The Apple Watch Series 7 shipped to most customers today — at least for those who pre-ordered — but I got my hands on the 45mm blue model early yesterday. At this point, I’ve spent 24 hours with the Series 7, updated to the latest Watch OS 8.0.1, and worn it overnight to track sleep. I also compared it with my Apple Watch Series 6 for a while. Here are my first impressions.
Size does matter
The Apple Watch Series 7 may have gotten a little less attention than the fancy new camera capabilities of the iPhone 13 series, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t significant changes and improvements here. The largest and most visible is the 20% larger screen, with its smooth curved glass flowing over the edge.
Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise – the larger screen size makes a difference. Text is larger and more readable, complications feel less cramped, and the thinner bezels make it feel like a sleeker, better-looking device overall. I got the largest size of both models – 44mm for the Series 6 and 45mm for the Series 7 – so the size difference was even more apparent. The overall experience of scrolling through apps and checking stats was more enjoyable, especially on the denser, more informative watch faces.
An important note if you get the Series 7 blue like I did: the color is lighter than the darker navy blue on the Series 6, so I find it a little harder to match with my outfits. If you prefer the more flexible and conservative option, you may want midnight, which replaces last year’s space gray. The opposite is true for the red Series 7, which is a deeper red than before. You should consider your options and outfits accordingly before choosing one.
If you already have a Series 6, it probably isn’t worth the upgrade
While I commend the Series 7 display, I can’t recommend the upgrade if you’re already a Series 6 owner. The larger screen is an excellent improvement in quality of life, but the guts of the two smartwatches are more or less identical. You still have the S6 processor, all the sensors are the same and both can run the latest versions of WatchOS 8 so you can take advantage of all the new features. These include home screen portraits, new watch faces, improved sleep tracking, smart device controls, mindfulness, and more.
The only place where you might notice another difference between the Series 6 and Series 7 is the charging time. The new charger included with the Series 7 supports a USB-C input, connects to a higher wattage power supply and charges 33% faster. It’s too early to say anything about battery life, but I’m currently at 40% juice after fully topping up the battery on the first install with the always-on screen. I expect most people will be using the Series 7 for an entire day, but probably not much more than that.
If you have a Series 4 and older, this will be a game changer
The calculus changes for most people — and for me — once you start using the Apple Watch Series 4 and older. Everything I said about the screen size difference is multiplied tenfold when the Series 7 and older models are placed side by side. One of our writers delved into the many reasons why you shouldn’t buy an Apple Watch Series 3. If you don’t want to spend the extra money for the Series 7, the Apple Watch SE has a better design and more reliable software support than the Series 3.
The functionality gap is still huge
One of the biggest things I noticed after switching from the Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 to the Apple Watch Series 7 is how big the gap between WatchOS and Wear OS still is, despite Google and Samsung’s best efforts to make it right. to make. WatchOS is a unified ecosystem that works for the most part as it’s intended to: deliver notifications, connect to first and third-party apps, and generally act as a cohesive experience. This is something the Samsung-flavored Wear OS 4 has failed to do, as notifications are often missed more than hit and apps just don’t interact well.