For 2021, the Apple Watch receives a larger, better screen, faster charging, and a small price reduction, which should be enough to keep it at the top of the smartwatch market.
Despite being a little cheaper than last year’s Series 6, the Series 7 is Apple’s most expensive smartwatch, costing $399 (£369/A$599), surpassing the $279 (£249/A$429) Watch SE. It works with an iPhone 6S or newer, but not with Android.
The Series 7 comes in two case sizes: 41mm and 45mm, which are both 1mm taller than their predecessors and have 20 percent larger screens thanks to thinner bezels.
On a device as small as a smartwatch, every extra pixel counts. The buttons on the screen are larger and easier to press. More text can be displayed on the screen, or the fonts can be made larger and easier to read. New watch faces can hold two full-size information widgets at once, and the Series 7 has an exclusive full-qwerty keyboard for typing messages.
None of these changes are revolutionary, but they are welcome improvements to the Apple Watch formula.
- Case size: 41 or 45mm
- Case thickness: 10.7mm
- Weight: 32/38.8g, 42.3/51.5g or 37/45.1g depending on material and size
- Processor: S7
- RAM: 1GB
- Storage: 32GB
- Operating system: WatchOS 8
- Water resistance: 50 metres (5ATM)
- Sensors: gyro, HR, ECG, blood oxygen, microphone, speaker, NFC, GNSS, compass, altimeter
- Connectivity: Bluetooth 5, wifi n, NFC, ultra wideband, optional 4G/eSIM
36-hour battery life, smooth performance
The Series 7 is the fastest, smoothest, and slickest smartwatch you can buy, thanks to the new S7 chip, which matches the performance of last year’s S6. The battery life is also the same, lasting about 36 hours between charges with sleep tracking enabled overnight and the screen on all day. It took 7% of the battery to track a 35-minute run, so it should last a marathon or two.
The battery in the Series 7 is not expected to last very long, according to Apple. Similar device batteries typically last at least 500 full charge cycles and retain at least 80% of their original capacity. The battery costs £82.44 to replace. Repairs cost between £286.44 and £462.44, depending on the model, and repair experts iFixit gave the Series 7 a 6 out of 10 repairability rating.
In the solder of its main chips, the Series 7 uses 100 percent recycled aluminum, 99 percent recycled tungsten and rare earth elements, and 100 percent recycled tin. Apple offers device trade-in and free recycling, and its report details the watch’s environmental impact.
WatchOS 8, health tracking
The Apple Watch Series 7 runs the same WatchOS 8 software as every other Apple Watch since the Series 3 in 2015. It includes a portrait photo watch face, iOS 15’s “focus” notification handlings, and the ability to set multiple timers simultaneously.
It also includes improved text entry, including the ability to use dictation, scribble, emojis, and a full qwerty keyboard in combination. A redesigned meditation app that combines breathing coaching with mindfulness is also available.
Despite recent advances by Google with WearOS, WatchOS 8 is the best supported and most capable smartwatch operating system available. Software support, including feature and security updates, is expected to last at least five years or longer, which is far longer than smartwatch competitors.
The Series 7 has the same comprehensive health-tracking features as the Series 6, including the ability to take an ECG for heart rhythm, monitor blood oxygen levels, and track fitness across a wide range of workout types. Only multisport watches that track metrics in running, cycling, and adventure sports track more metrics.
Excellent haptic vibrations, a larger and better always-on screen, ECG, excellent health tracking, excellent activity tracking, 50m water resistance, solid battery, long software support, recycled aluminum
Pricey, only works with an iPhone, sleep tracking is still lacking, blood oxygen data isn’t particularly useful, no third-party watch faces, and it’s not a significant upgrade.