Apple Watch review

Apple Watch preview

Apple's smartwatch, called the Apple Watch rather than the expected iWatch, is available to buy now. Here, we bring you an Apple Watch review based on our experience with the hot new device so far.

Apple Watch 2

Apple Watch design: What does the Apple Watch look like?

Apple has always paid particular attention to the design of its products, and has built a reputation as a fashionable and stylish brand. When it comes to smartwatches, design more important than ever. It's wearable technology, after all.

As can be expected, the Apple Watch is a pleasure to look at, and with 38 different styles to choose from there's bound to be something that suits you. There are three different Apple Watch models. The first is the Apple Watch Sport, which comes in at the bottom of the wide price range starting at £299. Next is the Apple Watch, which is the middle-of-the-range smartwatch starting at £479. Finally, the Apple Watch Edition is for those with cash to splash, starting at a hefty £8,000.

As the name suggests, the Apple Watch Sport is designed with exercise in mind, made with strengthened Ion-X glass for maximum durability and anodised aluminium to reduce the weight. It's available in Space Grey or Silver. You'll get the choice of a White Sport Band, Blue Sport Band, Green Sport Band, Pink Sport Band or Black Sport Band.

It's worth noting that we're concerned about the Sport Bands of the Apple Watch – we think they'll get grubby quickly as they're made with a rubbery plastic. It only took one weekend for our blue Sport Band to go brown around the edges. Yuck. It is very comfortable, though, and we've heard that some of the metal bands are significantly less so, even if they do look a lot nicer.

The Apple Watch has a Sapphire glass display rather than the Ion-X used in the Sport, and a Stainless Steel case rather than aluminium, and comes in silver or Space Black. Strap options for the Apple Watch include the White Sport Band, Black Sport Band, Black Classic Buckle, Milanese Loop, Black Leather Loop, Bright, Stone Leather Loop, Light Brown Leather Loop, Blue Leather Loop, Black Modern Buckle, Midnight Blue Modern Buckle, Soft Pink Modern Buckle, Brown Modern Buck, and Stainless Steel Link Bracelet and Space Black Link Bracelet.

And if you're wondering why the Apple Watch Edition is so expensive, that'll be because of its 18-carat gold case available in yellow or rose gold. You'll even get a fancy leather box that doubles as a charging cradle. Bands for the Watch Edition include the White Sport Band, Black Sport Band, Black Classic Buckle, Midnight Blue Classic Buckle, Rose Grey Modern Buckle, Bright Red Modern Buckle.

Phew. That's a lot of options. And even more confusing is that some straps can't be purchased with certain sizes of Apple Watch. For example, the Modern Buckle isn't available for the larger model, and the Leather Loop isn't available for the smaller model.

You can swap straps at a later date, though. Apple sells the Watch straps separately in the Apple Store and third-party accessory makers will be selling their own too. 

It's worth noting that several owners of the Apple Watch Sport and even some owners of the Stainless Steel Apple Watch have complained of scratches and some have even smashed the screens within days of getting them. It sounds like it's not the most durable of devices, though we've yet to have any issues with our Apple Watch Sport review unit.

All three models come in two different size options. The first is designed for more dainty wrists, at 38mm high. The larger option has a 42mm high screen. You'll notice quite a significant difference between these two sizes, so we'd strongly recommend popping into an Apple Store before you buy to try on both sizes and see which suits you best.

We were surprised by how small the 38mm model looks, and many people have commented that it's smaller than they had imagined. Some people will consider that a good thing, but it does make it somewhat tricky to use, as the text, icons and apps are very small. It does mean that it's really light on the wrist, though, so you'll hardly notice it's there until you want to.

The Apple Watch is water resistant to the IPX7 standard, which technically means that the device shouldn't be damaged if it sat in up to one metre of water for up to 30 minutes, but Apple doesn't recommend trying it. Instead, Apple describes the Watch as "splash- and water-resistant but not waterproof" and suggests that you could wear it in the shower but don't take it swimming. We'll have to wait and see how well the Apple Watch holds out against water over time.

We think that the Apple Watch is a stunning device, but we are slightly disappointed that it isn't round. We love round smartwatches from the likes of LG, Motorola and most recently Huawei, because they blend in as an ordinary watch better. The Apple Watch is quite obviously a piece of tech stuck on your wrist, and that won't appeal to everyone (yet, but this is Apple we're talking about so we'll probably all be wearing them in a couple of years and won't think anything of it).

We do like the fact that there are so many different options, even if it does get a bit confusing. Knowing that there are 38 different options makes the choice you make even more personal.

Next section: Apple Watch specs