Pre-orders for the highly anticipated Apple Watch start online today, two weeks before the high-tech time piece hits the stores.
But is the wearable gadget worth the price tag, which ranges from $349 for a basic model to more than $10,000.
Early reviews from some of tech's leading voices praised the smartwatch as a product with potential, but some room for improvement post-launch.
Lance Ulanoff, chief correspondent and editor-at-large for Mashable, called it a “breakout star” and a “gorgeous, smart, fun, extensible, expensive and an object of true desire.” Yet he said the app store is an area that “needs the most improvement,” because the apps “took forever to install.”
Farhad Manjoo of the New York Times echoed a similar tone in a review about the third-party apps, which he said “are useless right now.” He wrote that “the Apple Watch works like a first-generation device, with all the limitations and flaws you’d expect of brand-new technology.”
CNET.com Senior Edior Scott Stein, who wore the watch for a week, said it’s a “clever invention” that can help you in four areas: communication, fitness, information and time. He used it to order lunch, track daily activities, play his favorite tunes and hail a car from Uber. When it came to the last task, he said using the app on iPhone offers a better view of cars in the area.
Here's a recap of what reviewers found to be the top features — and drawbacks — of the device:
What’s good about it?
- Many tech experts, including "Today" show contributor Katie Linendoll, agree that the “comprehensive device” is more functional than fashionable. It allows users to check the weather, calendar appointments, make calls, send text messages and play music.
- The watch's “Fitness Tracker PLUS” feature monitors your heart rate if you’re jogging or taking a walk.
- If you're not adapted to the selfie stick, you can use the device to take a selfie even though it doesn't have a camera. Simply sync your phone, tap the watch screen and say "cheese."
What’s bad about it?
- You need to have an iPhone 5 or a newer version in order make calls, send text messages and check emails using your watch.
- Some reviewers concluded that the biggest red flag about the gadget is its “bad battery life.” They said it has to be charge every day if it's used often.
- It only allows you to read or discard emails; you can’t reply.
- It is not waterproof.
If you’re still unsure about getting a watch, you could rent one for as low as $45 a week to test if it’s worth the investment, through a service offered by the San Francisco-based gadget rental start-up called Lumoid.