As you’ll see in the later sections the advantages of the Series 8 aren’t going to be crucial to everyone, so while at the same price I would recommend the Series 8, if you can find the Series 7 for at least a $50 discount it is the better value for most buyers. The rumored major redesign of the Apple Watch once again failed to materialize. The Apple Watch Series 8 is virtually indistinguishable from the Apple Watch Series 7 other than some new color options. That isn’t a harsh critique, last year’s design update with its slightly larger display and seamless transition from the screen to the edge of the watch still looks fantastic and works well.
Unlike the iPhone line, Apple just isn’t offering the Series 7 anymore, so there isn’t a direct discount from Apple for the previous generation watch. However, if we take a look around you’ll find the Series 7 starting as low as $329 and we’ve occasionally seen it dip even further, which may happen again once the Series 8 is available.
Again there were no changes made to the display this year after the big update for Apple Watch Series 7. To refresh your memory it got a 40% bezel reduction and a 20% increase in display size over the Apple Watch Series 6 and to me it was a game changer. The 1.9-inch display on the 45mm model in particular delivers a far more user-friendly experience than previous models, making it easier to view glanceable content on the watch and to navigate it.
The Apple Watch Series 8 aluminum case is available in four colors: midnight, silver, starlight, and red; opting for Stainless Steel reduces your options to silver, gold, and graphite. By comparison, the Apple Watch Series 7 aluminum case is available in five colors: midnight, starlight, green, blue, and (Product) Red. The Stainless Steel models drop to four colors: silver, gold, graphite, and space black. So one fewer option for each, but you shouldn’t have trouble finding one you like.
Both watches feature an ECG sensor that has FDA approval to monitor your heart for signs of atrial fibrillation (AFib), a heart rhythm irregularity that can be a sign of a serious health condition. Both also support basic heart rate tracking, which is helpful for health tracking and fitness tracking if you are looking to stay in a specific heart rate zone.
The crash detection was something of a theme for the entire event with the iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Pro models all adopting it as well. That is pretty much it though, otherwise the Apple Watch Series 8 and Apple Watch Series 7 feature an identical set of sensors for health tracking.
Another notable sensor for both watches is SpO2 monitoring, which measures your blood oxygen levels. Unlike ECG, this is not FDA approved on either watch as the reflective sensor each uses isn’t as reliable as the transmissive sensors used by medical professionals. This could still be a live-saving sensor if it detects a significant drop in your SpO2 levels accompanied by other symptoms. The Apple Watch Series 8 has a narrow edge, but that extra skin temperature sensor and sensor won’t be crucial to everyone, so your mileage may vary.