When the Verge ran its Apple Watch review in April, the site called it the “definitive” review. And it basically was. Other sites did extensive testing of the watch and contributed important insights, but the Verge piece was plenty. The only people it didn’t serve were those who don’t particularly give a crap about the Apple Watch. For that group, Newt Gingrich’s treatment on Mashable is the one to read.
“It feels sort of watchlike I think,” Gingrich says in the beginning of the accompanying video review. And he’s totally right. For someone who has never seen, held, or tried on an Apple Watch, the first question is probably going to be: What’s it like to wear it?
Gingrich’s central thesis is “it’s not as seamless as you’d think but it’s a big step toward the future.” He also feels that “the Apple Watch isn’t a necessity for anyone” at this point. But he is clearly delighted by the opportunity to test it and try his hand at tech writing. He even uses the two phrases that are guaranteed to make you sound knowledgeable about tech: “form factor” and “beta product.”
The review conditions weren’t perfect, because Gingrich didn’t like the aesthetics of the powder blue sport band he was given to try. “I know Mashable, you guys like blue, but you know for a guy my age this is a weird band. This is clearly a sign I’m either 12 or I’m a hobbyist.” But he still wore the watch for a day and tested it in a bunch of travel scenarios.
What’s nice about the review is that it’s by a layman for the laymen. Gingrich talks about how nice it is to use the watch as his plane ticket, but how confusing it was to call the ticket up in the first place. He says he likes the calendar and the reminder taps. He can see the value of being able to call an Uber at the end of a meeting without taking out his phone.
These are the kinds of things real people look for in a product. Perez Hilton’s headline is, “Newt Gingrich Reviewing The Apple Watch Is Just As Painful & Wondrous As It Sounds!” But the review isn’t actually cringe-worthy. It’s just a series of observations laid out in a straightforward way. Gingrich admits to having a Tamagotchi on his watch and says, “I keep sending my heart rate to friends in Washington, but nobody’s responding.” (Later Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers tells him she actually has been getting his heartbeats.)
There’s just something really refreshing about hearing a nontechnophile talk about a big new product. Sure, it’s stunt journalism, and his celebrity as a pundit and former Speaker of the House helps us care about what he thinks, but it’s also just useful! To be clear, though, no one is saying he’s not an old: “One of the ones I will confess I have not been able to figure out: pictures and Instagram. You would think it wouldn’t be that hard to do.”