Apple Watch 7 review: The most usable smartwatch yet

The Apple Watch 7’s larger screen makes it the most practical model of this smartwatch. We’re not saying this just because we love the QWERTY keyboard.

For

Larger display

Brighter always-on mode

QWERTY keyboard

Comes with a USB-C Charger

For

No other health features

Still 18-hour battery life

A completely iPhone-free Apple Watch experience will not be possible, but it is possible. The Apple Watch 7’s slimmer bezels, larger displays, and more usability make it the most versatile standalone smartwatch.

Apple’s latest smartwatch is essentially an incremental upgrade to its Apple Watch 6 and has the same battery life of 18 hours, the same CPU, and no new features. The enlarged display is a game-changer and makes it difficult for users to return to earlier-generation models. The Series 7’s large-screen display allows for wearable computing in more everyday applications. It makes it easier to work remotely from your wrist.

Apple Watch 7 specs

Prices starting at$399

Sizes: 41mm, 45mm

Chipset: S7

Storage32GB

Connectivity: Cellular (optional,) Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, U1

Durability: IPX6

Waterproof up to 50 meters

SensorsHeart Rate, ECG and SpO2

The Apple Watch 7 is a customized version of watchOS 8. It features a full QWERTY keyboard as well as larger calculator buttons. While these features are not essential, they are still welcome.

This Apple Watch 7 Review covers all the important changes to make it the best smartwatch. Our Apple Watch 7 tips & guides for how to use it are available here.

Apple Watch 7 prices and availability

The Apple Watch 7 is now available and costs $399 for the 41mm version. $429 starts at $429 for the larger 45mm model. For cellular service, which allows your Apple Watch or iPhone to communicate with your iPhone wirelessly, you will need to pay $499 for the 41mm model and $529 for your 45mm model.

The price of stainless steel cases starts at $699 while titanium cases start at around $799

Black Friday Apple Watch sales may result in discounts on Apple Watch’s latest smartwatch. We saw some savings on the Series 6 last Christmas, even though it wasn’t much.

Apple Watch 7: Design Review

Apple Watch 7 represents the product’s first significant redesign since its predecessor, the Apple Watch 4. While it’s not a major design change, the Apple Watch 7’s iconic curved spiral squircle still holds strong. However, Apple wanted a softer overall look for its smartwatch.

First, the corners of the Series 6 are slightly wider than Series 7. The display also fits more easily into the chassis than the Series 6. The adjustments are subtle and I would not have noticed them if I hadn’t compared the Apple Watch 7, vs. Apple Watch 6, side-by-side. Even though the Apple Watch 7 is larger (41mm and45mm), it doesn’t appear bigger. Have you ever used a micrometer to measure your pulse?

The Apple Watch 7 colors can be used to help distinguish the Series 7 and Series 6 models. I’m testing out the Green model. Midnight is dark with a subtle hint of blue. Starlight is a spectacular combination of silver, gold, and copper. Apple’s last year offered Red and Blue, but the colors are slightly brighter. For more neutral metals, choose stainless steel or titanium. It doesn’t bother us, but we have every right to be picky about the look of what we wear every day.

The Apple Watch 7 maintains the same swim-proof rating (up to 50 meters) as its predecessors and has now been granted an IP6X certification to resist dust. I hope this is useful in the kitchen. Since I’ve been trying my hand at pasta-making, flour seems to be everywhere. Alternated geometry should make the Apple Watch less susceptible to cracking, making it safer for use while doing sports.

Display review of Apple Watch 7:

Yes, the display has a bigger size, and it’s better. I will be buried on this hill. With an ever-growing screen, the smartwatch becomes a mini iPhone that you can wear on your wrist. The Apple Watch 7 display has a display that is almost 20% larger and 50% larger than its Series 6 counterpart. The border of the display is 40% thinner than it was before.

The display sizes for the Apple Watch 3 vs. the Apple Watch SE (center), vs. the Apple Watch 7 are shown below. (Image credit: Apple)

The screen is curved in such a way that it’s easier to read and the edges of the UI are visible from sides. The Pour-over effect isn’t as prominent as the promo videos make it out to be, but it’s evident with the new Contour face. The watchOS 8 sections will cover more details.

Apple Watch Series 7 (left), display in Always-On mode. Apple Watch Series 6 (right), display in Always-On mode. (Image credit: Future)

The Apple Watch 7 also has 70% brighter always-on mode, thanks to its smaller bezels. You won’t notice any difference when your face is in direct sunlight. This is similar to what we saw with the Apple Watch 6 and Apple Watch 5. Instead, your screen should appear more easily if your wrist isn’t raised. I was able to see a big difference with the Series 6.

Apple Watch 7 review – watchOS 8

Apple’s watches used the same watchOS in the past. However, there were some apps that were only available for certain models. Apple Watch 7 has no new sensors so the company changed watchOS 8 to accommodate a larger screen. WatchOS 8, which adds to existing features like cycle tracking and sleep monitoring (which is why it’s one the best smartwatches designed for women), calendar alerts, weather notifications, and Find My App for Apple Watch, has some special tricks for the Series 7.

It’s mostly the exact same UI as I’ve used for months with some tweaks. Buttons are larger everywhere, from the control center to the calculator app. HomeKit and other apps have clever animations. I love the larger Apple Maps UI. This allows you to see nearby landmarks easier.

The QWERTY keyboard comes next. For literally years I have wanted an Apple Watch keyboard. It was even the thing I wanted the Apple Watch 7 to steal from my Galaxy Watch 4, so I am thrilled that it has come true. It also means I won’t be able to return to an older Apple Watch.

Since taking out the Apple Watch 7, I’ve been texting constantly from my watch. However, I prefer to swipe the words and not tap out individual characters. Both methods work well. My mom, who can’t text without typing mistakes on her iPhone (sorry for this if it is visible), could manage coherent messages even using the Apple Watch 7 Keyboard.

I have mentioned the Contour Face in the display section. It’s beautiful, but difficult to read. Modular Duo is my preferred watch face. This allows you to have two large complications at once. The large display’s Portrait and World Clock faces, which are Apple Watch 7-specific, complement the large display. I was happy with the Galaxy Watch 4’s combination of faces. However, the Apple Watch 7 would have offered me a greater customization option.

Apple Watch 7 review – Health and fitness features

Is it strange that the Apple Watch 7 doesn’t have new wellness features at a time when so many people are concerned about their health? Absolutely. The Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 broke new ground in body composition analysis. But the best Fitbit watches still offer holistic wellness tools. The Apple Watch may fall behind the rest by skipping a health upgrade.

The Apple Watch, despite its shortcomings, is still a reliable running watch and a great fitness tracker. It tracks your heart rate and counts your steps. It has been updated with Tai Chi and automatic outdoor biking tracking. This allows it to detect when you’ve taken to the bike and can even enable a workout. The cycling algorithm has been updated to incorporate metrics for electric bikes, which are much easier to use than regular bikes.

While the Apple Watch is my preferred device for fitness tracking I occasionally use another fitness tracker. This allows me to compare metrics and access to other tools, which makes the Apple Watch a great alternative. Garmin watches and Fitbit watches are equipped with features such as guided exercise and native Tabata times.

When I was out and about, the Apple Watch made it easy to see all my metrics. Because I do a lot with heart rate-based training, it is important to be able to view heart rates zones at all times.

Apple Watch 7 review: Battery Life

Apple Watch Series 7 batteries can last as long as two days, provided you don’t disable popular features. Instead, the 18-hour Battery Life was checked with daily activity monitoring, always-on display, and a couple of phone calls answered from my wrist.

The Apple Watch 7 is 33% faster to charge than the Apple Watch 6 when it’s plugged in with the Magnetic-to-USB-C charger included in the box. The Apple Watch 7 doesn’t have a wall adapter. However, I found that the Apple Watch 6 charged just as quickly when it was charged using the USB-C cord. I’ve been documenting charging tests on the href=”https://www.tiktok.com/@tomsguide? If you don’t have an account on Tom’s Guide TikTok, you should.

I charge my Apple Watch only for short periods of energy throughout the day. This means I am less worried about running out of juice. I can expect to have eight hours of Apple Watch sleeping tracking in 8 minutes. I guess this accessory for the Apple Watch that costs $10 is no longer necessary to extend my battery life.

Apple Watch 7 review: Verdict

With smartphones, we saw it happen. The displays got smaller and the bezels shrank until we had giant phones and phablets. The Apple Watch’s larger screen makes it easy to believe that the Apple Watch is on a similar path of independence. While the smartwatch is already an extension for your iPhone on your wrists, it’s clearly capable to be more than an accessory.

It’s the perfect smartwatch option for anyone with an iPhone. The keyboard really does make a difference. If there is ever a time when you can fully recommend adding Cellular Support to your smartwatch it is now.

If you’re trying to decide between Apple’s $279 midrange watch and the latest-generation smartwatches, it’s worth checking out the Apple Watch 7’s vs. Apple Watch SE. If you’re looking for a cheap smartwatch, here’s a list.

 

Kate Kozuch works as a senior writer for Tom’s Guide. Her topics include TVs, smart-home products, and wearables. When she isn’t in Cyborg Mode, you will find her riding a bicycle or cooking with celebrity chefs. She and her robot army will rule the world one day, but until then, reach her at [email protected].

 

 

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