Ask Kurt: Apple Watch 7 vs. 8 – Worth the upgrade?

Ask Kurt: Apple Watch 7 vs. 8 – Worth the upgrade?

The Series 8 is the newest iteration of the Apple Watch that initially came out in 2015, replacing the prior-generation Apple Watch Series 7. 

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The latest version has cool features like crash detection and a temperature sensor. However, the big question Donna from Lake Charles, Louisiana, wrote to me asking is:

“Our daughter who is 30, found out at the age of 24 that she was a Type 1 Diabetic. We would like to purchase a new apple watch for her but are unsure about the technology. Is there a big enough difference between Series 7 & 8 that she would notice?”

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An Apple Watch.

An Apple Watch.
(Apple)

What is the difference between Apple Watch Series 7 and Series 8?

First of all, it’s important to note that following the launch of the Apple Watch Series 8, the company discontinued the Apple Watch Series 7.

As a result, you would need to purchase the Series 7 from a reseller.

This introduces one immediate difference: the price, which will likely only continue to go down. However, will the discounted price be worth missing out on the additions and improvements to the Series 8? Or are these changes substantial enough to even give it a second thought? With this in mind, I want to provide you with a side-by-side comparison.

Display

The Series 7 display was a notable improvement over the Series 6, but the display of the Series 8 doesn’t feature significant differences, as both models have:

  • A face measuring between 41 and 45mm
  • A dust-resistant screen

The only notable change is the choice of colors available, with aluminum models in Series 8 available in:

  • Midnight
  • Starlight silver
  • Product Red

And stainless steel Series 8 models available in:

  • Graphite
  • Silver
  • Gold
  • Black

There is no blue and red option for the stainless steel Series 8 as there was for the stainless steel Series 7.

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An Apple Watch open to the fitness app.

An Apple Watch open to the fitness app.
(Apple)

Battery life and Storage

Some highlights:

  • Battery Life
    Promoted as one of the best attributes of the Series 8 watch is its 36-hour battery life when in low-power mode
    However, owners of the Series 7 who download the WatchOS 9 software will also have an extended battery life.
    When not in low-power mode, which limits certain features, the Series 7 and 8 have an estimated 18 hours of battery life.
  • Promoted as one of the best attributes of the Series 8 watch is its 36-hour battery life when in low-power mode
  • However, owners of the Series 7 who download the WatchOS 9 software will also have an extended battery life.
  • When not in low-power mode, which limits certain features, the Series 7 and 8 have an estimated 18 hours of battery life.
  • StorageSeries 7 and Series 8 have 32GB of storage.
  • Series 7 and Series 8 have 32GB of storage.

Health and Safety Features

With the health and safety of her daughter in mind, Donna, who wrote to me, was most concerned with the difference in the health and safety features of the newer and older models. Regarding diabetes management both Series 7 and Series 8 have features which would be helpful to people living with diabetes including the ability to track daily activity levels and set reminders to take medications.

Additional health and safety features to be aware of include:

  • Both Series 7 and Series 8 currently have fall detection, emergency SOS and a gyroscope.
  • Found on Series 8 and not Series 7, however, are blood oxygen sensors, as well as two new body temperature sensors, one located close to the skin and the other inside the display.
  • In addition to monitoring one’s body temperature 24 hours a day, the body temperature sensors are also able to help women track their menstrual cycles, sending alerts should any irregularities be detected.
  • Another new feature currently unique to the Series 8 is a car crash detector, which can not only detect a vehicle accident the moment it happens – it is also able to alert emergency services as well as your emergency contacts should you be unresponsive after 10 seconds.

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A woman wearing an Apple Watch and looking at places to buy coffee.

A woman wearing an Apple Watch and looking at places to buy coffee.
(Apple)

Worth the upgrade

All in all, the changes between Series 7 and Series 8 are relatively minor.

Those of you who currently own a Series 7 Apple Watch might want to hold off on an upgrade until a newer model, with more new features and advancements, hits the market. 

Get an Apple Watch Series 7

Although for, first-time Apple Watch buyers and those particularly concerned with their health and safety may consider paying a little extra for a new Series 8 model, which without GPS features, currently sells for around $399. 

Get an Apple Watch Series 8

However, suppose those few additions make little difference to you. In that case, you may want to consider saving the money and going for Series 7, which lacks very few of the things found in Series 8.

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