I had the opportunity to try the Apple Watch Series 7 a little earlier.
Apple Watch Series 7 has many similarities to Apple Watch Series 6 in terms of features and performance. Computer capabilities such as CPU and memory are almost the same, and sensors that acquire biometric information, activity amount, and activity patterns have not been added.
The main difference is that the case size has been increased by 1 mm and the windshield has been changed to 1.5 times the thickness. The effective area of the display has become significantly wider (narrowed frame), and it has become possible to charge in a short time by using original technology for wireless charging. The news is that the brightness of the display in the power saving mode has improved by 70%, making it easier to see.
However, even if the color of the aluminum case is completely changed, there is no big difference in the general appearance when it is focused on as an electronic device.
Looking at the Apple Watch Series 7 roughly, I think that the impression that “the display just got bigger?” Is also an honest impression.
However, when I actually started using it, there was a difference beyond the specifications, and although it was a small difference, I was able to confirm that I was making progress in the “feeling” part.
Positioning of Apple Watch Series 7
With the launch of Apple Watch Series 7, Apple Watch Series 6 has disappeared from the lineup. Apple Watch SE remains as a basic model with functionality equivalent to Apple Watch Series 5, and there is also Apple Watch Series 3 as a basic model. In other words, watchOS updates will be available for the Apple Watch Series 3 for the foreseeable future.
If the Apple Watch Series 6 owner asks, “Should I buy a new one?” Apple Watch Series 7 refines the Apple Watch experience with various improvements described below.
Increasing the display size and shortening the charging time is not the result of pursuing specifications, but the result of aiming for a better Apple Watch, but it does not encourage replacement by purchase. It’s reasonable to think of it as an improvement to provide “the best Apple Watch at the time.”
If the owner of the Apple Watch Series 4 / Series 5 asks the same question, he’ll ask, “Do you feel the built-in battery is dead?” These do not have a blood oxygen wellness measurement function or a constant lighting mode, but there is no difference in processing speed, and if the complication that displays various information is Series 4 or later, the same amount of information and function will operate. do.
It’s a problem common to all products that are charged and used every day, but if you continue to charge and discharge every day, the built-in battery will obviously deteriorate in about two years. In such a situation, you may consider replacing it with a new one, but the main functions and experiences are not significantly different.
The Apple Watch is performing well in the Series 4, and the previous Series 3 isn’t lacking in responsiveness, so there’s almost no degradation in the quality of the experience due to CPU performance in the first place. In fact, “CPU speed” has only improved (or not) by 20% on the latest Series 7 since it doubled in performance on the Apple Watch Series 4 as on the Series 3.
However, since there is a big difference in the quality of information obtained from complications, I would like to recommend Apple Watch Series 3 users to buy a new one, but there is no big difference in the basic notification function, and many people feel that it is sufficient. think.
Even in such a long-term use, I do not feel disappointed with the experience level, probably because Apple itself is conscious of manufacturing that does not lose its value even if it is not frequently replaced for the “watch genre”. I wonder.
On the other hand, watchOS 8 is steadily improving its functionality, and most of the conveniences such as various notification functions linked with the latest iOS and remote operation can be enjoyed by any generation.
It’s difficult to solve the problem of battery deterioration, but I think that such an update with a long-term view of product life will increase the value of the Apple Watch product without encouraging aggressive replacement.
Plus α for “Basic form of Apple Watch”
Now, returning to the story of Apple Watch Series 7, the functions are almost the same as Apple Watch SE, except for the constant lighting of the display and the blood oxygen wellness sensor. Most of the convenience you expect from a smartwatch can be covered by the Apple Watch SE.
This can be said about the relationship between Apple Watch Series 6 and SE, but the latest series, which is updated every year, is a product that adds value as a smart watch to the basic form.
There are various directions of plus α, but in addition to the blood oxygen wellness sensor and the constant lighting mode, the toppings added this year are larger and narrower frame of the display, thicker windshield, improved charging speed, in the constant lighting mode. The brightness of the is improved by 70%.
Of course, some people may find it appealing to have a wide selection of color variations and case materials. So what kind of topping name is each? Let’s dig a little deeper.
・ Larger display
In terms of numbers, the picture frame of the display is 40% smaller and the screen size is about 20% larger than the previous model. Compared to the Series 3, which remains as a basic model even now, it is expanded by more than 50%, and visibility is definitely improved.
By the way, the case size has been expanded by 1 mm, and the presence when worn on the wrist can be judged to be large by a quick glance. When I put on the solo loop, it felt like it was a little loose.
Increasing the size is not only bringing about improved visibility. By having a display up to the edge of the windshield and the rounded part, the board surface can be visually designed aiming at the lens effect.
There are two watch faces dedicated to this display that are close to bezel-less, one of which, the “contour”, is designed to fit the Arabic numeral index into the windshield. The other is a modular type that functionally arranges many complications, and is a “modular duo” that can arrange two large horizontally long complications.
The screen design of apps and complications is the same as before. In the future, I hope that the number of boards specializing in new displays will increase due to OS updates.
・ 33% faster charging speed
The latest SiP (system in a package) “S7” installed in Apple Watch Series 7 has the same performance as before, but the package size has been reduced. The thickness of the windshield has been increased by 1.5 times, and the impact resistance has been improved because the system has become compact. It seems that it would be okay to make the on-board battery larger as the system becomes more compact, but Apple seems to have decided to make it more durable.
That said, I wasn’t messing around with the battery. We are trying to eliminate dissatisfaction with battery life by increasing the charging speed. It is equipped with a charging system that extends the wireless charging technology based on the standard Qi.
By the way, because it is upward compatible, the charging speed does not increase even if you combine the charger installed in Series 7 with the Apple Watch of Series 6 or earlier, but charging itself is possible as it is.
The increased charging speed makes it easier to continue using your Apple Watch almost seamlessly (although it’s been possible before, it’s easier to operate).
When the new Series 7 is installed for a day and the night comes, about 40% of the battery remains. Working out such as running consumes more than 10%, but still about 30% remains. It’s been used for about two years, and even if the battery deteriorates, it can be used for a day.
Charging starts when you finish dinner and start taking a bath, and by the time you check your wake-up time and set an alarm on your Apple Watch before going to bed, your charging capacity will be approximately 100% restored. If I go to bed as it is, when I wake up in the morning and check it, the battery level is often about 82%. If you charge it before you’re ready to go out for breakfast, you’ll almost certainly be 100% charged.
Of course, does this just speed up the charging cycle? I think there is an opinion. The faster the charging cycle, the faster the battery will deteriorate. However, when considering a one-day scenario, increased charging speed is an important part of improving the usability of the Apple Watch.
In the case of Apple Watch, the battery can be repaired for 9680 yen (tax included) even after the compensation period has expired.
-The display in power saving mode is 70% brighter.
While the constant-on feature is appreciated, some existing Apple Watch owners may find it too dark to see in power-saving mode. Since the brightness of Series 7 has been improved by 70%, visibility that is almost the same as full emission can be obtained indoors.
This is useful, for example, when you want to see the messages you receive during a meeting or when you are having a dinner with someone. It’s nice to be able to grasp the content and decide whether or not a response is necessary just by looking at the notification casually.
Apple was the first to introduce a always-on mode, but Apple wants a consistent experience, and brighter displays don’t affect battery life. Also, don’t forget that the always-on mode can be turned on and off. The reason why the brightness in the power saving mode has improved is probably because the power consumption of the display itself has decreased. By turning off the constant display, the battery life was extended a little longer.
Is there any improvement that cannot be seen from the specs?
Apple may also make some tangible improvements that aren’t revealed in the specs.
I tried to experience the difference from the Apple Watch Series 6 carefully this time as well, but the other big thing was the sound quality of the speaker sound. In my case, I often listen on my Apple Watch when I can’t remove my iPhone right away, such as when I receive an incoming call while cooking in the kitchen.
Until now, the quality of the built-in microphone, noise cancellation (when speaking), etc. were excellent, and the voice was easy to hear, but the sound quality was even better with Series 7. The unique sound, in which the phase shift changes for each frequency band, is a very straightforward sound.
I don’t know if it’s an improvement of the speaker itself or due to signal processing, but since the quality of the spoken voice hasn’t changed, it seems that the signal processing hasn’t changed significantly.
Also, although it is thought that the size of the main body has changed, the operation of the TapTic engine seems to be a little sharp. The notification vibration from the Apple Watch is a little easier to understand, such as when assisting unlocking with Face ID with a mask, when getting up alarm, when receiving route guidance using CarPlay, and when receiving an incoming call.
What about these differences in the 41mm case? I don’t know because I haven’t actually used it.
Other than that, it will not be a decisive differentiating factor compared to replacement by purchase or rival products, but there is a sense of trust that improvements are being made in areas that appeal to sensibilities.
If you want to choose a product that you wear every day, Series 7
Finally, let’s review the evaluation points of the new Apple Watch with more personal impressions.
The larger display is an improvement that can be fully experienced both in terms of the ratio of the display area to the entire body case and in terms of the physical display size. Again, the text is easier to read, which makes emails and messages more readable.
Each person can choose whether to display more characters or larger characters, but it is straightforward to obtain character information with a practical visibility.
As for the contribution on the design side, there is only “contour” that makes use of the size of this display area, so I would like to expect future updates, but due to the larger display area, the smaller one, that is, the 41 mm case I think it’s an attractive option for men (I’ve only actually got a 45mm case at the time of writing).
But if you don’t care about coloring or constant lighting, the Apple Watch SE remains an attractive option. The beauty of the Apple Watch is, after all, a nifty collaboration that makes it feel “convenient” for the vast majority of people living with the iPhone.
It helps unlock your Mac or iPhone, helps you navigate through your wrist when using CarPlay, doesn’t miss messages or voice calls, and wakes you up gently and comfortably.
It’s not a product for everyone because it’s only considered for pairing with the iPhone, but the usability of the Apple Watch will improve as the iPhone improves. The vast majority of its value is also available on the Apple Watch SE. However, if you still have the Apple Watch Series 7, many people will want to choose it.
Many of the features similar to smartwatches are also available in high-performance fitness bands with richer displays. I wore the Fitbit Charge 5, which was announced at about the same time, on the opposite wrist and evaluated it in parallel, but I realized that the world of smart watches and fitness bands is approaching.
On the other hand, we are trying to get closer to the world of wristwatches as fashion, with a fitness band that is evolving in the direction of “enhancing functions while diluting its presence” and rather comfortably handling more information. I also realized that smart watches are incompatible.
It can be felt from the board design, how to choose the color of the band, and the precision of the finish. For example, the color of the aluminum case called “Midnight” that I tried is finished in a really delicate coloring of deep blue while having a color close to black.
Starlight is an exquisite shade that combines both silver and gold elements, and green is also a subdued shade. On the other hand, blue is a sporty and bright shade. While looking at the actual product, you can enjoy the commitment to such finishing.
In other words, if you want to choose a product that you wear every day that isn’t just about functionality, but about your own personality, that’s why you should choose Series 7 over SE.
Finally, I uploaded a review video, so please check it out as well. The latter half of the video is a little crazy so please watch it.