Apple Watch Series 7 first impressions: It’s screen time

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Updated: October 16, 2021 3:11 PM

A bigger, brighter display. A more durable body. And an updated chip. But is it enough?

Apple Watch Series 7, Apple Watch Series 7 review, Apple Watch Series 7 first impressions, AppleApple has launched the Series 7 at the same price as the Series 6. (Photo credit: Saurabh Singh/Financial Express)

The Apple Watch Series 7 is probably the first Apple product in years to buck the trend by looking nothing like the renders the internet had conjured weeks ahead of its grand unveiling in September. All leaks had pointed at a smartwatch with a revolutionary new flat-edged design, sort of like the iPhone 12—now also iPhone 13—and while the Watch Series 7 does look wee bit boxier—relative to the Watch Series 6—it’s nowhere as dramatic as rumour mills made you believe. Did Apple do this on purpose, well, maybe. Maybe not.

Also Read | Apple Watch Series 7 does not support fast charging in India at launch

But what this does is that it reignites the whole debate of whether—or not—the new Apple Watch makes any sense as an upgrade especially when the design is so familiar and so is the hardware. Look, at some point, we all have to understand that brands don’t build products for you to upgrade year on year. This is true even more so for Apple because it’s known to support its products for a long, long time. The same reason why, most Apple products are seen as a long-term investment. Only the most discerning loyalist will buy every new Apple product.

Apple Watch Series 7, Apple Watch Series 7 review, Apple Watch Series 7 first impressions, AppleThe Series 7 comes in 41mm and 45mm sizes. (Photo credit: Saurabh Singh/Financial Express)

So, the question to ask is whether—or not—the Series 7 makes sense for older Apple Watch users or, first time users. The answer is simple. It all depends on your budget. Apple has launched the Series 7 at the same price as the Series 6, so that clears out a lot of things to begin with.

Here are the Apple Watch Series 7 India prices:

Aluminum:

  • 41mm Wi-Fi-only: Rs 41,900
  • 45mm Wi-Fi-only: Rs 44,900
  • 41mm Cellular: Rs 50,900
  • 45mm Cellular: Rs 53,900

Stainless Steel:

  • 41mm Cellular: Rs 69,900
  • 45mm Cellular: Rs 73,900

Unsurprisingly, Apple has discontinued the Series 6, but you can still get it via third-party online and offline retail outlets and chance are, you can get it at lower prices. The Series 6 is terrific value, so it goes without saying that you should totally get it. You can read our full review here.

Apple Watch Series 7, Apple Watch Series 7 review, Apple Watch Series 7 first impressions, AppleQWERTY keyboard on the Series 7. (Photo credit: Saurabh Singh/Financial Express)

As for the Series 7, the biggest upgrade that Apple is giving you this year—as you’ve probably guessed by now—is the screen size. The Series 7 comes in 41mm and 45mm sizes—this was 40mm and 44m in the last generation. Apple says the Series 7 offers “nearly 20 percent more screen area and thinner borders at just 1.7 mm.”

In other words, it has narrower bezels and softer, more rounded corners resulting in an even more immersive experience over the last generation model. To accentuate this aspect further, Apple has also designed two custom watch faces that seem exclusive to the Series 7 for now. These are contour and modular duo. While the former features text that spills on to the sides of the watch, the latter watch face lets you stack even more detailed complications. Note the size of the Apple Watch per se, hasn’t gone up, at least not visibly, despite the increase in screen real estate. As we said, it still looks and feels very familiar.

Apple Watch Series 7, Apple Watch Series 7 review, Apple Watch Series 7 first impressions, AppleThe Series 7 packs a new dual-core S7 system-on-chip. (Photo credit: Saurabh Singh/Financial Express)

The increased screen size also gives Apple room to include—for the first time—a QWERTY keyboard in the Apple Watch. While the premise sounds compelling, it’s shaping up to be a parlour trick rather than something we’d use daily but more on this in our full review. As a sidenote, the upgraded keyboard does not work with every app. This sort of breaks the sense of visual consistency that Apple devices are generally known for.

Moving on, Apple has once again cranked up the brightness in this generation with the Always-On Retina display being “up to 70 percent brighter indoors than that of Series 6.” Not that the Series 6 wasn’t bright already, but more is always merrier which is to say you’d need to wake the new watch far less frequently as you would earlier when you’re out and about.

Apple Watch Series 7, Apple Watch Series 7 review, Apple Watch Series 7 first impressions, AppleThe watch is also rated IP6X for dust-resistance. (Photo credit: Saurabh Singh/Financial Express)

The durability quotient has also received a slight—but important—upgrade. The Series 7 is more crack-resistant when compared with the Series 6. The watch is also rated IP6X for dust-resistance in addition to being swim-proof with a water resistance rating of WR50.

Apple didn’t reveal the core hardware that powers its new watch at launch leading many to believe that it was using the same S6 processor inside the Series 7 as the Series 6. Turns out, that’s not the case. The Series 7 packs a new dual-core S7 system-on-chip although it’s based around the same CPU as the last-generation S6 with performance stats also on very similar lines (up to 20 percent faster than the S5). This isn’t completely new for Apple. The Series 5 carried the same S5 as its predecessor with the addition of a gyroscope. Elsewhere, the Series 7 comes with 32GB of on-board storage.

Modular duo watch face in Series 7. (Photo credit: Saurabh Singh/Financial Express)

Perhaps the bigger upgrade—when it comes to hardware—is faster charging, at least in all the places where it will work. The Series 7 bundles a USB Type-C charging dock in the box and can charge “up to 33 percent faster” compared with the Series 6. Sadly, Apple is not bringing this feature to India for some curious reason. Battery life overall—18-hour—remains unchanged from last year. There is still no wireless charging.

In line with many rumours, Apple hasn’t introduced any new ‘major’ health and fitness feature to this generation of the Apple Watch over what was already available on the Series 6 including heart rate and blood oxygen saturation monitoring.

Apple Watch Series 7, Apple Watch Series 7 review, Apple Watch Series 7 first impressions, AppleThe Series 7 supports USB Type-C fast charging. (Photo credit: Saurabh Singh/Financial Express)

To conclude, the Series 7 has a bigger, brighter display, a more durable body, and an updated chip.

Now, all these upgrades may not seem ground-breaking—they are cosmetic mostly—but they all work together to refine what’s already touted as the best smartwatch in the world. That’s not a bad thing at all. Lack of fast charging is a major bummer for buyers in India though that could well be a deal-breaker for some.

We will be testing out the Series 7 at length in the days to come, but it’s crystal clear that it is all very iterative meaning, it makes the Series 6 look so good—if you can get it at lower prices—more people can get it without thinking twice and access this phenomenon of a gadget that folks on the Android side are yet to experience.

Also Read | Apple Watch Series 6 review: Better than the best

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