Should You Buy an Apple Watch?

When I first started The Mealy Apple, one of my first posts was really downplaying the usefulness of the Apple Watch. I think it is safe to say, nearly a year and a half later, that my feelings about it has changed quite a bit.

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Fitness

Over the past year, the Apple Watch has become my fitness companion and has motivated me in ways that I never even thought about.

The Apple Watch challenges you to close three colored rings: Move-Red, Exercise-Green and Stand-Blue. The move goal is recommended by the Apple Watch when you set it up based on your body composition and how active you are day-to-day. The green exercise ring is set at 30 minutes and can be achieved by moving briskly for 30 minutes. Finally, the stand ring, colored in blue, is a way to make sure you get the blood moving every hour. If you haven’t stood up for the first 50 minutes of the hour, you will get a little tap on your write to get your butt up.

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It is oddly satisfying seeing those rings gradually move throughout the day. Or closing that exercise ring before 9am, is also a great way to start the day.

As of now, you can only see where friends are with their move goal and workouts they completed. This fall, in iOS 12, Apple is adding more competitive features to further challenge us and better ourselves.

Safety

In a tech obsessed world, distracted drivers are a constant fear. If staying off of your phone can be avoided, I am welcome to all ideas.

The Apple Watch does a great job at this. While driving, you can text back by voice. This is extremely convenient and safer than pulling out your phone and also risking being pulled over by the police.

Also, changing music or podcasts is a simple tap away. Again, a cop can cite you for distracted driving just by changing a music track if the phone is in your hand.

You may have heard in the news recently about multiple individuals giving credit to the Apple Watch for saving their lives. This is another great safety feature of the Apple Watch. It can detect irregular hearth rhythms and notify you. I have known people who have recently had heart complications to buy the Apple Watch simply for this reason. It is one of those features you hope to never see, but knowing it is there, gives me some peace of mind.

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Non-Intrusive

Going back to what I said about the tech-obsessed, we are constantly looking at our phones. I have really been trying to be more present when with my friends and family and when important conversations are going on. Also, I am trying to get better at not wasting time. How many times a day do you get a text or Facebook notification and end up scrolling through Facebook for the next 10 minutes? Unfortunately, this happens to me a lot and I know it happens to the majority of us, often.

You would think the Apple Watch would be more distracting; having that tap on the wrist every couple of minutes because you got a new notification. And yes, it can be. But, I have found that it keeps me off of my phone more. My wrist might buzz because I got a new email. So I glance and see that it is junk and there is no need to pull out my phone to further get distracted. I do notice a big difference when my watch is on and when it is not.

Conclusion

So, should you buy an Apple Watch? If you have the money and think it will motivate you to be more active, I say absolutely yes. If you are into technology and think you would love to have all of your notifications literally on your wrist, go for it. Or maybe you have a family member with a history of heart problems and you think this would be a good way to monitor their health. If you can justify it, do it.

I used to say that the Apple Watch isn’t anything you need and granted, most people are getting by just fine without one. But say you aren’t just fine. We are in the future. We have technology on our wrists that can help us. Why ignore that fact?

The only reason I would tell you to wait on buying one would be because there may be a new one coming this fall. Rumors suggest that the Apple Watch may stay in its current form but lose some of the unused black space (bezel) around the screen to make the screen bigger. As always, a new iteration will most likely include a faster processor and better battery. So keep that in mind.

Currently Apple offers the following configurations:

Apple Watch Series 1– $249 for the 38mm and $279 for the 42mm – The Series 1 has an older processor, does not have GPS or a Barometer. It is splash resistant but not water resistant.

Apple Watch Series 3– $329 for the 38mm and $359 for the 42mm.  Also, Apple offers the Series 3 in a cellular model so that you can use it as a standalone cellular device. The prices on those are $399 for the 38mm and $429 for the 42mm.  Keep in mind, to use the cellular service on the watch, you will need to pay a monthly fee through your cell phone service carrier. The Series 3 has GPS, a barometer, is water resistant up to 50 meters, Siri talks to you and is 2X brighter than the Series 1. Also, this will work on Apple’s yet-to-be-released AirPower mat wireless charger.

Let me know if you plan on buying a new Apple Watch or think you will wait until a new one comes out.

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Fitbit Versa Vs Apple Watch

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If you haven’t already, go check out my Fitbit Versa review.

I will probably be repeating myself with things I mentioned in my Fitbit Versa review, but it is important to explain the differences.

Just so everyone knows, I am comparing the Apple Watch Series 2. While there is a newer version, the Series 3, other than speed and a newer battery, I think this comparison will hold true to most Apple Watch generations.

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Size & Design

Lets face it, when trying to put a computer on your wrist, it is more than likely that the finished product will not be pretty. The Fitbit Versa and Apple Watch look very similar.  Both have somewhat square bodies that will definitely let everyone know that it is a smartwatch. If you have had Fitbit’s previously, this will be a totally different setup. It is not the small fitness band that it used to be. There is only one size for the Fitbit Versa. It is a 39mm watch which comes in just a little bigger than Apple’s smallest offering.

The Apple Watch has not changed sizes since its release in 2015. Apple offers a 38mm and 42mm watch size. It is nice having two options for different size wrists. I have used the 42mm size since its release and the Fitbit Versa has made me rethink that size.

You cant go wrong with either device as far as it comes to size, in my opinion. I am loving the size of the of the Versa and you have multiple options when it comes to the Apple Watch.

Battery

I will tell you up front, the winner is the Fitbit. This is also where my Series 2 starts to show its age, compared to its newest iteration, the Series 3. As mentioned in my Fitbit review, I got three full days and about halfway through a fourth, with the Versa. This blew my mind.

With the my nearly two year old Apple Watch, I get one full day. I have just gotten in the habit, since day one, to throw it on the charger overnight, just like my phone. I will take up for Apple here and say that a new Apple Watch does get better battery life. My fiancé recently got the Series 3 (38mm version–which has a small battery) and she can get two days easily.

While I know both batteries will degrade over time, the Versa is clearly the winner here. Knowing I don’t have to charge it every-night is a huge benefit when it comes to consumer electronics. Apple, take note here

Exercise

Fitbit’s entire business is based around fitness. So clearly this will fall under the pro category for the Versa. At a quick glance, you can see your steps, distance, heart rate, calories burned, floors climbed and how many active minutes you have moved. As far as workouts are concerned, you can choose from run, bike, swim, treadmill and weights.  An awesome feature, that I was surprised to see, was that Fitbit recognized when I started a run and also when I finished.

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The Apple Watch’s fitness functionality has grown quite a bit over the years.  Now, it is one of the primary reasons I love my watch. Currently, the Apple Watch can track runs, walks, elliptical workouts, a bike workout, rowing, a stair stepper workout, High Intensity Interval Training (life cross-fit) and swimming. Coming this fall, in iOS 12, the Apple Watch will be gaining hiking and yoga workouts.  As it stands today, Apple Watch cannot recognize when you start and stop a workout like the Versa does. It will be gaining this feature with iOS 12, as well.

When it comes to the exercise portion of these devices, I would have to say it is a draw and you are getting a top notch fitness device with either.

Function

Focusing on notifications, the Fitbit Versa can receive and display text messages and give you phone call alerts, and that is it. Those notifications are better than nothing but compared to the Apple Watch, it is lacking.

The Apple Watch will give you notification alerts for pretty much every application that you have installed on your phone.

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Another benefit the Apple Watch has over the Fitbit Versa, for me personally, is the on screen music/podcast/audio controls. When listening to my podcasts, if I want to skip a couple of seconds ahead, I can simply do that from my watch. Also, when listening to music, I can play/pause/skip track, all from my watch. You cannot do this with the Fitbit.

As far as functionality on these watches, the Apple Watch is, hands down, the winner.

Remember this paragraph when you get to the price part of this post. GPS. The Apple Watch (Series 2 and later) has GPS built in. The Fitbit Versa does not. If you want a Fitbit similar to the Versa with GPS, you have to opt for the Fitbit Ionic, which is an extra $100. The GPS is nice if you like to map your runs or walks. If you take your phone with you on these workouts, the Fitbit Versa will use connected GPS by using your phones GPS connection. For me this was not a big deal since I do take my phone with my on walks and runs.

Watch Faces

Apple…please read and re-read this part. Bring third-party Apple Watch options to the Apple Watch. This was probably one of my favorite features of the Fitbit Versa. There were thousands of different watch faces and ways to customize them.

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The Apple Watch is very limited in the watch face department. While there are options, in true Apple fashion, you are limited to what Apple wants you to have.

I have to give Fitbit a huge win here as it has proven that third party watch faces are cool and would be awesome on the Apple Watch.

Price

The Fitbit costs $199.95 and $229.95 for a special edition that adds the option for NFC payments and a special charcoal or lavender band.

The Apple Watch costs $329 for the smaller 38mm and $359 for the 42mm versions.

Conclusion

If you are a long-time Fitbit fan and have years of statistics logged through the Fitbit app, I cannot recommend their newest fitness device enough.

But the Versa is just that, in my opinion, a fitness device. The Apple Watch offers so much more if we are talking about smart watches. It is still difficult for me to call the Versa a smart watch in its current state.

So here is where I stand, if you want a smart watch, get the Apple Watch. If you are looking for a fitness device, save a few extra bucks and go with the Versa. You will not be disappointed with either.

Let me know which on you are planning on getting!

Images courtesy of Apple and Fitbit

Disclosure: Some links in this post are affiliate links, and at no additional cost to you, I will make a commission if you decide to purchase after clicking the link.

Why The New Fitbit Versa Is So Tempting

Last week, Fitbit announced the Fitbit Versa, the company’s newest smart/fitness watch. While this is not the first smart watch Fitbit has released, I think this is the first one that stands a chance against the Apple Watch.

I was very shocked to hear that Fitbit is releasing another smart watch since they just released the Ionic, last October. The Ionic did not get much praise and in my opinion, looked horrendous.

If you remember the Pebble smart watch, before Fitbit acquired them in 2016, the Versa will look extremely familiar. This is a good thing. While I never owned a Pebble, it always seemed so simple, to the point, long lasting and easy to use. Looking at the Versa, I think this will be in the same boat.

Women’s Health

Women will find a new feature that is a first for a smart watch. This watch will track a women’s menstrual cycle.  Fitbit says that it will “log your period, record symptoms & compare your cycle against other health stats like sleep, activity and weight.” I think that this is fantastic and will be a huge selling point. That is until Apple does the same thing later this year, I’m sure.

Software

I’ve used Fitbit’s for years. I have had the Fitbit Flex, Charge and Flex 2. All are great products but far from smart watches. Since then, I have been using the Apple Watch and haven’t looked back.  I really like the Fitbit software on the iPhone so that is an advantage going forward with any Fitbit product. My entire family, for the most part, has a Fitbit of some form. The challenges and competitions you can do within the app is a lot of fun and motivating. That is something the Apple Watch is lacking and can make a huge difference.

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The software on the watch itself is something I have no experience with. Now, they have Fitbit Lab apps that are built specifically for the Fitbit. Hopefully they run a lot better than most apps on the Apple Watch.

Size

From the reports, the Fitbit Versa will be a little bit smaller than the 38 mm Apple Watch.  Fitbit also says that this will be a lightweight device. The Apple Watch is a pretty heavy device on your wrist so a lighter and smaller watch will be welcomed.

Price and Availability

The Versa will be out later this year and cost $199.95 and $229.95 for a special edition, that comes with a woven band.

Closing Thoughts

I am very surprised that this product caught my attention so much. When they released the Ionic, there was no temptation. My Apple Watch works fine for what I use it for but to have a smart watch that lasts 4+ days? Now that is something I could get on board with.

Are you in the market for a smart watch? Do you think the new Fitbit Versa is something you will plan on buying? Let me know on twitter or in the comments!

Thanks for stopping by!

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Disclosure: Links in this post are affiliate links, and at no additional cost to you, I will make a commission if you decide to purchase after clicking the link.

Images courtesy of Fitbit.