Apple Watch Series 1

The Apple Watch Series 1 is a fitness watch with a built-in heart rate monitor. It was designed to be paired with an iPhone so that the phone can stay in the wearer's pocket and the apps and notifications can be worn on the wrist. It has an aluminum case, an Ion-X glass covering its large display, and a soft silicone sport band that can be easily switched out. Its dual-core processor makes for fast performance and it can integrate with Siri for notifications, reminders, sending and receiving texts and phone calls, and running apps.

The Series 1 uses Bluetooth to connect to the iPhone and Wi-Fi for Internet connectivity, and has a built-in accelerometer for speed, gyroscope for direction, and ambient light sensor so the watch can be used at any time, day or night. It has widgets and changeable faces, and can be used to track activities, share goals, and compete with friends and family. It is splash resistant and wearers can use Apple Pay to buy things in stores or apps. If you are an iPhone user looking for a fitness watch to track your activities and monitor your health, read this review to see if the Apple Watch Series 1 is right for you.

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Where to Buy
Where to Buy
Pros & Cons
  • Easy set-up; works in under five minutes
  • Two sizes for different wrist/hand sizes
  • Good for goal-setting and staying motivated
  • Connects with your iPhone so you don't miss calls and texts
  • Siri allows wearers to set reminders for themselves
  • Same fast speed, storage, and basic functionality as Series 2 but for a lower price
  • Cons
    • Not water resistant enough for swimming
    • No built-in GPS
    • Not as scratch- or crack-resistant as Series 2
    • Battery does not hold a charge as long as Series 2
    • Key Features
      The Apple Watch Series 1 can be used for running, jogging, walking, biking and elliptical. It has indoor and outdoor settings, although it needs to be connected to a smartphone for GPS in order to accurately monitor some outdoor activities. Other activities can be tracked by downloading the appropriate apps with the Health app. Its battery does not last long enough to be worn overnight for sleep tracking and it is not water resistant enough for swimming.
      Basic Features
      The Series 1 has the same basic features as other smart watches. It uses an accelerometer to detect speed and the Health app can track walking, steps, and running distances. Just swipe across the screens to view the different stats. The wearers can also set goals and use Siri for reminders of when it's time to work out again or to notify them when they've been sitting too long.
      Advanced Features
      The Apple Watch Series 1 has a built-in heart rate sensor for heart rate monitoring and fitness tracking, which also helps calculate the number of calories burned during a workout. It is water resistant enough for showering and hand washing (“splash proof”), but not for swimming. It also has an ambient light sensor that will brighten the screen in the sun and darken it at night, and a gyroscope to detect direction. The Maps feature will give maps and directions, but needs to be connected to an iPhone's GPS for it to work.
      The Series 1 has great accuracy under ideal conditions, but not as good accuracy when those conditions aren't met. The heart rate monitor uses infrared LED lights to detect the blood flow and therefore the number of beats per minute. If the watch is worn too loosely, it cannot get an accurate reading. Some tattoos can make readings inaccurate, as well as cold weather and irregular movement; in those cases, a Bluetooth-connected external heart rate monitor should be used for best results. The accelerometer has good accuracy and is used during indoor activities and outdoor running. The watch uses a GPS through a Bluetooth-connected iPhone for outdoor cycling, so accuracy could be lower if the connection is bad or the phone is too far away. The gyroscope works accurately as intended.
      The Apple Watch Series 1 uses Bluetooth to connect to an iPhone and Wi-Fi to connect to the Internet. The initial set up takes around five minutes. After that, connections can take anywhere from a few seconds to a few minutes. Connection to the iPhone is needed for GPS, maps, directions, and sending data to certain iPhone apps. A Wi-Fi connection is needed for updating the phone and downloading/installing and updating watch apps.
      The Series 1 has a few great apps that come with it, as well as apps that are available in the store. The Heart Rate app on watchOS 3 measures the current heart rate and also tells the previous heart rate and when it was taken. When using the Workout app, heart rate is measured continuously. The Maps app will give directions and let the wearer know when it's time to turn when it's connected to a GPS-connected iPhone. The main app, however, is the Health app, which has the wearer set up their profile, view their records, add new categories or activities to track, download apps to gather and track information for those categories, and view their daily progress.
      The Apple Watch Series 1 is very comfortable. The case and glass feel smooth and the band is a soft rubber silicone. The band is flexible enough to move in and adjustable to allow a snug fit for heart rate monitoring. The case weighs 25g for the smaller size and 30g for the larger size. The entire watch (case and band) weighs around one ounce, which can increase a little if the band is switched out for a heavier (possibly more durable) material. This is nice and light for all-day use as well as while working out doing various activities.
      The Series 1 has an aluminum case with a glass cover and a silicone sport band. The rounded rectangular face is available in two sizes, 38mm or 42mm, so that it is proportional to the size of the wearer's wrist. The color options are Space Gray with Black Sport Band, Gold Case with Midnight Blue Sport Band, Rose Gold with Pink Sport Band, and Silver with White Sport Band. Testers really liked the look and style of the Series 1, noting that it looked good for any occasion, and liked that different case and band color options are available for different personalities and events.
      The Apple Watch Series 1 has okay durability. The aluminum case is good at protecting the watch against internal damage, but is prone to getting scrapes and nicks after about a month of use. The Ion-X glass was reported by testers to be easy to scratch, so potential buyers should be careful. The soft silicone sport band that comes with the watch has pretty good flexibility and durability, and can be switched out if it breaks or if the wearer is accident-prone and wants to get a more durable material as a precaution.
      The Series 1 case is made of aluminum and it has a curved Ion-X glass cover that goes over the display. The rounded rectangular display is 1.3” across on the 38mm watch and 1.4” across on the 42mm watch. It is in full color OLED Retina and has Force Touch (450 nits). The 38mm watch has a 272 x 340 pixel display and the 42mm watch has a 312 x 390 pixel display. Watch faces can be changed out and customized based on the wearer's preferences.
      The Apple Watch Series 1 comes with a durable, flexible and comfortable soft silicone sport band. It comes in two different sizes to accommodate small and large wrists. The band is adjustable so that the wearer can get a comfortable fit and an accurate heart rate reading. The band that comes with the device matches the color of the case, but can be replaced with bands of different colors and materials for different occasions. The replacement bands have different levels of comfort (softness, weight, texture) and durability.

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      Sizes Available
      The Series 1 comes in two sizes. The band with the 38mm case is ideal for wrists that are 130mm to 200mm in circumference. The 44mm case band was designed to fit wrists that are 140mm to 210mm. The 38mm watch has a height of 38.6mm, a width of 33.3mm, and a case weight of 25g, while the 42mm watch has a height of 42.5mm, a width of 36.4mm, and a case weight of 30g. Both sizes have a depth of 10.5mm. The display sizes are also different, with the smaller watch having a resolution of 272 by 340 pixels and the larger watch having a resolution of 312 by 390 pixels. Both watches are comfortable to wear and testers liked that they could choose the watch that fit their wrist size. Some watches only come in a single size, and they generally end up looking proportionately large on people with small wrists.
      Ease of Use
      The Apple Watch Series 1 is very easy to use. It takes less than five minutes to connect the watch to an iPhone so it's ready to go. Bluetooth and Wi-Fi signals are usually automatic to find, taking a few seconds to a few minutes to get a good connection. The watch should be worn with a snug fit so the heart rate monitor can detect the wearer's pulse. The Health and Heart Rate apps will automatically track data, and the touch screen should be used to scroll through data and select apps or activities to be logged. The rings for Move, Stand, and Exercise show and encourage daily activity. It is also easy to find, install, and update apps that are relevant to the user's workout routines. The performance is very fast and certain apps (e.g. calendar, activity rings, text messaging) automatically load when the watch starts so that everyday tasks can be performed instantly. Wearers can raise their wrist to ask Siri to make and receive calls and texts, set reminders, and ask questions. The ambient light sensor also helps make it easier to use because the screen will always be visible no matter the lighting conditions.
      Power Source
      The Series 1 is powered by a single rechargeable built-in LR44 lithium ion battery that is included. The manufacturer states that it can last up to 18 hours with normal use. Testers noted that the battery lasts anywhere from nine hours to a little over a day on a single charge. It can be recharged with the inductive magnetic charger and cable that come with the watch. The Series 2 can last close to two days on a single charge.
      The Apple Watch Series 1 is a little above average price for a fitness watch, but it is $100 cheaper than the Series 2. Although the price is a bit high for a phone that lacks GPS and swimming abilities, which are included in the Series 2, it has a nice look and interface, does a good job of tracking activities, and pairs well with a Bluetooth-connected iPhone, which is nice for runners who are Apple fans. Both the Series 1 and Series 2 use watchOS3 and have a dual-core processor for fast speed. The Series 1 was released in March 2016 with the Series 2 being released in September 2016, so some retailers are giving a 12-17% discount.
      The Series 1 can be used with a bunch of different accessories. There are bands available in many materials and colors, from the soft silicone it comes with, woven bands, stainless steel bands, and genuine leather bands. Screen protectors can help prevent scratching and cracking. Bluetooth headphones allow the wearer to listen to music without disturbing anyone around them. Also available are stands and replacement chargers, necklace adapters (for wearing/using without heart rate monitoring), and different colored cases.
      Key Features
      • Dual-core processor for fast performance

      • Changeable soft silicone sport band

      • Widgets and changeable faces

      • Uses Bluetooth to connect to an iPhone and Wi-Fi for Internet connection

      • Integrates with Siri for notifications, reminders, phone calls, and running apps

      • Built-in accelerometer, gyroscope, heart rate monitor, and ambient light sensor

      • Activity tracking and sharing for goal setting and friendly competition with family and friends

      • Apple Pay allows users to buy things in stores or apps using the watch

      • Splash resistance allows the wearer to wash their hands or take a shower without worrying about damaging the watch

      • Aluminum case, Ion-X Glass, and large display
      Bottom Line
      The Apple Watch Series 1 is a great choice for iPhone owners who want to start tracking their fitness activities but don't necessarily need the GPS and water resistance offered by the Series 2. It can be used with many different apps and activities, has good accuracy and connectivity, and is fairly durable and comfortable to wear. It comes in two sizes so it's neither too big nor too small, and the customizable face is big enough to show multiple pieces of information on the screen at a time. It is fast, easy to use, and has a battery that lasts long enough to get through a normal day with exercise. The style looks good and the bands are able to be switched out in order to achieve different looks. Overall, the Series 1 is a good starter watch for iPhone users who like to stay active.
      Where to Buy
      By Stephanie Potter
      Last updated:
      Where to buy
      Best offer on: Jul. 27. 2021

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