I tend to use PCs for general computer work, but I have an iPhone and an iPad for their mobile capabilities. I consider both types of these mobile devices to be excellent products, so perhaps it was no great surprise that I took a look at their sister and compatible product, an Apple Watch. I took the plunge a few months back and in the Spring of this year, I bought an Apple Watch Series 6 GPS, 44mm in a space grey aluminum case with a graphite Milanese loop as the band around my wrist.

The wrist band is magnetic and simply wraps round my wrist and is held on very securely. It also looks and feels very nice and is very comfortable. For this I paid the sum total of £448.20, which is a lot of money for what is after all a watch, though a high powered one that can do a lot of sophisticated and impressive actions.  

Someone recently asked me, what is so good about it? The answer is plenty and let me run through a few of its many outstanding features.

I love the integration of the Apple Watch with the iPhone (to be honest you really need both to get the best out of each), the watch has numerous customizable watch faces and it is easy to switch between them. Within the watch face, there is the ability to add a facility called complications and they can display information and their presence can also be customised

Apart from telling the time accurately, what else can the watch do? I could run through a large list, but I will discuss some of the benefits that I have found most useful or interesting. Personally, I have found having digital versions of my credit cards resident on my watch enormously useful. With one double click on the side button, this brings up a digital reproduction of my credit card on the watch face.

I simply hold my watch, still showing the relevant credit card, next to a contact reader and the watch buzzes and the transaction goes through. It is so easy to do (arguably too easy) and in case you worry, if I take the watch off my wrist, it locks (and no credit card transaction can take place) and can only be reactivated by typing in a digital code. I have three credit cards on my watch and once accessed, I can easily scroll through them simply by using the touch screen.

Being paired to my iPhone is crucial to enhancing the functionality of the watch and the phone. This pairing can easily be achieved by a combination of Bluetooth or Wi-Fi or even a mobile phone network, if you have a separate mobile data subscription for your watch. I don’t have one as usually my watch and phone are in Bluetooth contact and I don’t feel I can justify this extra monthly cost of a mobile subscription. When it is paired, I can pick up telephone calls (yes it is strange speaking into watch but your watch is easily accessible for a quick call) WhatsApp and text messages, emails and the calendar on my iPhone. Some watch faces offer easy access to some of these facilities and I also have notifications set up for credit card transactions. If there are any rogue transactions, I can be quickly alerted.

Smart watches and healthcare

The watch is big on health, with in my version offering to easily measure my oxygen saturations, heart rate and an ECG. All this data is automatically transferred to my phone and the ECG can be exported in a number of a messaging formats, for example to a healthcare provider. Even better, the phone can be set up to alert the owner to abnormally high and low heart rates as well as an Atrial Fibrillation alert  and if an abnormality is found, then medical advice is advised.

There are a myriad number of apps that can produce all sorts of data that can come up on the watch. However, if you don’t want too much data coming from your watch then you can have a choice of simple and easy to read watch faces but still have the option of the power of all that data, available in the background, if needed. 

I could make lots of lists what this powerful watch can do, especially when paired with an iPhone, but I recently came across this excellent YouTube tutorial which covers 10 tips that I found most useful and some I did not know after six months of usage.

The video provided me with more information about the impressive functionality of the Apple Watch. For example, if you can’t locate your iPhone you can ping it and hear the ping (and hopefully locate the nearby phone) from a quick action via the watch. I also learnt that the watch has a remote camera app which can control the camera on the iPhone and the watch can be used as a viewfinder and can produce a countdown timer before the picture is taken on the iPhone. I found this to be an excellent way to take a selfie.

Finally, many devices have voice digital assistants, Amazon have Alexa whilst Apple have Siri. Just press and hold the digital crown and the watch face asks “what can I help you with?” and simply speak your question. I found this to be accurate and informative. I accept some people may feel a bit awkward speaking to their watch to either make a phone call or converse with Siri but the facility is there.

 I have found that one charge usually powers the watch for a whole day with something to spare at the end of the day. The charger is magnetic and clings to the back of the watch and just in case, I bought a mobile key ring charger in case the watch runs out of juice during the day. So far, I have not needed to use it! But nice to have the security of a mobile charger attached to my keyring.

Overall, despite the high price, I love my Apple watch and am still learning new tricks and functionality with it. I am glad I bought it and use it every day.