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Why I Returned My Apple Watch Series 4

by Brandon Russell | October 18, 2018October 18, 2018 12:30 pm PST

My first Apple Watch experience lasted exactly 10 days before I returned it.

Until now, I’ve steered clear of wearable devices, unimpressed by their functionality and purpose. I’m vehemently opposed to notifications, which is a smart watch’s whole conceit, so buying one never made sense. Imagine my surprise when I found myself falling head over heels for the Apple Watch Series 4 (space gray, 40mm).

When Apple unveiled its newest smart watch, it became an instant sensation. Even we couldn’t help but gush about the company’s exciting new wearable. After years of half-starts, the Apple Watch finally felt like a fully featured smart watch. But more than that, it felt like a device that could greatly improve a person’s life.

In addition to an eye-catching redesign and faster guts, the Apple Watch Series 4 put a renewed emphasis on health. It was no longer a device just for notifications, but a wearable that prioritized healthy living. And with new heart-tracking features, it’s capable of diagnosing life-threatening conditions.

I pre-ordered one as soon as it became available.

Before it shipped, I was prepared to confirm my indifference to the smart watch market, return it and live my life. I expected it to feel like a tether to my phone, just another distraction. But it quickly won me over. Not even a full day in and I was an Apple Watch evangelist.

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I was first struck by the Series 4’s design. The thing is gorgeous. With a slimmer build and a larger display, the Series 4 looks more premium compared to previous models. It’s elegant without being flashy, a perfect culmination of Apple’s engineering efforts over the past few years.

I then fell in love with the Series 4’s functionality. After tweaking some of the notifications and setting up my activity goals, I became obsessed with closing my rings. That’s nothing new—millions of people have already realized what a terrific fitness tracker the Apple Watch can be. I am admittedly late to the game.

I loved being able to compare my stats with friends and the satisfaction of completing my goals for the day. If I was short, I got off my butt and went on an extra 20 minute walk. It gave me the determination to exercise, stand up, and take breaks in the middle of a long work day. I never expected it to become such a good motivator.

It’s a much more versatile device than I anticipated, and way more durable than it looks. Being able to take it in the pool, on a hike, and dress it up for dinner was impressive. It never felt out of place or unnecessary in my day-to-day life, which is something I never expected to say.

I also loved how customizable it is. Thanks to Apple’s smartly designed Apple Watch apps, picking a watch face and customizing the complications is simple and fun. I actually really liked the busier new watch faces Apple introduced with the Series 4, despite my more minimalist tendencies.

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Perhaps the most surprising thing about the Series 4 was how little I used my iPhone while wearing one. I didn’t have to check the time or open up a weather app. All I had to do was glance at my watch. It felt good not to rely on my iPhone just to get basic information. It meant I was spending less time staring at my device, because I never picked it up in the first place.

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Yet, I returned it; $399 felt too steep a price for something I didn’t need. I wholeheartedly recommend the Apple Watch Series 4 for its impressive design and endless functionality. But it’s hard to justify spending so much when I’m already making payments on a phone that’s $999.

That doesn’t mean I won’t reconsider in the future. The Series 4 has completely won me over. Apple has figured out why the Apple Watch needs to exist, therefore making a product that’s more focused than ever. The Apple Watch is already the best-selling watch in the world, and the Series 4 could see that lead grow over the busy holiday period.

Although my honeymoon period with the Series 4 is over, I’m already plotting ways to re-purchase one (this time I’d pick the Nike+ version). For now, the high price of entry is holding me back.


Brandon Russell

Brandon Russell enjoys writing about technology and entertainment. When he's not watching Back to the Future, you can find him on a hike or watching...

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