Apple is not the first company to release a smartwatch by a long shot, but as with its other products it has set the bar for the quality, price and functionality of its first wearable. The Apple Watch Sport is the "cheapest" of the Apple's offering, but it still is significantly more expensive than its competitors. As the base model, the Sport comes with a brushed silver aluminum body, a scratch-resistant glass coating for the screen and is splash proof as evidenced by the IPX7 rating.
In comparison to other smartwatches, experts note the Sport was very durable as it did not show any scratches or dings even when left in their pocket with keys, coins or even another smartwatch. As with other smartwatches, users can easily switch out the watch bands though even the lower priced silicon bands tend to be expensive. Still, critics found the prices reasonable considering the quality and density of the rubber with Engadget going so far as to call it "premium (for a rubber strap)."
The Sport comes in two different sizes: 42mm and 38mm though both are the same thickness of 0.4 inches. Many reviewers consider the 38mm size a "game changer" as it is one of the few smartwatches available that will appeal to women and those with smaller wrist. Besides this, they all also consider the Apple Watch to be one of the best designed smartwatches available due to the attention to detail and overall build quality. Alphr states, "It's the first smartwatch I've used that I'd wear not simply for its technology, but because it looks great."
Besides design, the biggest draw to the Sport is its high resolution display. The 38mm has a resolution of 340 x 272 for a pixel density of 290 while the 42mm one has a resolution of 390 x 312 for a pixel density of 302ppi. Like Apple's other products, the Sport display wowed experts with its vibrancy, crispness and excellent contrast. They also found the touch screen to be very responsive with its swipes, taps and force touch.
To control the watch further, the Sport comes with a digital crown that performs different functions based on whether users spin it, press it in, double press or press and hold. Many reviewers found it fairly intuitive and even those with self-described "fat fingers" had no problem using the dial. While it took some time to get used to, after a week or so most got used to the touchscreen/digital crown combination.
While the Sport can obviously be used as a watch, it also provides numerous other features like notifications, making and taking phone calls and sending/receiving text messages. For critics, they found the notifications to be the most useful as they were able to control how many notifications their watch received and assign a different haptic feedback based on the type of notification. Phone calls, on the other hand, were more of a mixed bag. While some thought the feature was useful, especially when driving, others considered it a middling-to-poor experience as any ambient noise made it difficult to hear the call. Engadget adds, "The novelty of talking and listening on my wrist dissipated after just a few calls." On the other hand, they all describe the messaging system as the most useful feature as they were able to use Siri to dictate the messages or simply tap on a list of relevant replies the Watch provides.
For the most part, the performance was relatively smooth though some experts did run into crashes and lag, namely with third party apps. Most, however, blame this more on the software than the actual internal hardware. Apple advertises the battery life as lasting 18 hours, which matches up to reviewers' experiences. In fact, most were able to get around a day and a half of charge as they were not constantly using all of the battery-draining functions of the watch.
Perhaps the biggest drawback of the Sport is its reliance on an iPhone. In order to take full advantage of it, it needs to be wirelessly connected to an iPhone at all times. Otherwise it's simply just a watch. And because of it is an Apple product, it is gated into the Apple universe in terms of apps. While some critics didn't have an issue with this, others that relied on Google services like Google Calendars and Gmail found they couldn't take full advantage of its capabilities as they would need to switch over to Apple's own calendar and email client.
Overall, most reviewers consider the Apple Watch Sport to be a beautiful and ingenious piece of wearable technology and a great choice for consumers who are already locked into the Apple environment. Wareable states, "…if you love your iPhone and want some of the best looking wearable tech on offer today – the Apple Watch is for you." Digital Trends states, "…if you're even slightly tempted by an Apple Watch, make the effort to try one out. We think you're going to like it."
No questions for the moment.