It’s been a few weeks since I have been testing the Apple Watch series 2 and before I can tell you how I feel about it, I must admit that wearing a smartwatch on me at all times has been a weird and mixed experience. I’ve tried numerous smartwatches in the recent past, which raised all sorts of questions such as confusion, skepticism and sometimes even praise. As a kid, I’ve always dreamt of having a tiny computer on my wrist to fulfill my fantasies inspired by numerous cartoon TV shows and movies. And, it feels like I finally have one.
The burning question everyone asks me is, “Does the Apple Watch replace your iPhone?”. Well in my opinion – maybe.
iPhones are ubiquitous in my city as I can see them in every corner. The Apple Watch might not share the same success, but I’ve started noticing people getting hooked to it at my gym and at other social gatherings. I used my Apple Watch primarily for checking notifications and quick reply to texts, but it did not replace my iPhone completely. Common tasks such as reminders and calendar notifications did make my life easier but some apps took longer than expected to load.
However, after a while, I realised I started using the Apple Watch for other purposes such as tracking my steps, my heart rate and my exercises. I even used the smartwatch to control my music and my volume levels on the AirPods. The iOS ecosystem worked seamlessly and that’s what kept me hooked from the start.
If you look at the Apple Watch Series 2, it is almost identical to the original, apart from being a little thicker to accommodate a bigger battery and an additional microphone hole. The first Apple Watch was elegant when it came to design but lacked a lot of features that one can find on the Apple Watch Series 2 today. The new iteration is faster and more intuitive than the original and here’s what we think about it.It Has Better Water Resistance
Let’s get straight to the point; you can now wear the Apple Watch while swimming in a pool or any other open water body (not salt water bodies, though). The current model can now be submerged up to 50 meters of water and you will not face a single glitch after you’re done with your swim. There are two different types of swimming workouts the Apple Watch can track i.e. pool swims and open water swim. These workout modes on the Apple Watch will track your distance, laps and different types of stroke styles.
After activating one of the swim workouts, the Watch will auto-lock the screen so that no water droplets or pressure will hinder the smartwatch’s functioning. Once done with your swim, you can unlock the screen by twisting the crown, which will in turn play a sound and vibrates to push out any of the remaining water in any one of the holes. This sounds like something straight out of a sci-fi movie, but it actually works.It’s An Activity Tracker As Well & A Damn Good One!
The Apple Watch Series 2 now comes with the much-requested inbuilt GPS. The original watch was not really considered a fitness watch because of the fact it could not track your outdoor runs. However, Apple has now included GPS for outdoor runners so that they can track their progress and distance travelled. You no longer need to carry your iPhone to track your location when you go out for a run or cycle around your locality.
Having said that, the Apple Watch Series 2 doesn’t really tell you it’s tracking you via GPS. Once you fire up the outdoor experience, the watch automatically starts tracking your position and you don’t even know it. I generally don’t run outdoors that much thanks to the polluted air New Delhi has to offer, however, I did track my usual late night walks and I can say that it is very accurate. It knows where I am and calculates the exact distance I have travelled. Just to make sure it was correct, I compared the results with Google Maps and my car and it was indeed very accurate.Heart Rate Tracking and “Breathe:”
The Apple Watch has one of the best activity tracking apps I have ever seen on a smartwatch. The fact that such an app exists on the smartwatch, means that it completely fulfills the watch’s position as a fitness tracker. It has the same heart rate sensors from before and your daily activity is still represented in the form of multi-coloured rings. I personally find those rings very motivating because it is a visual representation of my progress, making me want to “close those rings”.
The heart rate sensor on the Apple Watch is extremely accurate (I know this because I visited a doctor recently and asked what my BPM was while I secretly tracked it on the smartwatch). The watch also has a built-in app, which periodically reminds you to breathe deeply so that you can control your heart rate. In fact, I love this feature so much that I never miss my breathing sessions as it really calms and de-stresses me out.
When you activate the ‘Breathe’ application, it vibrates on your wrist creating a very relaxing sensation and works in-sync with the pulsating animation on the watch to help you take longer breaths.
All the steps, your heart rate, the number of calories burned and your breath patterns are synced with your phone over Bluetooth. You can even share your goals and achievements with other Apple Watch owners to up the ante, if you like being competitive.Improved Battery Life, But Still Not Enough
The fact that Apple decided to include GPS on the watch, means that a bigger battery was required to power it. The battery life is a lot better than the original but it still isn’t enough. I went through an entire day of activity tracking, notifications and even used GPS tracking and still had 30 percent of the battery left. However, on days when I would work out, I noticed the battery drained rather quickly and needed to be charged on a regular basis. If you want to use the Apple Watch Series 2 as a fitness tracker and don’t mind charging it every other day, then go for it.The Final Say
If you already have an iPhone and you are looking for the perfect companion smartwatch, the Apple Watch Series 2 is it. The smart watch acts as a great fitness tracker with accurate GPS, steps and heart rate tracking but lacks the battery life to make it the perfect smartwatch for your iPhone. If you have INR 34,700 at your disposable to spend on a smartwatch, the buck stops here.