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by Jason Snell & Dan Moren

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By Jason Snell

Vacation with the Apple Watch Series 2

Note: This story has not been updated for several years.

I haven’t written a lot about the Apple Watch Series 2, despite having worn it for the past few months. But when I went on vacation in January, I began to appreciate the Apple Watch even more.

If you haven’t heard, Hawaii is sunny. (Except when it’s raining, but wait a little while and that’ll pass.) I spent the better part of the week walking around in bright sunlight wearing sunglasses. At home I noticed that the Series 2 Apple Watch was brighter (Apple says twice as bright!) as my original Apple Watch, but the real validation came when I was on vacation: Despite my sunglasses and the bright light, I never had a problem reading my Apple Watch at any point. That’s not something I could say about the original Apple Watch.

Most of the time, my iPhone is within reach—either it’s in my pocket, on my desk, or a few strides away. But on vacation, there were numerous instances where my phone wasn’t really accessible. We went to a lot of beaches, and generally our stuff would be packed away in a backpack and not particularly accessible, especially if we were wet or covered in sand.

But that Apple Watch was on my wrist, and as a result, I was able to answer calls and reply to texts (we had eight people and three cars, so there was a lot of coordinating going on) without needing to dig my phone out of the bag. It was pretty great. I realize that some people will view this as a negative—didn’t I want to be entirely cut off from communication when I was on the beach?—but honestly, I didn’t mind. I was more relieved to know that I could respond quickly to someone without checking my phone. It helped, rather than hindered, my relaxation.

When I’m asked about the waterproofing features of the Series 2, my stock response has been “I don’t swim.” Not that I can’t swim, but I generally don’t. In Hawaii, however, that’s an entirely different story. I kept my watch on when we walked the beaches, when I went in the water, and yes, even when we were swimming and snorkeling. And when I came back home, I could take off my watch and show the resulting tan line to prove that, yes, I had gotten some sun.

Finally, the fitness and GPS features came in handy, too. We spent a lot of time hiking, paddling, and otherwise actively exploring the island during the week. I used the activity app on the watch to track those outings, which also generated geotagged maps I could review later to see where we’d gone. (Think of it as a digital souvenir of the trip.) We were staying a short but steep hike away from a secluded beach, and by using my Apple Watch I was able to give the rest of our party an accurate assessment of both the distance and time it took for us to get down to the beach.

I’ve woven the features of the Apple Watch into my regular life over the last couple of years. Every now and then I realize I should probably try a new app or change my notification settings, but I’ve largely settled into a comfortable relationship with the device. A week in a different location gave me a much better perspective on how I use it and what it offers. But that’s the great thing about vacation, isn’t it? It lets you step outside your life and alter your perspective a little bit.

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