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Apple Watch Series 7 Review: A Subtle, Brilliant And Essential Update. Apple Watch midnight green

Apple Watch Series 7 Review: A Subtle, Brilliant And Essential Update

Opinions expressed by Forbes Contributors are their own.

The new Apple Watch is here—on pre-order now and on sale on Friday, October 15. When it arrived, it surprised a lot of people who’d been expecting a much-rumored new design with flat edges to match the iPhone 12 and iPhone 13 look. But what appeared was much more similar to last year’s model—and much better-looking than the rumors.

apple, watch, series, review, subtle, brilliant

There are other new features, such as the promise of much greater durability as part of the modified design, much faster recharge thanks to an improved charging puck. And, above all, a display that’s almost 20% bigger than last year.

So, should you buy the Apple Watch Series 7? Or is the SE or Series 3 a better choice? I’ve been testing the new Watch for more than a week now, putting it through its paces for the authoritative review.

apple, watch, series, review, subtle, brilliant

Apple Watch Series 7 In a Nutshell

Apple Watch Series 7: Technical Specifications

Case size 41mm and 45mm | Price 41mm from 399, 45mm from 449 | Processor Apple S7 | Storage: 32GB | Memory: not stated | Battery: Up to 18 hours | Dimensions: 41mm: 40.9mm H x 34.8mm W x 10.7mm D; 45mm: 45.08mm H x 38.21 W x 10.7mm D | Weight 41mm aluminum 32g, 45mm aluminum 38.8g, 41mm stainless steel 42.3g, 45mm stainless steel 51.5G, 41mm titanium 37g, 45mm titanium 45.1g

Apple Watch Series 7 Design

This wasn’t the design that was expected but if you ask me, it’s much better. A gentle evolution of Apple Watch Series 6, which itself was near-identical to Series 4 and Series 5, this is only the third design in the history of Apple Watch. So, how is it different?

Where last year’s models were sized at 40mm and 44mm—which refers to the height of the case—the new Apple Watch comes in two different sizes, 41mm and 45mm. One measly millimeter, you say; how will that make a difference? Well, the interesting thing is that while it is completely imperceptible on the wrist both in terms of size and weight, the bigger display makes for quite a difference.

apple, watch, series, review, subtle, brilliant

The other changes in design are very subtle. The essence of design is preserved from the Series 6, but with smoother, more rounded corners that remains comfortable to the touch. The rounded corners make for a look that gently squeaks out into the corners like a paint overspill that reaches the furthest corners of the floor.

You can see the corners of the display from the most oblique of angles: Even almost side on, a twinkle of display is evident. The result is deeply effective, from a wider range of angles than before. And since this display moves more than any other, tipping as your wrist moves even slightly, that’s important.

Oh, and there are new colors this year. The five colors for the aluminum Apple Watch are: Midnight (black with a strong hint of deep indigo), Starlight (think silver with overtones of gold), Blue (a sultry shade), PRODUCT(RED) (less yellowy than last year’s) and Green.

apple, watch, series, review, subtle, brilliant

Green is one of the Hero colors this year, but it’s very subtle. In fact, in most lights you’d think you had a black Watch. But catch the light just right and you can see the deep, bottle-green hue shine out. It’s subtle but distinct—which is a good summary of this year’s design overall.

One other thing about this year’s refined design: It’s more durable than ever. The shape, combined with a thicker profile, makes for a more solid and stronger Watch. Apple says that it is up to 50% thicker than Series 6, which adds a lot more strength. But the new Watch’s display has a crystal top which is sturdier and more crack-resistant than before. If you’re active, sporty or just clumsy, this is the Apple Watch for you. As well as being water-resistant, this Watch is dust-resistant, too, with an IP6X rating, the first time an Apple timepiece has had such a rating.

One more thing: the new Apple Watch models are bigger than ever before but Apple has made sure that straps from previous models will fit this new Watch. Upgrading doesn’t mean ditching your collection of bands.

Apple Watch Series 7 Display

Ah, that display. At just one 1mm taller, you’d think there’d be no visible difference, but, oh, there really is. That’s because as well as a slightly bigger case, there are much thinner bezels around the display—40-percent thinner, in fact, which adds up to a display that’s almost a fifth bigger than on last year’s Watch.

apple, watch, series, review, subtle, brilliant

At first, I didn’t notice any difference, but the more I looked at the Watch, the more I saw just how much bigger familiar Watch faces looked. Everything was just that little bit more legible, a touch easier on the eye.

It’s brighter, too. The always-on display that arrived with Series 5 means you can sneak a glance at your wrist and see the time discreetly, but it wasn’t always bright enough to be easily seen. Now, it is. Even without waking the screen, you can see the display clearly indoors and pretty effectively outdoors in natural light.

The Watch looks almost the same as Series 6, but there’s a big difference in the display. It’s more inviting and immersive than ever.

Apple Watch Series 7 UI And Features

To make the most of the larger display, Apple has subtly changed how things work. So, not only can it display quite a lot more text at a time, which is handy for longer texts and emails, but it’s easier to tap buttons and keys and such.

apple, watch, series, review, subtle, brilliant

Then, there are all-new elements such as a QWERTY keyboard for text entry. I’ve tried these on other wearable devices and they stink. However, the bigger keys here and the brilliant detail that is QuickPath, where you swipe your finger along the keys and rely on word prediction, is highly effective. I found it was hard to see the message I’d just typed before I sent it, which was a pain, but otherwise this is a highly effective system.

There are no new health sensors this time around, so the enhanced user interface figures to be your main benefit for upgrading. Customization is also good as ever. New Watch faces include Contour, where the digits around the analog clock change shape and dominance according to the time. It’s the only Watch face where the red notification dot is pushed off center by the 12 at the top of the display.

apple, watch, series, review, subtle, brilliant

World Time ambitiously shows you what the time is all around the world simultaneously and, although it occasionally seems like information overload, it’s very effective. Though my top tip is: Memorize which countries you’re going to want to know about to make it easier to read quickly.

The third new Watch face is Modular Duo which has two big information areas. I prefer an analog face so I’ve used this digital one much less, but it certainly has a lot going on. For all that, I still find Infograph the best Apple Watch face ever.

Apple Watch Series 7 Performance

The new Apple Watch comes with the S7 chip. But even Apple admits that the performance level here is akin to that on Series 6. Does this matter? Definitely not. We are so used to the idea that there must be a significant uptick in performance that we sometimes forget that the real-world experience is really what’s paramount.

This Watch is fast and responsive with no lag. Ever. And that was true on the Series 6 as well, despite having the older chipset. It’s a highly effective Watch that’s easy to use and where everything works at speed, from opening apps to launching Apple Pay,

apple, watch, series, review, subtle, brilliant

The other main hardware upgrade, processor-wise, is the arrival of the U1 Ultra Wideband chip. We’re not sure what sort of plans Apple has for it down the line, but for now, it seems be used to turn the Watch into the car key you’re least likely to lose.

Meantime, the crowd-pleasing features of earlier Apple Watch models are all still here, such as blood oxygen monitoring from Series 6, and ECG and heart health notifications, for instance. There may not be new health metrics, but these remain key.

Apple Watch Series 7 Battery

The new Apple Watch has significantly enhanced charging capabilities, thanks to the new charging puck and USB-C cable supplied in the box. As with last year’s aluminum and stainless-steel Watches, there’s no power brick in the box, so you’ll need to bring your own. But the new puck is a third faster than Series 6, meaning that you can charge from flat to 80-percent in 45 minutes. Which means in practical terms that you need never charge your Watch overnight, just whack it on the charger first thing while you shower and breakfast, say.

And when you go to bed and want to use the Watch for sleep tracking, well, just eight minutes on the new puck delivers eight hours of sleep tracking. This is a major step forward, and you don’t need a highly powered charger to do it.

Of course, the Series 7 works on legacy pucks, and older Watches charge on the new one. But the combo of Series 7 and the new charging arrangement is unbeatable.

Should you upgrade from the Apple Watch Series 6?

In some ways, it’s tricky to answer that. Series 6 was so accomplished that you might want to wait another year before you change models. Except the new display is highly appealing and if durability is important, or the new charging features will make your life easier, then the Series 7 is a decent upgrade.

Which Apple Watch should you choose?

apple, watch, series, review, subtle, brilliant

It’s pretty straightforward. If you want the best health sensors then you shouldn’t look anywhere except Series 7. If that’s not your FOCUS then the Apple Watch SE could be enough. And if your budget is tight, the Apple Watch Series 3 is a great introduction to the best smartwatch in the world.

Is the Apple Watch Series 7 worth it?

Coming in at the same price as Series 6 but with significant updates, I’d say Series 7 is worth it. The screen increase may sound tiny but the more you look at it, the more intoxicating the bigger size becomes. That faster recharge is key if you like to wear your Watch at night, and overcomes all other battery issues.

And the durability, the improved interface and new elements like a QWERTY keyboard all contribute to a highly proficient and enjoyable new Watch. And that’s before we get to the cool new colors.

apple, watch, series, review, subtle, brilliant

Blue Aluminum Case with Sport Loop

Apple Watch Series 6 was already leagues ahead of rival smartwatches. This update leaves the competition panting to catch up.

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I’ve been writing about technology for two decades and am routinely struck by how the sector swings from startling innovation to persistent repetitiveness. My areas of specialty are wearable tech, cameras, home entertainment and mobile technology. I also work as an actor, enjoying equally the first Mission Impossible movie, a season at Shakespeare’s Globe and a part in the fourth series of The Crown.

I’ve written for the Daily Telegraph, the Sunday Times, the Daily Mail, the Sun, Metro, Stuff, T3.lint, Wareable.com and Wired. Right now most of my work away from Forbes appears in the Independent, the Evening Standard and Monocle Magazine. Follow me on Instagram: davidphelantech, or : @davidphelan2009.

Apple Watch Series 7 Review: Is Bigger Really Better?

apple, watch, series, review, subtle, brilliant

There are new aluminum colors for the Apple Watch Series 7. The casing has been altered ever so slightly. The top crystal is stronger than ever. All of these improvements, and others, are nice but pale in comparison to the one true new feature of the Apple Watch Series 7: a larger display screen.

While the most recent Apple Watches haven’t felt squeezed for space on the screen, the 396 x 484 pixels of the new model really demonstrates how luxurious it feels to have the most screen real estate possible. It’s a practical addition to the watch, too. Software buttons are more tappable. text fits on the screen and can be increased to a greater size. A whole QWERTY keyboard has even been added to Series 7 watches.

The improvement in screen size is so noticeable over the Series 3, and earlier Apple Watches, that it’s easy to be convinced to upgrade to the new watch. As I slipped on the new Series 7, I was curious as to how different it would feel from the previous, Series 6, model. Is this a compelling upgrade in general for people with newer Apple Watches?

Apple Watch Series 7 Size and Bands

I immediately noticed the larger screen when setting up the new watch. Creating a pass code shows off the bigger buttons that are possible. Even though the items on the screen got bigger, I didn’t notice any change in the physical size of the watch case. It’s there, it is ever so slightly bigger, but not enough to make a difference.

The Series 7 watch comes in 41 mm and 45 mm. These feel the same as the previous sizes. The biggest concern for sizing is around bands. In short, nothing has changed for the existing watch bands.

Despite an increase in the Series 7’s physical size, all previous Apple Watch bands will work with the new watch. For example, the smaller, 38 mm and 40 mm bands of the past models will both work with the new 41 mm watch, and the larger 42 mm and 44 mm bands of the past will work with the new 45 mm size.

Series 7 Colors

apple, watch, series, review, subtle, brilliant

There are no silver or black colors in the aluminum watches. This is disappointing at first glance. The standard silver, black or gold colors are only available across the stainless steel and titanium models. The most generic color choices for the entry level Apple Watch are now Starlight and Midnight. Starlight is a silvery gold, while Midnight is a blackish blue.

I have rocked back and forth between silver and black (or whatever the dark color choice has been called) over the years. I was initially planning on ordering the Series 7 watch in Starlight, but I have been really enjoying the Midnight color. Anyone who wants a black watch should pick Midnight. Yes, there is a faint hint of dark blue to it, but only at very rare instances in bright light. I would estimate that more than 99 percent of the time, I simply saw it as black.

apple, watch, series, review, subtle, brilliant

There are new colors choices in blue, green and (PRODUCT)RED. I haven’t seen these in person, and I can’t comment on those colors. I have a Starlight iPad mini, and I like that color, too, but it is slightly more opinionated in hue than Midnight.

Things That Are New on Series 7

The Apple Watch Series 7 charges faster now. (The charger is included in the box.) The watch will only take about 45 minutes to go from zero to 80 percent charged. It’s a feature that can come in handy but might not be useful every day. For example, despite usually doing 30 to 60 minutes of tracked exercise daily, I never need to charge my watch throughout the day. The faster-charging cable did not impact my overnight charging habits.

apple, watch, series, review, subtle, brilliant

This will come in handy are while traveling or for people who use the Apple Watch to do sleep tracking.

There are two new watch faces available on Series 7: Contour and Modular Duo. Both of these take advantage of the larger screen size. I initially assumed Contour was a visual gimmick, with the numbers squished against the outer edge, and it may well be one. But I have found it to be a pleasing watch face in practice and like it a lot.

The Modular Duo face stacks two of the largest complications on top of each other. I like the idea of this face, but I don’t have two large complications I want to use in this manner. Instead, six smaller complications might have been more useful. For what it’s worth, the Modular Duo does feel more cramped than any other watch face.

Another highlight of the new watch is its better brightness while not active. The time on the watch should be visible at a glance while it’s resting in place. It is brighter, it’s not a lie, but I didn’t find this to be as noticeable as I was expecting. Side by side, a comparison of Series 6 and Series 7 did not yield a shocking difference in stationary brightness, at least to my eyes.

apple, watch, series, review, subtle, brilliant

Should You Buy an Apple Watch Series 7?

A bigger screen is certainly better. (To that end, a brighter screen and faster charging are better, too.) The Apple Watch Series 7 is absolutely the best Apple Watch to date. It’s probably the best smartwatch ever. There’s no question that people coming to the device for the first time should pick one of the Series 7 models.

The question of upgrading is a stickier, tougher question to be definitive about. Anyone with a Series 3 watch, or earlier, wanting a new watch should upgrade to a Series 7. But, if you have an SE, Series 5 or Series 6 and can hold out another year, I would probably wait. The new screen size is great, and when you are ready to upgrade, it will be there waiting. I just didn’t notice the Series 7’s larger screen over my Series 6’s as much as I was expecting to. And since there are no new health sensors I can go an extra year without too much FOMO.

Newsweek may earn a commission from links on this page, but we only recommend products we back. We participate in various affiliate marketing programs, which means we may get paid commissions on editorially chosen products purchased through our links to retailer sites.

Every Apple Watch Series 7 Color Which You Should Buy

The Apple Watch Series 7 features a completely new look for the wearable. Along with rounder edges and bigger cases, it also comes in gorgeous colors.

apple, watch, series, review, subtle, brilliant

Apple has a striking wearable on its hands with the Apple Watch Series 7, and part of that is thanks to the handful of colors the smartwatch is available in. After using the Series 5 and Series 6 Apple Watches to introduce new features and health sensors, the main FOCUS of the Apple Watch Series 7 is its design. It has softer and more rounded corners, increases the case sizes to 41mm and 45mm, and brings larger displays to cram more information on the screen at once. If the last couple of years of Apple Watches have begun to feel aesthetically boring, the Apple Watch Series 7 is a pretty compelling upgrade.

While Apple hasn’t traditionally played around with exciting colors for the Apple Watch, that started to change in 2020. The Apple Watch Series 6 came in the same space gray, silver, and gold as previous Apple Watches, though it also introduced new blue and red options to the mix. As a wearable device that’s often seen as a fashion accessory, having multiple colors to choose from is a really nice touch. Thankfully, this is something that has continued with Series 7.

The Apple Watch Series 7 is available in five colors for the aluminum case: midnight, starlight, green, blue, and red. Each one can be paired with a variety of watch bands to further personalize their appearance, though the case color cannot be changed after purchase. All five colors are offered for both the 41mm and 45mm variants of the Apple Watch Series 7, which start at 399 and 429, respectively. Additionally, the stainless steel Apple Watch Series 7 comes in silver, graphite, and gold options.

Apple Watch Series 7 In Midnight

apple, watch, series, review, subtle, brilliant

Starting at the top of the list, midnight is the most subdued color. It’s darker than space gray and is reminiscent of a matte black. Some folks might find it a bit boring, but for anyone who wants their watch to be sleek and stealthy, midnight looks to be a fantastic option.

Apple Watch Series 7 In Starlight

apple, watch, series, review, subtle, brilliant

Starlight is the most neutral color and replaces the previous silver style. Compared to silver, starlight almost appears to be slightly tan. It doesn’t do anything to draw attention to itself, but again, that’s exactly what some people want from their Apple Watch.

Apple Watch Series 7 In Green

apple, watch, series, review, subtle, brilliant

If someone wants a bit of pizazz without going overboard, the green Apple Watch Series 7 could be a perfect middle ground. It’s a very dark green that could actually be mistaken for black at a glance. In fact, it’s pretty reminiscent of the green color Google used on the Pixel 5a last year.

Apple Watch Series 7 In Blue

apple, watch, series, review, subtle, brilliant

But what if that’s not quite colorful enough? Another option is the new blue color. It’s brighter than the blue Apple used for the Series 6 Apple Watch and thus sticks out a bit more. If someone’s bored with the midnight, starlight, and green colors, the blue Apple Watch Series 7 is a great choice.

Style guide: Choosing an Apple Watch 7 color and matching Band

apple, watch, series, review, subtle, brilliant

When I decided to get an Apple Watch I spent wayyy too long lamenting over what color watch to get. When you buy an Apple Watch you need to choose what color Watch to get as well as what kind of Band to get with it. You can of course replace the Band, but you’re locked into the color of the watch itself. This was my main hangup but after a lot of research, I finally was able to make a choice on what to get.

I recommend buying 3rd party bands for your second Band as they are much cheaper. You’ll want to take into consideration the type or types of bands that you will wear with it, and to be honest some watch combinations can completely clash! But before choosing a color watch let’s first try and narrow down the choices as much as we can.

apple, watch, series, review, subtle, brilliant

apple, watch, series, review, subtle, brilliant

Which size Watch should you get?

The watches are available in either 41mm or 45mm sizes (for 30 more). This translates to diagonal screen sizes of 1.69″ and 1.90″, respectively. I use the 45mm one and appreciate the larger screen, making it easier to see info at a glance. However, for those with smaller wrists, the larger watch might look kind of odd. For reference, I’m a 6ft tall man with average-sized hands and wrists. It’s also worth mentioning that when you buy a Band, it is designed for one size or the other, which usually means that the length of the Band is shorter or longer for the two sizes.

apple, watch, series, review, subtle, brilliant

Which case material to get?

The first thing you might notice is that the price range on Apple Watches varies wildly. This is due to the different materials available on the watch case itself, as well as the premium watch bands. Let’s start with cases: You can get three materials for the case:

  • Aluminum: starting at 399 – Green, blue, midnight, or starlight. Slightly matte
  • Stainless Steel: starting at 699 – Silver, gold, or graphite. Shiny
  • Titanium: starting at 799 – Space black titanium or natural titanium. Shiny

Now that you’ve seen the options, I want you to look at the pricing again in case you didn’t notice. Yes, stainless steel is 300 more and titanium is 400 more than aluminum. I honestly can’t think of a reason that this would be worthwhile, no matter how much you may like the looks of them. This is especially true for me since the aluminum cases look really good! Starlight looks great with gold negating the gold stainless option, and the midnight aluminum despite being a dark blue pairs really well with lots of stainless steel and darker metal bands.

apple, watch, series, review, subtle, brilliant

To drive this point further, an Apple Watch is not going to be collectible like a Rolex might. How much is your old iPhone 5s worth? This is strictly a depreciating asset, so adding cost to it isn’t the best use of money, especially since you will probably want a new one in a few years. If the idea of buying a new one every few/several years sounds stupid, get a non-smartwatch.

Now that this is settled, let’s talk about the aluminum case options. I think that the green and blue are interesting and definitely look nice with some specific colored bands. However, I find that those colors are less adaptable in terms of the ways you can make them look with different bands. I find the other options to look a little more mature; something that looks good in the office, with a suit, or just with a regular outfit for a night on the town.

I used Apple’s very helpful watch studio to experiment with different bands and watch colors below. They make it so that you can preview any watch type with all of their watch bands. This can give you a basic idea of how you want to style it, even though the bands are limited to only what Apple has. You should definitely play around with it if and see what you like.

Midnight

Midnight is actually a very dark blue, I think darker looking than you might gather when looking at photos online. In fact, I very rarely notice that it’s blue unless it is paired with specific bands. Midnight replaces the space gray that was on the Apple Watch 6, which initially I was disappointed with when I found out. However, I ended up getting it and I’ve been pleasantly surprised. Here are some examples from Apple:

Here’s what I think of midnight:

  • The dark color blends in well with the screen itself, much in the way that an iPhone screen blends in with the black bezel. This makes midnight a good option for those who want a sleek look.
  • It can be great for contrasting or similar colors. For instance, the dark blue of the case can look good with a tan Band, or instead just matching it with the same midnight color Band
  • It pairs well with dark metal bands. The blue matches great with dark silver or black metal bands. I wear mine frequently with a black stainless Band and it looks great.

apple, watch, series, review, subtle, brilliant

apple, watch, series, review, subtle, brilliant

apple, watch, series, review, subtle, brilliant

apple, watch, series, review, subtle, brilliant

apple, watch, series, review, subtle, brilliant

apple, watch, series, review, subtle, brilliant

apple, watch, series, review, subtle, brilliant

apple, watch, series, review, subtle, brilliant

apple, watch, series, review, subtle, brilliant

apple, watch, series, review, subtle, brilliant

apple, watch, series, review, subtle, brilliant

apple, watch, series, review, subtle, brilliant

All images gathered from Apple.com

Starlight

Starlight is a really interesting color, and I think more of a statement. It is a mix of silver and rose gold, and matches well with either of those colors or many others. I sometimes wish I bought this color!

Here’s what I think of starlight:

  • The light color makes it so that it does not have that blending of the case and screen I mentioned before
  • It looks really good with some darker colors. For instance, a blue Band helps bring out the subtle rose gold color which is a great combo.
  • It pairs well with gold metal bands. Unfortunately, I think it looks a little off with light silver bands, but it looks good with graphite-type colors.
  • Some say that this is a more feminine watch, but I find that ridiculous. It looks great on anyone and can really shine with the right Band!

apple, watch, series, review, subtle, brilliant

apple, watch, series, review, subtle, brilliant

apple, watch, series, review, subtle, brilliant

apple, watch, series, review, subtle, brilliant

apple, watch, series, review, subtle, brilliant

apple, watch, series, review, subtle, brilliant

apple, watch, series, review, subtle, brilliant

apple, watch, series, review, subtle, brilliant

apple, watch, series, review, subtle, brilliant

apple, watch, series, review, subtle, brilliant

apple, watch, series, review, subtle, brilliant

apple, watch, series, review, subtle, brilliant

All images gathered from Apple.com

What about the watch bands?

I think it’s best to pick the color case based on the different bands you could see yourself using with it in the future. Once you’ve decided which color case you want, you have to actually pick a Band to go with it.

All of the bands above were examples that only Apple offers. I did this because obviously if you’re buying a watch you need to choose a Band to go with it! But what about your second Band? This is where things can get fun, as 3rd party bands are much cheaper and there are tons of options. Plus, It’s always good to have multiple bands. For instance, I use my sport Band when doing outdoorsy things such as swimming or hiking. Then I use my cheap metal Band (which doesn’t look cheap) the rest of time.

If you’re buying an Apple Watch, don’t get an expensive Band to go with it. That means no metal or leather or anything like that. Much like how buying a stainless or titanium case, buying a leather or metal Band can add hundreds to your cost, so I don’t think it’s worth it. Get the best looking cheap Band, either a port loop or sport Band.

If you’re interested in the sport loop you might want to get that with your new watch, since the dupes of it aren’t as good as the sport Band dupes are.

Wrap-up

Buying an Apple Watch is a big investment, and when you buy something this expensive you don’t want to have regrets afterward. You also don’t want to get duped into spending lots of unnecessary extra money on status materials and bands, especially with much cheaper options available. Check out some of those cheaper bands on here to complete your watch and give you some options!

Author

Kerariel

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