Thoughts on Android Wear so Far

I’ve been wearing a Moto 360 watch for a few weeks.  I bought the Dark Metal version on ebay for about 2/3 the retail price.  I wanted something that looked like a real watch, without calling attention to my overly techno filled life.  I had no interest in the Apple Watch or wearables in general, but curiosity got the best of me.

The Good:

The best use case so far is notifications.  I’ve blocked all the apps I don’t want to see notifications for, a very simple process.  It’s surprising how useful the wrist vibration and glance is.  I’m embarrassed by how true the “it’s useful because it’s such a pain to pull out your phone” remarks ring. It’s slightly convenient, but more importantly it prevents checking a notification (or phantom notification) on your smartphone and continuing to swipe around aimlessly.  My attention span and battery life on my G3 are both thankful.  This is an improvement to our attention/screen issues, albeit a band-aid fix.

Responding to messages (text, apps) with emojis is incredibly fun and pretty useful.

The speech recognition, per Google, is top notch.  I would find myself writing/responding to messages this way if it wasn’t obnoxious to do in front of other people. 

Though clunky, I think the watch is actually pretty stylish. The watch faces are nice, though there is really only one I’m particularly into:

Simple apps like the timer are useful.  I use it as a kitchen timer or to meditate on the subway (without anyone noticing, thankfully).  We’ve crammed so much into our smartphones, it’s refreshing to have tools at our disposal without lugging them around.*

Simple phone actions like skipping songs, changing volume is useful and prevents me from going in and out of rooms constantly.

Google Keep is phenomenal for checking off items on grocery lists. The action is much more satisfying on a smartphone than on paper, but it is on your wrist.

The Bad:

Feels cheap. I had to transport my brother’s Shinola Runwell Chrono to him the other day and went double-wristed. The weight and feel on the Moto doesn’t compare.  You get what you pay for though!

There’s no way to control notifications from a single app and device.  I enable Twitter Highlights on my phone, but I can’t distinguish between mentions (I want these on my wrist and phone) and highlights (I want these on phone only).  By default, I’ll block these kinds of apps.

The wrist to face gesture is clunky and doesn’t always work.  The more deliberate my gesture, the less responsive it seems.  It’s obvious how unnatural the motion is when I wear a regular watch.

Heart rate and activity monitor are nice, but considering I wouldn’t wear the watch for intensive exercise most of it gets lost.

Google Now still doesn’t give me much value.  I keep enabling and then disabling these cards. It’s a very intelligent service, but since I already have standalone apps (Calendar, Weather, etc.) the additional smart reminders aren’t useful.

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Anyone else messing around with watches/wearables? How does the Apple Watch compare on these points?

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* Yes, I realize it’s hilarious to consider the inconvenience of carrying around even the largest phablets. As I mentioned above I’m actively trying to avoid the onslaught of notifications, messages and distractions when I want to use a workout timer, for instance.