Hands on with the new features of Apple Watch Series 7

Posted:
in Apple Watch edited October 15
The Apple Watch Series 7 has arrived. While it isn't a big leap from the Apple Watch Series 6, it still has meaningful additions for upgraders and new users.

Apple Watch Series 7 with the Contour watch face
Apple Watch Series 7 with the Contour watch face

Apple Watch Series 7 - The new display

If Apple's marketing cavalcade hasn't made it abundantly clear, the new display is the most touted feature of the Apple Watch Series 7. The new display is twice as thick in the center, with a different taper on the edges.

Apple says that those smaller edges were to accommodate the larger screen and to increase durability. In our time thus far with Apple Watch Series 7, we decided not to put that to the test quite yet.






What we did mess around with was how the larger display impacted our use and various apps. It is now 20 percent larger than Series 6 and more than 50 percent larger than Series 3 (which is still available for purchase). Though all the existing bands will still work, sizes have gone from 40mm and 44mm to 41mm and 45mm.

The larger display of Apple Watch Series 7 showing Infograph versus Infograph Duo
The larger display of Apple Watch Series 7 showing Infograph versus Infograph Duo


If you're using an app with a light background, it's easier to spot the larger face -- but it's not what you'd call a giant difference. Where it does help is with using the new QWERTY keyboard.

Full QWERTY keyboard on Apple Watch
Full QWERTY keyboard on Apple Watch


We've been typing on Apple Watch for years, and it has always been a struggle.

Only on the Apple Watch Series 7 can you use a full keyboard when searching or sending a message. It supports both tapping the letters and swiping between them, which makes entering text easier than before. It's a shame that we needed this minute display change to make it happen natively.

Apple Watch Series 7 in its inactive state is brighter
Apple Watch Series 7 in its inactive state is brighter


The improved brightness is the most apparent change to the Apple Watch, year over year. Apple says that when your wrist is down, and you're indoors, the watch face is up to 70 percent brighter in this inactive state -- and it certainly looks that way in use. It's much easier to see the time without having to raise your wrist.

Apple Watch Series 7 - Power and charging

Enhanced charging speed -- and not enhanced battery life -- is one of the flagship new features on the updated Apple Watch Series 7. It says a lot about how crucial charging speed is to users while simultaneously speaking to the lack of other new features.

Charging on Apple Watch Series 7 is much quicker this year. Specifically, it is up to 33 percent quicker, with the included charger providing an 80 percent charge in only 45 minutes. Before bed, eight minutes on the charger will yield eight hours of sleep tracking.

Apple Watch Series 7 charging speed
Apple Watch Series 7 charging speed


We haven't been able to test this newfound speed much as of yet, as our time with the new model has been limited. That said, none of our existing Apple Watch pucks support the new faster charging.

Apple's entire accessory collection doesn't support the faster charging on the Apple Watch Series 7, given that it all predates the new model, and there probably isn't a way to enable it with a firmware update. This includes the MagSafe Duo, the expensive Apple-branded Apple Watch magnetic charging dock, and the existing USB-C Apple Watch puck.

Accessory-wise, everything feels fragmented at the moment. Apple hasn't updated its charger accessories, and it also hasn't yet allowed third parties to create fast charging Apple Watch pucks. Of course, none of this is particularly new, as iPhone users have been buying new cases annually more often than not.

In short, if you want to fast charge, you have to use the puck that came in the box. There are no other options in October 2021.

On the plus side, that new Apple Watch charging puck now has an aluminum cover to it, replacing the plastic covering it had before all the way down to the Aluminum models. This is a step down for stainless steel Apple Watch owners, though, as those models used to come with a stainless steel-covered puck.

Apple Watch Series 7 - Colors

For the first time, Apple has replaced every color of the Apple Watch Series 7. At least in the aluminum material. Silver and Space Gray have been put out to pasture and replaced with Starlight and Midnight to the frustration of many users.

Silver and Space Gray lugs no longer perfectly match but instead are just a bit off. Starlight has a slight amber hue, while Midnight has a tiny amount of blue mixed in.

Green Apple Watch Series 7
Green Apple Watch Series 7


The (PRODUCT)RED and blue colors are slightly bolder and less pastel compared to Series 6 iterations. Green is an all-new color this year. While that green looks striking, it comes two years after Apple had the flagship green iPhone 11 Pro.

That new green color looks great with Apple's new lineup of bands, including the Sequoia Green Leather Link.

Apple Watch Series 7 - Where to buy

The Apple Watch Series 7 is available for purchase from popular Apple resellers, with AT&T knocking $200 off at press time when you buy two Apple Watches.

Shop the cheapest prices in our Apple Watch Series 7 Price Guide, which is updated daily. The AppleInsider team also tracks the best Apple Watch deals across the entire product line, with closeout savings offering up to $290 off.

Read on AppleInsider
«1

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 25
    dk49dk49 Posts: 185member
    Really wanted the Series 7 in space gray and black band. Midnight band looks dull.
    caladanian
  • Reply 2 of 25
    mubailimubaili Posts: 445member
    Love the bigger display. Really wish Apple would open up the watch face to third party. It is about time.
    williamlondon
  • Reply 3 of 25
    JapheyJaphey Posts: 989member
    mubaili said:
    Love the bigger display. Really wish Apple would open up the watch face to third party. It is about time.
    I don’t understand why so many people want 3rd party watch faces. What are they not getting in the provided faces that can be improved by 3rd parties? Is it purely aesthetics or design? I’m not criticizing or trolling, just genuinely curious. 
  • Reply 4 of 25
    It’s a nice update for owners who have the Series 3 or older. It’s to small of an iteration for more recent models for most people. Which is fine.

    I own the Series 4 stainless steel, and I do plan on buying a new one only when my watch dies.
  • Reply 5 of 25
    eightzeroeightzero Posts: 2,648member
    A few comments on the AW7 that I received today:

    1. It was a gift for my wife, hence the 41mm version. She liked the blue aluminum and abyss blue sport band. They look spectacular, although she will stick with her custom band from the watch she agreed to let me trade in. Interestingly, the trade in does not require return of the band.

    2. The set up is slow and disappointing, and it took about an hour. First step was to unpair her existing AW3 from her new iPhone SE. Took a while. Then, while the pair of the new allows set up from a backup...no sign of the backup we just made on unpairing. I *think* we selected set up as new, but it didn't ask the usual new questions, so somehow we selected a backup. Oh well. I figured we'd let it set up, then unpair, and go look for the backup made...oh and hour ago. Next came the software update to 8.0.1. That took about 30 minutes. This simply takes too long, and Apple needs to rethink this.

    3. So after about an hour, the new AW7 comes up, and it appears that the old watch info is in it, including the status of todays activity rings. So far so good. Maybe dodged a bullet, as losing that would be disappointing.

    4. Some new apps appear, including some that were deleted on the old watch. Go figure.

    5. Here's the bad part: my wife is a doctor, and often needs to look at her watch to take a vital sign like a pulse. The AW3 display would dim and rather piss her off. Ah, sez I...the new AW has an "always on display" she will really like. Little did I know that when the screen dims....the second hand disappears. Ugh. The one feature I wanted for her...doesn't work...and there was no mention of this in any of the promo materials. But you folks with a AW5 and later knew this, so I'm the idiot here. No need to remind me.

    6. It is a nice watch. She likes the size, color, screen. It was a nice gift. I'll get one too. I just wish...oh...some of this didn't happen.
    edited October 15 wlymmuthuk_vanalingam
  • Reply 6 of 25
    guyrguyr Posts: 50member
    What is also interesting is that all the promo pictures have the red ring on the crown, when the actual watch does not…
  • Reply 7 of 25
    wlymwlym Posts: 102member
    guyr said:
    What is also interesting is that all the promo pictures have the red ring on the crown, when the actual watch does not…
    It's the more expensive cellular version. 
    guyrurahara
  • Reply 8 of 25
    saareksaarek Posts: 1,341member
    eightzero said:
    A few comments on the AW7 that I received today:

    1. It was a gift for my wife, hence the 41mm version. She liked the blue aluminum and abyss blue sport band. They look spectacular, although she will stick with her custom band from the watch she agreed to let me trade in. Interestingly, the trade in does not require return of the band.

    2. The set up is slow and disappointing, and it took about an hour. First step was to unpair her existing AW3 from her new iPhone SE. Took a while. Then, while the pair of the new allows set up from a backup...no sign of the backup we just made on unpairing. I *think* we selected set up as new, but it didn't ask the usual new questions, so somehow we selected a backup. Oh well. I figured we'd let it set up, then unpair, and go look for the backup made...oh and hour ago. Next came the software update to 8.0.1. That took about 30 minutes. This simply takes too long, and Apple needs to rethink this.

    3. So after about an hour, the new AW7 comes up, and it appears that the old watch info is in it, including the status of todays activity rings. So far so good. Maybe dodged a bullet, as losing that would be disappointing.

    4. Some new apps appear, including some that were deleted on the old watch. Go figure.

    5. Here's the bad part: my wife is a doctor, and often needs to look at her watch to take a vital sign like a pulse. The AW3 display would dim and rather piss her off. Ah, sez I...the new AW has an "always on display" she will really like. Little did I know that when the screen dims....the second hand disappears. Ugh. The one feature I wanted for her...doesn't work...and there was no mention of this in any of the promo materials. But you folks with a AW5 and later knew this, so I'm the idiot here. No need to remind me.

    6. It is a nice watch. She likes the size, color, screen. It was a nice gift. I'll get one too. I just wish...oh...some of this didn't happen.
    I totally agree with the lengthy and frustrating setup process. An hour to an hour and a half is just ridiculous and it affects all models.

    Software updates are just as annoying. Most, thankfully, process over night, but if you want to manually trigger an update it can take up to an hour from start to finish. Maddening! 
    edited October 16 williamlondon
  • Reply 9 of 25
    saareksaarek Posts: 1,341member
    I appreciate the fast charging, really, I do. But why can’t they just improve the overall battery life?

    Apple finally seemed to get the point on iPhone and really pushed overall battery life on the new iPhones.

    Many here will say something like “oh well I get all day battery life and just charge when in the shower so what are you moaning about?!”

    I enjoy hiking and sports such as skiing and want to leave my iPhone at home.

    On my AW7 it’s the perfect device to load on a trail, throw in the AirPods Pro and just go. But without my iPhone the Apple Watch dies within 6 hours, usually less.

    A bigger battery giving me up to 10 hours would be game changing for me and others like me.
    williamlondonguyr
  • Reply 10 of 25
    saarek said:
    I appreciate the fast charging, really, I do. But why can’t they just improve the overall battery life?

    Apple finally seemed to get the point on iPhone and really pushed overall battery life on the new iPhones.

    Many here will say something like “oh well I get all day battery life and just charge when in the shower so what are you moaning about?!”

    I enjoy hiking and sports such as skiing and want to leave my iPhone at home.

    On my AW7 it’s the perfect device to load on a trail, throw in the AirPods Pro and just go. But without my iPhone the Apple Watch dies within 6 hours, usually less.

    A bigger battery giving me up to 10 hours would be game changing for me and others like me.
    How much more additional weight and size would you be willing to accept for a 10 hour battery life? 
    The current form factor may not suffice.
    williamlondonStrangeDays
  • Reply 11 of 25
    saareksaarek Posts: 1,341member
    saarek said:
    I appreciate the fast charging, really, I do. But why can’t they just improve the overall battery life?

    Apple finally seemed to get the point on iPhone and really pushed overall battery life on the new iPhones.

    Many here will say something like “oh well I get all day battery life and just charge when in the shower so what are you moaning about?!”

    I enjoy hiking and sports such as skiing and want to leave my iPhone at home.

    On my AW7 it’s the perfect device to load on a trail, throw in the AirPods Pro and just go. But without my iPhone the Apple Watch dies within 6 hours, usually less.

    A bigger battery giving me up to 10 hours would be game changing for me and others like me.
    How much more additional weight and size would you be willing to accept for a 10 hour battery life? 
    The current form factor may not suffice.
    Well, the iPhone 13 is 3% thicker and gets 25% better battery life. I think I could happily live with that, how about you?
    williamlondon
  • Reply 12 of 25
    bluefire1bluefire1 Posts: 1,189member
    My most difficult decision was between the silver and graphite stainless steel. Both are stunning but I went with the latter.
  • Reply 13 of 25
    eightzeroeightzero Posts: 2,648member
    saarek said:
    I appreciate the fast charging, really, I do. But why can’t they just improve the overall battery life?

    Apple finally seemed to get the point on iPhone and really pushed overall battery life on the new iPhones.

    Many here will say something like “oh well I get all day battery life and just charge when in the shower so what are you moaning about?!”

    I enjoy hiking and sports such as skiing and want to leave my iPhone at home.

    On my AW7 it’s the perfect device to load on a trail, throw in the AirPods Pro and just go. But without my iPhone the Apple Watch dies within 6 hours, usually less.

    A bigger battery giving me up to 10 hours would be game changing for me and others like me.
    The series 0 AW didn't make it through the day with normal usage. A 30m walk dried mine by 50%. They've come a long way for sure, but as you point out, when using the functions like streaming music, it seems to not make it through the day. It is marketed as a fitness/ entertainment system, but when you use it for that (any marathoners out there get it to last those hours long races? Or cyclists doing a 6+ hour century with directions running?) it falls way short.

    There are key fob charging decides out there, toss one in your pocket, recharge on the go. But that's...undesirable. Or...buy a second one, swap out on the trail. But that too is...well....

    I like my AW,4 and my wife likes her new AW7. They do nearly everything I ask. Nearly. But the experience is not perfect, and there is room for improvement. Maybe now they are using USB-C for recharge, they will get a "connect to iMac (or iPhone) with a wire" update function to speed things up.

    And the old AW3 required a unpair, setups new, update the software, unpair, restore from backup procedure that took 2-3-4 hours, and can't be done overnight. Was the only way to update the watchOS that was too big to fit. Yuck.
  • Reply 14 of 25
    StrangeDaysStrangeDays Posts: 11,764member
    eightzero said:

    5. Here's the bad part: my wife is a doctor, and often needs to look at her watch to take a vital sign like a pulse. The AW3 display would dim and rather piss her off. Ah, sez I...the new AW has an "always on display" she will really like. Little did I know that when the screen dims....the second hand disappears. Ugh. The one feature I wanted for her...doesn't work...and there was no mention of this in any of the promo materials. But you folks with a AW5 and later knew this, so I'm the idiot here. No need to remind me.
    This is true. Same with the stopwatch app, I wish it would show the seconds. It’s strange since my understanding is the screen refreshes once per second when not active, so it could show the seconds? 
  • Reply 15 of 25
    StrangeDaysStrangeDays Posts: 11,764member
    saarek said:
    I appreciate the fast charging, really, I do. But why can’t they just improve the overall battery life?

    Apple finally seemed to get the point on iPhone and really pushed overall battery life on the new iPhones.

    Many here will say something like “oh well I get all day battery life and just charge when in the shower so what are you moaning about?!”

    I enjoy hiking and sports such as skiing and want to leave my iPhone at home.

    On my AW7 it’s the perfect device to load on a trail, throw in the AirPods Pro and just go. But without my iPhone the Apple Watch dies within 6 hours, usually less.

    A bigger battery giving me up to 10 hours would be game changing for me and others like me.
    Apple didn’t just recently “get the point” on battery life - iPhone has had steady improvements to battery life every release I can remember. Everyone wants more battery. But you run into the pesky limitations of the state of battery chemistry. There are Garmins watches that get longer, but they do so by turning off so many features of the device. 

    I haven’t tried all-day hiking without my phone and just the Watch. Does turning on airplane mode disable the bluetooth for your AirPods?
    edited October 16 williamlondon
  • Reply 16 of 25
    StrangeDaysStrangeDays Posts: 11,764member
    saarek said:
    saarek said:
    I appreciate the fast charging, really, I do. But why can’t they just improve the overall battery life?

    Apple finally seemed to get the point on iPhone and really pushed overall battery life on the new iPhones.

    Many here will say something like “oh well I get all day battery life and just charge when in the shower so what are you moaning about?!”

    I enjoy hiking and sports such as skiing and want to leave my iPhone at home.

    On my AW7 it’s the perfect device to load on a trail, throw in the AirPods Pro and just go. But without my iPhone the Apple Watch dies within 6 hours, usually less.

    A bigger battery giving me up to 10 hours would be game changing for me and others like me.
    How much more additional weight and size would you be willing to accept for a 10 hour battery life? 
    The current form factor may not suffice.
    Well, the iPhone 13 is 3% thicker and gets 25% better battery life. I think I could happily live with that, how about you?
    A lot of that iPhone battery life improvement is from Apple silicon (low power cores) and OS improvements, not just more battery component. I’m sure the AW will improve over time too, but it’s a smaller platform with even tighter space constraints. 
    williamlondon
  • Reply 17 of 25
    StrangeDaysStrangeDays Posts: 11,764member
    eightzero said:
    saarek said:
    I appreciate the fast charging, really, I do. But why can’t they just improve the overall battery life?

    Apple finally seemed to get the point on iPhone and really pushed overall battery life on the new iPhones.

    Many here will say something like “oh well I get all day battery life and just charge when in the shower so what are you moaning about?!”

    I enjoy hiking and sports such as skiing and want to leave my iPhone at home.

    On my AW7 it’s the perfect device to load on a trail, throw in the AirPods Pro and just go. But without my iPhone the Apple Watch dies within 6 hours, usually less.

    A bigger battery giving me up to 10 hours would be game changing for me and others like me.
    The series 0 AW didn't make it through the day with normal usage. A 30m walk dried mine by 50%. They've come a long way for sure, but as you point out, when using the functions like streaming music, it seems to not make it through the day. It is marketed as a fitness/ entertainment system, but when you use it for that (any marathoners out there get it to last those hours long races? Or cyclists doing a 6+ hour century with directions running?) it falls way short.
    Not so. With a healthy battery the S0 definitely lasted all day, and that included tracking hour-plus workouts. I did this for years, often with 30% left by bedtime. Once the battery wore down it wasn’t able to, but it definitely could otherwise. I recall reviewers were surprised and commented the same in reviews. 

    https://daringfireball.net/2015/04/the_apple_watch

    After more than a week of daily use, Apple Watch has more than alleviated any concerns I had about getting through a day on a single charge. I noted the remaining charge when I went to bed each night. It was usually still in the 30s or 40s. Once it was still over 50 percent charged. Once, it was down to 27.
    edited October 16 williamlondon
  • Reply 18 of 25
    saareksaarek Posts: 1,341member
    saarek said:
    saarek said:
    I appreciate the fast charging, really, I do. But why can’t they just improve the overall battery life?

    Apple finally seemed to get the point on iPhone and really pushed overall battery life on the new iPhones.

    Many here will say something like “oh well I get all day battery life and just charge when in the shower so what are you moaning about?!”

    I enjoy hiking and sports such as skiing and want to leave my iPhone at home.

    On my AW7 it’s the perfect device to load on a trail, throw in the AirPods Pro and just go. But without my iPhone the Apple Watch dies within 6 hours, usually less.

    A bigger battery giving me up to 10 hours would be game changing for me and others like me.
    How much more additional weight and size would you be willing to accept for a 10 hour battery life? 
    The current form factor may not suffice.
    Well, the iPhone 13 is 3% thicker and gets 25% better battery life. I think I could happily live with that, how about you?
    A lot of that iPhone battery life improvement is from Apple silicon (low power cores) and OS improvements, not just more battery component. I’m sure the AW will improve over time too, but it’s a smaller platform with even tighter space constraints. 
    You’re right of course. But Apple decided to prioritise a brighter always on display over increased battery life.

    With this new case they could have made it ever so slightly thicker, but chose not too.

    At the end of the day I suspect more people are clamouring for a better always on display than battery. But it’s still a shame for people like me.
  • Reply 19 of 25
    eightzeroeightzero Posts: 2,648member
    eightzero said:
    saarek said:
    I appreciate the fast charging, really, I do. But why can’t they just improve the overall battery life?

    Apple finally seemed to get the point on iPhone and really pushed overall battery life on the new iPhones.

    Many here will say something like “oh well I get all day battery life and just charge when in the shower so what are you moaning about?!”

    I enjoy hiking and sports such as skiing and want to leave my iPhone at home.

    On my AW7 it’s the perfect device to load on a trail, throw in the AirPods Pro and just go. But without my iPhone the Apple Watch dies within 6 hours, usually less.

    A bigger battery giving me up to 10 hours would be game changing for me and others like me.
    The series 0 AW didn't make it through the day with normal usage. A 30m walk dried mine by 50%. They've come a long way for sure, but as you point out, when using the functions like streaming music, it seems to not make it through the day. It is marketed as a fitness/ entertainment system, but when you use it for that (any marathoners out there get it to last those hours long races? Or cyclists doing a 6+ hour century with directions running?) it falls way short.
    Not so. With a healthy battery the S0 definitely lasted all day, and that included tracking hour-plus workouts. I did this for years, often with 30% left by bedtime. Once the battery wore down it wasn’t able to, but it definitely could otherwise. I recall reviewers were surprised and commented the same in reviews. 

    https://daringfireball.net/2015/04/the_apple_watch

    After more than a week of daily use, Apple Watch has more than alleviated any concerns I had about getting through a day on a single charge. I noted the remaining charge when I went to bed each night. It was usually still in the 30s or 40s. Once it was still over 50 percent charged. Once, it was down to 27.
    Glad yours did. Mine definitely didn't after about 6 months after purchase.
  • Reply 20 of 25
    eightzeroeightzero Posts: 2,648member
    eightzero said:

    5. Here's the bad part: my wife is a doctor, and often needs to look at her watch to take a vital sign like a pulse. The AW3 display would dim and rather piss her off. Ah, sez I...the new AW has an "always on display" she will really like. Little did I know that when the screen dims....the second hand disappears. Ugh. The one feature I wanted for her...doesn't work...and there was no mention of this in any of the promo materials. But you folks with a AW5 and later knew this, so I'm the idiot here. No need to remind me.
    This is true. Same with the stopwatch app, I wish it would show the seconds. It’s strange since my understanding is the screen refreshes once per second when not active, so it could show the seconds? 
    One of the first things I looked for was a digital watch face that showed seconds. Apparently there are none. Does anyone know of a digital HH:MM:SS watch face that updates in the dimmed mode?
Sign In or Register to comment.