Courtesy : Lisa Eadicicco
The Apple Watch Series 7 feels more like the “Apple Watch 6S,” but it’s a big leap if you have an older watch.
A new design with a bigger screen
The Apple Watch Series 7 stands out for its bigger screen, despite the fact that progress in the tech industry is usually synonymous with making gadgets smaller, lighter and more compact. Apple’s latest smartwatch was announced at September’s iPhone 13 event and launches on Friday, Oct. 15, starting at a price of $399. It comes with a new screen that has about 20% more screen area than the Series 6’s and more than 50% compared to the Series 3’s. The Series 7’s roomier display also means it’s the first to come with a QWERTY keyboard and other characteristics that make better use of that extra real estate, such as bigger buttons in apps like Calculator and Alarms.
This really came in handy when I attended a close friend’s wedding recently as a bridesmaid. There were several occasions in which I needed to coordinate with other wedding party members but didn’t have my phone nearby. Instead of running down the hallway in my heels to grab my phone from the bridal suite, I sent a quick message to my husband that said “Come down to the lobby,” when I had some down time between photo shoots.
The Apple Watch finally gets its first real keyboard
However, the new QWERTY keyboard is the real reason you’ll benefit from the Series 7’s larger screen. In apps like Messages or Mail, simply tap the message field when creating a new text or email to pull up the keyboard. If you don’t see the keyboard right away, you can use the arrow at the bottom of the screen to switch between the keyboard option or Scribble, which lets you trace individual letters with your finger.
The keyboard’s autocorrect functionality works surprisingly well, which is important on such a tiny keyboard where it’s difficult to be precise. I was impressed by the way it often correctly completed my words before I had finished typing, even when I was typing something very specific like a friend’s name.
It’s great to finally have a native text input method on the Apple Watch that’s feasible for typing out full words and sentences, unlike the Scribble feature. That being said, if you’re typing anything more than a short phrase like “Meet me downstairs,” or “Don’t forget the milk,” it’s best to use your phone.
New watch faces show how the bigger screen can be useful, but there should have been more
Watch faces are a big part of the Apple Watch experience since it’s the screen you look at the most. With that in mind, it’s no surprise that Apple has added new watch faces designed specifically for the Series 7’s bigger display. There’s the Modular Duo face, which is the first to have two large-format complications for displaying information and Contour, a face featuring numerals that bleed over the Series 7’s curved edges.
The Series 7 feels more like a refined version of a watch we already love — the Series 6 — rather than a major upgrade. And since it’s the same price as its predecessor, the Series 7 is a promising option for first-time Apple Watch buyers or those upgrading from an older watch.
Faster charging but the same battery life
When it comes to battery life, there’s good news and bad news. The good news is that the Series 7 can charge considerably faster than the Series 6, which is useful if you use the watch for sleep tracking or simply forget to charge it overnight. The bad news: The Series 7’s battery life hasn’t improved compared to the Series 6.
Let’s start with the good. Apple says the new watch should charge up to 33% faster than its predecessor thanks to changes made to the watch’s internals and a new charger that comes in the box.
I found this to be accurate during my testing, but only when charging the watch for at least a half hour. After 30 minutes of charging, the Apple Watch Series 7’s battery jumped from zero to 54%, while the Series 6’s only replenished by 37% in the same time period. For consistency, I used the same charger for both watches.
APPLE WATCH SERIES 7 VS. SERIES 6
|Apple Watch Series 7||Apple Watch Series 6|
|Display||Always-on Retina display with nearly 20% more screen area than Series 6||Always-on Retina display|
|Display resolution||352 x 430 (41mm), 396 x 484 (45mm)||324 x 394 (40mm); 368 x 448 (44mm)|
|Durability||Water resistance; IP6X dust resistance||Water resistance|
|Sensors||Blood oxygen, electrical heart, third-gen optical heart, compass, always-on altimeter, fall detection, accelerometer, gyroscope, GPS/GNSS, ambient light||Blood oxygen, electrical heart, third-gen optical heart, compass, always-on altimeter, fall detection, accelerometer, gyroscope, GPS/GNSS, ambient light|
|Colors and finishes||Aluminum: midnight, starlight, green, blue red; stainless steel: silver, graphite, gold; titanium: natural, space black||Aluminum: silver, space gray, gold, blue, red; stainless steel: silver, graphite, gold; titanium: natural, space black|
|Battery Life||Up to 18 hours with 33% faster charging than Series 6||Up to 18 hours|
|Connectivity||Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 5.0, W3 wireless chip, U1 chip, emergency SOS, international emergency calling, optional LTE||Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 5.0, W3 wireless chip, U1 chip, emergency SOS, international emergency calling, optional LTE|