Innovations at Apple are great, of course, but how does the Apple Watch perform as an actual watch? It’s something that few of us have probably given much thought because we were too busy wondering if this would be the next big thing for Apple in terms of gaming and app design.

Turns out it works much better than you’d expect.

First of all, if you were expecting dire battery life (like I was), you’ll be surprised to note that the Apple Watch actually works quite efficiently when on standby. You can leave it idle for a long time and it’ll still cheerfully tell you what time it is, what events on your calendar are coming up, the temperature outside, and so forth. Your mileage may vary of course, but don’t be dissuaded by those scary reports of needing to recharge it halfway through the day. It’s better than that.

An alarm feature is there, too. Entering the app, you hold your finger to the screen to create a new alert. That’s also when I found myself at an impasse. Mostly because I was an idiot and thinking from an iPhone owning perspective, not a watch perspective. You adjust the time by using the dial to the side of the Watch and guess what? It’s so much easier than tapping a number on that small screen.

It’s a similar case with the analog timer and other timer functionality, giving you a kind of retro experience but in a much cooler fashion than a regular watch. In my case I only tend to use such alarms for reminding me to check something that’s cooking, but it’s a handy way of doing it and soon became more intuitive than loading up my iPhone.

The most attractive watch-based feature, however, is the World Clock. Tapping into whatever you’ve set up on your iPhone previously, this is where you can have a quick overview of times around the world as well as a little visual icon of whether the sun is up or not in that place. Tap on the name for further details, and you get information on when the sun is rising and setting there. It’s stylishly done.

The Apple Watch looks good, it’s efficient, and it makes for a refreshing change from so many other watches. Also, you don’t have to worry about the battery life as much as early reports would suggest, which is a relief. It’s a bit on the chunky side though, so I can see how wearing certain clothes might make it a bit less comfortable in the long term.

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