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Apple Watch Series 7 vs Series 8: Should you upgrade?

Is a new temperature sensor and a refreshed chip enough?
By
September 8, 2022
An image of the Apple Watch Series 7 on a wrist showing the Contour watch face always-on display
Jimmy Westenberg / Android Authority

The Apple Watch Ultra stole the spotlight at its late 2022 launch event, but the mainstream Apple Watch Series 8 is better suited for most users. As such, the vanilla Apple Watch line will likely continue to be a very popular option, and thankfully it gets a handful of new hardware and software features over the Watch Series 7, like a new temperature sensor and crash detection. But is that enough to justify an upgrade if you already have its predecessor? Here’s a look at the Apple Watch Series 7 vs Series 8!

Design

apple watch series 8 2
Apple

The Apple Watch Series 8 and Series 7 look identical. It’s the exact same build and design, down to the dimensions and weight. There’s no design refinement, shaved millimeters, or different curves and angles to distinguish between the two. While both come in aluminum and stainless steel, the Series 8 misses out on the Titanium build available with the Series 7, with Apple saving the premium material for its new Watch Ultra.

Of course, the same design isn’t necessarily a bad thing. There’s only so much you can do with a smartwatch. And unless Apple suddenly decides to buck the trend and switch to a circular dial, sticking with what works isn’t a bad idea. If you do upgrade from the Series 7 to the Series 8, you’ll be able to use the same watch bands and cases without any problems, which wouldn’t be possible if Apple had shaved even a few millimeters here and there.

The Apple Watch Series 7 showing the Mindfulness app Reflect feature
Jimmy Westenberg / Android Authority

Like the Series 7, the Apple Watch Series 8 has a thick front crystal display that makes it more resistant to cracks. You’ll also get an IP6X rating for dust resistance and a WR50 water resistance rating that makes the watches swim-friendly.

Features

apple watch series 8 4
Apple
Apple Watch Series 8

Both the Apple Watch Series 7 and Series 8 come with blood oxygen monitoring and an ECG app. The new temperature sensor and the upgraded chip — now the Apple S8 SoC over the Series 7’s S7 chip — are the only notable hardware additions to the Series 8. Its primary purpose is to help with more accurate cycle tracking for those who menstruate when combined with the heart rate data and logged period data. For everyone else, the watch will also track your temperature while you sleep, with significant fluctuations a decent indicator of some health problems.

The other feature Apple talked about a lot is Crash Detection, which is coming to all new iPhones and Apple Watches this year. Of course, as Apple said during the presentation, this is a feature you’ll hopefully never have to use. But if you are unfortunately ever in a severe car crash, the Apple Watch will automatically connect you with emergency services, provide them with your location, and notify your emergency contacts.

An image of the Apple Watch Series 7 on a wrist showing the ECG electrocardiogram app
Jimmy Westenberg / Android Authority

The Series 8 comes with watchOS 9 and all its new software features. You’ll now get better sleep tracking with information about sleep stages, AFib (atrial fibrillation) history, medication reminders, and prescription management. Fitness enthusiasts will enjoy improved run and swim tracking, a new multi-sport mode, and the availability of more on-screen metrics with the upgraded Fitness app.

And there’s also a new QWERTY keyboard, plenty of new watch faces, and improved Calendar and Reminders apps, to name a few of the many changes coming with the latest Apple Watch software. Of course, the Series 7 will also be updated to watchOS 9, so most of these features won’t be exclusive to the Series 8 for long.

watchOS 9's new low-power mode might be the most useful addition on the Series 8, but it'll also come to Series 7 with updates.

The most helpful addition to both smartwatches might be the upcoming Low-Power battery mode, which will nearly double the watch’s battery life. The battery life of the Series 7 isn’t outstanding, and the Series 8 is rated the same, with an expected 18 hours of battery life. With the new battery mode, you can make the watch last for as long as 36 hours instead. Of course, it will cut off access to the most valuable features, so it’s not really something you can always use. It will help keep the watch alive if you’re out and about without the option to charge it, though.

Will you upgrade to the Apple Watch Series 8?

384 votes

Price and colors

apple watch series 8 3
Apple
  • Apple Watch Series 7 (41mm): $399
  • Apple Watch Series 7 (45mm): $429
  • Apple Watch Series 7 (41mm LTE): $499
  • Apple Watch Series 7 (45mm LTE): $529
  • Apple Watch Series 8 (41mm): $399
  • Apple Watch Series 8 (45mm): $429
  • Apple Watch Series 8 (41mm LTE): $499
  • Apple Watch Series 8 (45mm LTE): $529

The Apple Watch Series 7 and Series 8 have the same launch price. Both start at $399 for the smaller version of the watch without cellular connectivity. Upgrading to the larger size adds $30 to the price, while data connectivity will set you back an additional $100.

There are more similarities when we look at the colorways. With the aluminum build, you’ll get Midnight, Starlight, and Product Red with both watches. The Series 7 has green and blue as extra options, while the Series 8 introduces a new silver colorway. You’ll get graphite, silver, and gold with the stainless steel version with both series. The Series 7 also has a titanium build option in silver and black.

Save some money: The best smartwatch deals

Specs

Apple Watch Series 7Apple Watch Series 8
Display
Apple Watch Series 7
LTPO OLED Retina
396 x 484 pixels (45mm)
352 x 430 pixels (41mm)
Always-on display
Apple Watch Series 8
LTPO OLED Retina
396 x 484 pixels (45mm)
352 x 430 pixels (41 mm)
Always-on display
Dimensions and weight
Apple Watch Series 7
45mm:
45 x 38 x 10.7mm
Aluminum: 38.8g
Stainless steel: 51.5g
Titanium: 45.1g

41mm:
41 x 35 x 10.7mm
Aluminum: 32g
Stainless steel: 42.3g
Titanium: 37g
Apple Watch Series 8
45mm:
45 x 38 x 10.7mm
Aluminum: 38.8g
Stainless steel: 51.5g

41mm:
41 x 35 x 10.7mm
Aluminum: 32g
Stainless steel: 42.3g
Durability
Apple Watch Series 7
WR50
IP6X-certified
Apple Watch Series 8
WR50
IP6X-certified
SoC
Apple Watch Series 7
Apple S7 with 64-bit dual-core processor
Apple W3
Apple U1 chip (Ultra-wideband)
Apple Watch Series 8
Apple S8 with 64-bit dual-core processor
Apple W3
Apple U1 chip (Ultra-wideband)
RAM
Apple Watch Series 7
1GB
Apple Watch Series 8
1GB
Storage
Apple Watch Series 7
32GB
Apple Watch Series 8
32GB
Battery
Apple Watch Series 7
18 hours
45 min to 80% charge

USB-C magnetic fast charging cable
Apple Watch Series 8
18 hours
45 min to 80% charge

USB-C magnetic fast charging cable
Software
Apple Watch Series 7
WatchOS 8.1
Apple Watch Series 8
WatchOS 9
Case materials and colors
Apple Watch Series 7
GPS-only, GPS + Cellular
Aluminum: Midnight, Starlight, Green, Blue, Product Red

GPS + Cellular
Stainless steel: Graphite, Silver, Gold
Titanium: Space black, Titanium

Apple Watch Series 8
GPS-only, GPS + Cellular
Aluminum: Midnight, Starlight, Silver, Product Red

GPS + Cellular
Stainless steel: Graphite, Silver, Gold
Connectivity
Apple Watch Series 7
GPS/GNSS
GLONASS
Galileo
QZSS
BeiDou
Wi-Fi 802.11b/g/n 2.4GHz and 5GHz
Bluetooth 5.0

Model A2475 (41mm)
Model A2477(45mm)
LTE bands: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 12, 13, 14, 17, 18, 19, 25, 26, 39, 40, 41, 66
Apple Watch Series 8
GPS/GNSS
GLONASS
Galileo
QZSS
BeiDou
Wi-Fi 802.11b/g/n 2.4GHz and 5GHz
Bluetooth 5.0

Model A2475 (41mm)
Model A2477(45mm)
LTE bands: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 12, 13, 14, 17, 18, 19, 25, 26, 39, 40, 41, 66
Sensors
Apple Watch Series 7
Always-on altimeter
Blood oxygen sensor
ECG
Third-generation optical heart sensor
Accelerometer
Gyroscope
Ambient light sensor
Apple Watch Series 8
Always-on altimeter
Blood oxygen sensor
ECG
Third-generation optical heart sensor
Temperature sensor
Accelerometer
Gyroscope
Ambient light sensor
Compatibility
Apple Watch Series 7
iOS 15 or later
Apple Watch Series 8
iOS 15 or later

Apple Watch Series 7 vs Series 8: Should you upgrade?

An image of the Apple Watch Series 7 on a wrist showing the Contour watch face always-on display
Jimmy Westenberg / Android Authority

If you already have the Apple Watch Series 7, there’s no reason to upgrade to the Series 8. Unless the temperature sensor is a must-have for your specific needs (or you’d feel safer knowing it has Crash Detection), both watches are so similar that you don’t really lose out by skipping a generation. You get the exact same design and build quality, and Apple’s S7 silicon is already plenty capable. The battery life should be the same, and the feature set is largely similar. The Series 7 will also get the upgrade to Watch OS 9, so even the software experience will be the same. If you already have a Series 7, Apple does offer ~$150 if you trade it in for the Series 8, but even that might not be enough to make it worth the extra spend.

The Series 8 is Apple's best non-Ultra watch, but there's very little reason to upgrade from the Series 7.

Of course, if you’ve got an older Apple Watch or are jumping into Apple’s wearables ecosystem for the first time, it’s perfectly understandable to pick the Series 8 over the Series 7. The additions are minor, but you’re still getting Apple’s best smartwatch that isn’t the super-pricey Apple Watch Ultra. However, if you do want to save some cash, the Series 7 is still a great buy. Apple doesn’t sell the Series 7 directly anymore, but it’s available at a discounted price on Amazon and Walmart. Otherwise, the value-focused Watch SE 2 is great for anyone on a budget.

Anyone that doesn’t have an iPhone will obviously want to look elsewhere as both the Series 7 and Series 8 are incompatible with Android phones. There are many great Apple Watch alternatives out there to choose from.

Apple Watch Series 7
Apple Watch Series 7
Bigger Retina display
Durable, premium design
Accurate GPS tracking
Great software and app support
Apple Watch Series 8 (Wi-Fi)
Apple Watch Series 8 (Wi-Fi)
Temperature sensor
Fall detector
Low power mode