I was never a watch man, but if you plan to exercise, or at least track your health – these days get a smartwatch seems like a worthwhile investment.
But does it have to be an Apple Watch? Well, it is the mandatory default choice for most people and has always been the most popular smartwatch; pretty much since its first release in 2015.
However, I slept on it for a while. But finally, after using various fitness bands and smartwatches from Applecompetitors, such as the Samsung galaxy watch 3I decided to try the big boy Apple Watch Series 7 this year.
And while I was having fun doing things with the Apple Watch that the Cupertino company didn’t want me to doI was a little disappointed with the dial selection. In typical Apple fashion, there are no custom Apple Watch faces available as an option. Instead, you can adjust just a few presets.
So this expensive little trinket instantly failed as my fashion accessory, because I can really go crazy turning the band into something more fun and unique. I was stuck with watch faces that I didn’t like that much.
The only thing the Apple Watch had left to keep me as a user was its functionality. Namely the ability to track my workouts, plus show phone notifications. But here’s a fun fact about…
Even the cheapest fitness band can track your workouts and show you notifications
The Xiaomi Mi Band 7 is super cheap, yet a solid fitness tracker and quasi-smartwatch
I’m quite the Xiaomi been a fan for half a decade so the first fitness band I tried was Xiaomi’s Mi Band 4. There is now a Mi Band 5, 6 and even 7, but the changes from generation to generation are not huge so I still use the 4 fine. In addition, it is worth noting that there are similar, even cheaper options, such as the Amazfit Band.
In any case, the Mi Band is pretty great for its ultra-budget price of around $40. It offers a simple alternative to pretty much everything the $350 Apple Watch does for me. Tracks workouts, steps, heart rate, show me my phone notifications…
It also has plenty of third-party bands to choose from, and countless — and I mean countless wild, custom watch faces to choose from. You can really make this device all your own, unlike the Apple Watch.
So many funky choices!
Sure, a cheap fitness band doesn’t have the “I’m rich and fashionable” factor that people seem to attribute to the Apple Watch, nor would I rely on fitness accuracy or heart rate tracking as much as I do. would do if it had a Samsung or Apple logo stamped on it. But it works well enough, and neither Samsung nor Apple’s smartwatch tracking is perfect either.
On the other hand, and as much as I love to “enjoy” the Apple Watch telling me every day that I’m bad at following my workout regimens, I never turned that option off as it was actually pretty good motivation. That’s something a cheap fitness band can’t do: act like a semi-convincing coach every day.
But I can easily set up daily Google calendar notifications and have them appear on the Mi Band. So this one advantage that the Apple Watch has, I can cover myself with workout reminders.
Opinion: The Apple Watch is most rewarding when you think of it as premium jewelry
The Apple Watch Series 7 is indeed beautiful
While it’s probably the most wanted, perfect gift for many people, I personally don’t see the same value in the Apple Watch as in the iPad and certain iPhone models. The kind of high value that definitely justifies a price.
Really, the basic iPad is the best budget tablet you can get, much more powerful than the price suggests, and can be immensely helpful to the right person. Most importantly, it’s pretty much unmatched at $329. No other competitor’s tablet, hilariously even premium $1,000+, can match its performance.
So there’s no arguing that the basic iPad has tremendous value and is absolutely worth the money. I could say something similar about the iPhone, but things in the smartphone world are much more subjective, not to mention controversial, so let’s go back to the Apple Watch.
Like I said, there are $40 options that do what it does, and in its price range, the competition is solid from all the big names — Samsung, Garmin, Fitbit, and soon — probably Google.
So aside from its popularity and huge trend factor, the Apple Watch doesn’t quite have the same competitive edge as the iPad, for example. And I don’t care much about trends, so…
How does it feel to switch from an Apple Watch to a cheap fitness band? It actually has benefits apart from a thicker wallet
Well, I bought the same kind of metal watch band for both, so they feel about the same on the wrist. Except that the Apple Watch is bigger, because it’s a bit heavier and a lot wider than the Mi Band.
But now I don’t have to charge my fitness tracker literally every day! Unlike the Apple Watch, which in my experience has pretty weak battery life, the Mi Band I have lasts well over a week. Xiaomi’s seemingly insane claims of 14-day battery life are likely to be possible with less usage, too.
However, the Mi Band’s interface is expected to be simpler, there’s no always-on screen, and the general things it can do is less. My particular model doesn’t support virtual assistants, which is actually a big minus for me, as I always asked Siri to set reminders on my Apple Watch. But I think I can always give up and Siri for the benefits; mainly that battery life and pretty solid fitness tracking for $40.
In fact, I already did. My Apple Watch is now on sale because, as I concluded, it is very difficult for me personally to justify the price for what it offers. At least when there is such an aggressive and competent competition. Much cheaper too. So I can use this money for something I can find real value in, maybe throw it at the new one Sony XM5s†
Guess what – is the Apple Watch worth it, and maybe I’m just the wrong person for it?
Or do you agree that for most people it’s just luxury jewelry, and it doesn’t really matter what functionality it offers, or how better or worse it is compared to the competition?