A review of the apple series 2 42mm watch.

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A review of the apple series 2 42mm watch.

Postby embleton » Sun Jan 15, 2017 11:26 pm

I unwrapped the packaging eagerly to explore the apple series 2 42mm watch, it has several useful features above that of a digital watch with its smart features. Not only is it a health activity monitoring watch but also has several useful features in the area of push notifications and allowing the owner to respond to SMS, email and phone calls.

The unit has a microphone and speaker for taking and receiving voice phone and FaceTime audio telecommunication. The microphone is also the input for Siri voice recognition and assistant. Siri is used in the same manner as on an iPhone or iPad, but does not respond with verbal confirmation but visual and action prompts, and hands off to the iPhone for more complex answers that require a larger screen or internet browsing technology.

It has integration via the iPhone to several features and is even useful standalone for monitoring physical activity, it includes GPS monitoring for movement and location, it, therefore, can tell whether you're stood up or move upstairs or down steps among other things. And of course its use as a watch! The time is absolutely spot on atomically.

The smart digital watch face can be customised with watch faces that are set up by the iPhone, this can even include a photograph as the watch face with numerals sitting on top of the personal photograph or photographs as they flip through a list of photographs time lapsed.

When interacting one can customise the digital watch face on the watch itself that allow docking of applications to areas on the watch face. With my own watch, it has the upper top left SMS/iMessages, email spark app for monitoring emails and the percentage of battery life at the bottom. The centre-right has the day and date inscribed.

The screen is OLED with 3D pressure input so that pressing it softly and with pressure have different meanings. As an example pressing an icon usually means read the notification information whereas pressing firmly on the watch face pops up completely new message input to another person, this highly depends on the application developer clearly for its use.

Most of the customisation, and installing of apps is done on the iPhone for the watch. Pairing the watch with the iPhone is painless and quick when it arrives, and setup is done by mirroring all setting from the iPhone including user identifiers, etc.., for purchasing and so on. The watch does not have direct internet access, the majority of apps will need the iPhone in close range for access. The watch communicates with the iPhone by wifi over the 2.4Ghz band and Bluetooth 4.0.

As the watch can be lifted to the mouth accurately and closely Siri works exceptionally well for the majority of input and dictation, it responds quickly with sufficiently speedy connections over wifi, 3G or 4G mobile network from the iPhone.

WatchOS 3.1 is quite reliable as are all the Apple product OSes for their equipment, but I found it the least reliable of the Apple OSes. I did manage to crash the watch twice, once when interacting with AirPlay whilst on a FaceTime call with my brother. Basically, it crashed when I was mirroring Apple Music from the watch to an Apple TV through the iPhone whilst on a FaceTime call. The watch then gracefully rebooted itself and was back in operation in about a minute. The second time it crashed was stepping through multiple apps, again it gracefully rebooted the watch. It's annoying that whilst AirPlay is activated by the watch the Bluetooth needs to be in range of iPhone for it to maintain the AirPlay, a bug in my opinion; this has been fixed in WatchOS 3.1.3 and iOS 9.3 beta 1

The larger of the two watches battery life is good for equipment of its size, but it will need charging every other night with standard use, heavy use will need the watch charging daily; while exceeding the 18 hours suggested by the manufacturer for battery life for standard use. The charging unit is pretty naff, but the watch does conform to the Qi charging standard and this was confirmed with a cheaper Qi pad that cost less than £20, which is well below the cost of the Apple Watch Qi charging pad station.

With 18 apps and 88 photographs 600MB of storage on the watch was taken with 5.1GB left for future expansion and data, rather a large size for equipment of its size, and for that size to be available I was quite surprised. If one was using the watch completely standalone with music tracks on the watch itself then the space would be a little restrictive, but lets face it most of us have our iPhone close by usually.

Apps that are useful that I use daily on my watch are; a travel bus checker that uses GPS for finding bus stops and planning journeys, that I open with Siri. An email app for reading and sending quick emails, this is Spark a most excellent free app that performs well above Apple’s email app accessed by pressing an email icon on the top right of the watch face. A calendar that is activated by pressing the day and date in the right centre section of the watch face. SMS/iMessage that is launched by pressing a bubble icon on the top left corner of the watch face. The rest of my apps I open with Siri or by pressing the crown in once that offers access to all 18 apps. The battery power reserve is activated through a written message that offers a percentage of battery life left and requires confirmation to enter the mode.

My impressions are that the watch is well integrated with the iPhone and easy to setup and use daily. I will not list the technical specification and these are available as explained on the majority of reviews, only to state that the watch is snappy with sufficient storage. The speaker is slightly low in noisy environments for phone and FaceTime audio calls.

One beef I have with the watch is the plastic straps that look awful, luckily these can be replaced with stainless steel straps from Amazing for about £15-£25, and this beautifies the watch in actually looking its £399.
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