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Why I cancelled my WATCH order

May 12th, 2015

I did not order a watch at 3 in the morning. I wanted to see one in the store first. And I was instantly smitten: much nicer than I expected, and nicer to boot. So I ordered one, and thought about replacing my Pebble.

Delivery in June.

The notifications with the Taptic engine are much nicer that the Pebble. It actually respects the “do not disturb” settings that I set on my Phone. I can interact (albeit in a limited fashion) the watch, it’s very much interactive. Having Passbook on the watch is the best use of it yet (hello, TrainScan!). And the voice phone calls are just plain cool.

I did not try to get a Blue Developer watch. It’s just not my colour. But we got one for the office, to try out and perhaps prototype some interactions with our mobile apps. If I learned anything, it’s that you have to develop on real hardware, the simulator won’t cut it.

I wore that watch for a week, to see how I would like it. And it’s nicer than I expected: the fluoroelastomer band doesn’t scratch the palm rest of my MacBook Pro (1), the battery lasts all day without any kind of special management, and the taptic notifications to stand up are a lot less disturbing than I thought they would be.

That was another concern: when I’m “in the zone”, writing code, I want to be left alone and not knocked out of the zone. In practice, the discreet tap on the wrist was subtle enough to ignore and stay in the zone if I wanted to.

However, it wasn’t all roses and kittens. iMessage notifications were not always coming through, in particular from my wife, which was infuriating. I have to manually start my exercise programs, and even with two hours of bike riding a day it would only say “28 minutes out of 60, you missed your goal!”. Knowing my heart rate when I’m exercising is nice, but I exercised for years without it and don’t view it as indispensable.

This basic 42mm watch costs 519$ in Canada. When you add taxes, that’s 600$.

It’s a nice watch, but not worth that to me. My wrist is back to being free, for now.

Addendum: the more I think about it, the more it’s not a question of price. Even if it was 200$ I would not purchase it because I don’t see myself wearing it everyday. This watch just isn’t compelling enough to have earned a place on my wrist. A lot of what it promises (Pay, great 3rd party integrations like Dark Sky notifications) just aren’t available where I live.

(1) That was actually my main concern: other watches I tried had a metal clasp or nub that scratched the surface of the palm rest, making me remove them before sitting for work, which makes them a lot less interesting.

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