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Apple Watch Series 7 review: A clear S update

Apple Watch Series 7 featured image
Picture: TechnikNews
(Post picture: © 2021 TechnikNews)

With a little delay it is Apple Watch Series 7 on the market for about a month. I was able to test the smartwatch.

The current Apple Watch was received with disappointment by many. This is not least due to the fact that we actually expected a new, more angular design, which Apple then didn't implement. In addition, the older one was still installed Prozessor - albeit with a new name - and did not implement any new wellness and fitness features and sensors.

Nevertheless, there are also some innovations. The display and the case are now larger, the smartwatch charges faster and the case should be more robust than the previous generation. Therefore, I want to clarify the following questions in this review: Why does the Apple Watch Series 7 even exist? And who is it ultimately intended for?

Unboxing and initial setup

The scope of delivery was divided into two different packages, which are held together with a cover. The first contains the parts for the bracelet and instructions for installing it on the watch and selecting the face. There are two different sizes included, so there should be a suitable one for everyone. In the other box, the Apple Watch is slumbering in a paper case. There is also a quick start guide, general information and the charging puck.

Apple Watch Series 7 unboxing

The contents of the package have been divided into two boxes. (Image: TechnikNews)

The setup takes place in the watch app on the iPhone. This is initiated by switching on the clock and, if necessary, connecting it to the power supply. Then you have to start the setup and in the next step choose whether you want to prepare the watch for yourself or a family member, although of course I chose the latter. Now you have to scan the picture that appears on the Apple Watch and then choose whether a backup, if available, should be restored or whether you want to reset the watch.

Then you have to accept the terms and conditions, choose a text size and type and, if desired, also define a numerical code for unlocking the watch. Furthermore, you can configure the blood oxygen measurement if you want and specify whether updates should be installed automatically. You also have the option of setting up Apple Pay and the always-on display and installing available apps. Finally, all you have to do is wait for the data to be synchronized and then the Apple Watch Series 7 is ready for use. After about 20 minutes the furnishingproprocess completed.

Design and workmanship

As already indicated at the beginning, this year's leaks indicated that the Apple Watch could get a new design. It should be angular and thus resemble the shape of the current iPhones and iPads. Instead, the appearance remained almost unchanged, which surprised many negatively. The sides are still round, but the case has been a little larger in the diagonal. Personally, I was looking forward to a new look, but I don't think it's so bad that there weren't any further developments here.

Apple Watch Series 7 design

One year more you have to put up with the well-known design. (Image: TechnikNews)

The Apple Watch Series 7 can be bought in several different versions. The most popular and also cheapest option is the one with the aluminum housing, which is available in several different colors. Among other things, Apple has also been selling a “Nike Edition” for several years, where you can choose a Nike bracelet when ordering. You also get exclusive dials. I have the aluminum Apple Watch here at midnight, which is a VERY dark blue acts. And here we have the first one Problem: The aluminum Apple Watch doesn't come in a single neutral color this year. Only midnight comes closest to pure black. The stainless steel version is available in silver, gold and graphite, but it is almost twice as expensive.

In addition, you have two options when choosing the case size, this year it is 41 millimeters and 45 millimeters. The case of last year's Apple Watch Series 6 and Apple Watch SE was a millimeter smaller. I chose the 41mm case, it doesn't look too big on my wrist and it doesn't look too small either. So that the size really fits, I recommend that you try both options before buying if possibleprobeers. To my credit, despite the increase in size, every strap that has come out since the very first Apple Watch is compatible with the Series 7.

Apple states that the Series 7 has the most shatterproof display glass to date, which is partly due to the fact that it is 50 Procent thicker. After a few days of everyday use, I actually couldn't find any scratches. Nevertheless, I then attached a display foil, since this is not a test device and I want the new condition to be preserved for longer.

The sides of the watch are still equipped with the same elements as on older Apple Watches. On the left we have a loudspeaker that sounds when Siri makes a phone call or voice output. You shouldn't expect much from it due to the limited space, but the sound quality is still sufficient. The well-known digital crown and a function key have been installed on the right. The rotary wheel is most often used when scrolling through lists, and it is particularly useful that content is not covered with your finger. A nice detail is that the vibration motor kicks in and hits a little harder when you get to the end of a list. Otherwise you can use it to wake up the display or go back a step in the operating system. It also acts as a contact point for taking an EKG. The function key is responsible for calling up Apple Pay and from the dock. What is striking about this is that the pressure point is much softer than that of the Series 3, which I like a lot.

Let's go to the back. There you will find the sensors for measuring heart rate and oxygen saturation, the magnets for the charging puck and the buttons for removing the wristband. The watch is charged inductively and the strength of the magnets that hold the charger is just right. You can hold it by the cable while the Apple Watch is connected and it won't fall off. Nevertheless, you can easily separate the smartwatch from it again. Removing the straps is also very easy. By pressing the previouslyprosmall buttons, they can be pushed out with little force.

Apple Watch Series 7 back

Picture: TechnikNews

The processing leaves nothing to be desired. The aluminum housing is inherently very robust, it is also dust-proof according to IP6X and water-protected up to 50 meters according to WR50. After using the Apple Watch Series 7 continuously for a month, no dents, scratches or signs of wear are visible. In addition, she was never harmed while showering or swimming.

The wearing comfort is also very satisfactory. In everyday life you hardly notice the wearable at all, as it is very light with a weight of 32 grams. In addition, the silicone bracelet made of Abyss blue is very soft, does not press and does not rub uncomfortably.

Display

As the case grew, the display could also get a little bigger. It is 1,69 inches in size, has a resolution of 430 x 352 pixels and is based on OLED and LTPO. In theory, that means: good black levels, as inactive pixels do not light up, and bright colors.

In fact, the touchscreen surprised me more than I suspected at the beginning. As should be clear now, I come from a Series 3 with a comparably small screen. The area gained is pretty overwhelming at first. The elements of the user interface are larger and there is more and larger complications on the clock face. The “Modular Duo” dial now offers space for two large complications, while the “Modular” previously only had space for one. The image quality is at a very high level, no individual pixels are visible and the color reproduction is optimal. The maximum brightness is sufficiently strong, even on sunny days I was able to read the contents of the screen without difficulty. For my taste, I couldn't ask for a better display. It convinces me in all respects and I got along well with the smaller size - I never wanted the 45-millimeter version.

Thanks to the display technology used, the watch also comes with an always-on display. This shows the clock face, customized apps and notifications even in the inactive state. In the settings, this feature can be adjusted exactly according to your own ideas. For me it is the case that the clock face is shown in always-on mode, but apps and notifications are not. Only the time then appears there. But you can also switch it off completely.

Apple Watch Series 7 display

I was completely satisfied with the display. (Image: TechnikNews)

On the advertising material from Apple it can be seen that the content of the display can also "trickle down" over the sides. In advance, of course, I was curious to see whether the effect was really as clear as it was on the graphics. You will notice it in real life, but it is nowhere near as spectacular as you would think when looking at the advertising images and videos.

Battery life

According to the manufacturer, the battery life should be 18 hours. The value was tested by Apple in everyday applications and has not changed compared to the previous year. Depending on how you use the Apple Watch, the time span can also vary. With an activated always-on display, long workouts, lots of interactions and phone calls, you can reduce the running time, for example.

In my experience, I have to charge the wearable after two days at the latest. Always-On is always active for me and the watch is mostly connected to the iPhone. I also regularly go running or do workouts on Apple Fitness+. Occasionally I used it to make phone calls or check my calendar. With a half-hour run workout, the watch always consumed around five Procent battery, with the iPhone never being connected, the route being recorded with GPS every time and music downloaded via my AirPods Pro ran. In a six-hour, 17-kilometer hike, about 40 walked Procent lost. Meanwhile, the iPhone was connected and the smartwatch also recorded the route with GPS. I'm very happy with the results, compared to similar smartwatches, the Series 7 comes out on top here.

According to Apple, the Apple Watch Series 7 will be available around 30 Proload cent faster. In 45 minutes you should be up to 80 Procents, while a full charge is said to take 75 minutes. Although I never checked the time exactly, this information corresponds approximately to reality. The prerequisite for this is that you use the supplied charging puck with USB-C. I find it practical that the battery is now full more quickly, since you can get by for a few hours quickly if the juice should then unexpectedly run out. Things get a bit cumbersome if you don't yet have a power adapter with USB-C, since this isn't in the box either.

Specifications

The Apple Watch Series 7 is powered by the S7Proprocessor. What makes this better than last year's S6? Nothing at all, because it's the same chip in its entirety, just given a new name. That's not even a bad thing though, the performance is still excellent. The clock boots up quickly, all animations are smooth and don't freeze, and apps launch at a brisk pace. Still, a new processing unit for the next-generation Apple Watch would be desirable so that the smartwatch doesn't lag behind the competition and there is more power for new features, especially new functions related to health.

The internal memory is 32 gigabytes, on which apps, music and data from watchOS are stored. So far, only five gigabytes of it are used for me. These are filled with a playlist with around 60 songs and all of my apps that are also compatible with the watch. The size of the memory is just right in my opinion. Everything has space and you don't have to worry about deleting unused things to create more space for new data.

As we already know, some sensors are also built into the Series 7. GPS, a compass, the gyroscope, an acceleration sensor and an altimeter are almost standard equipment these days. The GPS is used, for example, to record the route during workouts or to determine the location for the “Where is?” Network and has always worked reliably so far. A blood oxygen sensor, an electrical heart sensor and an optical heart rate sensor are also on board. The latter measures the pulse in everyday life and during training units and can also alert the user if the rhythm is critical. It is not uncommon to read in the news that this feature saved a life. For me it is just a little incomprehensible that these hints have to be activated manually. Last but not least, we also have NFC for contactless payments with Apple Pay. Even with the Series 3, this always worked without dropouts, and it is no different here.

Operating system: watchOS 8

On the Apple Watch Series 7 is Watch 8 already pre-installed. Among other things, this comes with a new portrait clock face, the mindfulness app and its own app for displaying photos. In short, watchOS 8 on this Apple Watch is just as it is known from older models.

At the beginning you always end up with the dial, which can contain complications for the display of small amounts of data or quick access. The appearance of these is customizable, which I like, and they're easy to share with friends. The previously statedproI also really like the chene portrait dial, as it gives the watch that little bit more personality. My only criticism at this point is that third-party providers cannot provide watch faces.

Pressing the digital crown takes you to the app selection, which is displayed either as a list or a large "honeycomb". I like the latter style better, because you have to scroll less, the list view is a lot clearer and is therefore preferred by some. By the way, apps are installed via the App Store on the watch or via the iPhone.

Of course, you can also clearly see that health is a big part of the Apple Watch. There are, among other things, the mindfulness and training app, as well as the activity overview, which shows the activity rings known from the Apple Watch. More on this topic in a moment. Since watchOS 7, Apple has also integrated a timer for hand washing that starts automatically. This is definitely helpful if you are a little imprecise on the matter.

Overall, the structure of the OS makes sense in my opinion and the operation should quickly become part of the blood. But then I still have one disadvantage: There are very few setting options on the watch. If you really want to have all the configuration options, there is simply no avoiding a visit to the watch app on the iPhone.

Health and exercise features

Now it should be obvious that a large part of the Apple Watch is health. Now let's take a look at what the wearable can do in this area.

The Apple Watch Series 7 monitors the user's activity in everyday life. For example, steps and heart rate are measured continuously. This will fill the previously mentioned activity rings, which use a goal to show how much you are moving, exercising and standing. In the end, this visual representation should motivate more movement in everyday life, which actually works. A nice additional function is that you can share this data with friends, so that an additional "competition" arises.

Activities that go beyond everyday movement can be recorded with the aforementioned training app. This is home to a large list of sports, from walking, running and cycling to golfing and skiing - everything is included here. The smartwatch even automatically detects when a training session is started from this list and asks whether you want to track it. At the same time, it detects when the workout is over and the watch prompts you to stop the recording. I think it's a shame that these two things don't work automatically. During a session you can see the most important information at a glance on the screen, including the elapsed time, the current pulse and the number of calories burned. In addition, you will be informed via the AirPods if you have completed another kilometer while running, for example. It is also helpful that a view for controlling music is directly integrated. This means you don't have to switch to the music app every time. The results of a workout land in the fitness app on the iPhone. As an alternative to the whole thing, there are exercises for breathing and reflection in the mindfulness app, which only last a minute.

In addition, since the Apple Watch Series 4, you have the option of creating an electrocardiogram, or ECG for short, with the watch. The electrical heart sensor required for this has been integrated into the digital crown. A scan only takes a few moments and the results can be shared with a doctor without much effort. Unfortunately I couldn't turn off this function yetproas it is designed for people over the age of 22. I was able to test the measurement of oxygen saturation. Thanks to this function, one can quickly identify whether one may Prohas problems with the lungs. After the feature has been set up in the health app, you can use the blood oxygen app on the watch to perform an analysis, which takes just 15 seconds.

Automatic fall detection may also be useful for some. If you wish, the watch recognizes when you fall down and can no longer get up on your own. In this case, an emergency call is automatically sent and stored emergency contacts are notified.

Recently, Apple Fitness + can also be used in Germany, Austria and Switzerland. I wrote my experiences with it in this article low.

One thing stands out, however. With the Apple Watch Series 7, Apple didn't introduce any new fitness and wellness features or sensors. In my opinion, this is still okay this year, as the current range of options is already very large. For the Apple Watch Series 8, the Cupertino-based company should definitely come up with something to keep up with.

Prices and availability

The Apple Watch Series 7 can be bought from many different places. It is of course sold by Apple itself, but it is also available from Media Markt or Amazon. The RRP for my equipment is 429 euros.

Apple Watch Series 7: Conclusion

I clearly see the Apple Watch Series 7 as a Series 6S. Of the Prozessor is not new except for the name and the model did not even get a new model name. In addition, there are no new fitness features and the improvements in design, while welcome, are only marginal. The same applies to the more robust case.

Apple Watch Series 7

Picture: TechnikNews

It's different if you're in the same situation as me and coming from a Series 3. then proYou get fit from a larger and almost borderless screen, longer battery life, better performance and the always-on display. If you need it, you also get the ECG function – Apple hasn’t built this into the Series 3 yet either.

And that brings us to the answers to my questions from the start: Why is there an Apple Watch Series 7 at all? And who is it ultimately intended for? The Series 7 is worth it for anyone who is buying an Apple Watch for the first time or is still walking around with an older model. Users of a Series 5, Series 6 or SE, on the other hand, would probably hardly notice any differences. For these, the Apple Watch Series 8 will probably be relevant again, as it will probably come with the new paint job expected for this year. Until then, unfortunately, you have to wait.

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David Haydl

David lives in Graz and has been there for around half a decade TechnikNews, also editor-in-chief for some time. He regularly provides the site with news, test reports and the like TechnikNews Weekly, which was his idea to launch. He likes to spend his free time outdoors, listening to a lot of music (and clearly too loud) and some podcasts on all kinds of topics, and also likes to go running. He enjoys the time that remains with his charming girlfriend or in front of the TV.

David has already written 1137 articles and left 106 comments.

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