After months of hype and anticipation, the Apple Watch is about to hit the market. Ahead of its April 24 debut, CNET senior editor Scott Stein got a chance to put the device through its paces, wearing it for a week and testing out every conceivable feature.
Stein's review, posted today on CNET, calls Apple's first wearable device "beautiful and promising -- the most ambitious wearable that exists. But in an attempt to do everything in the first generation, the Apple Watch still leaves plenty to be desired."
His biggest complaint? Battery life. The Apple Watch needs to be recharged daily with average use.
"I'm not a fan of the fact that the battery life is only a day," Stein told CBS News. "I like to wear a watch for hopefully as long as I can before charging. And I particularly like sleep tracking to wake me up at night, if I want to, with an alarm" -- but that's not an option if you have to take the watch off to recharge overnight.
What can the Apple Watch do? Fitness tracking, mobile payments, music, email and texting, navigation, news alerts and a vast array of apps make it a versatile gadget. But for most of these functions, the watch needs to be in close proximity to the user's iPhone 5 or iPhone 6. It can connect via Bluetooth if the phone is within about 30 feet, or via Wi-Fi to extend its range through your home or office.
Stein says the watch feels "more like a fashionable toy than a necessary tool," a high-end accessory designed to help wean us from our dependence on smartphones. "Apple designed the watch to help us look at our phones less.... I used it instead of my phone, sometimes. Then, I'd go back to my phone. Has it changed my behavior? It's too early to tell yet, but it might."
The Apple Watch is more expensive than the competition. It comes in two sizes and a range of styles. The entry-level Sport model starts at $349; stainless steel versions range from $549 to $1,049, depending on the style of band; and the 18-karat gold luxury edition tops out at $17,000.
The Apple Watch will be available for preorder starting this Friday, April 10. No need to camp out in front of the Apple Store -- you can make an appointment to try it before you buy. The Apple Watch finally arrives on April 24.