Apple's first foray into wearables, the Watch, is gorgeous, captivating, enticing and luxurious.
But when it comes to usefulness, ease of use, user-friendly features and downright usability, the accolades are rare in reading initial reviews now that Watch is available to consumers for try-on and demo interaction.
Right now Apple Watch prospective buyers can schedule an appointment to try one on, get a short in-person introduction but won't have one on their wrist as an owner until June, at the earliest.
Apple reported Friday it was already so inundated with sales that it may be facing a backlog in product delivery. Yet if the first wave of Watch reviews are any indication, the avalanche of orders are from the Apple faithful, the Apple loyalists and the tech crazy user base that has an insatiable compulsion to own the latest and greatest, and in this case, one of the most expensive tech wearable devices to hit the market in quite a while.
A CNET review puts its view of Watch in very simple terms: it's beautiful but battery longevity tanks; it's full of features but sluggish when communicating with the necessary iPhone, and it's more a fashionable toy than a necessary tool. The Verge describes the Apple Watch as a smartwatch with the issue being no one yet truly knows what a smartwatch is for.
An ABCNews report focuses completely on the Watch band options and how they fit. Apparently none fit its reviewer well, and the experience was sort of like Goldilocks trying lots of porridge, chairs and beds and experiencing one of the most frustrating and fruitless journeys in not finding one suitable breakfast, sitting place or resting spot.
Even a proclaimed tech gadget freak at ZDNet is not jumping to buy a Watch right now but is very clearly a lover of Samsung and its latest flagships the Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge.
The overriding reason why initial reviews are not as shiny and alluring as the Watch design is aptly described in a New York Times review: there is a steep learning curve but once that mountain is conquered the rewards can be many. The problem is that even iPhone gurus are facing that challenging user path and that's not typical when it comes to Apple products and devices.
A good part of the learning curve is that Watch boasts lots of user interface newness not found on other Apple products, especially if comparing it to the iPhone. The physical alert system almost requires memorization to ascertain what deserves a response and attention (email, text, calls) and what doesn't. The biggest benefit is that the Watch does replace much of a user's iPhone interaction, which is a freeing and apparently beneficial experience for the reviewer (and the reviewer's better half apparently).
It took four days of playing, tweaking, investigating and obviously wearing for the NYT reviewer to climb the mountain but once climbed this is how he describes the exhilarating victorious result: "The Watch became something like a natural extension of my body - a direct link, in a way that I've never felt before, from the digital world to my brain."
That nearly almost makes up for all the negative early reviews in one way, but also reveals the Watch may just not be for everyone, even the diehard Apple lover as not everyone is seeking such a direct link between the brain and the digital world.