Monday, February 13, 2017

apple watch review: fitness tracking, using at the hospital, and more!

For my birthday last year, CR got me an Apple Watch. When he had first brought up getting me one, I wasn't really sold on the idea. While I have just about every other Apple product out there, I never had a really big need for the Apple Watch. After all, my phone is normally no more than an arms reach away from me!

It's been almost five months now, and boy have my opinions changed! I'm obsessed with my Apple watch! I wear it just about every day, and I keep learning new things about it all the time. Since I've been using it to keep track of my work outs and sharing those on snapchat (@fhasselhof for those of you not following along), I've had a ton of people ask questions about it. So today's post is all about what I have, what I use it for, my favorite Apple watch accessories,  and the few downfalls compared to other smart watches/fitness trackers.

What I own:

I have the 42 mm original Apple watch in gold (also called the aluminum sports watch). CR found a great deal on it right before my birthday (right after the Series 2 came out), and ended up getting it for under $200. Target actually has a similar deal right now if you've had your eye on getting the Series 1 (which is basically identical to mine) - the 38 mm version is $199 (that's 25% off the original price) and the 42 mm is $229 ($70 off the original price). As a taller person, I like having the larger face because I feel it's more proportional to my body, although I don't think there's too much of a difference functionality wise between the two sizes.

There are several differences between the original & Series 1 watch, and the Series 2 watch. The original and Series 1 are splash proof but not water proof - if you are a big swimmer and want to use the Apple watch for that, the Series 2 would be a better option. If you are a big outside runner and want a watch that has GPS built in, the Series 2 again would be a better option. If instead you are like me and take a lot of inside classes or work out in the gym, want a way to track your steps, receive your emails and texts quickly, and all the other things I use my watch for as described below, then the Series 1 gives you everything you need without spending $400.

What I use it for:
  • Fitness tracking: This is obviously a big one for me right now. I use the Work Out app for each work out - it tells you how long you've been working out, active and total calories burned, and current heart rate. I especially like the heart rate feature because it keeps me motivated during my work outs to stay in a certain zone. Of course the wrist heart rate is not as accurate as a chest band would be, but for what I'm doing, it works very well! I also use the calories burned as a motivator throughout my work out - I basically try to get a PR during every work out! I like that the Activities app is now on my phone, because that's where I can see how my work outs for the month! In October I worked out 5 times, but in January I exercised 17 times - seeing those hours I spent improving my body has been very rewarding and a push to keep up with the work outs! In addition, the pedometer feature has also changed some of my daily habits. I purposely walk more now that ever before just because I like to see how many miles I walked every day! I don't take the rolly things at the airport, we very purposely went on long walks while on vacation, and I park further away from stores now. Those are all little things that add up for sure. For those of you who are doing BBG, there is also a BBG app for the Apple Watch! I'm starting back up with BBG next month, and will see how well the app works for the work outs. 
  • Quick email and text checks: For those of you who work in the medical field, you know how important it is to not have your phone out all the time while on the wards. Especially as a student, it's considered pretty rude to take your phone out every time it buzzes. I love that now my watch buzzes whenever I get an email/text, and a quick flick of my wrist shows me if it's something that needs immediate attention or can wait for a more appropriate time. This was vital during interview invite season - every time my phone buzzed, I knew I needed to check it (interview dates would fill up very quickly, so emails and phone calls needed to be answered as quickly as possible). This way I wasn't on my audition rotations, constantly checking my phone, but still staying connected to my emails and phone calls. 
  • Calendar updates: CR and I have a joint Google calendar where we put all of appointments. Google calendar also syncs with a lot of other apps and websites - it automatically adds my work outs, flights, and Air BnB rentals. I have my watch set up so that the Calendar is on the face of it, so I can always see what's happening that day. 
  • Travel: Most airline phone apps also have Apple watch apps - I know for sure that Delta, American Airlines, and JetBlue have watch apps. Some are better than others - JetBlue's allows you to have your boarding pass on your watch, American Airline's does not. But all of them keep synced with the phone app, so it'll tell you when and where your airplane is, and if your gate changes or the flight is delayed. We also used the Maps app while we were in Montreal - I typically have it turned off when I'm driving, but for walking, it was great because I wouldn't have to have my phone out when we were navigating the streets, my phone would just buzz when we had to make a turn!
  • Apple pay: This is one I use depending on what rotation I'm on - I don't use Apple Pay in most of my day to day life, but I have worked at some hospitals where the cafeteria uses Apple Pay, so I would use it every day on those rotations! All you have to do is hold your wrist up to machine, and you're good to go! This is definitely a great part about the Apple watch if you are a daily Apple Pay user. 
  • Finding my phone: You know how much time I've wasted in my life walking around my house looking for my phone, only to find it in  my back pocket? Probably more hours than I care to admit. The Apple watch has a "ping my iPhone" feature on the little home screen and I use it constantly. Now I have so much more time on my hands! ;)

My favorite accessories:
  • Watch bands: My watch came with a blue band, which is fine, which I ended up changing out for this white band I got on Amazon. The bands from Apple cost like $50, which I don't think it worth it at all. The Amazon version has held up very well, and you can basically not tell the brand name band apart from the knock off version (see the first picture above). I also received a metal link watch for Christmas, which I love to wear on days that I'm wearing professional clothes (it's also really fun to play with!). My next band will be a leather band (I'm thinking this black one, or possibly this cognac version. We'll see!). 
  • Charging station: I love my little charger station because it not only keeps your charger in one place, but it guarantees your watch stays on the charger rather than slipping off. There are a ton of versions out there - I think this one from XXX is really cute too!
  • Keychain charger: I go on a lot of short 2-3 day trips, and I try to bring as little with me as possible on those. CR's parents got me this keychain charger, and it's been amazing for these shorter trips! I keep it on my little zip case that I always have with me either for traveling or at work,

  • Needs to be charged daily: I got CR a Garmin HR Vivoactive for Christmas this past year, and he can go almost a whole week without charging it! Mine, on the other hand, needs to be charged every 36 hours or so. I don't wear mine to sleep (although I know it does have a sleep monitoring feature), so I just charge it overnight. It takes about two hours to fully charge. I don't think this is really that big of a downfall, just in comparison to other smart watches, it sucks up a lot more battery. 
  • Has to be near your phone: The Apple watch is really just an extension of your phone for the most part, so to get a lot of the phone functions (emails, texts, internet), your phone has to be within 30 feet of your phone. My phone is almost always near me, so not a big deal either, but worth mentioning that you can't use your Apple watch for most of it's phone functions away from your phone. 
  • Doesn't have GPS: This is another downfall for those of you who are big runners. CR's watch has a GPS feature, so he can go out on a run without his phone, and his phone knows exactly where he is, and shows him the map of his run on his phone afterwards. My phone does not do that. The Series 2 watch does do that though, so if that would be an important feature for you, got with the Series 2. 

Watches on sale!

Like I said, Target currently has the Series 1 on sale for about 25% off of the original price, so if you were interested in a watch, you are unlikely to get one much cheaper than this any time soon! I recommend going with the metal color you wear most - the straps can be exchanged for any other kind of strap you want!
silver: 38 mm | 42 mm
black: 38 mm | 42 mm
rose gold: 38 mm | 42 mm