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Too Embarrassed to Ask: Early Apple Watch Questions

Re/code answers your first crop of questions about Apple Watch.

Vjeran Pavic for Re/code

Too Embarrassed to Ask is a Re/code feature in which our reviewers answer any and all of your burning tech questions — including the ones you might be too embarrassed to ask your tech-savvy friends. Today, managing editor Lauren Goode answers some of the questions readers and tweeters have asked since we published our Apple Watch reviews.

Help! Did you feel the 42mm [Apple Watch] was too big for you? I have smaller wrists and wasn’t sure if I should go with the 38mm@johnburke, via Twitter

I didn’t feel that the 42mm watch was too big on my wrist (which is on the smaller side). But as I said in my review, I like a slightly bigger look, and it’s all a matter of personal preference. Some people I know — including a couple of men with larger wrists — have said they would rather go with the 38mm.

As one reader pointed out, you can see the actual size of the watch face if you go into the Apple Store app, then Apple Watch, tap Pre-Order and finally, Compare case sizes. It would be nice if Apple allowed users to print a mock-up of a band for sizing purposes, the way Microsoft does with its activity-tracking Band. But, alas, if you really want to try on an Apple Watch before you buy, you’ll have to make a pilgrimage to the Apple Store.

Correction: An earlier version of this article suggested Apple didn’t offer a virtual sizing experience for the watch.

Thanks for the great balanced review of Apple Watch, can you share with us the dimensions of the charging puck?@_iDavid, via Twitter

Apple hasn’t shared the dimensions of the puck, so I rummaged through a bowl of coins at home (yes, really) until I found a coin that matches its size. It is exactly the size of the Swiss two-franc coin, which measures 27.4mm in diameter. I’ve included a picture for you, so you can see this.

In terms of thickness, it is about as thick as the iPhone 6.

Apple Watch charger Swiss franc

Any reviewers use in the sun? Does it get hot?@harrierj, via Twitter

I’ve used Apple Watch while running outdoors in sunlight, and haven’t felt it heat up. I have not yet sat in the sun for extended periods while wearing it, because a) What journalist has time to lounge in the sun? and b) If I did have time to lounge outside I would remove the watch, because tan lines!

The only time I’ve noticed that Apple Watch feels warm, so far, is when it is attached to the charging puck.

Just read your Apple Watch review. Question. Do contacts live on the [watch]? Can I access them if my iPhone is off?@KyleFocault, via Twitter

This is a good question, Kyle, and I honestly wasn’t sure of the answer when I saw your tweet. To test this, I put my iPhone into airplane mode and scrolled through my contacts (which live within the phone app) on Apple Watch.

It turns out that you can see the names of all of your contacts, but when you tap on a name, you either see the option to call or text, and that’s it. You don’t see their phone number displayed on the watch.

And, of course, when you tap to call or text and your iPhone is off or out of range, the watch simply won’t make the call.

Did you use a Polar heart-rate strap with the Apple Watch, and did the watch read your heart rate from the strap?@CharlesRAII, via Twitter

I didn’t use a Polar heart rate strap; I used a Wahoo TickR, which sends data over Bluetooth and ANT+ wireless protocols. If you’re wondering whether your Polar heart-rate strap will work with Apple Watch, you should check the details on which strap you have and whether it’s compatible with Bluetooth 4.0.

One small but noteworthy observation, which I’ll get into more in an upcoming health-and-fitness review of Apple Watch: When you do pair a Bluetooth heart-rate strap with Apple Watch, the watch defaults to that to measure your heart rate. This not only gives you a much faster heart rate reading when you raise your wrist to look at it, but also helps conserve battery life on the watch.

Curious: Do you know if you can record voice memos using Apple Watch?@ShawnBishop, via Twitter

Another good question. Apple’s native Voice Memos app, as well as its Notes app, are not available as micro-apps on the Watch. So, currently, you can’t dictate a note directly into one of those apps through Apple Watch.

You can, however, record a voice memo using iMessage on Apple Watch, and send it as either an audio file or a text translation. There is also the promise of third-party apps offering voice-to-note features. Evernote, for example, lets you record voice notes directly from Apple Watch. My best guess is that many other third-party apps will incorporate voice dictation, since the relatively small watch face doesn’t make the best input device.

For a broader explanation of how apps work on the Watch, I highly recommend reading this column by Re/code’s Bonnie Cha.

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