The reviews are in for Apple's first new product in five years. Is it a must-have? Does it finally put the "smart" in smartwatch? Is anyone really going to pay $17,000 for this thing? Here is what top tech reviewers across the web are saying.
The New York Times
Calling the Apple Watch experience a "steep learning curve," Times reviewer Farhad Manjoo wrote: "It was only on Day 4 that I began appreciating the ways in which the elegant $650 computer on my wrist was more than just another screen. By notifying me of digital events as soon as they happened, and letting me act on them instantly, without having to fumble for my phone, the Watch became something like a natural extension of my body — a direct link, in a way that I’ve never felt before, from the digital world to my brain. The effect was so powerful that people who’ve previously commented on my addiction to my smartphone started noticing a change in my behavior; my wife told me that I seemed to be getting lost in my phone less than in the past. She found that a blessing."
Reviewer Joshua Topolsky found the Apple Watch wanting when it comes to functioning as a timepiece: "I’ve found the experience somewhat inferior to that with a conventional wristwatch, due to one small issue. The Apple Watch activates its screen only when it thinks you’re looking at it. Sometimes a subtle twist of your wrist will do, but sometimes it takes … more. Many times while using the watch, I had to swing my wrist in an exaggerated upward motion to bring the display to life. Think about the way people normally look at their watches, then make it twice as aggressive. As a normal watch-wearer, the idea that I might look down at my wrist and not see the time was annoying."
"Sometimes, even if you do the arm-swing motion, the screen doesn’t turn on. Sometimes it turns on, then off. Sometimes you tap it and nothing happens."
Topolsky goes on to voice a sentiment you'll be hearing a lot when it comes to Watch reviews: "The Apple Watch is cool, it’s beautiful, it’s powerful, and it’s easy to use. But it’s not essential. Not yet"
Verge Editor-in-Chief Nilay Patel feels the Watch does a lot of things well, but no one thing great: "The Apple Watch is one of the most ambitious products I’ve ever seen; it wants to do and change so much about how we interact with technology. But that ambition robs it of focus."
"There’s no question that the Apple Watch is the most capable smartwatch available today. It is one of the most ambitious products I’ve ever seen; it wants to do and change so much about how we interact with technology. But that ambition robs it of focus: it can do tiny bits of everything, instead of a few things extraordinarily well. For all of its technological marvel, the Apple Watch is still a smartwatch, and it’s not clear that anyone’s yet figured out what smartwatches are actually for."
Earning a mere three-and-a-half stars, the Watch is summed up by CNET: "The Apple Watch is the most ambitious, well-constructed smartwatch ever seen, but first-gen shortfalls make it feel more like a fashionable toy than a necessary tool."
Reviewer Lance Ulanoff gives the most full-throated endorsement of the Watch on this list, stating on the outset "the Apple Watch is an excellent, elegant, stylish, smart and fundamentally sound device."
He also speaks to one of the most common worries about the Apple Watch, saying, "Battery life may have been the best surprise of all. Almost every single day I used the Apple Watch, I ended the day with at least 30% power left — even when I turned up the brightness to 100%."