Speakerphone sound level critically low — defect?

Discussion in 'Apple Watch' started by toneLA2, Apr 26, 2015.

  1. toneLA2 macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2014
    Location:
    Beverly Hills, CA
    #1
    Hi all,

    Got my 42mm SS yesterday. First thing I tested is the ability to call from my wrist on speakerphone.

    In dead silence at my house I could barely hear the other person on the other end, yet they hear me just fine — it sounds exactly as loud as what comes out of my 6+ earpiece when it's not on speakerphone and the volume is turned all the way up and I hold the phone a foot away from my face.

    I understand this was never meant to be used to blast music on or make conference calls with 12 other people in the room, but making a call in perfect silence is borderline impossible. In their ads you see people answering calls down the street.

    Is my unit defective or is it just what everyone else who received the watch experiencing?

    Your thoughts would be greatly appreciated!

    Thanks!
     
  2. djrm macrumors 6502

    djrm

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    Feb 12, 2010
    Location:
    Norwich, UK
    #2
    It's not the loudest smart watch that's for sure.
     
  3. toneLA2 thread starter macrumors member

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    Jan 28, 2014
    Location:
    Beverly Hills, CA
    #3
    I mean, it almost makes me think mine has a defect. I read a thread where people are talking about 'it was crystal clear outside whilst gardening.'

    I could never use that outside.
     
  4. toneLA2 thread starter macrumors member

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    Jan 28, 2014
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    Beverly Hills, CA
    #4
    My speakerphone issue is resolved (well, almost!)

    Thought I'd give an update on a problem that has been puzzling me since the day I got the watch out of its box.

    One of the first features I tested was the ability to place and receive calls from the watch. Alas, the speakerphone volume was so low (even with the on-screen slider all the way up), that it made it nearly pointless to use at all.

    Most people on MR assumed this was 'normal' for 'such a tiny speaker that's the sixth of that of an iPhone.' Whilst I agree that I shouldn't be expecting to blast music on it or conference with 12 people in the same room, I couldn't possibly believe this was 'within specs' as we see this very feature, as depicted in their ad, used by someone walking down a busy city street.

    I called AppleCare, spoke to the team that itself talks to the engineering team and they all agreed this was a defect — the agent actually made it sound like I wasn't the only one. 'Well we've gathered a lot of infos on the watch since it was released on the 24th and we are escalating to the engineers.'

    Furthermore, I took it to the Apple Store where we tested different models and it's like night and day. A normal unit should totally allow you to speak to someone in a normal/busy environment.

    I don't believe I'll ever use this instead of my phone outside of my house, but at least I know that my unit wasn't performing properly and/or that I wasn't going deaf.

    I sent my unit back and will receive a brand new one in exchange.

    A word of advice, if you suffer from the same defect — and I believe some people do and don't realize it since there isn't a true benchmark for it, only the assumption that it's a small speaker so it only gives you low performance at best, call Apple and have them send you a new one.

    :)
     
  5. SilentDoom macrumors member

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    Oct 24, 2012
    #5
    subscribed
    I'm not convinced yet, though lol
    I want to keep my first batch one!!!
     
  6. friedmud macrumors 65816

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    Jul 11, 2008
  7. Aluminum213 macrumors 68040

    Aluminum213

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    Mar 16, 2012
    #7
    so you got a defect, but apple apologists here say no defects ever got shipped and anyone so says so is an android fanboy


    who to believe?
     
  8. nerdbob macrumors member

    Joined:
    Apr 23, 2015
    #8
    I took a call on mine while I was eating lunch the other day (at home, not in a restaurant) and it was plenty loud. The person on the other end didn't realize I was on my watch.
     
  9. toneLA2 thread starter macrumors member

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    Jan 28, 2014
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    Beverly Hills, CA
    #9
    Exactly. The unit we tested it on was so loud I could hear perfectly inside the busy Apple Store. I could hardly hear on mine with the AC running at my house.

    ----------

    I am what you'd consider a total fanatic of the brand but I'm not blind. Believing that Apple does nothing wrong and ships 100% of its products defect-free is pure utopia.

    I have had issues with nearly every product they've released one way or the other, from ghosting retina displays to bricked iPhones and now lousy speakerphones.

    Quite frankly, I'm almost tempted to return the new one I'm being sent just so I can order another one that'll be there in July. By then, one can assume the quirks will be ironed out. :)

    That's the ultimate lesson that I should stop being a beta tester. They can test all they want prior to a launch, there's no better testing than when millions of units are being used in the wild.
     
  10. dannyyankou macrumors 603

    dannyyankou

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    Mar 2, 2012
    #10
    When did anyone say that? I think all of us acknowledge that defects happen.
     
  11. toneLA2 thread starter macrumors member

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    #11
    Totally agree. I honestly think that a minority of people are dismissing the idea that Apple isn't perfect. Which sucks because it prevents constructive criticism and creates tension on these boards.
     
  12. FoxD macrumors 6502

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    Apr 28, 2010
    #12
    It's not that loud here either but same as wife's so guess it's ok.
     
  13. Aluminum213 macrumors 68040

    Aluminum213

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    Mar 16, 2012
    #13
    People are still saying no defects shipped out, especially with the taptic feedback defect, even though Gruber himself said he had to get his watch replaced because his taptic feedback was so weak on the first pair
     
  14. Bryan Bowler macrumors 68040

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    Sep 27, 2008
    #14
    Interesting. OP, thank you for sharing your experience with us and providing such a detailed explanation. I hope you get your new Watch soon!
     
  15. toneLA2 thread starter macrumors member

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    Jan 28, 2014
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    Beverly Hills, CA
    #15
    So whilst I don't have my new watch just yet, I was able to get my hands on 2 other 42mm units.

    I had dinner next to a couple who, like me, got their watches on the 24th. (First time I actually see other Apple Watches outside of mine in the wild.) I immediately addressed them and asked about their experience with the speakerphone/call function.

    First thing the guy told me is that his 'wasn't as loud as the one of his wife's'. We then went on to test it out and surprise surprise, one was perfectly audible (in a busy street, Larchmont in Los Angeles) but the other wasn't. He said he was actually booked for an appointment at a Genius Bar nearby the next day.

    He had a 42 SS with Classic Buckle and she has a 42 Sport with White Band.

    At this point I'm totally convinced this problem is real and I'm not the only one dealing with a defective unit.
     
  16. PTVMan macrumors 6502a

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    Sep 20, 2012
    #16
    I think my 42mm Sport Black is defective in this regard. How long do you have to wait for the replacement?
     
  17. toneLA2 thread starter macrumors member

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    Jan 28, 2014
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    Beverly Hills, CA
    #17
    I'm sorry to hear that you're having issues too. How low is it? In a quiet room does it require you to bring it to your ear?

    They said as soon as they receive mine at the processing center where it'll be put aside for the engineering team. I'd say 1-2 weeks tops?

    Like I said earlier, I have this psychic pain between my shoulder blades that tells me the first batch has real issues, probably as it was rushed to be assembled for 4/24 and I should just re-order one for July that will be built this summer. By then, most issues will hopefully be addressed.
     
  18. bruceabbott macrumors member

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    Apr 17, 2015
    #18
    I'm glad I'm not the only one. I almost have to have the watch up to my ear to make out what people are saying and even then, the quality leaves much to be desired.

    I may hold out until stores start getting white boxed units. I don't feel like dealing with all the shipping and being without nonsense. OP should have made a poll to see how others fared.
     
  19. toneLA2 thread starter macrumors member

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    #19
    I feel the same. The one they'll send me I'm sure is part of the first batch. They've reserved some for that very situation since Genius Bars don't even carry replacement units at all.

    I'm absolutely gutted. I love everything about it other than that and even if I won't really use it — let's be honest, how awkward is that to talk to your wrist walking down the street, I just hate the feeling that it's defective. For $700 that's a tad painful.
     
  20. J.gerbes macrumors 6502

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    Jun 11, 2012
    #20
    It'll be good to hear if your new one is any better
     
  21. bruceabbott macrumors member

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    Apr 17, 2015
    #21
    Exactly. It's it hella convenient though when you're doing yard work... or your phone is in the other room and you get a call. That part I love about it. Just wish I could hear the damn thing.
     
  22. toneLA2 thread starter macrumors member

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    Jan 28, 2014
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    #22
    I know! I made the guy laugh when I called AppleCare saying the only way I could use this function was in a sound-proof padded vault probably similar to one of a mental asylum. We were laughing but really I wasn't laughing at all. Every time I buy something early and something like that happens I promise myself that it would be the last time. Not a happy camper.
     
  23. Fredo C macrumors member

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    Mar 18, 2012
    #23
    I took a call on mine today in my house, TV on in the background and I have to agree that volume was on the low side. I was able to carry on a conversation fine, but I would have preferred it louder. It did make me wonder if I would be able to hear the other person in a noisier environment.

    On the plus side, half way through the conversation I asked my friend who didn't know I had the watch how I sounded. He said normal, why? I told him I was talking on my watch and he was shocked, said sound quality was completely normal.
     
  24. Mobster1983 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Sep 8, 2011
    #24
    Hmmm. Mine is low, but not to the point I cannot hear it at all with background noise. It is fairly difficult though and seems to need a lot of quiet. Maybe I'll go to the Apple Store sometime next week and compare.

    What did you use to test the speaker? You mentioned phone calls, but if you played music through the watch speakers was that inaudible as well?
     
  25. dotnet macrumors 6502a

    dotnet

    Joined:
    Apr 10, 2015
    Location:
    Sydney, Australia
    #25
    I didn't think it was possible to play music through the watch speaker, am I missing something?

    By default mine plays iPhone music through the iPhone. If I select the watch as the music source it tells me that I need to pair it with a Bluetooth device.
     

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