It was no surprise that Apple unveiled the all-new Apple Watch 7 in the fall of 2021. Now we’re looking ahead to the new Apple Watch 8 in September or October of this year. We’re now questioning, is the Apple Watch 7 worth it?
Some of the key points over the Apple Watch 6 include:
- a more durable design
- faster charging (probably the best update for Apple)
- larger design
- new colors
So, let’s have a look in more detail.
Apple Watch 7 Design
While rumors speculated that this might be the year that Apple has a complete design overhaul, that’s not quite the case. However, there have been some small changes. The overall device is now slightly larger than before. Coming in at 41mm and 45mm rather than the previous 40mm and 44mm. Furthermore, the screen is slightly bigger as the bezel has been made smaller. This has allowed for a full keyboard and more advanced faces. Luckily, the Apple Watch 7 retains compatibility with older bands.
Though the difference in sizing is minimal, it makes a world of difference. Compared to the last releases the Apple Watch 7 gives more screen visibility. This is perfect for users that need to read emails, fitness data, or text messages via the screen.
The display itself is also now larger, reducing the borders by 40%. This is a 20% increase in screen size from the Series 6 and a whopping 50% increase from the Series 3 model by comparison. Not only does this add to the better visibility, but the design appears more modern and aesthetic. The rectangle watch face also features new pebble-like curves along the sides, a small but important detail not seen on any other generations of Apple Watch.
Apple has also released several new colors and special editions:
The aluminum finish is now available in:
- Midnight (Black)
- Starlight Green (Silver)
- Green (Dark Green)
- Blue and Red
The stainless steel finish is now available in:
The special edition devices are from Apple’s partners, Nike and Hermes:
- Apple Watch Hermes announced the Circuit H and Gourmette Double Tour bands – both bands made with high-quality leather
- The Nike edition offers a Sport Loop and Sport Band, both sporting the iconic Nike Swoosh
Apple Watch 7 Increases Durability
As expected, the Apple Watch 7 is still swim-proof to 50m. However, with the dust resistance upgraded to IPX6, you can enjoy a swim at the beach and sunbathe on the sand, knowing your new watch is safe.
Another addition to the Apple Watch‘s durability is the curved crystal glass. The front of the watch now features a front crystal that’s 50% thicker than before. This is double the thickness of a Series 6 watch, making 7 the most durable watch available from the brand. The front crystal now features a redesigned base. This flat shape is more resistant to any damage, including cracks.
Unfortunately, for Apple Watch fans, this part is going to be a disappointing read.
If you enjoy cycling, you’ll be pleased to know this has been added to the list of workouts that will automatically trigger when you start, pause and resume your ride. And, whilst on the subject of cycling; Apple’s Fall Detection has also received an upgrade and can now detect if the wearer falls when riding a bike.
A Brighter View
With updates to the retina display, you can now trust that you’ll always be able to view your watch screen. With the “Always-On” display, users don’t have to touch the screen or raise their wrist to turn it on anymore. The screen is also 70% brighter when indoors now, allowing users to always know what’s going on.
Improved Display and Better Faces
Modular Duo is one of the new watch faces, but it was unavailable before the Watch 7. No, we don’t see why not either, given that the widget would still be hit on a smaller (and older) Watches, but… shrug.
You’ll notice one huge difference if you’re using an Apple Watch 4 or earlier: the always-on display. When you glance down at your wrist, you’ll be able to see this more clearly because it’s now brighter.
Even while we didn’t see many apps offering this feature just yet, support for always-on displays is now much more widespread, and developers may incorporate it into their apps. Having an always-on display is a great feature of the new watch, but it needs more functionality beyond Apple’s apps.
You can save screen reload time by turning down the brightness of the timer’s display. (TechRadar image credit)
Although the always-on display isn’t always beneficial, there are instances when you don’t want a bright watch but don’t want to set the display into Theater Mode.
Is it really that difficult for Apple to offer a third option – a barely discernible clock that automatically appears in extremely dim settings?
While the always-on display is an improvement over the early Apple Watches’ inability to view the time without flicking your wrist, we’d say the Watch 7’s visibility is now on par with a standard, non-smart watch.
We can’t say we’ve been begging for an on-screen keyboard on the Apple Watch, but previous smartwatches from other brands had one, and we never used it. Another feature made possible by the larger screen?
For brief texts, it works, but we’d prefer use voice dictation or send an emoji in response, rather than type.
Each new Watch model brings incremental improvements to the Watch’s display quality. It’s one of the greatest displays available on a smartwatch, and it’s crystal-clear, bright, and easy to see in any light.
There’s no denying this watch can be difficult to type on, but this feature has been updated too. The engineers and designers have worked together to re-work the buttons to fit the larger display. Apps like Stopwatch, Timer, and Calculator are now easier to use as typing, tapping, and swiping motions have been revisited.
Series 7 will also feature a full QWERTY keyboard for users to type on. The keyboard allows users to slide or tap the letters with a feature called QuickPath. This machine will start to predict the word you’re typing for clear communications.
The scribble feature will also be included on the watch. This lets users write letters on the screen when creating an email or text. As the screen size is increased, users will be able to compose messages faster and with ease.
Apple Watches are known for their fitness features. These are used by both novice and pro-athletes, proving their accessibility and accuracy. What’s new for the latest update?
Within the fitness section, Apple has updated the Series 7 watch to have an improved heart rate monitor, better sleep tracking, SpO2 sensors, Fall Detection software, and an ECG monitor too (more below). This is a perfect setup for all fitness-lovers out there.
The Apple Watch 7 is appealing to those who love working out, whether it’s through simple Move Rings that fill up and inspire you to move, an increasing number of exercises you can track, or the new cycling functions.
If you’re a competitive runner, cyclist, or swimmer, the Apple Watch might not be the best choice. If you’re a regular here, you’ll know that we always give our Apple Watch reviews a thorough workout, and I’ve been waiting for Apple to include some basic features like interval sessions and heart rate notifications for years.
So you get a basic GPS smartwatch offering simple data. When compared to the likes of a Garmin Forerunner; the GPS accuracy is noticeably less. GPS sensors in the Watch 7 include GPS, GLONASS, Galileo, QZSS, and Beidou.
ECG and SPO2
The SPO2 sensor works well, but it is difficult to understand what it delivers because it is not medically approved. (From TechRadar) (Image credit)
The ECG and SPO2 sensors, which were major selling points for the Seres 6 (and 5), are present and correct in the Watch 7, so let’s take a look at them briefly.
They are not intended to be diagnostic tools, but they can be used as a first step in determining what is wrong. The ECG and SPO2 monitors are great additions for people who need them, but even if you check your oxygen levels or ECG on a regular basis, you won’t gain much from the workout unless you need them.
If your heart rate is consistently lower than 50 beats p/min, this sensor will not work, so keep that in mind if you’re a regular exerciser.
It would be beneficial to receive an alert (as you would if your heart rate dropped too low) if your blood oxygen level drops too low while you are sleeping so that you can be evaluated by a doctor for sleep apnea.
The Apple Watch’s sleep tracking is a little too basic, and it could use more direction on how to improve it. I don’t think this feature will work because it is too simple. It should be as simple as having your watch give you tips on how to sleep better while also giving you a score so you know where you can improve.
Just seeing some bars on the screen that indicates when you were most likely sleeping isn’t all that exciting or beneficial in terms of improving your health; I was hoping that Apple would have made a more significant improvement to the Apple Watch 7.
What the Watch 7 excels at is displaying your health trends over a period of time. Even if you can see how much better your VO2 Max is getting or how many steps you are taking each day, if you don’t know how to improve, all of these valuable metrics will remain an intriguing thing to look at every now and then.
Unfortunately No Blood Pressure Capabilities
One of the biggest surprises has to be the lack of a blood pressure sensor. This is something that had been rumored for a while and has already been integrated into the new Samsung Galaxy 4. So, it looks like Apple fans may have to wait another year for this feature. However, the possibility of further health features, such as the ability to track sleep disorders, better monitor irregular heartbeats, and even a blood glucose sensor could be seen on future Apple Watch releases. Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman reported
The company is saving features like blood pressure and blood sugar detectors for the Series 8, which will likely debut in 2022.
That’s it! No new sensors, no new health features. Honestly, if you are looking for new health features and improved sensors, you should take a look at the recently released Fitbit Charge 5 or Samsung Galaxy Watch 4.
Apple Watch 7 Battery Life
Another area where Apple Watch users are keen to see improvements is in battery life. However, the Apple Watch 7 doesn’t deliver this, retaining the same 18 hours of battery life as the Apple Watch 6.
It’s not all bad, though; Apple has improved charging times by 33% and promises 8 hours of battery life from 8 minutes of charging, or 100% charge in around one hour.
As a result, we found ourselves continually running low on juice on the Watch 7 and only being able to boost it up with a few minutes of charging.
With other smartwatches that can last for days without needing to be charged, Apple should be striving for that kind of battery life on its own devices, not 24-30 hours from a single charge. Apple can’t compete with the likes of Garmin on this front.
It’s surprising that the SPO2 sensor doesn’t drain the battery as it does on alternative watches; but we’re not surprised that Apple can keep adding new, power-hungry features without affecting the battery life. It’s fantastic to have a display that’s both bright and legible, but it comes at a price in terms of battery life.
It’s still difficult to maintain a consistent charging pattern if you want to track your sleep, and Apple needs to come up with a new solution for this in future iterations if it wants to remain one of the top smartwatch contenders.
The Apple Watch 7 will be running the final release of WatchOS8. This offers a redesigned mindfulness app with additional features such as Pause to Relax mode, soothing animations, and data on how long you have spent practicing mindfulness. There will also be improved cycling data, assistive touch (this allows you to control the watch through gestures), and improvements to photos, messaging, and sleep data.
Keep in mind, though; this update will also be added to older Apple Watch models, so you don’t have to upgrade to the Apple Watch 7 to access these new features.
Apple Fitness+ is one of our favourites. You must connect your Apple Watch in order for your heart rate and other vital stats to be displayed on the screen during these trainer-based workouts.
Although the exercises are recorded and not live, if you use the app frequently, you’ll get to know your trainers and gravitate toward their sessions.
It requires a lot of dedication to complete the burn bar workouts, and I love the competitive element of trying to beat others. The free three-month trial is an excellent way to learn about the programme and determine if it will work for you.
Breathe has been renamed Mindfulness, and it now includes a Relax mode, making it an effective stress management tool.
As part of this mode, you’ll be asked a question and then spend at least one minute contemplating the suggested thought while looking at the watch’s coloured shapes.
Despite the tweeness of some of the ideas, I discovered that putting them into action made me feel more at ease. I discovered that the hypnotic state it put me in helped me keep my mind in a more relaxed state in this fast-paced, high-stress world. I think the Watch 7 is one of the best health and fitness devices I’ve ever used, especially when combined with Fitness+ routines, which now include guided walks or meditation exercises (and I previously used the Fitbit Sense).
The revamped Mindfulness app is one of the best features of the new WatchOS 8 software update. Luckily, you can access this on every official version on the market.
Although the Apple Watch 6 introduced sleep tracking and I had hoped that the company would introduce a complication for it on the Watch 7. Sadly not!
You still wake up to the weather and battery life information, but no information about how well you slept that night, such as whether you had vivid dreams or slept soundly.
Price and Availability
Conclusion – Is the Apple Watch 7 worth it?
The Apple Watch 7 joins the Watch SE and Watch 3 in Apple’s wearable lineup as the company’s most recent model, replacing the 2020 Series 6.
For the most part, this year’s Apple Watch 7 isn’t much better than the previous model, but the screen has been increased by 20%. Although it’s still the finest Apple Watch yet, and the best smartwatch, it’s just marginally better than the Samsung Gear S3 and Motorola Moto 360.
Even though most people will buy this watch because they don’t like having to take their phone out of their pocket, or because they want an excellent fitness companion, you’re getting a lot more than that.
There are five additional colours available for this package, and the larger screen makes things a little easier to see than on the Watch 6 and SE. Although we couldn’t see any benefit to the curved glass on the OLED display, it does have an always-on display (something the Watch SE doesn’t have) and a little curved glass covering the gorgeous OLED display.
It was expected that the Watch 7 will have more of a design boost, such as flat sides to match the new iPhone design, a larger screen, or something else that would clearly justify the upgrade.
Keyboard is a plus
Apple Watch Series 7 has a wrist-mounted keyboard. So, you can view more of your messages or have a greater surface area for larger buttons to hit because of the wider screen. Apple also believes that the additional display space means that the Watch should get a keyboard, and we have to admit that using the Watch 7’s keypad was a breeze (although dictation was just as good, and less fiddly).
Chip is a bit of a let-down
Despite the fact that the S7 processor here is dubbed the S7, it delivers no power advantage – it’s just been tweaked to accommodate the slightly larger architecture. However, you won’t be lacking in performance, as the Watch 7’s WatchOS 8 software makes it simple to begin a workout, see photographs, or read messages.
Fitness features are good
We found that the Watch 7’s increased cycling mode worked well during testing, although it didn’t recognise when we’d stopped and forgotten to end the activity, which was a little disappointing.
With three months of free Fitness+, you’ve got a workout in your pocket at all times, making the new Apple Watch an excellent fitness partner.
Apple’s ring system, which tells you how active you are throughout the day, is useful and amusing to look at, and the meditation app, which we frequently used, is also a wonderful perk of the Watch 7 (along with other workouts).
Apple Watch 6 or 7?
However, if you can find 2020’s model at a reasonable discount, we don’t think it’s worth upgrading to the new Watch 7.
After it sells out, you’ll have no choice but to go with this watch if you want a high-end version of the Apple Watch.
Overall, the unveiling of the Apple Watch 7 is a little disappointing. While a design overhaul was rumored, it’s not really a surprise it didn’t happen as the Apple Watch design is iconic. However, the lack of upgrades to health features and battery life leaves us feeling a little flat, especially following the recent significant upgrades from Samsung and Fitbit.
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Last Updated on May 17, 2022
Emma brings over a decade of freelance copy and content writing experience and is our Editor, Social Media Manager, and regular contributor. Specializing in long-form content such as blogs, articles, lead magnets, and white papers, Emma also provides businesses with email marketing, website copy, and landing pages.