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BuzzFeeders Tried The Apple Watch And This Is What We Thought

"It taught me how much I hate actually interacting with my iPhone."

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The best sales tool in the world is a happy customer. When someone has a good experience with a product, and tells other people about it, it's as valuable as six Super Bowls' worth of advertisements. That's especially true for first-generation, category-defining products, like the Apple Watch.

The Apple Watch garnered a lot of attention out of the gate, but to go from novelty to necessity it's going to need those people who bought it to help convince other people how great it is. Especially because it's such a different product from anything in most people's experience.

Unlike a phone or a tablet, the Apple Watch is always on, and always on your body, which makes for some potentially unique interactions and experiences. We've reported on multiple surveys in which respondents say they're very satisfied with the watch and have stepped up their exercise and daily movements since wearing it. But it's tough to tell whether the device will become a ubiquitous, must-have device on the scale of an iPhone.

Well, here are the results of yet another survey, which took place close to home: BuzzFeed gave all of its employees Apple Watches in early June. So in August and September, we asked approximately 500 of our colleagues in BuzzFeed's editorial department what they thought. About 130 staffers responded — and they didn't hold back.

There are caveats to this, most notably that the people being surveyed didn't actually purchase the watch themselves. Instead, they were handed out as bonuses. In other words, nobody we asked had spent their own money on them; some undoubtedly would have, but it's impossible to know who or how many. With that in mind, here's what we found out.

Overall, BuzzFeeders said the Apple Watch added convenience to their lives and helped improve their health. But while most were glad to have the device, the majority felt it wasn't worth its price ($350+) and said they wouldn't recommend it to others.

The BuzzFeed basics

Some 130 editorial staffers responded to the survey: about 80 women and 50 men. Their average age was 29.

Virtually everyone said they've kept their Apple Watch (as opposed to giving it away as a gift or selling it). Just shy of two-thirds of respondents said they still regularly wore it, and most people did so five to seven days a week. Two-thirds of respondents said they didn't wear a watch before the Apple Watch. The vast majority rocked their watches on their left wrists.

How often do BuzzFeeders use these Apple Watch features?

Apple Pay: Never (86%).

Passbook: Never (75%); infrequently (17%).

Built-in stand reminder: Sometimes/usually stand (66%); never stand (21%).

BuzzFeeders' favorite features: notifications (for emails, texts, and app alerts) and fitness-tracking.

"It is mostly a fancy step counter combined with a 'do I need to take my phone out of my pocket or nah' checker."

"I like it because it helps me check my phone less often, and ironically, I feel like I live ~less~ digitally these days. I can put my phone away in my bag and not feel separation anxiety that I need to look at it every 30 seconds. (I can't believe I just wrote that, but it's true.) I also love the activity monitor and the workout app. It's also become sort of an odd party trick, too, because everyone always wants to talk about it and see how it works."

"Workouts — the workout tracker is pretty great. As is the fact that it reminds you to get up and move your ass from your desk chair once in a while."

"I basically only wear it when I'm going to the gym, for the workout monitoring, or when I am driving, so I can answer calls without getting stopped by cops."

"Telling time, funnily enough! I didn't realize how useful a watch can be (I am of the generation that takes their phone out of their pocket to check the time)."

"Apple Pay on the London Underground. So convenient and I never have to buy a travel ticket. However you still look like a prick when you tap in."

But almost 80% wouldn't recommend that someone else buy an Apple Watch. Why? Limited app and overall functionality, less than desirable battery life, and a confusing interface.

"I think the watch-to-watch communication was, ultimately, gimmicky. Even with an office of people with the watch, I never used it past the first day."

"The user interface is confusing AF. I'm not stupid with computers. This was hard to figure out. It's hot and oppressive against my wrist. Also the fitness tracking for weight lifting is no good."

"Watches exist for two reasons: tell the time, and tell other people that you're rich. This product shoved so many bells and whistles in there that it manages to do both but with such an added level of pretentiousness that I felt mostly embarrassed to be wearing it."

"I wish it wasn't just a notifications screen. I want more native apps that have more functionality within the watch without my phone."

"Texting is almost useless on the watch, which I was sad about. Who wants to send just *one* emoji?"

"I think it could be thinner, and I feel like a lot of the apps could be more intuitive to use."

"I just don't really have the time to charge it every day. Sometimes I'm just like, hey I need to know the time, and the watch is like LOL NOPE. And I'm like COME ON, you're a watch! A $20 watch tells the time and doesn't even need charging. And the watch is like YES but does the $20 watch tell you to stand up every 5 minutes and I'm like NO BUT THAT'S NOT A VITAL FEATURE OF A WATCH, telling the time is and you can't do that if you've run out of battery because you keep telling me to stand up all the time."

Many complained about slow or limited Apple Watch apps. This is something Apple says it has improved in watchOS 2‎, a second-generation version of the Apple Watch operating system that was released in late September, after our survey was conducted.

When BuzzFeeders are asked about their Apple Watch, what do they say?

"If you love gadgets you'll love it. If you're more practical/minimalist/spartan, you probably won't."

"I got it for free from work and otherwise I'd never buy one."

"Wait for version 3 or 4 to come out. It's only good for early adopters."

"It's a really expensive Fitbit."

"I would have never bought it for myself but it's one of the nicest gifts I've ever received."

"I like the text and incoming phone calls; it keeps me from needing to check my phone as often. Once developers get more time with the watch, I'd imagine the apps will get better and more watch-specific and useful."

"It's a really interesting piece of technology, but totally useless."

"I got it for free / WATCH THIS *aggressively flips wrist to show jellyfish animation* / check out this heartbeat feature, isn't it great."

"I didn't buy it and I don't really know what it's for, please don't think I am a media prick."

Do you have an Apple Watch? We'd like to hear from you too.

  1. Do you still wear your Apple Watch?

    Yup.
    Nah.

BuzzFeeders Tried The Apple Watch And This Is What We Thought

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Do you still wear your Apple Watch?
  1.  
    vote votes
    Yup.
  2.  
    vote votes
    Nah.
  1. How many days a week on average do you wear your Apple Watch?

    Zero
    1
    2
    3
    4
    5
    6
    7

BuzzFeeders Tried The Apple Watch And This Is What We Thought

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How many days a week on average do you wear your Apple Watch?
  1.  
    vote votes
    Zero
  2.  
    vote votes
    1
  3.  
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    2
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    vote votes
    3
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    vote votes
    4
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    5
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    vote votes
    7
  1. Favorite feature?

    Notifications for texts, app alerts, etc.
    Fitness tracking
    Apple Pay
    Passbook
    Telling time
    Phone calls/voice messages
    Apps
    Texting/emailing
    Other

BuzzFeeders Tried The Apple Watch And This Is What We Thought

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Favorite feature?
  1.  
    vote votes
    Notifications for texts, app alerts, etc.
  2.  
    vote votes
    Fitness tracking
  3.  
    vote votes
    Apple Pay
  4.  
    vote votes
    Passbook
  5.  
    vote votes
    Telling time
  6.  
    vote votes
    Phone calls/voice messages
  7.  
    vote votes
    Apps
  8.  
    vote votes
    Texting/emailing
  9.  
    vote votes
    Other
  1. Least favorite feature?

    Notifications
    Fitness-tracking
    Apple Pay
    Passbook
    Telling time
    Phone calls/voice messages
    Apps
    Texting/emailing
    Other

BuzzFeeders Tried The Apple Watch And This Is What We Thought

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Least favorite feature?
  1.  
    vote votes
    Notifications
  2.  
    vote votes
    Fitness-tracking
  3.  
    vote votes
    Apple Pay
  4.  
    vote votes
    Passbook
  5.  
    vote votes
    Telling time
  6.  
    vote votes
    Phone calls/voice messages
  7.  
    vote votes
    Apps
  8.  
    vote votes
    Texting/emailing
  9.  
    vote votes
    Other
  1. How's the battery life?

    It lasts as long as I'd expect — it's great!
    Wish it were better.

BuzzFeeders Tried The Apple Watch And This Is What We Thought

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How's the battery life?
  1.  
    vote votes
    It lasts as long as I'd expect — it's great!
  2.  
    vote votes
    Wish it were better.
  1. Would you recommend that someone else buy it?

    Definitely.
    Nope.
    Maybe a version later down the line.

BuzzFeeders Tried The Apple Watch And This Is What We Thought

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Would you recommend that someone else buy it?
  1.  
    vote votes
    Definitely.
  2.  
    vote votes
    Nope.
  3.  
    vote votes
    Maybe a version later down the line.
  1. How often do you use your Apple Watch for phone calls?

    Frequently
    Occasionally
    More than I thought I would
    Hahaha

BuzzFeeders Tried The Apple Watch And This Is What We Thought

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How often do you use your Apple Watch for phone calls?
  1.  
    vote votes
    Frequently
  2.  
    vote votes
    Occasionally
  3.  
    vote votes
    More than I thought I would
  4.  
    vote votes
    Hahaha
  1. How often do you use Apple Pay on your Apple Watch?

    Frequently
    Occasionally
    More than I thought I would
    Rarely

BuzzFeeders Tried The Apple Watch And This Is What We Thought

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How often do you use Apple Pay on your Apple Watch?
  1.  
    vote votes
    Frequently
  2.  
    vote votes
    Occasionally
  3.  
    vote votes
    More than I thought I would
  4.  
    vote votes
    Rarely

We'd love to hear more! Tell us in the comments specifically what you dig or hate about the Apple Watch.

Stephanie Lee is a senior technology reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in San Francisco.

Contact Stephanie M. Lee at stephanie.lee@buzzfeed.com.

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