Despite being a firm Android fan, a few months back I decided to spend some time with the iPhone 7 Plus. Initially for our iPhone 7 Plus review, this quickly turned into testing out the Apple Watch and making the iPhone 7 Plus a part of my two-device daily driver setup.
Normally, I alternate between several different devices every few days. The general rule is that the list usually comprises of the latest Android flagships, but the Apple Watch presented me a very large problem: without making the iPhone 7 Plus one of my two daily devices, I couldn’t really use it to its full potential.
I’ve had several smartwatches over the years, including everything from the original Android Wear device – the Moto 360 – to every single Tizen-based smartwatch that Samsung has launched. Since switching to the Apple Watch, though, I’ve realized something – while smartwatches certainly leave a lot to be desired, the Apple Watch shows the competition how it’s actually done.
Why am I so impressed with the Apple Watch? And what can others learn? As a Mac and iPad user, the Watch and iPhone are the missing links that complete the Apple set. Once you have them all, Handoff comes into play and you see the true integration between devices.
Let’s take for example, the Mac: my Macbook Pro is arguably the most important piece of tech I own (save for maybe, my phone or camera) as it’s the device I use every day. My general workflow is to lock my device every time I step away (for security reasons more than anything), but with a 15-character password, it quickly becomes frustrating to keep having to unlock it.
Enter the Apple Watch: once setup in Preferences on the Mac, simply having your Apple Watch on your wrist as you wake your Mac is enough to unlock it. Let that sink in for a moment: your smartwatch… unlocks your computer. In most cases, this happens so quickly, you don’t see the login screen.
Your smartwatch... unlocks your computer
The Mac and Apple Watch combination also serves as an authenticator for Apple Pay on the web. When browsing a website that supports Apple Pay, you can authorize the payment via your iPhone or your Watch. It’s pretty easy to use, and certainly makes using multiple services much simpler.
Now let’s talk about using the iPhone and Apple Watch together. Given the LCD nature of the iPhone display, turning it on just to check recent notifications several times a day can cause considerable battery drain. The Apple Watch mostly solves this problem, although it’s not perfect. As we wrote about in our Apple Watch review, the Apple Watch definitely needs better app management to prevent battery drain.
While it may be the perfect accessory for any Apple user, the Apple Watch also serves a somewhat cult-like accessory of its own, allowing you to send messages, emoji and – if you’re feeling particularly brave when talking to a member of the opposite gender – your ever-increasing heartbeat. This might not seem like much, but I’ve actually had little emoji and hand-drawn sticker battles with people… it’s more fun than you’d imagine.
Also, thanks to the wonderful Handoff feature, which debuted in iOS 9, using an Apple Watch, iPhone and a Mac together is a breeze. Handoff allows you to start reading or working on something on one device and then pick up where you left off on another device and for the most part, it works really well.
Specifically, you can start reading a new email on your Apple Watch, then pick up your iPhone and continue reading where you left off. Considering I get over 500 emails every day, being able to archive and weed out the most important ones without having to check every one on my iPhone makes the daily routine much easier.
The Apple Watch is not only an impressive smartwatch, it also sets the standard by which other smartwatches should be judged. Pair it with another Apple device (or the entire collection) and it becomes an extremely sleek and powerful wearable device. Android Wear and Tizen just can’t come close to offering this type of integration, and therefore functionality, that Apple users enjoy with the Apple Watch and other devices.
Whether it’s for payments, checking notifications, answering and making calls, unlocking your Mac or any of the other functions listed above, the integration between the Apple Watch and other Apple devices is very impressive, It is this integration that makes the Apple Watch a must-have device. Setting the fitness capabilities aside – we’ve got an Apple Watch vs Fitbit comparison that looks at that in more detail – the Apple Watch is certainly a recommended buy if you’re looking for an accessory to go with your other Apple devices.
Now it’s time to tell us your thoughts. What do you think of the Apple Watch? Also, if you’re the owner of any other Apple devices, have you taken advantage of any of the other integrations we highlighted above? Be sure to let us know your opinions in the comments below.