from and they completely change the way the Watch looks. I’ve chosen the Camellia colour which is a lovely shade of pink and it looks really nice with the gold watch and soft pink band.

Battery Life

Another huge issue I had with the previous version was that it would barely last the day before it needed charging but things are different now. I’ve been able to comfortably get two full days of use out of it between charges. I’m not a heavy user by any stretch and I’m sure if I was using it to play stored music and track workouts then it would probably need charging daily but for me it’s working really well on a 2 day cycle.

The points I have talked about here are all I’m really using the Watch for on a daily basis at the moment and I can honestly say I am so impressed. I don’t know if it’s because my usage and wants have changed since I had the first one or if it’s due to major improvements on Apple’s side but whichever it is it’s working and I love this thing.

It is definitely going to be my main device as a watch and fitness tracker, I love how it looks and how it feels, I love the notifications and then fact that I can take calls easily when I’m at home without needing to be near my phone. I’m so so glad I decided to give this thing another try and if you’re thinking of giving it a go too I would highly recommend it.

Rachel xx

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