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Apple Watch Series 7, Review

by Juan Cienfuegos 8 months ago in product review
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Here is the new Apple Watch Series 7, with a bigger screen, and with improved fast charging.

The definition of the Apple Watch has been changing. Towards the years passing it is becoming a mostly health device. Right now it can do futuristic things that we watched on Inspector Gadget or Get Smart. But just one thing… the future is now. The last Series 6 model can already do: an electrocardiogram or measure oxygen in the blood, just by putting on the watch on the wrist.

Again, science fiction in other times.

By the way, whoever wears an Apple Watch on their wrist today may agree that it is almost as essential to wear it as it is to carry your iPhone.

The complete makeover I think was with the transition from Apple Watch Series 3 to Apple Watch Series 4. Apple defined that year what it wanted the Apple Watch to be, and for this, it began taking maximum care of something that is the most important part of the device - its screen.

One of the most important changes of that generation that was complemented by an always-on display, in Apple Watch Series 5 and a key sensor in Apple's commitment to health: making an electrocardiogram directly on your wrist, without any sensor.

The Apple Watch Series 6, surprised me with an even more advanced sensor: the measurement of blood oxygen. The Series 6 was the crowning glory of the success of the device that combined lifestyle, technology, sport, and certain health uses - in a design that seemed to evolve in the right direction.

The next logical step then would be to evolve the screen. For months, rumors even brought us a new square shape - kind of the ones we have today with iPhone 12 or iPhone 13.

When Apple introduced it to us on the last keynote, we discovered how the current rounded shape was still present - of course, with a larger screen (approximately 20% than the Series 6 or SE) and with the peace of mind that this design continues to maintain compatibility with all the straps we already have from previous models.

Apple's main idea is to improve the user experience with a more comfortable screen. The difference in screen size is very evident from the first time you wear the watch on your wrist.

This reduction in the edge that embraces the viewing area and the increase by almost 20% of its size is more than appearance: indeed, the interaction with the watch is much better.

A Much Better Screen Touch… And Watch ;)

The company wanted to provide more information with a bigger screen by gaining more space to show complications, in this Series 7 we have two new spheres that make the most of the content. The first of them, and one of those that define this generation, called "contour", take the hours of the dial to the very margins of the screen, and may even be visible even if we have the watch completely tilted.

Apple has redesigned how it builds the LTPO OLED screen that integrates the new Apple Watch Series 7. This new screen in this generation is manufactured in a single piece, reducing the edges that anchor this panel with the glass piece of the screen. The improvement in the panel is also complemented by a change in this front glass, which now has a flat base in thicker and more resistant glass (You know… I didn't want to make that test)

The screen is not only larger, but it is also more comfortable to use on a daily basis thanks to its more rounded edges. By the way, I've noticed something curious: the edges not as straight as in the slightly more curved Series 6 are much more comfortable to move the screen from side to side, swiping notifications from top to bottom, or with the control center.

Let's talk about another feature of this device: the improvement in front resistance. According to Apple, is achieved because they have manufactured the hardest front glass so far.

Obviously, in the use of everyday life, I have not noticed anything, neither in tactile experience nor of any other type - although, again, I haven't scratched in any way.

This may also be due to the new certification that is another feature of this generation, the IP6X: the highest protection that can be found on the market against dust, complete protection, against solid objects around more than 1mm in diameter.

Of course, when you are going to buy it one thing to keep in mind: the screen in the Ion-X glass aluminum models, but in the stainless steel and titanium models it is made of sapphire crystal, even more resistant, although all models have the same certification.

The enlargement of the screen is noticeable on the wrist much more than we could imagine looking at photos or videos of the presentation, especially if we have already worn a previous model on it. Not only is it because of the 20% magnification compared to Series 6, but the new curved edges of the screen also seem to expand the space even more and make it very comfortable to consult when looking at it from virtually any angle. Whether we are playing sports, our arm at rest on a table, or while I am writing this text, the screen looks perfectly without looking at the clock directly.

This screen stands out as I mentioned before with the "contour" sphere, but it also gives us an idea of the magnitude of the new screen with the other exclusive dial of the Series 7, "modular Duo" - which allows adding two large horizontal complications, in addition to a small and time, on the same screen. The rest of the spheres also stand out in the largest space, whether we use any of our favorite images or use any sphere with many complications: now it is obviously easier to see everything and the accessible areas of the screen are much more comfortable.

The new operating system also helps optimize this space: watchOS 8 for Apple Watch Series 7 is designed to take more advantage of on-screen space in messages, apps such as the calculator, contacts, or even with a full-screen keyboard to be able to write any message directly with our fingers (something that is exclusive also in this new Series 7).

Even the introduction of the numerical code - if we have it - is more comfortable as it is the largest key. In general, the feeling of the larger screen is comfort and apparently, it seems that we wear a larger watch than it physically is, where it hardly differs in terms of the size of the Series 6 or SE.

Apple also indicates that the new screen always on is up to 70% brighter indoors, which helps to consult it more discreetly without having to move your arm. In all these days of testing, in this regard, I have noticed any improvement, although I have never noticed a brightness as much as 70% more powerful: the screen looks perfectly in screen mode at rest - whose frequency drops to 1Hz - and better colors and some contrast are appreciated compared to Series 6. The screen at rest is perfectly consultable in virtually any situation, and it helps a lot from improving the angle due to the new screen with rounded edges, of course.

On a daily basis, the new on-screen improvement of the Apple Watch Series 7 improves the experience and interaction with it giving the feeling of a new generation even if the form factor continues to be kept. The first hours of use surprise when looking at the watch when we are not yet used to the new space on the wrist, with an appearance of spaciousness and ease of use to which we get used right away. So much so that if we return to a Series 6, the funny thing is the feeling of a much smaller screen than the one we were using until now.

The Powerful Heart of Apple Watch Series 7

For this generation, Apple has kept in potential what we already knew in Series 6. This new watch has an updated processor that they have called Chip S7, but which is essentially an S6 with a redesign of the physical architecture to fit into the new body of the watch, which maintains practically identical levels of power from the user's perspective. Actually, the S7 does have some improvement over its predecessor, but this extra increase uses it only to contain energy consumption and that the new larger screen does not ballast the whole in the battery.

In this sense, the battery is very similar to the Series 6 and I have not noticed any marked variation compared to the previous generation: even with the largest screen, the watch arrives comfortably at the end of the day with a very good percentage.

But there is a new change in the Apple Watch that in my opinion, is almost as important as if we had a better battery: fast charging capacity. If we want to use the Series 7 as a sleep monitor, we can use the new fast charger included and in 10 minutes the watch will be charged enough to monitor our sleep throughout the night (about 8 hours). We can also charge it while taking a shower and it will last all day.

By the way, the new charger finally has USB-C [Thank God!] and maintains the magnetic induction charging system that we already know,

This new charger can also charge any other Apple Watch to date.

Charging times have improved a lot and allow you to have the operating watch practically 30 minutes if we use the Apple USB-C 20W charger with which I have done the following battery tests: Charge in 30 min, from 0% you will get 56%. And if you charge it in 1 hour, from 0% you will get 91%

As you can see, we can perfectly charge the watch while we have breakfast at home or taking a shower, even having forgotten to charge it overnight (or after using it as a sleep monitor), and we will have it almost completely operational when we leave home. This improvement also has a lot to do with how the Series 6 and Series 7 manages the energy in the device itself, improving even the 18 hours on average offered by Apple itself at theoretical levels.

The Expanded Apple Watch Experience

The new Apple Watch Series 7 can be considered a bigger update (never better said) of the Apple Watch Series 6, especially for those who come from previous generations, which will have the ECM sensors or the blood oxygen sensor, and a new screen and comfortable physical design in daily use.

If you have a Series 6, you can skip Series 7. Unless you want a bigger screen.

The star color of this generation is undoubted "midnight", a sober and elegant green very similar to the one we saw with iPhone 11 Pro. In-person, this green on the body of the watch is very discreet and can even look darker if the light does not hit it directly (it is the analysis model you see in these photographs).

The rest of the colors, such as star white, blue or red, will only be available in aluminum. In stainless steel, there is a slightly more striking variation of the gold color, and in titanium, you will only find space black and a more natural white color with fewer reflections. In any case, the quality of the materials is highlighted with the new colors and the construction is solid, as always.

You can find them for $399 the model without cellular connectivity, which is available in any model for $100 more. For those of us who can no longer leave home without an Apple Watch on our wrist, this update puts on the table a generation essentially improved in the watchkeeping everything we were already looking for on Apple devices - bigger and more resistant than ever.

product review

About the author

Juan Cienfuegos

Not your typical Engineer. Founder of Apple Newsweek.

Host of The Outer Spacer Show at Twitter Space.

Read my columns every Friday at: https://juansc.substack.com/welcome

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