Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich moonlights as a tech reporter for Mashable. Friday, Mashable published Gingrich’s first tech review — the Apple Watch.

Gingrich has been field testing the Apple Watch this month and decided to test it’s usability at a TSA checkpoint:

Gingrich ultimately decided that the bording pass function has potential, but needs a little work to make it a practical substitution:

My time at the airport pretty much sums up how I feel about the Apple Watch overall: it’s not as seamless as you’d think but it’s a big step toward the future.

When I approached the first TSA checkpoint, I loaded the boarding pass by pressing the Watch’s crown and tapped the rainbow-colored Passbook logo. I showed the display to the TSA agent, who noted the TSA Pre-Check logo on the screen, and moved along to the next agent who was checking identification and scanning tickets. I handed him my driver’s license but had some trouble finding the barcode he needed to scan. (It required an upward swipe from the boarding pass — which, again, is simple once you know it but not obvious the first time.)

Unfortunately, the TSA’s scanners aren’t yet made for watches. They usually point upward, so you have to turn your wrist 180 degrees for the scanner to read the screen. That felt a little strange, especially when carrying luggage. Getting on the plane later the same morning required a similar maneuver. But at least once you have the barcode displayed, the Apple Watch is smart enough not turn off the screen when you flick your wrist downward (as it would in a normal app).

Gingrich found many apps like Uber and Yelp easy to use, but confessed he was having difficulty figuring out Pictures and Instagram. In his opinion, the Apple Watch is a useful tool for the frequent traveler:

The Watch does seem like it could become a great tool for people who travel frequently. In addition to the boarding passes and calendar notifications, apps like Uber, Yelp and Apple Maps make simple tasks as quick as possible. You can call an Uber in two taps as a meeting wraps up without even taking out your phone. You can find a nearby coffee shop with the Yelp app and navigate to it in another tap. You can ask Siri where the nearest McDonald’s is and receive turn-by-turn directions on your wrist. All of these things are useful to someone who’s traveling.

The watch band though? Not Newt’s favorite. “I have to confess, 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 twelve or I’m a hobbyist.”

“You know, I think the Supreme Court ought to be on Snap Chat,” the former Speaker suggested while playing around with the photo function.

Regardless of whether you’ve been considering purchasing Apple’s latest gadget, Gingrich’s brutally honest review is well worth the watch (no pun intended).

I’ve been eyeing the Apple Watch. I like the idea of not being tethered to my phone all day, every day. After Gingrich’s review, I think I’ll hold off for the next model.

Follow Kemberlee Kaye on Twitter


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