Apple Watch Series 7: Incremental upgrades or much more than that?

You shouldn’t be surprised if incremental upgrades are all you find in the Apple Watch Series 7, because that’s just the direction the Apple Watch embarked on a few years ago
Is the Apple Watch Series 7 just an incremental upgrade or way more than that? (Supplied photo/ Apple)
Is the Apple Watch Series 7 just an incremental upgrade or way more than that? (Supplied photo/ Apple)
Published on Nov 11, 2021 05:19 PM IST
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The Apple Watch, now with its seventh edition, holds the answers to a lot of questions that your current Apple Watch poses. The answers that will define whether you need to splurge on this newest Apple Watch or hold on to what you have.

You shouldn’t be surprised if incremental upgrades are all you find, because that’s just the direction the Apple Watch embarked on a few years ago. Simply push the benchmark further in the smartwatch business. Yet, it isn’t easy to spot that for both screen size options, the Apple Watch Series 7 gets a slightly larger display.

It isn’t to say there’s nothing new. The Apple Watch Series 7 not only gets a larger footprint and bigger display across both variants, but also faster charging. Now you will choose between 41mm and 45mm sizes, instead of 40mm and 44mm.

New colours as well, including Blue, Green and Midnight, joining the graphite, space black, (PRODUCT)RED and Gold you’d be familiar with. The range is massive - there are at least 15 basic variants to pick from, in each size, and that’s before you potentially tweak the strap options.

The aluminum case options are available with prices starting 41,900 for 41mm and 44,900 for 45mm sizes. The stainless-steel case options are priced 69,900 onwards. The Apple Watch Series 7 Edition with the Titanium cases are priced 83,900 onwards.

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There is no redesign in the truest sense for the Apple Watch Series 7, which is also in a way dictated by the massive ecosystem of straps and third-party accessories that have been tuned accordingly to the largely similar Apple Watch designs over the years.

All that’s happened on the design front is that the new Apple Watch has grown up. The display is now 20% larger than before - it is 1.9-inches instead of 1.78-inches and 1.69-inches instead of 1.57-inches, with an increase in the number of pixels as well.

Look back at the Apple Watch Series 6 or earlier, and they start to feel a bit small. Simply put, that’s a necessary upgrade and well done.

Apple has given the new watch dialed up robustness, too. The crystal later that sits at the front, above the display and gently curves down, is 50% thicker than in the Apple Watch Series 6 and has a flatter base underneath to reduce chances of cracking.

That should add some more strength against accidental scrapes and potentially should have that little bit extra protection in case of a fall - though the results will depend a lot on your luck as well the angle at which the watch falls. The Apple Watch Series 7 also ticks off the water and dust resistance requirements.

There’s a lot that’s not changed with the new Apple Watch Series 7. The larger displays continue to be rich, bright and very usable even under bright sunlight. The health sensors and the tracking remain at par with the Apple Watch Series 6, which includes electrocardiogram (EKG) and blood oxygen readings.

The fitness tracking apps offer a similarly wide presets list of exercise routines. Breathe reminders, nudges to get you to get up and walk periodically and ambient noise detection were useful before and continue to be as useful and usable now.

Not much has changed on the battery front - the battery size itself is slightly bigger, offset by the larger display that must be illuminated. It doesn’t mean the Apple Watch lasts any longer than a day on a single charge, for most intents and purposes.

The upgrade is the faster charging, which is up to 33% faster than before. If you use the Apple Watch for sleep tracking, this should be handy to juice up the battery in the short window before you head to work in the morning. That said, the Apple Watch still needs its own charger (it is now an upgraded one with the USB connector at one end) and will not work with any other Qi standard compatible wireless chargers.

It is always good to have more pixels and width on any display you are looking at. The Apple Watch’s larger screen real estate would make you want to use the Contour and Modular Duo watch faces - the former in particular, which is taking full advantage of the extra pixels in play here.

A lot has changed on the software front with watchOS 8 - an updated Photos app, a Mindfulness app that adds a Reflect tool and a more capable timers app. The other Apple Watch generations will also get watchOS 8, but not all features will make it there.

At its very core, the Apple Watch remains a familiar proposition. For iPhone users, and there is no surprise in saying this, no smartwatch comes close. For Android phone users, they can only still look on with a mix of emotions. The Apple Watch Series 7 is adding on incrementally over the Apple Watch Series 6.

If you already have the previous generation, there really isn’t any need to rush and buy this one just yet.

But for any Apple Watch users who’ve had something older than that, the Apple Watch Series 7 is a definite upgrade.


    Vishal Mathur is Technology Editor for Hindustan Times. When not making sense of technology, he often searches for an elusive analog space in a digital world.

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