3 Reasons The Apple Watch is My Favourite Smartwatch and 3 Reasons I Prefer Others

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It’s a great watch, but…

Over the last couple of years, I’ve daily driven a wide range of smartwatches from various brands. Some of these brands are small and some big, but the one thing they all have in common is that they each have their advantages and disadvantages.

Having used a wide range of smartwatches, I think that the Apple Watch is my favourite in terms of functionality. I mean, the apps and some of the features that are available on the Apple Watch are unmatched in terms of how they function and the seamless experience they provide. But we’ll discuss that later in this article.

I wanted to start by mentioning that this isn’t one of those articles where I compare Apple to Android just to say that Apple is better. This is an article where I compare the things that I noticed about the platforms and watches I have daily driven.

I also wanted to mention that the first Apple Watch was released in April 2015 and many of the brands I tried and tested are relatively new to the market. That is why I think it’s fair to say that Apple has had more time to perfect its system and devices, but that can also be said about many of the brands I used.

Without any further ado, here are 3 reasons I prefer the Apple Watch and 3 reasons I prefer other watches…

Let’s start with the Apple Watch…

1. App support

Let’s start by talking about Apple’s watchOS vs Google’s WearOS and others. Based on my usage, I find that there are more mainstream apps available on the Apple Watch.

That is not to imply that app support is bad on other platforms, I am primarily talking about the apps that I use on my phone.

These range from To-Do list apps, to calendar apps, as well as smart apps such as an app to allow me to control my TV from my watch. I guess what I’m trying to say is that in general, more mainstream apps support watchOS.

One of my biggest frustrations with WearOS is that Google hasn’t even made Google Tasks a standalone app on the platform. I just want to be able to add and tick tasks off from my watch without having to use the calendar app.

But it doesn’t stop there, there are still many mainstream apps that don’t support WearOS.

On top of that, the quality of many WearOS apps is nowhere near as good as it is on watchOS. In all fairness, WearOS is getting better with app support and more brands are starting to support the platform. But for many apps, the quality isn’t there yet, especially if compared to Apple Watch apps.

2. Integration with the Apple Ecosystem

The Apple ecosystem is one of my favourite ecosystems, I mean everything just works so incredibly well together. That is not to imply that other ecosystems are bad, it’s just that based on my usage and experience, I tend to prefer the Apple one.

Furthermore, the watch integrates tightly with the iPhone, which allows basic features such as being able to send and receive messages, interact with apps, and make calls directly from the watch to work incredibly well.

I know that these are basic functions, but having tried various smartwatches and fitness trackers, the integration between watch and phone doesn’t always work as you would expect, especially when using different brands together.

To put it simply, the Apple Watch is designed to work with the iPhone. But other smartwatches are designed to work with a handful of other devices, so there is a chance that something won’t work as you’d expect.

As an example, I had the Samsung Galaxy Watch 5, which is a brilliant watch, but I was using it with my Google Pixel 6 Pro. That meant that the blood oxygen feature was unavailable for me.

But that’s not the only thing I’ve seen. Just to list a few examples, I saw delays in notifications, poor app and service support, the list goes on! The good news is that with many manufacturers choosing to go with WearOS, this becomes less of a problem, but there are still cases where things don’t work as you would expect.

3. The Features

Features tend to be dependent on what Apple Watch you have, I’m currently using the Apple Watch SE 1st generation, which is a perfectly capable watch. But there are models that have more features, such as the Apple Watch Ultra.

Starting with the health and fitness features, as an active outdoor person, I feel that Apple Health is one of the most widely developed health apps on the market. On the watch, you are treated with various health monitoring features including metrics, a sleep tracker and more.

If we combine the health features with the fitness features on the Apple Watch, you are treated with some useful features including fitness activities and fitness rings, which help motivate me to hit my targets.

For those of you who are like me and love the outdoors, most of the newer models include a built-in compass and a built-in GPS, which can be useful for tracking outdoor activities and navigation. I’ve primarily only used this feature for cycling trips, but it appears to be accurate.

Apple Wallet is another great feature on the Apple Watch and based on my overall experience, it seems to be the most widely supported smartwatch wallet. I can comfortably show my boarding pass on the watch or my train tickets without any issues. Most importantly of all, I can also pay for things.

On the Android side and being based in the UK, I have access to the Google Wallet and in all fairness, support is getting better. But at present, I still find more apps and services being compatible with Apple Wallet instead.

Let’s talk about the things I like about other smartwatches…

1. Style and watch faces

I’m a big fan of the Apple Watch and from the usability standpoint, I think having a square display makes sense, but I don’t like it!

I prefer smartwatches with a round display, as I think it looks more natural. But the one issue I have with round displays is that they make the display feel smaller.

I’m not sure if that’s just me, but having used the Google Pixel Watch as well as numerous other smartwatches with round displays, it’s simply something I noticed.

The second thing I wanted to talk about in this section is watch faces. I think that the watch faces on the Apple Watch are very dated. Don’t get me wrong, they can be very functional, especially with the widgets you can put on them. But somehow, I prefer the watch faces that are available on WearOS and other platforms, especially the ones that make my watch look more traditional.

2. There are different types of watches

In my view, the Apple Watch is a general everyday smartwatch (not including the Apple Watch Ultra). In the Android world, the same thing can be said for the Google Pixel Watch.

However, there are many other options available and they are designed for specific things. For example, when I went hiking in the Tatra mountains in Poland last year, I switched my Google Pixel Watch for the Garmin Instinct.

Not only was the watch able to accurately track my hike, it also lasted the entire 10-hour hike while using GPS as well as other features. At the end of the hike, the watch still had half of the battery left, which, I think, is phenomenal. I doubt that the Pixel Watch would have been able to last that long, but I regret not putting it to the test.

I guess the point that I am trying to make is that there is a smartwatch for everyone, whether you’re an outdoor person, a runner, or someone who just wants to track their steps and gym workouts.

You can buy something as simple as the Xiaomi Smart Band for everyday sports activities, you can buy a purpose-built watch for running or if you prefer style, many traditional watch manufacturers manufacture smartwatches. You can find stylish watches from many brands, such as Michael Kors and Fossil.

3. They are usually compatible with a wide range of smartphones

The key issue with the Apple Watch is that it is only compatible with the iPhone. In all fairness, Apple is not the only brand that does this, but you get the point.

In many cases, when you buy a smartwatch that isn’t an Apple Watch, it is likely to be compatible with other smartphone manufacturers. But it’s always worth double-checking, as not all smartwatches are compatible with all smartphones. For example, the Google Pixel Watch and the TicWatch Pro 5 are incompatible with iPhones.

But if you buy something like a fitness watch such as a Fitbit or Garmin, it is likely to be compatible with most modern smartphones.

I guess the overall point that I’m trying to make is that there is a higher chance of your watch being compatible with other smartphone brands if it isn’t an Apple Watch.

Final Thoughts

Based on my overall experience with using smartwatches from various brands, I think that at present the Apple Watch offers the best seamless experience. I think that the main reason for this is that Apple has had more time to develop their watches.

I think the key issue for WearOS watches is that they weren’t really taken seriously by app vendors and manufacturers until Google released the first Pixel Watch. I guess it showed the market that Google is serious about developing a new smartwatch ecosystem.

As the proud owner of a Google Pixel Watch, I seriously think that Google as well as other manufacturers have massive potential with the WearOS platform. I mean the user experience of the Pixel Watch combined with my Pixel 7 Pro is incredibly good. The same can be said for the Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 with my Samsung Z-Fold 4.

I’m contemplating writing a similar article in 2 to 3 years, and I think it would be interesting to see if I still think that the Apple Watch offers the best seamless experience. I mean WearOS has gone a long way since the days of Android Wear or maybe, we might see an entirely new platform, who knows!