Apple Watch as a fitness tracker, reviewed..

 In Product Review


42mm Sport Model

About a week ago I got my hands on one of the much talked about Apple Watches. Now I’ve been in the tech industry for about 10 years, so I have realistic expectations for new products. My main interest with the Apple Watch was the health and fitness tracking. There’s plenty of products that track sleep, steps and exercise (manual input). I contemplated a Fitbit HR in addition to the Apple Watch, but I’ll leave that for another time.

My first interest is the heart beat sensor, which uses green LEDs to measure your BPM. Having started at a new gym doing High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) I was pretty excited. There are a lot of heart rate tracking devices on the market and some work very well for HIIT, but the Apple Watch does not. From what I found other devices are better due to a 3rd yellow LED that penetrates deeper into the skin for a more accurate read and in shorter intervals. The Fitbit HR only has the two green LED sensor array as well, so don’t expect a significant difference between either device.

Apple Watch Green LEDs

During my workout I put the watch on “do not disturb” and didn’t pay much attention to it. Afterwards I immediately checked my phone, and I was pretty disappointed. The readings were all over. 160BPM then 70BPM in the same 2 minute interval. I knew this was way off considering the workout. I did make sure the watch was secure and tight so it would not move around and pick up false readings prior to the workout. Strike 1.

Let’s remember this is a Generation 1 product. If you remember the iPad 1 to the iPad 2 they were very very different. In fact the iPad 2 may even be getting the iOS 9 update which is incredible for a product of that age. Apple has the luxury of launching prototype products to the public and turning a massive profit while simultaneously learning what a product needs. 

The watch also lacks battery life and sleep tracking, where the Fitbit HR has it beat. Strike 2 and 3. Remember I still have yet to use the Fitbit HR and they are two different devices. However this is only a review of the health and fitness tracking of the Apple Watch.

So if you are looking to buy the Apple Watch to track your heart rate for HIIT Exercise or track your sleep, it may not be the right device for you. The Fitbit HR boasts 3-5 day battery life and the ability to track sleep, but with similar heart rate tech it still may miss the mark for serious athletes.

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