What is the best holiday choice?

The Apple Watch range from 2022 includes three different wearables. While most things remain the same between the 8 Series and previous models, there are some differences worth noting. Read on for Apple Watch Series 8 vs 7 and earlier to help you decide which is the best choice for you or someone you’re looking for.

For Apple Watch Ultra vs Series 8 and above, see our full comparison of it:

Apple Watch Series 8 vs 7 and earlier

CPU, storage, more

In 2021, Apple used the same 64-bit dual-core processor in the Series 7 that it launched in the Series 6, but with the updated S7 name.

This year, the Series 8 (and Ultra) comes with the S8 SiP 64-bit dual-core processor. But even with the digital bump in the name, it appears to be the same as the S7 and S6 in terms of performance – Apple didn’t share any performance boost claims during its announcement or on its website.

While you shouldn’t expect any noticeable slowdown from Series 6 or 7 to 8 (or Ultra), if you’re coming from an earlier Apple Watch model, you should definitely notice a faster, more responsive watch.

Apple says the S8 is 20% faster than the S5 chip.

Another plus, if you come from a Series 3 or 4, is a jump in storage space to 32 GB.

Series 8 seven 6 SEE 2 SEE 1
SiP/Processor 64-bit S8 SiP dual-core processor 64-bit S7 SiP dual-core processor 64-bit S6 SiP dual-core processor 64-bit S8 SiP dual-core processor 64-bit S5 SiP dual-core processor
U1 (ultra broadband)
Bluetooth 5.3 5.0 5.0 5.3 5.0
Storage 32 GB 32GB 32 GB 32 GB 32GB

Another difference between the Apple Watch Series 8/7/6 and the SE 2nd Gen is that the latter does not come with the U1 ultra-broadband chip.

Box and display

Apple Watch Ultra versus Series 8 2 display

The Apple Watch Series 8 retains the same sizes launched with the Apple Watch Series 7. These are 45 and 41mm cases and a larger screen 20% larger than the Series 4-6/SE and 50% larger than the Series 3.

The Apple Watch Ultra comes with Apple’s largest cover and screen with 49 mm for the former and a 410 x 502 resolution that offers 1164 mm². Apple says it’s 27% larger than the Series 4-6/SE display.

Series 8 seven 6 SEE 2 SEE 1
Suitcase size 45/41 mm 45/41 mm 44/40 mm 44/40 mm 44/40 mm
Screen size 396 x 484 pixels, 1143 mm² (45 mm model) 396 x 484 pixels, 1143 mm² (45 mm model) 368 x 448 pixels, 977 mm² (44 mm model) 368 x 448 pixels, 977 mm² (44 mm model) 368 x 448 pixels, 977 mm² (44 mm model)
Brightness 1,000 nits 1,000 nits 1,000 nits 1,000 nits 10000 nits
Permanent display
Sapphire glass front Yes with steel models, no with aluminium Yes with steel models, no with aluminium Yes with steel models, no with aluminium

Apple Watch SE 2nd Gen has the same 44mm or 40mm cases and screen sizes as 1st Gen/Series 6 and earlier.

Apple Watch band compatibility

Apple Watch Series 8 vs 7 Band Compatibility

For bands, buckles and straps, Apple says that those designed for the previous generation Apple Watch sizes 38/40/41 and 42/44/45mm will work with the Apple Watch Series 8, SE 2, Ultra and vise versa.

Battery life and charging

Apple Watch Series 8 vs 7 battery and charging

In particular, a new Low Power mode is coming to Apple Watch Series 4 and later with watchOS 9. This can double the battery on these models from 18 to 36 hours. However, you lose some functionality for this efficiency (similar to the iPhone).

First introduced with Apple Watch 7 and continued with Apple Watch Series 8 and Ultra, charging is 33% faster than Series 6 and earlier. This indicates going from 0 to 80% in 45 minutes instead of around 60 minutes for other models.

Series 8 seven 6 SEE 2 SEE 1
Battery lifeStandard 18 hours 18 hours 18 hours 18 hours 18 hours
Long-lasting battery with low power mode 36 hours 36 hours 36 hours 36 hours 36 hours
Loading 0-80% in 45 minutes 0-80% in 45 minutes 0-80% in 45 minutes 0-80% in 60 minutes 0-80% in 60 minutes

One big change with the Apple Watch Ultra is the larger battery in the lineup. That’s 36 hours of standard battery life and up to 60 hours of extended use with Low Power Mode.

If you want to use the Apple Watch Series 8 or 7 for sleep tracking, you’ll also get 8 hours of use from an 8-minute charge (also Ultra).

Apple Watch Series 8 vs 7 and more – Key features

Apple Watch Series 8 vs 7 and earlier features

New to the Apple Watch Series 8 is a temperature sensor that enables advanced cycle tracking and new hardware to detect car accidents.

In a support document, Apple says anyone can use the temperature sensor to track the metrics (outside of using advanced cycle tracking) using Apple Watch sleep tracking.

Here are the key features you get with the Apple Watch Series 8, 7, SE 2 and more:

Apple Watch Model/Specifications Series 8 seven 6 SEE 2 SEE 1
EKG app
Use of blood oxygen
High/low heart rate notifications
New Compass app with waypoints + backtracking
IP6X dust resistant
Waterproof to 50m
sleep tracking
Collision detection
Fall detection
Advanced cycle tracking with temperature detection
Cycle tracking without temperature recording
Emergency SOS

Price

  • Series 8 starts at $399/$429 and more (Apple, Amazon, more)
  • The Series 7 is usually sold at a discount (Amazon, Best Buy, etc.) Apple has stopped selling the Series 7
  • The Apple Watch SE 2nd generation is being discontinued 249 USD (Apple, Amazon, more)

Apple Watch Series 8 vs 7 and earlier roundup

Apple Watch Ultra vs 8, SEE summary

The Apple Watch Series 8 may look like the Series 7S to many people with only two main changes: the temperature sensor with advanced cycle tracking and collision detection.

But if you’re considering upgrading from the Series 3, 4, or SE, you’ll get a bigger screen, an always-on display, faster charging, and all the latest and greatest health features.

Thanks for reading our Apple Watch Series 8 vs 7 guide!


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