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The much-hyped Apple Watch is just days away from preorder status and weeks away from being on the wrists of early-adopting Apple fans. While far from being the first smart watch on the market, tech media and market analysts are hoping that Apple Watch will revolutionize the wearable technology industry.

For about a week, a handful of tech veterans have been testing out Apple Watch. Today, reviews are in for the $350 – $17,000 device. One word could sum up what reviewers are saying about Apple Watch: Confusing.

Apple Watch review

While reviewers are praising Apple Watch as “the most advanced piece of wearable technology” on the market at this time, the most notable complaint is that it is not particularly intuitive and many of the features left reviewers feeling a bit “so what?”

Across the board, those able to use Apple Watch for a full week have noted that the device is not essential. It is not for everyone. It is not the wearable tech that many had hoped would change the world. The biggest limitations are that users must have an iPhone 5 or newer, the battery life is much better than expected, but still worse than others on the market, and the price is just too high to justify.

Additionally, many of the reviewers point out that Apple Watch feels like a first-generation device, meaning it has a lot of flaws and needs a lot of work.

Below are some highlights from the first set of reviews.

  • The New York Times – The Apple Watch can help cut the tether some people have to their iPhones, freeing them up to be more social since they aren’t always interacting with their smartphones. The device also requires a steep learning curve that may turn people off.
  • The Verge – This one of the most comprehensive reviews so far. The daily aspects of its functionality and usefulness are meticulously detailed. The bottom line here is that Apple Watch has endless potential with the App Store ecosystem, but it suffers from being a first-generation device that is difficult to understand at first.
  • Bloomberg – Bloomberg was able to sum up Apple Watch’s shortcomings in a single sentence, “Getting the watch to really work for you requires work.” The news organization also believes Apple has raised the bar for a whole new class of devices, saying the company has “succeeded in making the world’s best smartwatch.”
  • The Wall Street Journal – Apple Watch won’t replace the activities you perform on the iPhone, but it will increase your productivity because it keeps you from using your iPhone in most circumstances. It is also confusing enough to learn about that you’ll probably want an Apple specialist to show you how to use it.
  • CNET – Just by reading the Bottom Line of CNET’s review, you see that Apple Watch is “the most ambitious, well-constructed smartwatch ever seen.” However, its newness makes it more of an expensive showpiece than a beneficial device. CNET does point out that Siri is much more useful on Apple Watch than on the iPhone, mostly because “Hey Siri” works without it needing to be connected to a power source (why doesn’t the iPhone have that feature?).
  • Mashable – Mashable also calls Apple Watch the best smartwatch on the market. The reviewer is pretty familiar with some of the the competition, Pebble Watch owner. Interestingly, he claims that he has turned his back on Pebble for Apple Watch. The bottom line here is that Apple Watch does act like a first-generation device and performs about the same as other smartwatches on the market, but has superior craftsmanship.
  • USA Today – USA Today’s reviewer went from “not particularly interested” to “sign me up” for Apple Watch in one week. This review notes that the watch is beautifully designed and versatile, but notes that there is a steep learning curve and the price is too high.
  • Re/code – After about a half-dozen smartwatch testings, Apple Wach provided the best experience. However, for all of its amazing features, it is not a life-long product that you will be buried in.
  • Daring Fireball – John Gruber has a whole lot to say about Apple Watch, and he isn’t even finished yet. He has an overall positive review of the device, but points out a few shortcomings, one of them being that Apple Watch is not waterproof. As a 30-year watch wearer, Gruber believes that Apple’s device will be easier for non-watch wearers to get on board with. While long-time watch enthusiasts will have a hard time getting used to the significant differences.
  • Yahoo Tech – This review notes that Apple Watch is “light-years” better than others on the market, but also states,“nobody needs a smartwatch.”
  • Techpinions – Techpinions starts off by stating that Apple Watch is the first smartwatch designed for the average consumer, which may mean it will be adopted more widely than others in the category.

The Apple Watch will be available for preorder at 12:01 a.m. Pacific Time on Friday, April 10. Try-on appointments for Apple Watch will also begin on preorder day.

The device will be on store shelves in nine countries, including Australia, Canada, China, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Japan, the UK, and the US on April 24.

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15 replies on “Apple Watch review roundup”

  1. I haven’t worn a watch for at least 30 years. And I wont start now. Clearly this product or any of the Android failures is not for me.

  2. >but it suffers from being a first-generation device that is difficult to understand at first.

    I’m surprised that you left out the main complaint: the fact that the watch is often slow and laggy.

  3. Of course the apple journalists claim it the best (no doubt typed from behind a light up apple logo), yet nothing is listed that can’t be done on existing galaxy gear or android wear phones that most the media have predictably ignored, and it shares the worst of the flaws all put together (battery life, only works with some devices, expensive, looks tacky, square face). The reviews of the first galaxy gear all focused on things like crap battery life, expense, or inability to use independently, yet all those things apply here. One even laughably suggested ppl were better off with an ipod attached to your wrist – why aren’t they saying that now?

    Not that it matters, it’s only available for iphone users, who in turn only have the choice of this (or a few others that are cross platform, like the pebble).

  4. I hope all you in the Media enjoy your new Apple watch that im sure you will receive,,,

  5. The summary of the David Pogue (Yahoo) review sort of points out the twin dilemmas of the Apple Watch. Most people haven’t been clamoring for smartwatches, so it’s entirely possible that the Apple Watch is simultaneously the greatest smartwatch ever conceived as well as almost entirely useless. What I mean is that the reviewer has to review both the product and the category, and Apple (like Pebble, Samsung, Asus, LG, etc,) has to sell the category as much as the product. It’s a difficult position.

  6. Meanwhile the boys and girls at BGR have yet to finish their handjob sessions since getting their apple watches…lol

  7. So it is more expensive than my lg g watch and more complicated to use. Well, that’s a first for apple, guess they are going away from simplicity. My g watch has let me leave my phone in a pocket, instead of pulling out my phone for time or notifications, I just glance down at my watch.

    1. Unless u actually need to read an email or message that’s longer than 2 sentence.

      1. Apple’s own design docs tell developers to create experience lasting 10-15 seconds max. Who are these people who enjoy reading entire emails or browsing Instagram galleries on their wrist (and killing their battery in the process)?

  8. Translation for the Apple-centric tech press…

    Get your jabs in by saying it’s better than every other smartwatch to keep your relationship with Apple cozy.

    Bring up small complaints about the smartwatch to pretend your not bias & a “real” journalist (not just a blogger).

    As someone who actually works in the distribution chain the interest has been abysmal to this point, I give Cook props for having the balls to launch it but if it flops he’s going to be humiliated. It’s simply too late to call it a “hobby” like the relative flop of AppleTV.

    1. I think yours will probbably be the most honest assessment of the situation. I don’t even want to prowl the blogs for a week now that this new devioce is out. Bloggers will treat it like you say, the second coming of Jeus or Muhammed or whomever, but with some minor complaints!.

    2. Agreed, though sadly it’s the same journalists/bloggers who get to declare a product a success or flip. An apple product is a runaway success the moment it ships a million, even if it’s far less than the competition. Other companies are embarrassing failures if they aren’t number one in the market with their first launch (or instead, they’ll start quibbling about shipped versus sold, or bring up other stats like how much advertising there was, never mind that apple products have more advertising and hype than anything else on earth…)

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