When Apple announced availability of the Apple Watch, they told us that the battery would last a full 18-hours. Here's a copy of their marketing language: "Apple Watch is so capable you’ll want to wear it all day long. So we made sure we gave it a battery that lasts all day, too. Our goal for battery life was 18 hours after an overnight charge, factoring in things like checking the time, receiving notifications, using apps, and doing a 30-minute workout. And because everyone will use Apple Watch differently, we tested several other metrics as well."
So the question is this... is it all marketing hype, or is there merit to their claims? I decided to put the watch to the test for myself, and here are the real-world results.
Before we get into the results, let me make a couple things clear. This was NOT a scientifically-conducted test. In other words, I wore the watch, I used the watch, and I recorded the battery readings as the day progressed. That's it. Nice and simple.
The other thing I want to make clear is that while I claim this to be an "average day", I am clearly not an average user. I use my tech pretty heavily, and rely on it constantly throughout the day to stay connected. With that in mind, I expected the battery to not last as long as Apple claims, and I'm ok with that (given my use).
In order to give you a baseline, I conducted the same informal test on my iPhone 6 battery during the same period of time. That way you can compare results to a device that you may already be familiar with. Below is a graph showing battery %, beginning at 7:00a, and ending at 1:00a the next morning... a full 18 hours. Both devices were at 100% charge when they were disconnected from their charger at 7:00a.
Mid-graph you will see a sharp rise in battery charge. During this 60-minute period, both devices were charging. I did this for two reasons: 1) so that I could continue using them for the rest of the day and 2) to give you a sense of how quickly they both charge.
It's important to note that I also used the watch for a 5-mile run and more-than-usual text messages (as I was testing Siri's accuracy). I also used turn-by-turn directions quite a bit as I was testing that service.
As for the iPhone usage, I use my device very heavily for messaging, email, GPS, social, FaceTime, etc. It's battery longevity wasn't surprising at all.
All-in-all, I was impressed with the battery longevity of the Apple Watch. Based on the initial trajectory, it would have died sometime around 9:30p, not quite "all-day" for me, but close. A quick charge (even 15 minutes) would have taken me through the rest of the day.
Note: This test was conducted on a Saturday. The following day (Sunday), I pulled the watch off the charger at 6:30a. By 10:30p, it still had 56% battery. Sure, I didn't use it nearly as heavily, but I did use it to place a few phone calls, send/receive texts, check Instagram, etc.