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  • Cheryl Tan

Apple Watch Series 7 Review: Upgrade Or Wait For Series 8?

After about two weeks with the Apple Watch Series 7, I can say straight up that anybody who’s using a much older watch like the Series 3 will definitely want to upgrade. As for people who have a Series 6, well, if you have the cash, why not? But I think it might be more prudent to wait for the Series 8.

If you’re like me, you’ll absolutely love the new 45mm model. Sure, it looks big on the wrist, especially if you have small wrists, but the bigger screen size is just beautiful. The UI has been made slightly larger, and there’s a full QWERTY keyboard that you can use for text input, which is nice. If you have smaller fingers, typing isn’t that big a problem, but if your hands are on the bigger side, you might find yourself mistyping words by accident. I’ve been more accurate typing instead of swiping, so yeah.

Anyway, let’s talk about the design. Not much has changed and you’ll be forgiven if you mistake the Blue or Starlight aluminium models for the Series 6. What’s nice, though, is the new aluminium colours we’ve gotten. The one we have is the Midnight colour, which is essentially a matte black with a slight blue tint to it under certain lighting. I think this will go well with pretty much any band or outfit you’re planning to wear. Leather straps will probably go really well with this Midnight watch.

Another nice thing that Apple has done is that they’ve maintained compatibility with older watch bands. So if you had a 44mm Apple Watch before and you’ve bought a few watch bands for that size, you’ll actually be able to use them on the 45mm Apple Watch Series 7. Now, not great for people like me jumping from the 40mm to the 45mm, but most people tend to stick to the size that they already have before. And hey, it’s way better than Apple saying, we changed the case sizes, all old Apple Watch bands can’t be used. I can just imagine the outrage if that happened.

Anyway, I digress.

Another noticeable difference would be the size of the bezels; it’s been reduced significantly and you’ll definitely be able to tell when you wear the new Series 7 on your wrist. The screen is 20% larger than the Series 6 and the always-on display is now even brighter, which means that when I’m trying to sneak a glance at the time during long meetings, it’s not quite as difficult or as obvious.

The front crystal protecting the screen is also supposed to be more durable, and Apple claims it’s their most crack-resistant crystal yet, which makes sense since no brand is going to come out with a new product and say it’s less durable or it can do fewer things than the previous version.

Continuing on with that durability aspect, the watch is now IP6X dust resistant, which is nice. It’s just some added peace of mind for people who might be working or living in dusty environments. Water-resistance remains at 50 meters, so no problems bringing your watch swimming.

Unfortunately, that’s about it for the hardware changes, there aren't any new health sensors. While the Series 7 is using the S7 System-in-Package, the CPU is the same one used in the Series 6, so the Series 7 isn’t faster per se, but it’s still just as fast when opening apps and all, so no problems there.

Oh, there is another change though. In the box, the charging puck is now sporting a metallic case and charging is supposed to be 33% faster, thanks to the change to USB-C. I have noticed that I got around 40% of charge in 40 minutes so 45% to around 95%, although that was very likely because it was trickle charging as it got close to 100%. When charging from around 20%, it jumped to 50% really quickly, in just around 20 minutes. Battery life is still rated for around 18 hours, which is the same as the Series 6, so while it’s not a step backwards, it’s not like it’s an improvement either. Thankfully, because of the quick charging, I found it super convenient to charge it back up to full whenever I take my showers at night.

On to the software side of things, Apple has added a few new faces that are designed to take advantage of the larger screen. One is the hero watch face, Contour. It’s essentially taking advantage of the curved edges with the numerals sort of wrapping around the edge of the screen. The current hour is bolded and it sort of tails off from there. It’s definitely a nice look, and I have it matched to the PRODUCT(red) band I’m using.

There’s also the Modular Duo watch face that I think works very well for people who like to have a lot of information on their watch face. I have mine set to show my calendar events and heart rate, along with the battery at the top left. Of course, the complications are customisable, so there’s plenty of options. There’s also the new Portraits and world time watch face, although I didn’t use those as much.

And of course, the Series 7 is running on WatchOS 8 which means the watch can automatically detect outdoor cycling workouts, an updated Mindfulness app where the breathe feature I typically use has been merged into. The reflect feature will prompt you with stuff like “recall a time recently when you felt a sense of calm” and the likes for a quick meditation session, but I don’t really see myself using it all that much. I prefer using the breathe function for a quick break instead.

Aside from that, if you’re a big fan of using your watch for timers when you’re cooking and stuff like me, you’ll be glad to know that you can set multiple timers now, which is pretty handy.

There’s also the ability to track your respiratory rate when you’re sleeping, but sleep tracking is still abysmal. My biggest wish is for Apple to figure out how to get detailed metrics for sleep tracking and incorporate that. I’ve had really good results with other smartwatches in this aspect, and it’s the biggest quibble I have with the Apple Watch, because I’m big on tracking how well, or unwell, I slept.

With prices starting at S$599 or US$399, this is a great upgrade if you’re still holding on to an older Apple Watch because the improvements between those are really quite large. But between the Apple Watch Series 6 and Series 7, I’d say there isn’t as much of a need to upgrade immediately, especially since there aren't really any must-have features that were introduced with the Series 7 unless you really want the bigger screen and brighter on-screen display. Otherwise, maybe wait for the Series 8 next year.


Content by Cheryl Tan

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