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Apple Watch Series 8 vs Watch Series 7: Is it worth the upgrade?

NextPit Apple Watch 7 vs 8
© Apple, Collage: nextpit

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The Apple Watch lineup was updated in 2022 with the introduction of the Watch Series 8. The new model has a temperature sensor and detects crashes. Under the hood, we've seen a system-on-a-chip (SoC) upgrade—and, according to Apple, the battery life reaches up to 36 hours in low-power mode. But are these few increments worth the upgrade from the Apple Watch Series 7 to the new model? NextPit reviewed the Watch 7 and the Watch 8 and compares the two smartwatches.

With the Watch Series 8, Apple has also announced the Watch Ultra, an option "for athletes and adventurers of all kinds." With this, the generation 8 is no longer the most advanced option in the Cupertino giant's smartwatch series. However, of course, this will not impact the relevance of what is the best-selling smartwatch series in the world.

Whether you are considering to upgrade from the Series 7 to the Series 8 or are just in doubt which of the two models to buy: Keep reading this comparison to understand which device best suits your needs.

Apple Watch Series 8 vs. Apple Watch Series 7 compared

  The 2022 model The 2021 model
Product
Image
Apple Watch Series 8
Apple Watch Series 7
Colors
  • Aluminum: midnight, starlight, silver, red
  • Stainless steel: silver, graphite, gold, space black
  • Aluminum : midnight, starlight, green, blue, red
  • Stainless steel: silver, graphite, gold
  • Titanium: natural, space black
Size
  • 41 mm / 45 mm
  • 41 mm / 45 mm
Display
  • Always-On Retina LTPO OLED display, up to 1000 nits
  • Always-On Retina LTPO OLED display, up to 1000 nits
Durability
  • Water resistance (50 meters); IP6X dust resistance
  • Water resistance (50 meters); IP6X dust resistance
Processor
  • Apple S8 + U1 chip (Ultra Wideband)
  • Apple S7 + U1 chip (Ultra Wideband)
Sensors
  • Temperature, blood oxygen, ECG, heart rate, compass, always-on altimeter, accelerometer, gyroscope, GPS/GNSS, ambient light
  • Blood oxygen, ECG, heart rate, compass, always-on altimeter, accelerometer, gyroscope, GPS/GNSS, ambient light
Safety features
  • Crash detection, fall detection, noise monitoring, emergency SOS, international emergency calling
  • Fall detection, noise monitoring, emergency SOS, international emergency calling
Battery life
  • Up to 18 hours
  • 36 hours in low-power mode
  • Up to 18 hours
  • Low-power mode coming in watchOS 9
Storage
  • 32 GB
  • 32 GB
Connectivity
  • Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 5.0, W3 wireless chip, LTE optional
  • Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 5.0, W3 wireless chip, LTE optional
Review Pros
  • Car Crash Detection
  • Temperature sensor to predict ovulation and menstruation cycles
  • More accurate sleep monitoring
  • International roaming for calls abroad
  • Better information about your workout
  • New low-power mode for up to 36 hours of battery life
  • Larger, brighter screen than Apple Watch 6
  • Charges up to 33% faster compared to Watch Series 6
  • IP6X certified: Waterproof plus now dust protection
Review Cons
  • Design remains unchanged
  • Only works with iPhone
Rating
Read the Apple Watch Series 8 review
Read the Apple Watch Series 7 review
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Apple Watch Series 8 vs. Watch Series 7: Prices and availability

Both the Series 8 and the Series 7 are available in 41- or 45-millimeter versions. While there was a titanium option last year, only stainless steel and aluminum are available for the Series 8, Titanium is reserved for the Apple Watch Ultra now. All in all, you can choose between Midnight, Polaris, Gold, Graphite, Silver, Space Black, and (PRODUCT)RED. The prices start at $399.

Model Apple Watch Series 8 Apple Watch Series 7
  41 mm 45 mm 41 mm 45 mm
Aluminum case $399 or $499 (4G) $429 or $529 (4G) $399 or $499 (4G) $429 or $529 (4G)
Stainless steel case $749 $799 $749 $799
Titanium case (Apple Watch Edition) - - 849 $899

It's important to note that Apple has removed the Series 7 from its store, and it is only possible to buy the previous generation via resellers like Amazon, for example. This means that the final price of the Series 7 may vary more or less depending on the time of year you buy the smartwatch.

Right now, for instance, some Series 7 models are available on Amazon's store that are more expensive than the new generation due to the manufacturer's sales strategy and/or retailers.

Apple Watch Series 8 vs. Watch Series 7: Design and screen

In terms of design, the two generations are very similar. We have the same 45 mm or 41 mm case sizes and an edge-to-edge display. The fact that Apple has chosen to keep the size and design is not a surprise given that last year we had a 20% jump in display size.

Apple Watch 8 design and screen
The Apple Watch Series 8 does not change size from the previous generation! / © Apple

Added to that, we have the same screen resolution and the same 1,000 nits of maximum brightness as the previous generation. Just like last year, in 2022 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. Also, if you already own a generation 7 model, you will be able to use most wristbands on the generation 8.

When it comes to durability, the Apple Watch Series 7 and Watch Series 8 are WR50 certified and IP6X certified for dust resistance. WR50 means that the Watch should be fine for swimming and snorkeling, but not high-speed watersports or diving.

Apple Watch Series 7 Series 6 Watch SE
The difference in screen size between the Watch Series 6 (left) and Watch Series 7 (right) is notable. The Watch 8 has the same screen as the Watch 7. / © NextPit

Apple Watch Series 8 vs. Watch Series 7: SoC and performance

As mentioned in the beginning, one of the big differences between these two models is under the hood, where we've seen the upgrade to the S8 chipset. In addition, just like the Watch Series 7, the new generation is also equipped with the U1 ultra-wideband (UWB) chip.

Both models run on the watchOS 9 operating system which, among other things, brings a new low-power battery mode to last year's generation—more on that below.

Apple Watch Series 8 vs. Watch Series 7: Sensors

When it comes to sensors, the Watch Series 8 has the edge, as it brings two new temperature sensors: one is located close to the skin, and the other is inside the display. Aimed especially at tracking the menstrual cycle and ovulation, these sensors monitor body temperature throughout the day and night, providing more accurate data about the time of ovulation or the next menstrual period.

Fabi wrote about this in his Apple Watch 8 review:

The new temperature sensor measures any fluctuations at night on the wrist to within 0.1 degrees. With this, Apple wants to be able to very accurately predict ovulation in women (or, better: determine when ovulation has occurred), in order to be able to identify, for example, fluctuations in menstruation or but also favorable moments for planned pregnancies.

Watch 8 Sensor
The Apple Watch 8 comes again with all kinds of sensors on the bottom. / © NextPit

Another addition is "Crash Detection" which now also recognizes car accidents, making it possible to alert emergency services in case of serious accidents, as well as your emergency contacts.

For this, Apple has upgraded the gyroscope and accelerometer in the new model, and added two new motion sensors. According to the company, this means 4x better motion detection than before, making fall detection, for example, even more accurate.

Apple Watch Series 8 vs. Watch Series 7: Features

Since September 2022, both models will have support for Apple's latest smartwatch software, watchOS 9. With that, features like exercise profiles and performance metrics for the Workout app will be available, as well as the feature to accurately track sleep stages.

In addition to the previously mentioned features for female reproductive health and car accident detection, Fabi was particularly impressed by the low-power mode during the review. More on that later in the battery section.

Functions such as fall detection, atrial fibrillation detection detection (Afib), and medication monitoring can be found in both Series 8 and Series 7, right in the Health app.

Apple WWDC 2022
These are some of the new features added to watchOS 9—they will be available on noth the Series 7 and Series 8. / © Apple; Screenshot: NextPit

Apple Watch Series 8 vs. Watch Series 7: Battery and fast charging

On the battery front, we didn't have a big difference when it comes to the battery life of each generation of smartwatches, which remains 18 hours for both models. What changes here is the device's usage time in low-power mode, which offers up to 36 hours for the Watch Series 8 according to Apple. This so-called "Low Power Mode" restricts access to WLAN and LTE connection, for example, and turns off sensors like the PPT sensor for heart rate measurement.

As mentioned earlier, watchOS 9 also brings the low-power mode to the older models of Apple's smartwatch line, namely the Watch Series 4 and later. With this, the Series 7 also makes a leap forward in terms of battery performance.

The Apple Watch 8 can be charged as usual with the familiar chargers.
The Apple Watch 8 can be charged as usual with the familiar chargers. / © NextPit

Just keep in mind that the Low Power Mode stretches the battery life of the watch by restricting certain features, such as sensors or even apps working in the background, such as heart rate tracking.

When it comes to recharging the battery, both series use a magnetic charger with a USB-C plug compatible with the company's 20W adapter. According to Apple, the time to reach an 80% charge on the smartwatch is 45 minutes.

Conclusion: Is it worth the upgrade?

According to the latest report from Counterpoint Research, Apple leads the global smartwatch market with 29.3% of shipments in Q2 2022, so it's no surprise that the Apple Watch Series 8 doesn't bring much change from last year's model. Added to that, the Watch Ultra is the current premium smartwatch from the Cupertino giant-and it does indeed differ quite a bit from the Series 8.

So should you upgrade to ne Watch Series 8 if you already own a Series 7 model? Considering the few differences to the previous generation, my suggestion is to wait for Series 9, which should bring considerable increments to the line.

Apple Watch Series 8 vs Apple Watch Series 7 compared
Apple Watch Series 8 vs Apple Watch Series 7: which one do you choose? / © Apple, Collage: NextPit

Now, if you own an Apple Watch Series 6 or lower, and are in doubt about which variant to buy in 2022, my suggestion is to get the newer models. The price gap is rather small, and you're getting the latest system-on-a-chip plus some new or improved sensors. This also goes for those who want to buy an Apple Watch for the first time.

However, if you are in doubt between last year's Apple Watch Edition and the Apple Watch Ultra, I suggest you to stay with the latter model, because the differences are many, as you can see in our Apple Watch buying guide. And if you are curious about what the most expensive Apple smartwatch can do, then do check out our Apple Watch Ultra review.

Finally, if you are looking for an alternative to Apple Watches, models like Samsung Galaxy Watch 5, Fitbit Sense 2 or Garmin Instinct 2 might be good options. Also don't miss our guide on the differences between the Apple Watch Series 8 and Watch Ultra.


This post was updated on January 30, and older comments referencing previous versions of the post have been preserved.

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Camila Rinaldi

Camila Rinaldi
Head of Editorial

With over 10 years of reviewing smartphones and wearables, I recently became addicted to smart home gadgets. Even though I dove into the Apple ecosystem two years back, Android remains as one of my passions. Previously editor-in-chief of AndroidPIT and Canaltech in Brazil, I now write for the US market. I love my records and I believe that the best way to get to know a place is through its food.

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