Many Apple aficionados breathed a sigh of relief when the company unveiled its newly upgraded Apple Watch Series 7. That’s because the rumors of it radically changing shape and form turned out to be wrong. It comes as no surprise that most people like their current Apple Watch form factor just fine. That’s not to say there haven’t been some refinements to the look and feel of the upcoming Series 7 — but they are impressive without being nearly as extensive as we were led to expect. There’s a bright new color scheme and a slightly larger screen space for both models. The incremental approach to improvements made a great watch even better with a sleek, curved exterior, thinner bezel, expanded screen space, and fast charging.

Here’s how the new Apple Watch Series 7 compares to the Apple Watch Series 6.

Specs

Apple Watch Series 7 Apple Watch Series 6
Display size 41mm: 1.61 inches

45mm: 1.77 inches

40mm: 1.57 inches

44mm: 1.73 inches

Body size 41mm: NA

45mm: NA

40mm: 40 x 34 x 10.7mm

44mm: 44 x 38 x 10.7mm

Resolution in pixels 41mm: 368 x 448

45mm: 396 x 484

40mm: 324 x 394

44mm: 368 x 448

Touchscreen 41mm: LTPO OLED Retina
Always-on display45mm: LTPO OLED Retina
Always-on display
40mm: LTPO OLED Retina display

44mm: 1.78-inch LTPO OLED Retina display

Storage 32GB 32GB
Wireless interface Bluetooth 5.0, Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, NFC, LTE Bluetooth 5.0, Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, NFC, LTE
Depth NA 10.7mm
Blood oxygen sensor Yes Yes
Accelerometer Yes Yes
Gyroscope Yes Yes
Ambient light sensor Yes Yes
Heart rate sensor Yes Yes
Barometer Yes Yes
GPS Yes Yes
Compass Yes Yes
Water/dust resistant Yes/Yes (IP6X) Yes/No
Battery life Up to 18 hours Up to 18 hours
Price From $399 From $399
Availability This fall Apple
DT review News 4.5

Apple has not published a spec sheet on its website for the Apple Watch Series 7, so a couple of items are missing from the chart or inferred from reliable sources. We will update when information becomes available.

Design and display

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Contrary to the most compelling pre-release leaks, the Apple Watch Series 7 looks similar to its predecessor, with the same size chassis, though the modified display accounts for the most significant update. The bezel has seen a 40% border reduction and now measures 1.7mm, increasing available screen area by 20% compared to the Series 6 and 50% over the Series 3. That extra space facilitates more information on the watch face at any given time — and some 50% more text for reading email or messages. New watch faces include a dynamic Contour face that moves information into the corners and a new Modular Duo face that can hold two large complications.

The front crystal has been redesigned with a flat base, creating a sturdier crack-resistant display. The new watch’s rounded corners have a wraparound design that features seamless integration with the watch body, and Apple says the display is brighter, delivering 70% higher indoor brightness. Colors for the aluminum model now include Midnight, Starlight, green, blue, and Product(Red). Stainless steel models offer color choices of silver, graphite, and gold. Titanium models come in Natural or Space Black.

The Series 7 accommodates all current Apple Watch bands, with Nike and Hermès editions available. The Nike model features a refreshed Sport Loop band and a new Nike Bounce watch face. The Hermès watch comes in new styles, Circuit H and Gourmette Double Tour.

Winner: Apple Watch Series 7

Performance, battery life, and charging

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Andy Boxall/Digital Trends

With the Apple Watch Series 7, the company concentrates on energy efficiency rather than power boost. The Series 7 chip is based on the same Apple S6 chipset found in the Series 6 watch — which is to say, a dual-core processor plus Apple’s W1 wireless chip and U1 ultra-wideband processor. However, knowledgeable observers predict the chip may have been tweaked so it can still provide all-day power that takes into account the larger display. The tableau is completed with Bluetooth 5.0 and dual-band Wi-Fi up to 802.11n, with the cellular model at 4G LTE. Battery life is the same 18 hours, but with 33% faster charging via a new USB-C charger and cable that come in the box.

Apple says the new charger can charge from zero to 80% in 45 minutes and that eight minutes of fast charging provides enough juice for eight hours of sleep tracking.

Winner: Apple Watch Series 7

Fitness and health-tracking features

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Apple

Apple added so many advanced sensors into the Series 5 and Series 6 — blood oxygen monitoring and ECG, sleep tracking, and integration with Apple’s Fitness Plus — that it appears the company took a time out from built-in fitness features this time around, relying on fitness upgrades accompanying WatchOS 8. The Series 7 is not without some goodies for athletes and fitness fanatics, but it’s not a huge leap forward from previous generations.

Customers can look forward to a new fall detection feature for cyclists and an improved algorithm for tracking e-bike rides. The Series 7 can start an Outdoor Cycle workout if you didn’t set it at the outset and can start and stop tracking in sync with your ride to generate accurate workout metrics. For e-bike fans, the cycling workout algorithm has been enhanced to sense the use of pedal-assist. With the new OS, you can also track pilates and Tai Chi.

Winner: Tie

Software and updates

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Andy Boxall/Digital Trends

The Apple Watch Series 7’s new features are quite limited. The Apple Watch Series 6 runs WatchOS 7, which you can upgrade to the same WatchOS 8 as the Apple Watch Series 7 when the OS is released on September 20. Its battery is rated for 18 hours of normal use, just like the previous version.

Winner: Tie

Special features

mobile, apple watch 7, apple watch 6, apple event september 2021, apple

Apple

The Apple Watch Series 7’s enlarged display enables a full on-screen QWERTY keyboard that you can type or swipe on with QuickPath and uses machine learning to predict your text. Apple has redesigned app buttons to leverage the larger display for apps like Calculator, Stopwatch, and Timer.

While the Apple Watch Series 7 has the same swim-proof rating up to 50 meters as the Series 6, it’s more shatter- and dust-resistant, with an IP6X dust certification rating.

The new watch faces were designed for the larger, curved screen. Contour emphasizes the screen edge by pushing the dial toward it and animates to highlight the hour. Modular Duo puts two large complications in the center of the screen, while World Time adds a 24-hour time zone to the face. The Portraits watch face in WatchOS 8 animates Portrait photos from your iPhone for use on the Watch.

Winner: Apple Watch 7

Price and availability

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Apple

The Apple Watch Series 7 release date has not yet been specified, nor is it yet available for pre-order, but the company promises the arrival of the new edition “later this fall.” Prices are comparable — the Apple Watch Series 6 started at $399 for the aluminum version and rose depending on storage and finish —  stainless steel or titanium cost more, and specialty case and strap combos also commanded a premium price. The Apple Watch Series 7 also starts at $399 for Wi-Fi and $499 for cellular in the U.S., on par with the previous version, with prices in other regions not yet confirmed.

Winner: Tie

Overall winner: Apple Watch Series 7

mobile, apple watch 7, apple watch 6, apple event september 2021, apple

Apple

While at first glance, the Apple Watch Series 7 appears to be a minimal upgrade from the Series 6, there are still plenty of new features that make it compelling, starting with the larger screen size and the smaller bezel. The more screen, the easier the watch is to use, as the screen is the most predominant feature of the watch. The boost in screen brightness, durability, and dust resistance are also major improvements. The fact that the watch ships with a fast charger also helps tip the scales.

That said, if you own an Apple Watch Series 6, there is no need to trade it in for the Apple Watch Series 7. The target audience for the Apple Watch Series 7 appears to be first-time buyers or those who are looking forward to upgrading from their older watches from Series 1 through Series 4. Apple continues to promote the older Series 3 as a budget watch despite the vastly superior Apple Watch SE being only slightly more expensive and well worth the extra cost.

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