We’re big fans of the Apple Watch and always have been. Ever since the first model launched back in 2014, we’ve had one strapped tightly on our wrists and despite a swathe of rivals – from the likes of Samsung, Huawei, and Fitbit – trying to steal its spot on our arm, this has remained our go-to wearable. Now a brand-new Apple Watch model is launching later this week, which gets a number of upgrades aimed at boosting the overall experience, but has Apple done enough to keep this tech-laden timepiece firmly in the top spot? Here’s our full Apple Watch Series 7 review.
First up, we need to address the design of this new Apple Watch. In the months ahead of launch, there were endless rumours and leaked images purporting to show a radical new look being tested by Apple for its next wearable. The rumoured redesign seemed to take inspiration from the latest iPhone, iPad Pro, and iMac – with sharper edges, flat sides, and a more industrial appearance. This design language has almost completely replaced the soft curved edges that characterised all devices from Apple’s legendary design department a few years earlier …except when it comes to the Apple Watch.
Despite dozens of rumours from usually reliable sources, when you lift the Apple Watch Series 7 out of the box for the first time, you won’t find a futuristic new look. Instead, the case is identical to all of the models that have come before it, including that first version from 2014.
Yes, there are some new colours to freshen things up a little bit, including a striking new Starlight option that replaces Silver and a tasteful Green. But that’s about it and we can’t help feel a tiny bit disappointed.
After seven years on shelves, it really feels like it’s about time the Apple Watch series got a makeover from the design geniuses in Cupertino.
That’s not to say that nothing has changed about the appearance of the Apple Watch Series 7. Apple says it has refined the shape of Series 7 with both the case and the display getting softer and more rounded corners. That is true, but it’s all very subtle and you’re not going to notice a huge difference placing old and new side-by-side.
Although the styling is familiar, things do get much better when you hit the power button for the first time. That’s because Apple has managed to squeeze a bigger screen into the wrist-worn gadget.
The clever part about this upgrade is that the overall size of the device hasn’t increased with the extra display being made possible thanks to smaller bezels. That means you’ll now have a choice between a 41mm or 45mm touchscreen size, compared to 40 and 44mm on the Series 6. The Series 3 – which Apple still sells – arrives with either a 38mm or 42mm screen.
In other words, the smallest Apple Watch Series 7 almost has the same screen size as the biggest model available in the Series 3 – despite the overall size staying pretty similar between the two.
You really notice the new bigger screen size when looking at Apple Maps on the watch or checking your emails. There is another big advantage as Apple has now managed to squeeze a digital keyboard inside this device. This makes replying to messages so much easier and should mean fewer moments when you need to reach for your phone to chat with friends and family.
Those buying the Series 7 also get some exclusive watch faces, including Contour, Modular and DuoWorld Time with these designs all taking full advantage of the additional screen real estate.
One final thing to thing to note about this screen is that it’s 70 percent brighter when using the brilliant always-on feature. That makes it much easier to see the time without raising your wrist and this has all been done with affecting the battery life.
Speaking of power, you’ll get around the same usage as before with the watch easily lasting all day and one full night. That’s great news as it means you can take full advantage of the sleep tracking features which now includes your nightly respiratory rate.
Although the Series 6 lasted around the same amount of time, the Series 7 does have one advantage as it now ships with a cable that can refill the battery a little faster than before.
In fact, in our tests, we were able to go from 15 percent to 50 percent in around 15 minutes and we had 80 percent in the tank within 30 minutes.
That’s a vital upgrade as you can wake in the morning, pop the device onto to charge and it should be full before you head into the office.
It’s worth noting that this faster charging only works with the new cable. You also won’t get a quick refill if you place an older watch, such as the Series 6, on this new adapter.
The final upgrade that arrives on the Series 7 is a more robust case that is now sand and dust resistant. Of course, it’s still waterproof – like previous Apple Watch models – and can be taken for a dip in your local pool, hot tub, or even an open-water swim in the sea.
Apple is boasting that the Series 7 is the most durable Apple Watch that it has ever built and also features its most crack-resistant screen. We haven’t dropped our review unit so we’ll have to take Apple’s word on that claim for now, but it appears this device should certainly survive a few years strapped to your body without getting smothered with scratches.
Of course, this is still an Apple Watch, which means it links seamless to your iPhone allowing calls to be made, messages checked and emails replied to straight from your wrist. It will also track your daily exercise, monitor your heart rate and blood oxygen levels plus you can even perform an ECG heart trace without going near Accident and Emergency.
Fall Detection continues to feature and will alert family members if you’ve taken a tumble and as we mentioned earlier it can keep a check over you at night to see how well you sleep.
You get all of this for the same price as last year’s model with things starting from £369.
Apple Watch Series 7 review: Final Verdict
PROS • Stunning new screen • Faster charging • Striking new colours • Same price as before • Old straps still fit
CONS • No big design upgrade • Battery life could be better
This is another great wearable from Apple that now features some nice improvements, such as a bigger and brighter display, more robust case design, and faster charging. The new colours look great and the addition of the new digital keyboard makes responding to messages from your wrist an absolute breeze.
Despite all of those useful upgrades in the Series 7, we can’t help feeling that this should have been the year when the Apple Watch got a totally new look.
There’s nothing wrong with the rounded-square design, but things haven’t changed in over six years and that’s a massive shame. Not only that, but the Apple Watch is starting to look pretty dated next to the latest iPhone, iPad and other Apple gadgets – rather than apiece with them.
If you haven’t joined the smartwatch revolution or still have an Apple Watch Series 2 or Series 3 on your wrist, trust us, you’re going to absolutely love the Series 7. It will feel like a humongous upgrade.
But, for anyone who has a Series 5 or Series 6 strapped to their wrists, it might be worth waiting until next year to see what Apple reveals next.