ROUNDUP: Hands On with Apple Watch

(Photo courtesy WSJ) (Photo courtesy WSJ)

I won't get a chance to play with one until next week, but here's a quick roundup of what others -- others with better connections than I have -- are saying.

WSJ's Joanna Stern loves hers, but isn't ready to recommend it:

“Wait, what?” you ask. “I thought you liked this thing!” I do. But every time I gaze down to admire it, I start seeing how the next one will look better. You could say the same about many fashion objects, but watches should be timeless (ironically). Unlike the Cartier I got for college graduation, the original Apple Watch’s beauty will soon fade. Unless you opt for the cheapest $350 sport version, you should really wait for the future.

NYT's Farhad Manjoo echoes last week's writeup here at VP:

It was only on Day 4 that I began appreciating the ways in which the elegant $650 computer on my wrist was more than just another screen. By notifying me of digital events as soon as they happened, and letting me act on them instantly, without having to fumble for my phone, the Watch became something like a natural extension of my body — a direct link, in a way that I’ve never felt before, from the digital world to my brain. The effect was so powerful that people who’ve previously commented on my addiction to my smartphone started noticing a change in my behavior; my wife told me that I seemed to be getting lost in my phone less than in the past. She found that a blessing.

Lauren Goode at Re/Code generally likes what she sees:

It’s swiping through pictures of family on your wrist, seeing your heart rate spike when you’re watching an exciting game and getting a glimpse of a message when you’re rushing between classes or meetings. It’s trying really, really hard not to look at your wrist when you’re in the middle of a meeting. In our new world of too-many-devices, it somehow becomes the second thing you reach for when you roll out of bed.

Smartwatches are still unproven, but Apple has made a pretty strong case for them.

Although she also says that while the battery lasts all day, it takes too long to charge -- 2.5 hours.

IBT's Luke Villapaz is also in the "wait" column:

Apple Watch reviews went live on Wednesday with many reviewers calling it the “best smartwatch” on the market, which doesn’t really say all that much when you consider the low bar set for devices and fitness trackers released in the past year. And even though they’re calling it the best, that doesn’t mean that everything is perfect with Apple’s first new product category since the iPad.

Pundits praised it for its design and the potential it brings to the future of smartwatches. But beyond all that, many of its features are marred by the flaws that almost inevitably come with a first-generation product.

And finally, Bloomberg's Joshua Topolsky sums up my initial impression:

So Apple has succeeded in its first big task with its watch. It made something that lives up to the company’s reputation as an innovator and raised the bar for a whole new class of devices. Its second task—making me feel that I need this thing on my wrist every day—well, I’m not quite sure it’s there yet. It’s still another screen, another distraction, another way to disconnect, as much as it is the opposite. The Apple Watch is cool, it’s beautiful, it’s powerful, and it’s easy to use. But it’s not essential. Not yet.

A couple of these reviews include Apple Watch photos not from Apple's PR department, and instead show real people wearing the actual product. And most of those photos have me thinking: "Too thick. It's just too thick."

Provided a new product does what it's promised to do, I can live with the limitations of a first generation -- that's what early adopting is all about. The first iPhone and iPad models were comparatively slow, heavy, and thick, but overall I was happy with their performance. But a watch doesn't sit on your lap or get stashed in a pocket; you wear it. So until I get a real feel for its size and heft, I'm not sure I want to live with something so thick sitting on my wrist.

I'll report back after I get to demo both sizes at my local Apple Store this weekend.