Apple Watch Series 2 Review

Apple Watch Series 2 Review

About two and a half weeks ago I went to the Apple Store and bought an Apple Watch. I bought it with the full intention of using it on a trial basis during the two week return window allowed. If I didn’t like it I was going to return it.

After trying it out for the two weeks I decided that I like it enough to keep it. In the past I always considered the AW but declined to pursue it for two reasons. Most of what it can do I can do on the iPhone and aesthetically, I didn’t like it nearly as much as I do the round face watches, like my Skagens. Point number two still stands however. I still do like the round faces on watches over the square ones, but it’s a minor thing overall.

I went with a series 2, aluminum in space gray. I also bought an extra band, the Nike green and black one. I didn’t buy the Nike edition watch however as I’m not a runner and didn’t need the subscription that came with it; I just liked the band design.

After a while of figuring out the settings and how I wanted them to work between notifications and other functions, I think I have it all settled.

Some of the things I do enjoy, and enjoy more than I had previously thought I would, are the text and email notifications. With the AW I can easily see what is coming in and decide to or decide not to pick up the phone to look at it, or can get a preview of it on the AW. It is rather convenient.

I find that I use Siri a little more than I used to, and it’s mostly to set timers when I’m cooking or doing laundry and for use with my Philips Hue lighting system and HomeKit. I often feel like David Hasslehoff as Michael Knight in Knight Rider from the 1980’s when I hold my arm up with the AW to “hey Siri..” with it.

I’ve used the native workout app for outdoor walking and outdoor cycling and it’s pretty easy to use and works well. My gym also recently came out with a new app that has a lot of workouts and pre-built programs to choose from and it’s very well done and elegantly designed. It also has an AW app and I’ve been using that at the gym to track things and see what’s up next. I can do my whole session without having to pickup and unlock my phone like I used to do after each exercise and set.

Regarding the Activity app, Apple takes a very different approach to goals than Fitbit does. Fitbit makes steps per day the main focus of activity and for achieving personal goals. Apple’s approach is totally different with the idea of closing the rings of stand, move and exercise. Your steps are still tracked and shown at the very bottom of the app, but they’re not a focus of anything in particular. It seems as if they’re philosophy is more about just being active regardless of what you’re doing. With the Move ring its dynamic and adjusts each weeks active calorie goals based on the previous week’s numbers and will try to keep it attainable and challenging at the same time. My gym app integrates with Activity so all of that gets logged automatically. I like how the AW will remind me to stand at 50 minutes past the hour if I haven’t been up yet; this is something neither of my Fitbit’s had, although I think some of their newer models now have it.

One thing the AW doesn’t do is track floors climbed and relies on the iPhone to track that. I find this to be a bit odd that Apple didn’t incorporate this feature into it. With all the things it can do, up to and including swimming, why can’t it sense air pressure so it can measure floors climbed like a Fitbit? But at the same time, steps taken and floors climbed aren’t considered a focus of the Activity app and it’s goals.

The Breath app is nice too and I use that as well. It’s helpful to calm down at times and reset the mind when needed.

I like the integration with the Health app as well and my gym’s app also integrates with it so I can track a lot of health data in one spot. I still have and use the Fitbit Aria smart scale which measures weight and body fat percentage. That integrates with the Fitbit app obviously, but not with Apple’s Health or Activity apps. So I downloaded the third-party Workflow app and set up a workflow on the iPhone and AW app so I can punch in those two metrics on the AW and log them into the Health app quickly as I’m standing on the scale looking at the day’s measurements.

The comfort of the AW and band is superb, especially compared to the FitBit Surge. I get up at 4am each day and put the AW on and wear it all day until about 9pm, save for a few minutes in the shower when I take it off. (I know, it’s water resistant and could wear it in the shower, but I don’t). With the Fitbit Surge by the time I’d get home from work, maybe wearing it for 10 to 12 hours, I couldn’t wait to take it off as it was irritating me something awful. The LED sensors for measuring the heart rate protrude from the Surge in a more abrupt and narrow fashion which digs into my arm throughout the day. The LED’s on the AW are more spread out and tapered which do not dig into me at all and I have no problem wearing it for up to 17 or 18 hours.

So far at the end of each day I’ve been averaging 30% battery usage which is better than I was expecting. Of course it all depends on personal habits and usage too. I could probably get two days out of a charge but I’ve not tried to yet. The Fitbit Surge would give me 5 to 7 days on a charge, but it doesn’t do a quarter of what the AW does, nor does it have a nice display. That’s just some of the tradeoffs you have to consider between the devices.

So I suppose I like the AW better than I thought I would, but I still do love my traditional Skagen watches design a lot better.

My iPhone 6s Review

My iPhone 6s Review

It is that time again for me, once every two years, where I get a new iPhone. I just upgraded from the iPhone 5s to the iPhone 6s on Apple’s launch day. I pre-ordered it on September 12th at 3 am EST when it was opened up.

At first I had a problem getting the Apple Store page to come up and for 15 minutes I kept refreshing the page, in Safari and Firefox, and it wouldn’t work. Then I opened the Apple Store app on the iPhone 5s and was able to get right to the order page and place my order. The only problem I had with that process was they didn’t offer to add Apple Care to the order like you can on the main Apple Store web page.

What I ordered was another AT&T iPhone, the 6s model, with 64 GB of storage, this time in Space Gray.

I am still quite disappointed in Apple in that they still offer a 16 GB option where I feel that 32 GB should be the minimum. I know people with 16 GB iPhones and they fill them up quickly with photos and videos and then ask me why they can’t store any more apps or photos.

I had the 32 GB iPhone 5s for the past two years and I never had any issues with storage space, but, I don’t take many photos or videos and keep a minimal set of apps on my account. If there was another 32 GB option this year, I would have bought that instead.

The iPhone arrived via UPS in the afternoon on the 25th as promised. Setup was a breeze, as expected. I made sure to do a backup of the iPhone 5s to iTunes just before setting up and restoring the files to the iPhone 6s. After that was complete, there were a few small settings that needed to be adjusted to my preferences, like Location Services and Background App Refresh, among other things. But, for the most part all my settings for iOS and the majority of my apps remained the same which was very nice.

Since the screen is bigger with a higher resolution, they offer a ‘zoomed in’ mode during setup and you can try it with it on or without to see which way you like better. I choose to use the zoomed in mode so the font and stuff appear larger and easier to see and read.

The screen is also very nice. It seems like it jumps off the display and is real, like physically, a thing, or painted on. It’s very sharp and nice and super smooth to the touch.

The Touch ID is insanely fast – I mean really fast. I used to click the Home button quickly on the iPhone 5s just to see the time, notifications, or time left on a timer I have running. That’s also using a finger I have associated with Touch ID and I could do that without it logging me into the iPhone. I can’t do that anymore because even the quickest click of the Home button I can do, with an associated finger, logs me into the phone. It’s that fast. So, I’ll have to start clicking the Home button with an unassociated finger when all I want to view is the lock screen.

I’m not liking the Lock on/off button being relocated to the right side when it used to be on top. That will take some getting used to. Depending on how I hold it, instead of locking the screen, the opposing side of my hand accidentally adjusts the volume.

I played with the Force Touch, or whatever they call it, for a minute or so and wasn’t all that impressed. I’ll see if it becomes useful or not over time when apps (apps that I normally use) find ways to incorporate it.

I do like how Apple finally made Siri usable just by speaking to it, “Hey Siri” without the need to have it plugged in. Previously, the only way to communicate with Siri, without having to hold down the Home button, was to have it plugged into power and saying “Hey Siri.” Now, with a new chip in the iPhone 6s, you don’t need to have it plugged in any more. Just by saying “Hey Siri” it will activate and be ready for your commands. This is already allowing me to use Siri more than I did before, for things like asking about the weather, the time, setting a timer and other inquisitive things.

I’ve always been a fan of carrying my iPhone ‘naked’ meaning without a case because I like the way they look, and I don’t like the extra bulk to carry around. I’m always very careful with my stuff and I’ve never had any accidents where my iPhones were damaged.

However, with the switch the iPhone 6s, I felt like I needed a case for it because it is larger than the 5s I had before it, and the edges are rounded, rather than squared off, and all sides of it are slippery. I feel like the risk of dropping it is greatly increased this time and I don’t want to chance it and have a serious accident with it.

I bought this case for it: iPhone 6s Case, Spigen [Carbon Fiber] Neo Hybrid Carbon Case for Apple iPhone 6 (2014) / iPhone 6s (2015) – Dante Red (SGP11623)


It’s nice looking and I like the red plastic bumper around it. The rest of it is rubber/plastic I think and altogether it fits very snugly and the buttons click perfectly through it. The red bumper is very smooth and I would have preferred it had some type of grip to it. But otherwise, it is very good and I don’t worry as much about the iPhone getting damaged if I drop it.

If anyone is interested, I am selling my white/silver iPhone 5s, 32 GB, AT&T Unlocked in the MacRumors Marketplace. Click here if you’re a member and eligible to view that forum. Otherwise, you can contact me and we can work something out.

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