Google and Samsung’s combined might is still not on par with Apple.
The Apple Watch occupies a cult-like status among iPhone users, and I didn’t understand why this was the case until I started using the Apple Watch Series 6 last year. But once I did, it was immediately clear why the smartwatch was so popular; it had features I actually wanted to use, the hardware was gorgeous, and watchOS was cohesive in a way that Wear OS and Tizen never were.
Simply put, the Apple Watch is in a league of its own. Because of its dominant lead in this segment, Apple hasn’t changed much with this year’s Apple Watch Series 7: the screen is larger and has thinner bezels, there’s IP6X dust resistance, and faster charging. You still get ECG and blood oxygen monitoring, all the workout modes you need, a bright OLED panel, and all-day battery life with wireless charging.
Samsung and Google redoubled their efforts with Wear OS 3, combining their strengths to create a unified smartwatch platform. While the resultant Galaxy Watch 4 is the best Android smartwatch you can get today, it still doesn’t manage to feel quite as well-rounded as the Series 7. So if you’re looking for a high-end smartwatch that has all the health and activity monitoring features you need, the Apple Watch Series 7 is the obvious choice, with the same caveat as last year — it doesn’t work with an Android phone.
Apple Watch Series 7 review:
- Price and availability
- Hardware and battery life
- The competition
- Should you buy?
Apple Watch Series 7
Bottom line: The Apple Watch Series 7 doesn’t change too much from its predecessor, and that’s not a bad thing. You’re still getting a gorgeous design — now with thinner bezels and a larger screen — a host of sensors for health and activity monitoring, and useful software features. For day-to-day use, there really isn’t anything better.
- Sleek new design with larger screen
- Class-leading health monitoring features
- Easy-to-use software
- Bright OLED panel
- Blood oxygen monitoring and ECG
- Still doesn’t work with Android phones
- No Qi charging
- Sleep tracking isn’t as good as Fitbit
From $399 at Apple
From $399 at Best Buy
From ₹40,900 at Apple India
Apple Watch Series 7 Price and availability
The Apple Watch Series 7 was introduced alongside the iPhone 13 series, and is now available globally. You can pick it up with an aluminum, stainless steel, or titanium case, and this year it is available in 41mm and 45mm sizes.
The Apple Watch Series 7 is available in two variants: a GPS-only model or a version with GPS + Cellular connectivity. Based on case materials, sizing options, and bands, you can pick up the Series 7 for as low as $399 — same as last year — or go all the way up to $1,759 for the 41mm stainless steel case with Hermès signature Gourmette Double Tour band.
The standard 41mm aluminum model with a Sport Band, Sport Loop, or Solo Loop costs $399, with the 45mm variant debuting at $429. That’s for the GPS-only model; if you want built-in cellular connectivity, you’ll need to pay another $100, so that’s $499 for the 41mm and $529 for 45mm.
Over in the UK, the 41mm aluminum option starts off at £369 ($500), with the cellular model going up to £469 ($635). The 45mm variant is £399 ($540), and you’ll have to pay £499 ($676) for cellular connectivity. In India, the 41mm aluminum variant starts off at ₹41,900 ($565), and the cellular option is ₹50,900 ($686). The 45mm model is ₹44,900 ($605), and the cellular variant (the one I’m using) is ₹53,900 ($726).
Apple Watch Series 7 Design
With the Apple Watch Series 7, Apple has focused its attention on the bezels. Although the smartwatch is nearly identical in size to its predecessor — it’s now sold in 41mm and 45mm models versus 40mm and 44mm — you get a screen that’s 10% bigger, and this is down to the thin bezels. That’s evident once you start using the Series 7; there’s just a little bit more screen real estate, and that’s always a good thing on a smartwatch.
You’re getting the same great design here, and the thin bezels means the screen is 10% larger than before.
The thinner bezels means the screen now extends over the edges a little, with the glass curving along the sides. The larger screen and thinner bezels are the biggest differentiator here, but from a design point of view the Apple Watch Series 7 doesn’t look any different to its predecessor.
Both share a similar aesthetic, and you can even use existing bands with the Apple Watch Series 7 without any issues. The only external difference other than the thin bezels is the speaker grille; instead of a split design, it’s now a single unit. You’ll find the crown on the right, the power button just underneath, and a bevy of sensors at the back.
The Series 7 even shares the same dimensions, with just the screen size changing this time around. It is also slightly heavier, but not noticeably so. As for the case materials, you get the same set of options as last year; the Series 7 is available in aluminum, stainless steel, and titanium. The aluminum option is what most users will end up buying, and you can pick it up in Starlight, Midnight, Green, Blue, and Red color variants.
I’m using the 45mm green model with a matching Sport Band, and it looks quite elegant. The band itself is similar to previous iterations, and it is comfortable for all-day use, including workouts. You can switch out bands fairly easily, and there are hundreds of options available from Apple and third-party manufacturers.
While there isn’t a drastic change in the design from previous years, the thinner bezels and larger screen does make a difference in day-to-day use. The overall aesthetic is refined, you get plenty of options when it comes to aftermarket bands, and the fit and finish is among the best in this category.
Apple Watch Series 7 Hardware and battery life
The Apple Watch Series 7 comes with a 1.90-inch LTPO OLED screen with a resolution of 484 x 396. The overall brightness goes up to 1000nits, and the screen is just as vibrant and detailed as last year. Unlike iPhones, you get an always-on mode with the Series 7, with the screen dimming marginally to preserve battery life. The aluminum model gets Ion-X protection for the glass layer, and Apple notes that it is more shatter-resistant than previous generations.
The Series 7 is IP6X dust resistant, with all the health-monitoring features you want.
Other upgrades include IP6X dust resistance, which makes the Series 7 weather the elements a little better. You also get 50m water resistance that allows the smartwatch to track water-based activities, and it has exercise modes for swimming.
As for monitoring, the Series 7 has a lot to offer; there’s ECG and blood oxygen (SpO2) monitoring, and it has a third-generation optical heart sensor with 24/7 heart rate monitoring. The always-on altimeter that debuted last year is here as well, along with fall detection.
The Apple Watch Series 7 is among the best in its segment when it comes to health and activity monitoring, delivering useful insights, challenges that you can undertake with your friends, and a lot more. For blood oxygen and heart rate monitoring, the smartwatch takes readings throughout the day, and you can view the data from the Health app on your iPhone. You can also manually measure your blood oxygen level and take an ECG by pressing your finger to the digital crown, with the readings stored on your phone.
A differentiator for the Apple Watch Series 7 is the S7 system-in-package. Just like how the A15 Bionic gives the iPhone 13 series an edge over its Android rivals, the S7 does the same for the Series 7. In day-to-day use, there is no difference to the S6 on the Series 6 from last year; and looking at the hardware itself, I don’t see any difference in the performance side of things.
That said, the Series 7 is fast and fluid in daily use, and I didn’t see any slowdowns in the month I used the smartwatch. The S7 has a W3 wireless chip with dual-band Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 5.0, and a U1 chip for ultra wide-band connectivity.
As for battery life, I averaged a day and a half worth of use out of the Series 7, and even though the smartwatch has a marginally bigger battery at 309mAh, there wasn’t any tangible gain over last year. The bigger deal is faster charging; Apple says that the updated charging architecture allows the Series 7 to go from zero to 80% in just 45 minutes.
However, I didn’t see a noticeable difference in charging times, with the Series 7 taking roughly the same time as its predecessor. This year’s iPhones stood out because of the sheer gains in battery life, but you don’t get that with the Series 7. Yes, it lasts a little longer than the Series 6, but you still don’t get two-day battery life with the always-on mode enabled.
Apple Watch Series 7 Software
The Apple Watch Series 7 comes with watchOS 8 out of the box, and a key difference this year is that the UI elements are bigger to take full advantage of the increased screen real estate.
WatchOS 8 delivers a wearable interface that is packed with useful features.
For me, the best part of using the Series 7 is the activity rings; when setting up the smartwatch, you can set goals for exercise, calories, and activity, and you can see the progress throughout the course of the day. The gamification element gives me added motivation to close the rings, and the challenges are fun to do as well.
The Series 7 has the best watch faces of any smartwatch, with a diverse set of options that cater to a mainstream audience. While you can’t install third-party faces, there is plenty of customizability on offer with the default watch faces, and you can use your own photos if you want.
Another area where watchOS wins out is third-party apps, with all popular services accounted for. It also does a great job with notifications and calls, and as I used the cellular-enabled version, I was able to pair my iPhone 13 Pro Max’s data line with the smartwatch with relative ease. The few calls I made using the Series 7 were passable, and while the quality isn’t nearly as good as using your phone, it works adequately well.
The one area where the Series 7 doesn’t measure up is sleep tracking. I wanted to see better insights in watchOS 8, but that isn’t the case; it is still pretty limited in this regard next to its rivals. You only get to see amount of time slept and the respiratory rate, with no statistics on sleep phases or overall quality of sleep. Xiaomi’s entry-level Mi Band 6 delivers more insights in this area, and I don’t understand why Apple continues to ignore building out sleep tracking.
Apple Watch Series 7 The competition
The obvious challenger to the Apple Watch Series 7 is Samsung’s Galaxy Watch 4. Samsung’s exclusivity with Wear OS 3 means this is the only smartwatch series to run Google’s latest wearable OS at the moment, and that attracts a premium. The hardware itself is fantastic, you get ECG as well as blood pressure and blood oxygen monitoring, and you get tight integration with Samsung phones. The downside is that most of the health-tracking features are limited to Samsung phones, so if you’re using a phone from a different manufacturer, you miss out.
If you need a smartwatch that pairs well with all Android phones, your best option is the TicWatch E3. It has a good design, plenty of useful features geared at activity and health monitoring, and at $200 it offers good value.
Apple Watch Series 7 Should you buy it?
You should buy this if …
- You want a high-end smartwatch with a gorgeous design
- You need a large OLED screen that gets bright outdoors
- You need integration with your favorite services
- You want best-in-class activity and health monitoring
You shouldn’t buy this if…
- You use an Android phone
- You need multi-day battery life
Most of what I wrote for the Apple Watch Series 6 review holds up for the Series 7. At a fundamental level, not much has changed; the innards are effectively identical, there aren’t any new groundbreaking software features, and the battery life is no different. The thinner bezels and larger screen are nice, but the biggest issue from the Series 6 is here as well — you can’t use the Apple Watch with an Android phone. So if you like what this smartwatch has to offer, you will need to buy an iPhone.
out of 5
Google and Samsung are trying to change the Wear OS narrative with the new-look platform, but for now, the only hardware that’s running the new software is the Galaxy Watch 4. I’ve never been a fan of Samsung’s wearable hardware — instead preferring Wear OS smartwatches from Mobvoi, Fossil, and Skagen — so I’ll reserve judgement on Wear OS 3 until it shows up on a non-Samsung device.
But for now, if you want the best smartwatch money can buy and you’re willing to use an iPhone, the Apple Watch Series 7 is the obvious choice. That said, there isn’t a whole lot that’s new here, so if you want to save some cash, a better deal would be the Series 6. Considering the lack of any marquee additions this year, your best option is to pick up the Apple Watch Series 6 while it’s still on shelves.
Apple Watch Series 7
Bottom line: The Apple Watch Series 7 continues to be the default choice for iPhone owners looking for the latest smartwatch for health and activity monitoring. The new design with thinner bezels and larger screen is a great addition, but if you’re using the Series 6, there’s not enough here to justify an upgrade. But if you’re on the Apple Watch Series 4 or older, you will love all the new features.
From $399 at Apple
From $399 at Best Buy