Apple Watch Series 8 vs Apple Watch Series 7: key differences

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Apple Watch Series 8 vs Apple Watch Series 7


It's been almost a year since Apple launched the Watch Series 8. We are now preparing for a launch of an Apple Watch Series 9, but judging by the evolution so far — it may not be a huge upgrade.

Indeed, we are looking at how the current latest Series 8 compares to the Apple Watch Series 7. It adds a temperature sensor, which doesn't really measure your temperature on demand, and Crash Detection, which turned out to be a major headache for the first months of its existence were basically the main "upgrades".

The good news is that we will be getting an improved quality-of-life with watchOS 10, but that's coming for both the Series 8 and Series 7 (actually, all the way back to Series 4). As it stands, both watches have been updated to watchOS 9 and are ready for the new build, probably coming in late September.

Mostly, the Apple Watch Series 8 is a Series 7 version 1.1. Though, its underwhelming entry made enough room for the brand-new Apple Watch Ultra to make a splash. In any case, let's go deep with the Apple Watch Series 8 vs Series 7 and explore the differences:

Apple Watch Series 8 (GPS, 45mm): save at Amazon

You can get the new Apple Watch Series 8 from Amazon. The smartwatch now comes with a tempting 17% discount. Keep in mind not all color variations arrive at a lower price at the retailer.

Apple Watch Series 8 at Walmart

Walmart also has the Apple Watch Series 8 available right now. Get the 41mm GPS version for just $324.99 instead of $379. You can save as much as 14% right now.
$324 99
Buy at Walmart

Apple Watch 7 45mm: get at Amazon

The Apple Watch 7 is available at Amazon. Keep in mind that the wearable isn't currently offered with a discount at the merchant.

Get a refurbished Apple Watch Series 7 (GPS+Cellular 41mm) at Amazon

A refurbished version of the Apple Watch Series 7 is currently available with a discount at Amazon. The device with GPS and cellular connectivity can be yours with a 13% discount.

But, when we go back to the mainstream models — is it worth getting the Apple Watch 8 over the Watch 7? We will break down their differences here:

Apple Watch Series 8 vs Apple Watch Series 7 in a nutshell:
  • Watch 8 adds a new body temperature sensor for ovulation reporting and improved period prediction
  • Watch 8 comes with new hardware to enable a new car crash detection feature

Table of Contents:

Design and Display 

Same story on the outside

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It's no secret that we've been hearing rumors of a major redesign for the Watch Series 8, but it looks like this year is not the year Apple's going to radially rework the appearance of its wearable. The Watch 8's exterior is basically the same as that of its predecessor. It comes with the same lovely pebble-like shape with soft curves and decidedly unisex style.

There is, however, a bit of a shakeup in the color selection for the Watch Series 8. Here is a detailed breakdown of all the colors:

Watch Series 7
  • Midnight (aluminum)
  • Starlight (aluminum)
  • Blue (aluminum)
  • Red (aluminum)
  • Green (aluminum)
  • Silver (stainless steel)
  • Gold (stainless steel)
  • Graphite (stainless steel)

Watch Series 8
  • Starlight (aluminum)
  • Midnight (aluminum)
  • Silver (aluminum)
  • Red (aluminum)
  • Silver (stainless steel)
  • Graphite (stainless steel)
  • Gold (stainless steel)

As you can see, we're losing the blue and green aluminum options, and instead we're getting a new Silver aluminum case with the Watch 8, making for what is arguably a slightly more mature colorway.

The Watch 8 keeps the bigger display the Watch 7 introduced: this screen has about 20% larger screen area than the Apple Watch Series 6. The larger screen makes engaging with the Apple Watch more enjoyable, because everything is easier to see. It's simpler to text on the keyboard or to swiftly check your metrics. Furthermore, the Always-On display is brighter than on the Apple Watch 6, but the overall brightness has not changed by much.

Both the Watch 8 and Watch 7 come with 41mm and 45mm case sizes, so you can choose the right fit for your wrist. Apple is also reusing the Apple Watch 7's strong and crack-resistant crystal on the front on the Apple Watch 8 as well. IP6X dust protection was a new feature of the Apple Watch Series 7, and naturally, we're grateful that it's found on the Series 8. The WR50 swim-proof resistance is definitely staying as well.

Battery Life and Charging

No differences expected

In terms of battery life, we get the same comfortable day-and-a-half performance from the Apple Watch Series 8 as we did from the Series 7. What's different this year around is that, with watchOS 9, we also get a Low Power mode for the watches. But — you guessed it — the Series 7 gets that feature as well. So, nothing's better, nothing's worse.

We also get the fast charging that was introduced with the Series 7. Charging fully takes up an hour and 20 minutes, some 33% less time than the Apple Watch Series 6. Meanwhile, 30 minutes on the puck gets you 50% of charge on the Apple Watch 7, which is also much faster than on previous Apple Watch iterations. The same fast-charging capabilities are present on the Watch 8.

Software and features

The Apple Watch Series 8 and Apple Watch Series 7 both support watchOS 9 — the former ships with it, the latter needs a quick update. Some of the highlights are a bunch of fun new watchfaces, namely Astronomy face, Lunar Calendar, Playtime, and Metropolitan, as well as some additional functionality features. We finally get fleshed-out Sleep Stage tracking, instead of the basic "Hey, this is how long you were in bed for", there's atrial fibrillation (AFib) history now, and there's more accurate women's health tracking.

The latter is limited to the Series 8 — thanks to a new sensor, it can track basal body temperature and report ovulation periods (post-factum), thus also be a bit more accurate with cycle tracking. 

Another exclusive feature to the Series 8 is Crash Detection — thanks to a new 3-axis gyroscope inside, it can react when you get bumped from the front, back, side, or are in a rollover crash. The Watch Series 8 will then start a countdown and contact emergency responders if you are in no condition to cancel the call. This feature is also available on the newest iPhone 14 series, even without a Watch on your wrist.

Those things aside, the Apple Watch 8 has the same biometric sensors that the Apple Watch Series 7 and Series 6 had in tow. This means that they all track your Blood Oxygen (SpO2), your heart rate, elevation, sleep, and have an ECG feature. The Apple Watch 8 definitely retains all these but we didn't get the rumored blood glucose sensor or a blood pressure sensor.

In other words — the Series 7 will give you almost all features that the Series 8 brings.

Summary and verdict

The Apple Watch Series 8 is a great evolution of what the Series 7 had to offer, but you shouldn't really be feeling a massive urge to run down to the Apple Store and upgrade. The Apple Watch Series 7 — or even the Series 6 — is still great in performance, looks, and features. They are even all powered by the same processor on the inside.

In terms of price, the Apple Watch Series 8 retains the $399 starting price for the 41 mm model. All the different variants cost as much as the corresponding Series 7 models. This is great news, as many expected Apple to undertake significant price hikes in 2022. Here is a break down of the Watch Series 8 prices:

  • Watch Series 8 aluminum 41mm GPS: starts at $399
  • Watch Series 8 aluminum 45mm GPS: starts at $429
  • Watch Series 8 aluminum 41mm GPS + cellular: starts at $499
  • Watch Series 8 aluminum 45mm GPS + cellular: starts at $529
  • Watch Series 8 stainless steel 41mm GPS + cellular: starts at $799
  • Watch Series 8 stainless steel 45mm GPS + cellular: starts at $849

If you need more help deciding exactly which Apple Watch is the right one for you, we do have an Apple Watch buyer's guide.

If you decide to go ahead with the Watch Series 8, despite the inevitable Watch 7 deals that we'll no doubt see here and there over the following months (especially come Black Friday), it's already up for sale. Maybe taking a gander at our Apple Watch Series 8 deals page might be worth it — we keep this one fresh with all the new offers from various retailers.

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