In Apple's California Streaming event in September that highlighted the iPhone 13, the Apple Watch Series 7 perhaps deserved an event of its own. Unlike the few cosmetic changes made to the iPhone 13, the smartwatch has experienced visual changes as well as practical functionality from the Series 6. Check out the differences to see whether it's worth switching to the new generation from the old.
At first glance, especially with the screen turned off, the Apple Watch Series 7 looks identical to its predecessor. However, comparing them side by side with the screen turned on and you can notice the main difference. Before we explain what has changed, check out the main specifications of Apple's smartwatches:
396 x 484 pixels (45 mm, 1,143 mm²)
352 x 430 pixels (41 mm, 904 mm²)
1,000 nits brightness
368 x 448 pixels (44 mm, 977 mm²)
324 x 394 pixels (40 mm, 759 mm²)
1,000 nits brightness
Apple U1 (UWB)
|Apple S6 (SoC)
Apple U1 (UWB)
|Sensors||Heart rate, oximeter (SpO2)
GPS, compass, altimeter
|Connection||Wi-Fi 4 (11n) 2.4 and 5 GHz
NFC (Apple Pay)
Optional 4G/3G (LTE/UMTS) connection
|Battery||Up to 18 hours of battery life
USB-C magnetic charger (33% faster)
|Up to 18 hours of battery life
USB-C magnetic charger
|Dimensions||45 x 38 x 10.7 mm (45 mm)
41 x 35 x 10.7 mm (41 mm)
|44 x 38 x 10.7 mm (44 mm)
40 x 34 x 10.7 mm (40 mm)
(aluminum / stainless steel / titanium)
|38.8 / 51.5 / 45.1 g (45 mm)
32.0 / 42.3 / 37.0 g (41 mm)
|36.5 / 47.1 / 41.3 g (44 mm)
30.5 / 39.7 / 34.6 g (40 mm)
|Water resistance||50 metres|
|List Price||From $399||From $429|
|Check offers*||Order now|
We'll go into detail on the changes between the two generations of the Apple Watch further down.
The Apple Watch Series 7 was released to replace the sixth generation, keeping an almost identical pricing structure. The difference is basically in the Apple Watch Edition option that swapped the Series 6's sports wristband for a leather strap in 2021, which resulted in a price increase.
|Model||Apple Watch Series 7||Apple Watch Series 6|
|41 mm||45 mm||40 mm||44 mm|
|Aluminum case + Sport/Nike bracelet||$399
|Stainless steel case + sports band||$699||$749||$699||$749|
|Stainless steel case + modern buckle||$749||$799||$749||$799|
|Titanium case (Apple Watch Edition)
leather strap (Series 7) or sports strap (Series 6)
The Apple Watch Series 6 might be removed from your local Apple Store website even before the arrival of the successor, but fret not. It can still be found in e-commerce stores, with significant discounts compared to the original price (and the Series 7).
Apple sums up the 2021 generation of its smartwatch as "refined design, more durable, with faster recharging and more colours" - critics will say that's what the iPhone 13 lacked - but what really catches the eye is the screen area usage. But first let's quickly mention another important change.
It may not seem like it, but the Apple Watch Series 7 is bigger than the previous generation. The case of the Apple Watch 2021 gained a millimeter in height on the model with 45 mm case, while the 41 mm model increased one millimeter in height and width. Despite the change, Apple has maintained the compatibility of wristbands designed for the Apple Watch Series 3 onwards:
You can use most wristbands with any Apple Watch Series 3 or later of the same size. The 41 mm case bands are compatible with the 38 mm and 40 mm cases, and the 45 mm case bands are compatible with the 42 mm and 44 mm cases.
The biggest difference, however, is in the screen, which makes better use of the front area.
The Apple Watch Series 7 flagship display is almost 20 percent larger than the previous generation - 19 percent for the smaller model and 17 percent for the larger, with a similar increase in panel resolution, thanks to a reduction in the bezels. To take advantage of the larger footprint, watchOS 8 has been optimized with larger fonts as well as graphical elements that extend to the edges of the display, including the new Contour dial.
In addition, although the maximum brightness of the OLED panel remains at 1,000 nits, Apple disclosed that the always-on display (AOD) is up to 70% brighter indoors when the wrist is down, dispensing with moving your arms to check the time or notifications on the smartwatch.
Charging and battery life
The expansion of the screen and the change in the Always-on Display feature apparently had no negative impact on battery life, as it clocks up 18 hours for both the Apple Watch Series 6 and 7, according to the manufacturer.
When it comes to recharging the battery, however, the Apple Watch Series 7 charges up to 33% faster than the Series 6, thanks to a faster magnetic charger, with a USB-C plug compatible with the company's 20W adapter. According to Apple, the new adapter is capable of reaching an 80% charge on the smartwatch in 45 minutes.
Just make sure the included accessory does not go missing since the cable does not come cheap and previous models (with USB-A plug) are compatible, but at reduced power (and speed).
"The toughest Apple Watch ever created" is not exactly a new phrase, but it makes a return in 2021 thanks to the use of a stronger glass on the screen which is 50% thicker according to Apple, as well as being more shatter-resistant. The increased glass thickness was achieved by integrating the touch sensor into the OLED panel (Super AMOLED, in Samsung Display parlance).
In addition, the Apple Watch Series 7 has WR50 dive resistance certification (for up to 50 meters depth in water) and IP6X for dust resistance, while the Series 6 was only certified to withstand submersion.
Another change introduced by the Apple Watch Series 7 is the new color options for the aluminum model. Midnight, stellar, and green options debut, along with new shades for the blue and (PRODUCT)red colors.
The 7th generation still maintains the options offered by the Apple Watch Series 6 when it comes to options for other materials: silver, gold, and graphite in stainless steel; black-space and titanium for the Apple Watch Edition model.
The 2021 model retired the silver, gold (rose), and space gray colors found in the Apple Watch Series 6.
Series 7 vs Series 6: Which Apple smartwatch do I buy in 2021?
This is the golden question. Despite the changes, especially the enlarged display and a new, more powerful charger, the Apple Watch Series 7 doesn't bring any new sensors or must-have features compared to the 2020 model. Even the performance, it seems, is no different in the new model, although the SoC designation has changed from S6 to S7.
So, the difference between the two generations of Apple's smartwatches boils down to the importance placed on the larger display, the reduced charging time, water-and-dust resistance, and color options. If one has already made up one's mind, there is no persuading otherwise.
Rationally, the reduced prices for the Apple Watch Series 6, which comes close to the Apple Watch SE model in certain countries, make it a tempting option for those who do not mind missing out on the novelties that the 7th generation offers.
Along the same lines, upgrading from Series 6 to Series 7 may not make as much sense, unless the beautiful, larger screen is a crucial factor in the purchase decision.
For those who use an Android phone, on the other hand, the solution is to look at another smartwatch model, since until now Apple has not made its watch compatible with Google's mobile operating system.