I knew what I wanted: simple, straight forward, no-nonsense tracking, no half-baked attempts at highfalutin’ functionality, and only the most basic of notifications.
Until I didn’t.
Damn you, Apple. You’re making me look bad.
Here’s what drove me back into the smug arms of Apple, in ascending order of importance:
3. Apps and Communication
I thought my priority was really simple, straight-forward fitness tracking, but I missed the broad, albeit questionably useful, app and communication functionality of the Apple Watch. No, the apps aren’t perfect (some are downright useless), but I like having the ones that do work. For example: I just downloaded an app that will help me track my ski runs on the Watch. Absolutely necessary to leading a productive life? No. Fun and interesting? Yes. I also missed the more robust communication functionality of the Watch — such as being able to respond to a text message vs. just view it.
Perhaps I’m more image-conscious than some, but I appreciate good design. Yes, even when I’m working out. My Basis was OK, but felt a bit plastic-y, too boxy on my small wrist, and I hated the floppy wristband. It was passable at the gym, but I was never thrilled about wearing it with street clothes. In my opinion, the Apple Watch is still the best looking smart watch, particularly for women given the 38mm option. Yes, it’s more expensive, but the extra money spent shows with higher quality materials, design details and a really beautiful display.
I initially loved the simplicity of the Peak, but underestimated how much I’d miss GPS for distance tracking and map functionality. Although the Apple Watch doesn’t have embedded GPS (you still need your phone), the Basis Peak had no functionality whatsoever. Yes, there are tons of other smart watches that have embedded GPS (I could have gone with the Fitbit Surge or Garmin Vivoactive, for example), but I still kept running into my #2 driver: design.
Here I am again, wearing the Watch that deep down, I wanted to hate. The fitness buff in me wanted to prefer a more utilitarian device that was designed for fitness first, everything else second. But the fickle consumer in me won out. Turns out, I want it all, and from what I can see, Apple is the only one currently offering a product that more than adequately covers both form and function.
As much as it pains me to say it, I missed the Apple Watch, and I’m enjoying the reunion.
P.S. Yesterday at CES, Fitbit announced a new smart watch called the Blaze, meant to compete with the Apple Watch. While it certainly looks better than the huge, bulky Surge, it doesn’t have embedded GPS and the jury’s out on whether they can really give Apple a run for their money in the higher-end smart watch category. I love Fitbit as a company, so I hope they can find a way to carve out a niche for themselves.