applewatch

Why I Threw Out My Skinomi TechGlass for Apple Watch After 24 Hours

When I found the Skinomi TechGlass was going to be available again the end of March I didn’t hesitate tapping the “Buy It Now” button on Amazon, but after the first 24 hours with it on my 42mm Apple Watch Sport I am extremely disappointed. So disappointed in fact that I am replacing it with their film based Skinomi TechSkin product or just not using a watch face protector at all.

There is an old saying “you get what you pay for” and for only $5.95 on Amazon, why did I expect anything better? I think that I expected something better because of my great experience with Skinomi’s film-based TechSkin product. Despite the clarity isn’t as good between the two products, the TechSkin fit edge to edge and didn’t leave a dusty looking ring. It didn’t change the design feel of the Apple Watch and provided an added level of scratch resistance without blurring the display.

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I actually tweeted my tech-bud @bryanlewis “first look: @bryanlewis the @Skinomi TechGlass is so ugly &about 2mm too small that I almost threw up a little. ” And, there’s that dust ring.

Skinomi did the best they could with design. If you look at many other tempered glass screen protectors they all have one design criticism in common: they are not an edge to edge fit. This makes sense because many devices from the Apple Watch and iPhone to the Samsung S7 have beveled and curved edges. This would require the glass protector to be precisely curved during manufacturing, which practically zero are, so therefore they can only cover the device’s flat surface area and often end up looking, well, awkward.

The awkwardness of the glass, however, was not the breaking point for me. It was the dust ring. You can clearly see it the photo above. The strange part is that this ring was not there when the glass was first applied to the watch face. It gradually appeared. And, to answer the obvious question, yes, I followed the very simple directions when applying, even though the instructions included were for a smartphone device (see image below). Between using the TechSkin film skin to first pick up all the tiny dust particles and then wiping down the watch face with the included Alcohol pad I expected to have no issues with clarity. The TechGlass dropped on perfectly the first time, without any need for adjustment or air-bubbling. I have to admit that I was initially very impressed with the TechGlass up until the dust ring appeared.

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I considered returning the product through Amazon, but as I started the process I noticed a “Return Policy” link. Here is what it said:

Customer satisfaction is our top-most priority. Skinomi.com offers a 30-Day Money Back Guarantee on all our products for any reason, as long as the item is returned within 30 days from the date the item is received. Items must be returned with the original packaging and order invoice.

Unopened items can be returned for a full refund within the 30-day period. Opened items can be returned for a refund of the purchase amount minus a minimum of $2.95 restocking fee within the 30-day period.

Is it just me or does the second paragraph contradict the first? They offer a 30Day Money Back Guarantee but if you’re product is opened, which mine is, there is a $2.95 restocking fee. Considering that I the purchased the Skinomi TechGlass from Amazon for only $5.95, less the $2.95 restocking fee, my estimated refund after also paying for return shipping be would cost me an additional $1.

Unfortunately because of Skinomi’s wacky Return Policy as well as the poor quality of the product, including shipping it with incorrect instructions, I’m going to toss my $5.95 in the recycle can alongside the packaging and order invoice and have to unfortunately not recommend the Skinomi TechGlass; even for the small price $5.95.

I Survived Two Days Without My Apple Watch And It Didn’t Bother Me

Having forgot to drop my Apple Watch on the charger Friday night, I woke up Saturday morning looking at a 3% battery alert. So I ughed and shrugged and snapped it onto the magnetic charger then enjoyed the first day of Spring sitting in the warm sun reading a Paulo Coelho book over a cup of coffee for a few hours. I could you give you the old-school Twitter play-by-play update of the rest morning, but it ends with me standing in Home Depot after lunch realizing that I completely forgot about my charging Apple Watch and it didn’t bother me. Why is this I wondered? and then I started thinking about what I actually use my $399 Apple Watch for.

Date & Time + weather
Outside of the obvious date and time, the weather complication on the watch face was the first feature of my Apple Watch that I missed most. Although, I did have my iPhone in my back pocket, just a quick twist of the wrist and seeing the current temperature is a really awesome convenience. Plus, with a quick tap on the temperature I can view the hourly forecast for temp, precipitation, hourly and 10-day outlook.

Watch Faces
The next feature that I absolutely missed about my Apple Watch are the watch faces. Even though they are just “okay” compared to some of the faces I have seen for Android Wear devices and the Apple Watch Hermes edition, I like having the option of matching a face to an outfit, event or function. Lately weather has been crazy and making that the focus of my watch has been invaluable, where as other times, a simple clock face has reduced stress by putting less emphasis on time, appointments and activity circles.

Activity Rings
I have to admit that I am addicted to these little colorful rings. Being at a desk all day long as a programmer I tend to forget to stand, stretch and walk as much as I probably should, as well as eat sometimes, and my Apple Watch does a terrific job keeping me on track. It’s not perfect, but it keeps me a bit more motivated than when I didn’t have it around for the last two days.

Text Messages
Yes and no. I did miss receiving text messages, but because Siri has her challenges I rarely use my Apple Watch to actually respond or initiate messages. At times I try and try again with her, but the user experience of replying to messages trips itself up with too many options that eventually require me to interact with the watch face using a finger. I feel these small issues are defeating the spirit of wearable technology requiring me to still depend on my iPhone to successfully reply-to or send a text message.

Apple Pay
Ha. Usually by the time I realize the merchant accepts Apple Pay, I already have my credit card in my hand ready to swipe and it’s more work to put the card back in my wallet just to use my watch. I have a friend @bryanlewis who absolutely loves Apple Pay and uses it all the time without any hiccups; just has not been my experience.

Siri
She never even crossed my mind. LMAO! “I’m sorry James, that’s not very nice to say.” Unfortunately Siri on my Apple Watch is just as bad as Siri on my iPhone 6. Half of the time “Hey Siri” doesn’t work and the other half when it does work she doesn’t understand what I am saying or is pretty slow interpreting my words.

Third-party Apps
I honestly haven’t found many third-party apps very useful. The reason for this is the communication delay between the watch and the iPhone. I have found this to be a problem in watch apps like MLB AT-BAT, 7-minute workout, LoseIt! and Strava. The data just doesn’t keep in sync between the too devices reliably, for example MLB AT-BAT sends a notification to my phone of a game lead change. I see it on my phone, tap my watch face and the MLB At-BAT complication is a few innings behind. I tap it and open the watch app and the score is still not accurate or in sync with the iPhone notification.

Do I like my Apple Watch? Yes. I love how it looks, the watch faces are polished and fun and the complications add value to the user experience, but did I miss it? No.

Tirnga Milanese Loop Mesh Stainless Steel Strap for Apple Watch Review

The first accessory that I purchased for my Apple Watch was the Tirnga Milanese Loop Mesh Smooth Stainless Steel Strap through Amazon for around $20. Having always been a fan of steel mesh bands on my other watches, I thought this would be a great looking fit for an already awesome looking wearable. I was half right.

The band was packaged in a small plastic bag inside a larger, plain, manila envelope. It wasn’t anything fancy like the Apple Watch packaging and accomplished the shipping job adequately. The band is extremely flexible so there weren’t any pieces at risk of breaking, so if the lack of more shiny packaging meant to give me the feel-good-fuzzies keeps the price lower then I am all for the dull basics. No instructions were included but this is also Apple and if directions are required Apple has done something wrong and I have paid too much for my Apple Watch. Well, I may have done already anyhow (feeling a little jealous of all the design diversity for Android Wear devices, but that’s another article to look forward to reading).

Taking the original black silicone band off is surprisingly easy. Unlike a typical watch, the Apple Watch doesn’t use springs. It uses magnets that keep the band snugly in place. Simply, turn your Apple Watch onto its face and then depress a small rectangular button and slide the silicone band off. Next, slide the Tirnga Milanese Loop strap connector into place until you feel a gentle click. Now, what I didn’t think about when I first did this was where I wanted the clasp to end up: on the outside or inside of my wrist. The Tirnga Milanese Loop can slide on to accommodate either side of the wrist. There is no easy way to describe how to do this right the first time. While the Apple Watch is laying face down and the magnetic band clasp is on the right, it will wrap around to the inside of your wrist. If it’s on the left side of the watch it will wrap around the outside of wrist.  That’s it you’re done; easy peasy as they say.

After wearing the Tirnga Milanese Loop band for about a month now I love how it looks. Although, I did purchase the silver band and with my spacegray watch I do wish that I had choosen the black instead. The photo on Amazon looks like a deep black which is why I swayed towards silver, but my gadget-guru friend, @bryanlewis, bought the black band and sent me a pic with it on his spacegray watch and it was perfect.

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The black actually matches the space gray really well. Photo Credit: @bryanlewis

The only drawback that I found with the Tirnga Milanese Loop band is that the magnet slides down the strap easily during basic use, making the watch loose on my wrist. And by basic use, I mean sitting at my desk typing, taking notes, answering the phone and walking to the breakroom for another cup of coffee.  I am constantly pulling it tighter to a point of annoyance. Although it looks terrific, as well as feels comfortable, I don’t use this band as often as I probably want to, but do recommend trying out new bands. This particular band for me doesn’t fit as well as I would like, but when I asked @bryanlewis if he had a similar issue he reported that he didn’t, so I feel confident in giving the Tirnga Milanese Loop band a thumbs up and recommendation to buy.

Source
I purchased this on Amazon for $19.99

What I like

  • The craftsmanship of the mesh and it doesn’t snag any arm hairs.
  • The price. It is very affordable.
  • The look. It definitely dresses up the Sport edition nicely.
  • The ease of switching it with the sport band, or any other band.

What I don’t like

  • The magnetic clasp easily slips requiring periodic adjustment.
  • Silver band with the spacegray Apple Watch. Black would have been a better choice.

Where To Buy
The only place I have found this product is on Amazon.