Apple Watch Review Roundup: Good, Bad and Ugly

The long-awaited Apple Watch has officially made its way to a handful of reviewers, and the early verdicts are in. So far, Apple's debut wearable has earned significant praise for its attractive design, rich feature set and reliable fitness functionality. Some are even calling it the best smartwatch on the market.

However, the Apple Watch seems to have it's share of flaws, as several reviewers have taken issue with the watch's occasionally sluggish performance and high price. Still on the fence about the mega-wearable that starts at $349? Here's what the critics have to say so far. Stay tuned for our in-depth review of the Apple Watch.

The Verge

In The Verge's Apple Watch review, editor-in-chief Nilay Patel calls the device "easily the nicest smartwatch available," though he stated that the watch's performance and notification delivery could be improved.

Pros

"Apple Pay is my favorite part of the entire Watch, a little blast from the future."

"The Watch made it a lot easier to keep my phone in my pocket on the walk to the train — I saw notifications coming in on my wrist, and I could control the music apps on my iPhone from the Now Playing Glance on the Watch."

Cons

"Let’s just get this out of the way: the Apple Watch, as I reviewed it for the past week and a half, is kind of slow."

"I couldn’t set a different alert for messages than for mail or calendar invites; they all just sort of felt the same."

MORE: Apple Watch FAQ: Everything You Need to Know

The New York Times

According to The New York Times' Farhad Manjoo, the Apple Watch delivers a blissful smartwatch experience, but only after you adjust to its demanding learning curve.

Pros

"I used the Watch to pay for New York cabs and groceries at Whole Foods, and to present my boarding pass to security agents at the airport. When these encounters worked, they were magical, like having a secret key to unlock the world right on my arm"

"The Apple Watch’s most ingenious feature is its 'taptic engine,' which alerts you to different digital notifications by silently tapping out one of several distinct patterns on your wrist."

Cons

"Third-party apps are mostly useless right now. The Uber app didn’t load for me, the Twitter app is confusing and the app for Starwood hotels mysteriously deleted itself and then hung up on loading when I reinstalled it."

"Apple’s notification settings have long been unduly laborious; battling them while your hand is buzzing off the hook is an extra level of discomfort."

Yahoo Tech

David Pogue of Yahoo Tech calls the Apple Watch "mostly magical," speaking highly of the wearable's luxurious design and robust app functionality. Pogue did, however, have issues navigating the tiny icons on the device's app launcher menu.

Pros

"The Apple Watch is much smaller, sleeker, and more beautiful than any other smartwatch. That is so important. It’s the difference between wearing jewelry and strapping on a little phone."

"[Apple] created a new operating system that’s intended for human interactions that last only seconds. They made a new font whose letter spacing tightens as the size changes—because that’s what looks best on a tiny screen."

Cons

"How on earth are you supposed to know what those microscopic [app] icons are? There are no labels, and the icons themselves are about the size of carbon molecules." 

Bloomberg Business

Joshua Topolsky of Bloomberg calls the Apple Watch the best smartwatch in the world, period. However, the reviewer found the device's flood of notifications to be overwhelmingly distracting at times, and stated that the luxury wearable isn't quite something you need to own yet.

Pros

"The hardware of the watch is beautiful in a surgical way. The little cube of metal and glass wouldn’t seem out of place in a futuristic lab or sci-fi movie."

"The watch notifies you with extremely nuanced vibrations via its Taptic Engine, which can produce strikingly realistic sensations, almost like a bell tapping on your wrist."

Cons

"In some ways, [the Apple Watch] can be more distracting than your iPhone, and checking it can feel more offensive to people around you than pulling out your phone. The watch wants and needs you now, as its insistent taps make painfully clear."

"But what about the watch as a timepiece? I’ve found the experience somewhat inferior to that with a conventional wristwatch, due to one small issue. The Apple Watch activates its screen only when it thinks you’re looking at it."

MORE: Apple Watch Pricing: How Much Will It Cost?

The Wall Street Journal

According to The Wall Street Journal's Geoffrey A. Fowler, the Apple Watch is an intuitive, futuristic device that makes it easier to keep your iPhone in your pocket.

Pros

"With the Apple Watch, smartwatches finally make sense. The measure of their success shouldn’t be how well they suck you in, but how efficiently they help you get things done. Living on your arm is part of that efficiency—as a convenient display, but also a way to measure your heart rate or pay at a cash register."

"One big challenge Apple conquered is making its wrist computer small and stylish enough to wear without a nerdy pocket protector."

Cons

"The battery lives up it its all-day billing, but sometimes just barely. It’s often nearly drained at bedtime, especially if I’ve used the watch for exercise."

"The Apple Watch isn’t quite the gatekeeper to my digital life that I wanted. Take app alerts—there’s a fine line between being in the know and having your wrist jiggle all day."

Mike Andronico is an associate editor at Tom's Guide. Follow Mike @MikeAndronico and on Google+. Follow us @TomsGuide, on Facebook and on Google+