Afraid you’ll stop reading this review after the first paragraph: if you have an Apple smartwatch on your wrist purchased in the last two or three years, you probably don’t need to upgrade to the Apple Watch Series 7. I’d say the Series 4, Series 5 or Series 6, for the time being, are more than enough. In fact, if you were expecting a major new feature in this new generation, there isn’t one. The Apple Watch Series 7 offers a reduced list of improvements – if we compare it to previous generations – and I would say that it is, above all, focused on new users who have never owned a smartwatch or who have not renewed in the last four or five years. Everything I discuss in my in-depth review of the Apple Watch Series 6 is valid for the Apple Watch Series 7, including sensors, functions, processor speed, water resistance and autonomy. But 2020 also mentioned something similar. Although there were some very particular improvements, most of the functions we already found in the Series 5. But that doesn’t mean that the Apple Watch Series 7 is not worth it, that it is not good smartwatch or not a great product; in fact it is. It is the best smartwatch on the market, by far. Nothing comes close, not in features, design, build quality or integration with its ecosystem. The device is in a separate galaxy when we make comparisons with its competition. That said, the Series 7 does offer two subtle improvements: a screen an inch larger – and a bit brighter in standby mode – and fast charging under certain conditions.
Apple Watch Series 7: 40 to 41 millimeters, 44 to 45 millimeters
The Apple Watch Series 7 features a slightly larger display than its predecessor. The small version goes from 40 to 41 millimeters and the large version from 44 to 45 millimeters. If you upgrade from a previous design, the difference will not be very significant. If you come from the Apple Watch Series 2 or Series 3, instead, you will notice a major change because those units had 38 and 42 millimeter screens. If you come from any other smartwatch, you will find a device that takes advantage of every pixel of its graphical interface. In fact, it is now large enough to display a full-screen keyboard – something that could not be done on previous models – and certain buttons are slightly larger. To achieve this, they have reduced the size of the edges by 40%. This makes the screen 20% larger with that extra millimeter (diagonal) and up to 50% larger than a Series 3. In addition, the active area of the display reaches all the way to the edges. With one of the new spheres, called Contour, the new display is fully utilized. And not only is it beautiful from an aesthetic point of view, but because of the position of the elements and the way the light refracts on the edges, it creates a curious effect that blurs the border and separation between the case and the screen. Finally, the screen does have a bit more brightness, but only in standby mode (mode always-on), that is when you are not actively looking at or using the device. It’s a welcome improvement, but after a few days of use, it doesn’t make a big difference compared to the Series 6. With the active display of the Series 5, the change is bigger, as the brightness was significantly lower on this model.
Faster charging, but not more autonomy
The second major improvement of the Apple Watch Series 7 comes from the battery. The autonomy does not change. In fact, the total battery life remains the same as previous models: 18 hours (unchanged from the Series 3). What it does offer is a fast charge that is 33% faster than previous models. In fact, it is capable of charging the equivalent of eight hours of battery life in eight minutes, which is great for using it at night to measure sleep. Apple’s recommendation is to leave it on its charger for a few minutes before putting it back on and going to sleep. However, to get fast charging you must meet some conditions:
- You must use the new USB-C charger that comes in the box of the Apple Watch Series 7
- You must use it with an adapter of at least 5W.
- The device must have less than 80% battery.
Faster charging is always good, but the reality is that we are at a point where I would like to have an Apple Watch with real autonomy of at least two days. I also think it’s about time the company allowed the device to be used with any wireless charger under the Qi standard.
Apple Watch Series 7: the good, even better
The few times in the year that I forget to put on my Apple Watch before I leave the house I feel naked. It’s a good way to understand how important the device has become in my day-to-day life. It doesn’t get as much attention as a smartphone, but its usefulness, importance and practicality ceased to be in doubt long ago. Apple has been making relatively minor iterations with the product for three years now. The last major design change we saw in with the Series 4 in 2018. That doesn’t mean the Apple Watch Series 7 is a bad device; in fact, it’s the best in its category. What was already very good, they’ve made it even better. In fact, its biggest competitors are the Apple Watch Series 6, Series 5 or Series 4. It’s the best problem any company could dream of: dominating the market like that and knowing that the challenge to beat is themselves. It’s also a dangerous situation. In the absence of competition, there is perhaps a certain level of complacency and the pace of innovation is not necessarily going to go as fast as we would like. That said: it’s easy to ask for new designs or batteries with more capacity, but the complexity behind getting more autonomy behind such a small product is immense. My recommendation is: if you bought an Apple Watch in the last three years, I think there’s no need to renew. I also believe that annual device replacement cycles are not entirely healthy for the environment, and are not necessary. If you are coming from older devices, other brands competing with Apple, or have never used a product like this, the Apple Watch Series 7 is the best smartwatch you could buy today. Point.
Where to buy the Apple Watch Series 7?
The Apple Watch Series 7 is now on sale in two sizes, 41 millimeters and 45 millimeters, with three different materials aluminum, stainless steel and titanium, in ten different colors. In the case of the aluminum case, available in green, blue, red (PRODUCT)RED, star white and midnight. The stainless steel case is available in gold, silver and graphite. Finally, the natural titanium case is available in space gray. In all cases the back is ceramic and sapphire glass. In addition, Apple offers a wide range of straps in different colors and materials that give a lot of play and help to use the Watch in different situations. From its own sports straps or those designed by Nike, to straps for very formal occasions in leather or stainless steel and a series designed by Hermès.