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Apple Watch: Cannot Deliver the Most Basic Functionality, returning it

re: Apple Watch

The Apple Watch may be useful to some, but as with typical Apple design, it fails utterly and completely at some things. If the things you want are not offered, or are offered in a way that does not work, you can go pound sand.

I 'get' that for some people an AFIB detection feature or some such specific feature might be the entire reason to use it. That’s my point here: it had better provide enough value to make it worth the cost and hassle.

Sports watch fail

I had thought I could use Apple Watch as a first-class sports watch. Well, it’s inferior in most respects to what I already use. The only actual useful thing it offers is heart rate detection (so I can skip the Polar H10 heart rate monitor chest strap @AMAZON), but Watch heart rate detection does not work reliably unless the band is secured just-so, and it’s uncomfortable when snug like that.

* I can say that with certainty by having done direct comparison on my bike vs the Polar H10 and my cycling computer. The Apple Watch was reading 4 to 8 beats too low.

As just one example of anti-functionality: when I hike in the mountains, I want altitude (elevation) in large type eg "11900 ft" front and center, and ideally some derivatives of that eg total ascent/descent plus rolling average of last 5/10/30 minutes or some such. That, along with heart rate, elapsed time (time of day is mostly worthless!) and a few other things. In one face or perhaps two. And no, I should not have to remember to start a workout to get that. This simple requirement is not possible with any of the Apple watch faces. You can have that complicated outer-ring elevation display with a tiny tiny tiny numeric readout that is unreadable to my eyes in dim light and unreadable at a glance under even the best conditions. What a stupid stupid STUPID design.

Nor am I going to go buy some obscure "app" which I then have to run just to get one metric like altitude (and not get what I want the way I want it) and then switch apps for other stuff, a slave to my device’s limitations, rather than having something that serves my needs elegantly.

Sports watch it ain’t, at least not for me. The ~400+page manual I went through in its entirety. No solution.

Workout designs that don’t work

The workout designs are frustrating. Pretty good but not everything I want and stupid annoying shit like warning me about noise when I start riding.

On a well-designed device like my SRM PC8 for cycling, I can configure just what I want in the sizes I want in 4 screens between-which I can toggle. Apple Watch... no dice, or it’s too hard for me to figure out. I do not know how to even get all the data I want, let alone display it as I wish. And Apple Watch will not even detect/see my Bluetooth power meter, making it even stupider for cycling—no power/watts, no cadence, eg can’t have the crucial #1 thing! Crazy stupid in my situation.

BTW, calories is often off by 20% (too high). I can say that with confidence because my lab-grade power meter is ±0.5% via strain gauges at the crank.

Watch faces conceptually broken

I’ve looked at all the watch faces, and none of them deliver what I want, none are generally configurable—they are all form prioritized over function, pretty to look at and not only lacking key information but making it difficult to even see (tiny type, etc).

Worse, when I "add" a face, it removes the prior one, so no toggle-between either. I expected that I could toggle between 2 or 3 watch faces so as to have all the information I want. And the whole app-centric thing is wrong for this goal, so that’s a 'fail', not a workaround.

Bottom line

I wanted to like the Apple Watch. I really did, or I would not have spent $976. The convenience of a built-in heart rate monitor and altitude means a lot to my activities.

But the fact that Apple Watch has generated such intense frustration is itself reason enough to consider it a failure.

A complicated nagging-nanny device with frequent software updates and demands to master obtuse setup on a tiny screen, a special charger...ugggh. The iPhone is enough of a PITA already, but at least it delivers value that I must have. Whereas Apple Watch delivers nothing that I don’t already have and/or does it half-way or broken or not at all. The expense and hassle including half a day wasted setting it up all were time sinks. I need value, not time sinks.

Bottom line line with Apple Watch:

  • Too little value for too much work.
  • Duplicative of my iPhone and more difficult to operate.
  • Excessive effort to configure in any way remotely resembling what I want, and ultimately fails due to rigid constraints on what can be done, eg the altitude issue as per above, and many more such things.
  • Requires a specialty charger, with too short a lifespan in active use unless one has a conventional lifestyle.
  • Complicates my life instead of simplifying it.

Once I scheduled the FedEx pickup, I felt a huge sense of relief. That says it all.

James G writes:

My Apple Watch 4 takes about 45 minutes to figure out that I’m hiking and then asks if I want to “start a hike” or whatever.

When I first got it, it would call 911 every time I smashed garlic with the flat of a chef’s knife. I had to learn to hold the knife in my watch hand and smash with the other.

In the backcountry I take an old Casio cuz the Apple watch will last only about 40 hours without a recharge. And when in the Eastern Sierras backcountry I don’t need to know the time and temperature in Phoenix, which it always seems to default to on a secondary watch face.

MPG: Apple Watch is mostly a solution in search of a problem, 80% science fair, 20% utility.

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