For many people there’s a good chance that the first smartwatch they think of is the Apple Watch. The original Series 1 is just as popular today as it was on its initial release back in 2015. While several more versions of this classic have been launched the Series 1 is an oldie, but a goodie. So, why should you consider buying this smartwatch classic? Let’s take a closer look at what it has to offer.
The original Apple Watch was launched in 2015 and was instantly a game changer with its impressive ability to work seamlessly with the wearer’s iPhone to receive notifications. While the Apple Watch Series 1 is, essentially a re-released version of the original, it does have something new to offer over its ageing sibling. The Series 1 is faster for a start thanks to its upgraded internals, and it also boasts Bluetooth 4.2 technology, something which the original couldn’t offer. Aside from those two newer benefits, however, the Series 1 is surprisingly similar to its older brother.
The Apple Watch Series 1 doesn’t really have a key stand-out feature. Rather its benefits tend to lie in the many apps that you can download to it. It does, however, have one feature which is useful and surprisingly functional – the Force Touch display. This feature means that the glass of the watch face is pressure sensitive. When you press down on it, the display will zoom out of the watch face, loading up an array of faces to pick from. You can use these to customise your display to suit your preferences. For example, if you want to see your fitness graph, remaining battery life and the time in another part of the world you can arrange the faces to achieve your goal.
Another feature which this smartwatch offers is“Time Travel”. Not literally of course! It basically means you can turn the Digital Crown to move backwards and forwards through your day, checking on things like upcoming appointments in your calendar and weather forecasts.
As you’d expect, you can use Apple Pay from your wrist and there is Bluetooth connectivity so you can move some of your favourite tracks to a playlist on your watch and listen to them from there. Google Maps can also be accessed from your watch so you’ll have no trouble navigating your way.
One of the best things about the Apple Watch Series 1 is its versatility. You can select from a wide range of straps and faces to suit your preferences, and that means you can go for something lightweight and slim or something heavier and chunkier – whatever you like. You can certainly make a fashion statement when you’re wearing this watch, and with a choice of two straps to suit the size of your wrist, you’re guaranteed non-slip comfort during wear. The OLED display is easy to read in all but the very brightest lights and doesn’t use excessive battery power, but the square shape of the face isn’t to everyone’s taste.
The Fitness Tracking
It’s important to be aware that the Apple Watch Series 1 isn’t really designed to be a fitness tracker, so its capabilities in this field are sadly limited. The activity app will monitor your fitness levels to a certain extent and with the watchOS 4, monthly challenges were added to its activity app as well as a high-intensity interval training workout mode. Nevertheless, in terms of fitness, the focus lies primarily on running. While you’ll be told how many steps you do, you won’t have the level of interactivity that some other dedicated fitness trackers can offer. There is a GPS tracker, although it’s somewhat over-generous. Similarly, the integrated heartrate monitor isn’t especially effective, often showing higher BPMs than would be accurate.
What Are The Main Advantages?
- Works seamlessly with your iPhone
- Customisable faces
- Time Travel feature
- Apple Pay comes pre-installed
- Pre-installed fitness apps
- Ability to install third party fitness apps
What Are The Main Disadvantages?
- Only 2GB of storage for songs
- Surprisingly unintuitive design
- Short battery life
If the Apple Watch Series 1 isn’t for you, you might want to consider one of the more updated versions of the Apple smartwatch. The Series 3 or Series 4 Apple Watches offer the same good looks but with greater processing power and more features. this is true, even more so with the new Apple watch 5 which just came out.
Alternatively, if you’re looking for more sports tracking features, the Fitbit Ionic could be right for you with its inbuilt workouts, multi-sport tracking capabilities and attractive appearance. If style is your primary goal when buying a smartwatch, the Fossil Q Venture could be right for you with its range of attractive band options and finishes. It’s also a good option if you’re an Android user rather than an iOS device owner.
How Do We Test Smartwatches?
We evaluate and test several elements when bringing you the best smartwatches on the market today. Of course, design and comfort are vital, but we also look at the various fitness tracking functions that each watch offers. We test these thoroughly and observe the effect that using the watch for all its purposes has on its processing power, memory and battery life. Once we’ve put each watch through its paces, we’re well placed to give you all the information you need to decide whether each device is right for you.
The Apple Watch is an iconic smartwatch, and will always take the top spot for certain buyers. However, this Series 1 version isn’t the best value for money. Its limited fitness tracking capabilities, lack of intuitive controls and short battery life mean that there are better options out there for the money. Although this is an attractive addition to your wrist, it’s more about style than function. At this price point, you probably want more for your money than a good looking iPhone finder.