Apple Watch Series 4 - user review
What's in the box?
All Apple products are nicely packaged and the Apple Watch is no different. Inside the box there is the strap, the Apple Watch, a wall charging plug and a charging lead along with the usual quick start guide.
Unpacking and initial assembly
Once unpacked you will need to fit the strap which is a simple job, you just need to make sure that you slide in the strap until you hear the "click" - it is then fixed in properly.
Initial set up, pairing and syncing.
You will need an Apple Watch data plan from O2 before you can use the Apple Watch in cellular mode. If you are an existing O2 customer then the plan will have been set up prior to the dispatch of the Apple Watch (if ordered online) or will be set up in store if you bought it from an O2 store.
It is well worth noting that the data plan can take up to 24 hours to activate. Not a problem if you ordered online but worth bearing in mind if you bought from an O2 store.
You should receive a message from O2 when your plan is set up.
You will also need to install the Apple Watch app onto your iPhone before setting it up
Now, before you even switch on the Apple Watch you must update the carrier settings on your iPhone to the latest ones and also make sure that you have updated your iPhone to the latest version of IOS.
Once this is all done you are good to turn on the Apple Watch.
To turn on, press and hold the small button below the crown until the Apple logo appears (fairly standard). The Apple Watch will then boot and you merely need to follow the on screen instructions. Some of the initial set up process is done via the Apple Watch app on your iPhone.
As part of the set up process you will also be prompted to update to the latest version of the Apple Watch OS. This can take a while so don't be too alarmed.
Once everything is set up, synced, and updated it's time to start personalising the Apple Watch to suit your needs.
Personalising the Apple Watch
A good proportion of the settings are accessed via the Apple Watch app on your iPhone so making changes is extremely easy.
There is a myriad of different Apple Watch faces to choose from and most of them are customisable. You can add different "complications" to the faces (functions that you would like quick access to such as heart rate, activity levels, weather, UV index, etc etc). As with all things Apple, setting these things up is incredibly easy.
A short press of the button under the crown will give you access to the 10 apps that you will use most often, activity, heart rate, workout, maps etc and these will always appear in the list (dock). This list is customisable via the app on your iPhone. You can then scroll to the bottom of the list using the crown which has a lovely haptic feedback and sound when you turn it, or swipe down to the bottom of the list to access an "all apps" list, which, as you would expect, is a list of all of the apps installed onto the Apple Watch. You are able to display this list in 2 ways, either as a traditional list or a full screen of small icons.
I used the on screen icons for a while but found it a bit fiddly so now have a traditional list - doesn't look as cool but makes life a bit faster.
All the Apple Watch apps that you install, currenlty via the App Store on your iPhone, will appear in this list. And just like on your iPhone, swipe to the required app, touch the screen and away you go. When the latest version of the Apple Watch OS is launched in September it is rumoured that the App Store will be installed onto the Apple Watch so you will be able to access it from there and download straight to it.
Via your iPhone, you can determine which notifications go to the Apple Watch. I find news, email, messaging, WhatsApp, good for me and the Apple Watch will gently tap your arm followed by a sound to alert you of a notification, or if in silent mode will gently tap your arm. I particularly like the fact that the screen won't instantly light up and display the notification, you either have to raise your arm or tap the screen, which is good as it keeps nosey people from reading your notifications on the tube in the morning!
Living with the Apple Watch
It is interesting how quickly the Apple Watch burrows its way into your life and affections. It is genuinely like having a mini iPhone on your wrist.
Emails come through clearly and you are able to read a good part on the Apple Watch without touching my iPhone.
News notifications come through with pictures and the headline text (can't do that on many smartwatches)
Text messages are delivered quickly and you can read them on the Apple Watch, you can then either speak a reply, or use the "writing pad" to write a response from there and send it - very cool. You can also reply to emails via the Apple Watch as well.
Calls can be taken on the Apple Watch either via paired bluetooth earphones or using its inbuilt loud speaker and mic.
And of course all of this can also still happen without the Apple Watch being connected to your iPhone so you don't need to cart your phone with you when you go for a run or a ride.
If you like to listen to music whilst running, no problem without your phone, as your music is stored on your Apple Watch.
I genuinely find that I am leaving my phone at home more and more, certainly when I am out running or out for a bike ride.
It is worth noting though, that after a fairly long time of the Apple Watch being disconnected from your phone and GPS (if indoors) then when it does get GPS coverage again it will occasionally reboot. This is normal apparently and has only happened to me once but worth flagging.
The first time I used the Apple Watch to make a call without having my iPhone near, left my daughter saying that it was one of the "sicist" things she had seen - which is good apparantly!
It is worth noting that the inbuilt workout app is OK but you might want something a bit more feature rich.
Strava is very good and will update the health app and rings (trust me you will soon get obsessed with closing the rings on a daily basis) and is free to use. You can have a premium version but the extra functionality is not for everyone and the free version gives all the information you are likley to need.
There is no dedicated sleep app on the Apple Watch but Sleepwatch is very good and again is free.
The Apple Watch is waterproof and can be locked via the swipe up screen (very much like your iPhone) to prevent the water from causing apps to open via the screen. To turn off the screen lock, merely rotate the crown upwards and the Apple Watch plays a sound to clear water from the speaker. I have to say though that I still take it off to shower etc through force of habit.
Livivng with the Apple Watch is easy and it is as easy to operate as your iPhone as it mirrors your phone funtionalities.
Is the Apple Watch worth it? I think it is. It's is not only a good health and actvitiy monitor (The ECG function is very cool and could one day save your life) but is an extremely useful bit of kit.
If like me you are not constantly glued to your phone and want to leave it in your pocket, bag or at home etc you can with the Apple Watch. Everything comes through on it and as with all Apple things it just works and does it well!
Should You invest in one?
If you are due to upgrade from an earlier model or haven't yet invested in a smart watch/fitness tracker and have a compatible iPhone then it's a no brainer. The Apple Watch Series 4 is a massive leap forward from earlier versions and is also far superior to any other smart watch out there. (I am an ex Garmin Smart watch user)
If you are in the market for a smart watch and are an iOS user, it's a no brainer!
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