My watch is watching me

I’d been thinking about buying an Apple Watch for a while, but the price of such a device is high and the benefits not entirely clear. But then I noticed in the past few months that I’m moving about less and less. When going out is not necessary, and the weather is uninvitingly wet, working from home starts taking its toll. My niece got a fitbit for her tenth birthday and the idea of an activity tracker became more and more attractive to me too. Especially with the wet, cold weather that comes with autumn and winter ahead of me. A device that nudges me to move my body seemed to be less and less of a luxury and more and more a health necessity.

I did my research on these devices, comparing Fitbits with Apple Watches and Samsung watches. Samsung is really for Android users. Fitbit requires an account for their services and thus all data collected is stored on Fitbit servers. Since Google bought Fitbit (though EU is still investigating this acquisition), and I don’t believe Google’s promise not to use Fitbit data for targeted advertising (if not for the data, what is Google buying Fitbit for?), I decided the Apple Watch is the best option. The data is stored on iCloud, but not accessible by Apple or third parties, unless you give explicit consent to use the data. For instance when installing apps that you allow to read the data.

And then The Man, Daughter and my parents gifted me an Apple Watch for my birthday. I now own an Apple Watch 3, which comes a lot cheaper than model 5. In The Netherlands there is still no phone provider that is willing to accept eSims for Apple Watch yet. The cellular version is not for sale here. I have the simple GPS only version instead.

Initial set-up was easy enough. The only issue I had was to connect my Airpods to the watch. I needed to clear the Airpods in the Bluetooth menu on my phone and create a new connection again. Then it worked.

I’ve been wearing it for four days now. So far I’m using Apple’s monitoring apps for activity and nothing else. I did install some practical apps: headspace, weather and Philips Hue (to turn on and off lamps in my home). Though bulky on my wrist it is less annoying than I expected. I hardly feel the weight on my wrist.

I really appreciate the gentle nudges by lightly vibrating to remind me to stand up every hour. This is one of the biggest issues when writing a lot: it’s all done sitting down.

I also appreciate the activity monitoring. It gives a much better insight in whether I move enough or not. Of course I’ve been enthusiastically walking and cycling outdoors the past few days to reach my daily goals.

I love the fact that I can style the phone as well. I can choose clock-faces in a lot of different colours and vary the shortcuts to different apps. That way you can style to phone to match your outfit. In addition to the standard white wristband I ordered more. I found a website where they offered five for the price of three for €35. A good deal. Changing the band is really easy.

The one thing that I wish it had was cellular connection. The iPhone Xr is so big, that there are many moments during the week I wish I could do without taking it with me. I don’t mind being out of phone’s reach, but on a warm day, while wearing a pocketless skirt and heading into the park with Daughter, it would be nice to at least be able to text The Man when we’re running late, or invite a friend to come as well. I dislike the need to carry a purse just for my iPhone all the time.

In the end I hope wearing the watch will keep me physically active. I will check in a few months’ time how my activity levels change over time.