Ask anyone, anywhere, to name the best watches in the world right now and you can expect to hear usual names. Is it Rolex? Omega? Casio? Almost certainly something Swiss, right? In reality, it’s Apple that dominates. Research back in 2020 crowned the Apple Watch as the king of wristwear, outselling any other brand from Switzerland, and all signs point to an even longer reign after the release of the latest Series 7.
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The reason could well be versatility. Where Swiss watches double down on craftsmanship, Apple has maximised on function: these things can text, call an Uber, change a tune and even monitor a heartbeat. Few marques offer that.
The latest model is only a slight step up from 2021's Series 6, but Apple isn’t looking to fix what isn’t broken. With a bigger display, more health tracking features and a few new colours, the Series 7 is the most premium watch from Apple. But is it worth buying?
Apple Watch Series 7 - Price
The smallest 41mm model starts at £369, but can jump up to £399 for the 45mm option. You can also buy cellular versions of the device, which connect to your phone’s data network and let you get your notifications on the go. These are £469 and £499 respectively.
Apple Watch Series 7 - Design
Bigger is better right? Apple thinks so too, as it increased the size of the Watch 7 by 20 per cent over last year’s model. We’ve been using the Series 6, and found the new model noticeably bigger on our wrist, which takes a little getting used to. Soon enough, though, you begin to appreciate the wider screen. That’s because it shows more information on the OLED display (it's significantly brighter, by the way) whether it’s your texts or your exercise stats.
The broader screen gave Apple the chance to put a touch-sensitive keyboard in the watch so you can tap out a quick message on your run. However, the keyboard is still fairly small, and we sometimes struggled to type out the right words, particularly when we tried it on a moving train.
Those with thicker fingers might prefer to swipe on the screen, prompting Siri to autocomplete what you’re trying to say. Or you could always just ask Siri to type it for you.
Colourwise, there’s the familiar set up of blue, white, black, red, and a new deep green: close to black, but still has a subtle gleam.
You can take this watch into the shower, or even go diving (up to 50 metres), and it’s fully dust-resistant. The glass has also been reinforced, though we have never managed to dent our watches over the years, even after a ride in the washing machine.
Apple Watch Series 7 - Battery Life
Don’t expect too much from Apple in the battery department. This new watch has the exact same lifespan as the previous model at around 18 hours. However, it does charge supposedly 33 per cent faster thanks to the included magnetic charging cable you get. It’s a USB-C cable, so you’ll need to have a compatible wall plug, and Apple decides not to provide one in the box.
We did manage to recharge our watch way faster than our old model, which is great as we normally give it a boost while we are in the shower or in a last-minute dash before we head to the gym. We got 100 per cent in just over an hour but it can give you a few percent in a pinch if you need it.
We’d recommend turning the 'always-on' display off, as having the watch face constantly displaying can drain your battery in just a few hours. Using GPS tracking also hits longevity, but we can still do a half marathon (around 2 hours… not to brag) and have more than half the battery left.
It’s a shame, as Apple has a wealth of watch face choices that look great and give your device its own style. There are Apple-made ones that rotate monthly, like the collaboration with artist Geoff McFetridge.
Others have a more nautical feel that look like a proper chronograph, or you can even upload your own pictures from your smartphone. We’d love to have the always-on display running so we can show off the faces we pick, but it just means you’ll be chained to the nearest socket if you do.
Apple Watch Series 7 - Health Tracking
Apple’s health tracking features are great if you’re after some basic metrics like calories burned, steps taken, or minutes working out, but we do think a more dedicated fitness tracker would be better suited to those who are serious about their workouts.
To encourage you to get out of the house, you’ll be tasked with closing three rings each day: one for your calories, one for your total exercise minutes, and one for how many hours you’ve spent on your feet. Filling these rings will result in a digital reward and a nice dopamine hit, and all that data will be stored so you can keep track of your progress and pinpoint areas or improvement.
The watch will remind you to stand up if you’ve been sedentary for too long, or push you to work harder with monthly challenges designed to help you reach specific goals. This really does help with motivation.
There are some problems though, particularly if you like running. We’ve battled through two autumnal 5K park runs and noticed that some stats (like the elevation gained or the total calories burned) wouldn’t be accurate. It’s not disastrous, but it can be frustrating if you’re hoping to close your rings each day.
However, the GPS tracking is great for measuring out your runs, and we’ve found it to be much more accurate than other smartwatches like Fitbit’s Versa. You’ll get a detailed map of your route after each run, and you’ll be able to view your splits per kilometre so you can work out where you struggled and improve for next time.
It can also track dozens of other sports, activities, and exercises, ranging from yoga and badminton to skiing and scuba diving.
Apple Watch Series 7 - Mindfulness and Mental Health
Apple has also improved the mental coaching of its smartwatch with the addition of 'mindfulness'. Replacing the ;breathe' reminder, this new feature asks you to take a break and reflect, concentrating on your breathing or thinking about the things that give you peace or motivation.
It can sometimes feel a bit twee when it asks you to think back on a time when you’ve felt your most calm and channel it into your breathing, but we found it a welcome feature that helps with anxiety and reminds you to take a moment to relax.
Apple Watch Series 7 - Verdict
We really enjoyed our time with the Watch Series 7 and felt like the additional health features got us moving more.
The larger display is great for checking up on notifications or glancing at the weather app without having to dig your phone out of your pocket, and it feels robust and smart on our wrist. It might not be as clean as an Omega Seamaster, but people do take notice.
If you’ve never owned a smartwatch before, or you’ve got one of Apple’s older devices, this new entry is well worth the upgrade and you’ll most certainly appreciate the battery and enhanced health tracking.
However, we don’t think you should rush out to get one if you’ve already got an Apple Watch Series 6 or a different premium smartwatch from the likes for Fitbit or Garmin. The Series 7 is only an incremental update to the Series 6 and, at around £400, doesn’t give you enough new features to warrant a new purchase.
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