THE PROS AND CONS OF THE SMARTWATCH PHENOMENON

Published: 12 October 2022

September saw the much-publicised launch of the Apple Watch Ultra – the all-singing, all-dancing tech arm candy that does everything from deep sea diving to warning you of possible heart failure.

For most of us, the Ultra seems a little excessive – full of features that we’d never use and at a price point that’s hard to justify (it starts at £849). But while the Ultra is probably one for the Apple devotees, the other standard Apple watches do offer a range of user-friendly functions that have come on leaps and bounds since they launched in 2014.

We take a closer look at the Apple watch and Lifeline IT’s tech twosome Adam and Daniel run through its pros and cons. In the ‘for’ corner we have Adam, who is a huge fan, and in the ‘against’, we have Daniel, who is yet to be convinced.

ADVANTAGES

Useability
“The great thing about an Apple watch is you can literally use it for most things. If you’re on holiday you can go to the beach, have a swim, take a phone call, pay for a drink with Apple pay and check an email. Obviously you have to have a model that has a cellular connection or be within a Wi-Fi range. And the new update that’s coming out will allow you to use roaming when you’re abroad.”

Health Monitoring
“There’s a variety of different apps to track your health and fitness. With the new models you can take an ECG (test to check your heart rhythm and electrical activity), monitor your sleep, and women can even track their monthly cycle through temperature checking. The downside of this is some people may get a little ‘health obsessed’ and be constantly checking their watch to see if they’re still alive!”

Battery Life
“The battery life does tend to be better than an iPhone and they’re a lot quicker to charge – you can get a full charge within literally a few minutes. The new Ultra model has a larger battery life – around 36 hours or even up to 60 hours if you have the device in low power mode.”

Design
“Aesthetically, they look good and come in a range of styles and colour. There’s the option for an aluminium or stainless steel case, or if you go for the Ultra it’s titanium with a ceramic back. There are also a variety of different strap options that can be interchanged with other models – the sporty fluorocarbon rubber or braided versions through to leather or stainless steel for people who want a more classic design. The other big plus with Apple watches is they’re very robust – it’s actually hard to break one.”

DISADVANTAGES

Notifications
“A lot of people who have Apple Watches complain about the number of notifications they get when wearing it. Siri – Apple’s built-in voice application system – can also be quite irritating as it’s always active. That said, it is down to the individual to get the set-up right so it isn’t pinging every few minutes.”

Price
“Some of the newer models do have quite a hefty price tag. If you’re just using it for sport and not taking advantage of all the facilities that make the Apple Watch like an iPhone, then there are cheaper options, such as Garmin, which are just as good. The Ultra does have a fully built-in diving monitoring system, but people buying an Apple watch aren’t buying it to go diving!”

Screen Size
“It’s difficult to see Apple watches completely taking over from iPhones because of the screen size – realistically it’s too small a device to send emails on a regular basis. Although the new Ultra model has a much bigger screen it’s still a lot smaller than a phone – I think voice activated dictation will need to improve before people consider making a complete switch from phones to watches.”

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Adam Woolf, Director, Lifeline IT
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