Apple Watch Sport: Good work comes at a premium price
The Apple Watch Sport, grabs eyeballs firstly with its square outer design and then the obvious Apple branding. This wearable, released in 2015, made us eager to try it out and subject it to performance tests as we were yet to test a wearable product by Apple.
We subjected the Apple Watch Sport to a detailed performance analysis, via conducting a hands-on review, here are our observations:
Design and Display
The Apple Watch Sport is made up of Aluminum on the outside which adds an extra degree of protection and scratch-resistance. It is a tad bulky comparatively, as it weighs in at 70 grams (with 65 grams being the standard as far as modern times are concerned). We could feel a slight tinge of bulkiness when we strapped this smartwatch-like wearable across the wrist.
As far as the outer Aluminum structure is concerned, we could prominently feel the smooth finishing across its edges. For our testing, we chose the 42 mm variant of the Apple Watch Sport; there is also a smaller 38 mm edition available. The Apple Watch Sport offers a multitude of colors to choose from. The watch straps can accordingly be chosen for both men and women.
The design of the Apple Watch Sport syncs perfectly with the color of the strap, and even the slightly curved edges touch the metal outer frame perfectly. From our analysis of the design, the wearable is aesthetic to look at and easily gives off the “premium feel” when strapped across the wrist. Overall, the outer body of the Apple Watch Sport is comparatively thinner, measuring 105 mm. This aspect made sure that the wearable could easily be worn around the wrist even when we were on the move more frequently than not.
As far as the actual display is concerned, the Apple Watch Sport features a 1.65-inch AMOLED capacitive touchscreen having a resolution of 390 x 312 with pixel density of 302. This touchscreen supports both 16 million colors and Multitouch functionality. An important aspect about the display is that it also supports 3D Touch. During our testing, we found the image rendering to be sharp as we could easily view the contents on the screen without repeatedly tinkering brightness even in outdoor sunlit conditions.
The on-screen icons are also a pleasure to use, as double tapping these opens up a list of all essential options and this experience is relatively intuitive here unlike other wearables. Apple has also packed in what it calls the “Digital Crown” to make on-screen app interaction comparatively easy. We feel that the digital crown (a button basically) is one of the best aspects about the Apple Watch Sport at it improves interaction with the wearable by leaps and bounds. We could also notice another key near the digital crown; this acted as a displayer of all our favorite/frequently used contacts upon a single-click. This key also threw up all our current Appel Pay aspects on a double click.
The heart-rate monitor is located at the rear end and we could feel the same when we strapped the Apple Watch Sport across the wrist. Finally, we found that the pressure sensitive touchscreen of the Apple Watch Sport also does a good job of improving the overall way of interaction with the device.
Software and enhancements
The Apple Watch Sport runs on the Apple WatchOS 1.0; the wearable is eligible to receive firmware upgrades to watchOS versions 2.2 and 3.0 respectively. During our time with the Apple Watch Sport, we found that there was yet another USP; the Siri personal digital assistant (PDA). We could activate Siri on the long pressing digital crown (as explained in the above section); we could use the PDA for tasks such as app launching, to initiate new calls, to compose a text message (and send it to the intended recipient) and more.
The “Hey Siri” voice command interaction also functioned pretty well during our testing and the PDA was able to fetch most of the aspects that we asked for. The grasping capability of Siri is an attraction. During our testing, we upgraded the WatchOS to version 2.0 by virtue of which we got to experience the Nightstand mode. This new aspect let us use the Apple Watch Sport as a real nightstand when we plugged-in the wearable for charging. We could also set alarms in this mode. We checked out the Apple fitness app range as well, and the experience passed off as a breeze.
Processor and Memory
The Apple Watch Sport wearable, under-the-hood, features an Apple S1 SoC that comprises of a 520 MHz CPU and a PowerVR SGX543 GPU. As far as memory is concerned, there is a default internal storage of 8 GB; long with a 512 MB RAM. The 8GB internal storage is a plus point for users preferring to store a multitude of apps, and multimedia content for streaming to external devices via an Apple iPhone.
The Apple Watch Sport is powered by a 250 mAh fixed Lithium-Ion battery. During our testing, in a mixed usage scenario, we could get battery backup time lasting for less than a full day. The battery backup time improves significantly if usage is more generalized, rather than trying out fancier things. For the business class, the battery life offered could be below-par considering the fact that these are users resorting to the highest degree of “mixed usage”. Nonetheless, the general everyday home users could be impressed with the offered battery backup time.
The Apple Watch Sport impresses, especially with its inbuilt Siri and the watchOS. If you are preferring to purchase the wearable by spending a month’s worth of savings, do reconsider.