Apple Watch Series 7 review: Bigger and smarter than ever
It's all about a larger display, so large that it flows around the edges -- Apple has adamantly highlighted this point in all its marketing materials for the Apple Watch Series 7. Is that enough for the discerning smartwatch buyer? Maybe! Maybe not! All I know is that this is “the new” Apple Watch and it's supposed to be better than the Watch Series 6, which had defined benchmarks for smartwatches last year.
Starting at INR 41,900 for the 41mm version and INR 44,900 for the 45mm version, you are venturing into the luxury watch territory; more so if you choose the Stainless Steel or Titanium variants. This should then be perfect in all ways, right?
Apple Watch Series 7 Design
The Apple Watch has remained largely the same since the Series 4 redesign and this year is no different. Excluding the larger display, this is still the same iconic Apple Watch with the rotating crown and the usual curvy exteriors. Next to a Fossil Gen 6, the more expensive Watch Series 7 looks utilitarian, even in the fancy Starlight colour.
And as always with all previous Apple Watch models, the Watch Series 7 is supremely comfortable on the wrists. Whether I was working out or wearing it to sleep, the Watch Series 7 was happily sitting around. For more comfort, I recommend getting the Watch Series 7 with the Sport Loop.
Apple Watch Series 7 Smart bits
A larger display on a wearable is always a good thing and the Apple Watch benefits a lot with minor increase in its display dimensions. The display now stretches to the absolute edges, where it curves towards the edges similar to the countless high-end Android phones these days. It is certainly an eye candy.
However, there's more to it than simple aesthetic gains. The watchOS 8 interface expands accordingly to fit in more text and more of everything. Hence, menus have larger touch targets and bigger buttons. Apple has even given it a QWERTY keyboard for replying to texts, which is insane but works as advertised -- it is joyous to type your reply on the move. Just don't make a typo as editing a text is painful. Or, just use the voice dictation, if possible.
Rest of the stuff is the same Apple Watch stuff we have grown to admire over the years. It still functions great as an extension to the iPhone: you can read most app notification content and reply to messages with emojis, texts and even Memojis. LTE or Wi-Fi only, it is easy to take calls on it and none of my callers ever complained of the voice quality. I was even able to play Apple Music libraries directly to my AirPods.
There are a lot of first-party Apple apps and services to play with (Walkie Talkie is my favorite one to embarrass my friend at work). However, you can install third-party apps from the App Store if the standard health suite isn't enough. The performance is buttery smooth; the new S7 chip doesn't have massive performance gains to offer but keeps everything fluid and eager.
Most importantly, the Watch faces are fun to tinker. The Series 7 exclusive faces look pretty but aren't as functional as the Meridian watch face.
Apple Watch Series 7 Health bits
The Apple Watch has always been advertised as a fitness companion rather than a tracker. Thanks to a uniform watchOS experience, you get the same workout modes as all other Watch models. The Series 7 has some of the best sensors to utilise these modes and return near accurate workout data. I mostly used the Outdoor Walking workout to track my evening strolls and it measured the distances with pinpoint accuracy.
The health monitoring features work pleasantly. The Blood Oxygen saturation monitoring has so far returned reliable data, comparable to an actual SpO2 monitoring device. The ECG function works as advertised but I could not compare it with a medical grade equivalent. Note that these monitoring systems are just for a rough idea and even Apple recommends not relying on this data for medical diagnosis.
And this uncertainty shows in a lot of conditions. The Series 7, like all previous watches, keeps showing that I achieved my Stand goals, even though I spent most of the day sitting at work. Sleep monitoring data is fairly representative of my sleep hours but a INR 13,999 Amazfit GTS 3, which is essentially a clone of the Series 7, offers more useful insight into my sleep.
Apple Watch Series 7 Battery life
The Series 7 has made no gains in battery life over the Series 6. Hence, if your daily watch usage involves an hour of some sort of fitness workout and all-day connectivity with the iPhone (including taking calls and replying to texts), you have to put it on the charger before hitting the bed.
And you certainly should do an overnight charge. The Apple Watch Series 7 does not get the faster charging in India owing to government regulations on wireless charging speeds. Hence, it takes forever for the Series 7 to get ready.
No smartwatch is perfect and the Apple Watch Series 7 is no exception; the battery stamina is still inadequate, the charging more painfully so, and some of its health monitoring systems need strengthening. However, the Series 7 nails the smartwatch experience like nothing else in the market. Be it a Fossil or a Samsung watch, nothing comes close to the Series 7. If you have an unrestrained budget and an iPhone, this is for you.
Should existing Apple Watch buyers upgrade to the Series 7? It depends. If you are on a Series 3, the Series 7 will feel like a generational leap. For those on the Series 4, Series 5 and Series 6, you still don't have a good enough excuse for the Series 7. Even Watch SE owners aren't missing out on anything crucial, unless that ECG and Blood Oxygen saturation monitoring is important to you.
- Smartwatch experience
- Lots of health monitoring systems
- Battery life
Health trackingSpO2, ECG, Heart rate, Workouts
Display41mm/44m Always On OLED