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Apple Watch 8

Even if its sensors fall short of those of Samsung, the Apple Watch 8 is a surprise hit.

Review: The Series 8 Apple Watch improves women’s health, sleep tracking, and workouts. The always-on display and battery life are both improved.

The Apple Watch Series 8 and the Series 7 of the previous year appear to be identical on the outside. Both the 41mm and 45mm display sizes are the same. The sizes of the batteries match. Additionally, the selection of vibrant and useful watch bands is largely the same. The majority of the upgrades won’t be apparent until you start using the new Apple Watch.

I’ve been using the Apple Watch Series 8 while moving around, working out, napping, and sleeping. Here are my opinions on the newest wearable and whether or not you should consider purchasing it.


The Series 8 model has stainless steel aluminium casings that measure 41 and 45 millimetres, much like its predecessor. The 41mm panel covers the majority of the watch’s face, so the case’s slim bezel enhances the display’s brilliance. Additionally, the Apple Watch’s exterior has a tiny curvature that gives the impression that it resembles a soft pebble.

The right side of the watch case still has the digital crown and home button, which are still the simplest controls for navigating the watch interface, scrolling through alerts and applications, and even adjusting the audio level.

The right side of the watch case still has the digital crown and home button, which are still the simplest controls for navigating the watch interface, scrolling through alerts and applications, and even adjusting the audio level.

Four of the seven aluminium case colours available for the Series 8—Gold, Silver, Graphite, and Space Black—are absent from the Series 7.

I was first concerned that switching from a 38mm Series 3 to a 41mm Series 8 would make the watch appear or feel big on my comparatively smaller wrist. Though the watch still felt and looked basic and elegant, the 3mm difference let me to view alerts and my live health data more clearly.

In contrast to Samsung’s Galaxy Watch lineup or more traditional, round-face watches, Apple has stuck with its signature squircle design. Although Apple introduced a few new bands with this year’s model, the 41mm and 45mm sizes are backward compatible in case you already possess a Watch Series 7 and want to upgrade the appearance without forking over the money for the Series 8.

Presentation and brightness

The Apple Watch Series 8 is still remarkable to use and to look at because it has the same display and brightness as the model from the previous year. I was able to easily see which rings I needed to shut in order to meet my daily exercise objectives during my sporadic jogs in beautiful Central Park. I found it simpler to enjoy the six new Apple watch face styles, such as “Lunar,” “Astronomy,” “Modular,” and “Metropolitan,” thanks in part to the brightness. Similar to the Series 7, while the watch is on your wrist, the backdrop colours adjust to the light in your surroundings, switching between bright and dark modes to maximise battery life and keep everything in focus.

Additionally, the always-on display keeps getting better and better. The Series 8’s increased battery life and WatchOS 9’s improvements have made the always-on display more functional than ever. The power drain caused by Apple’s early adoption of the always-on display on the watch was not always worthwhile. The always-on display used to function more like a screensaver with a clock, depending on what watchface you were using or what app you were in when it went to sleep. Now, for instance, it may simply turn off the seconds counter and turn off the watchface you’re wearing during your workout. Turning on the function in the Series 8 is definitely worthwhile because the battery drain is now low.

ViewOS 9

A more customised exercise display, cycle and basal temperature tracking for women, split pace notifications for cardio workouts, and improved health and fitness features are all included in the most recent WatchOS release. The Always On display’s notification capabilities have also been improved; now, instead of stacking up and rapidly dissipating, alerts arrive at the top of the watch face and fade without clogging up your feed. Even when exercising, notifications are glanceable.

It’s important to note that Apple Watch devices going back to the Series 4 are qualified to receive the watchOS 9 upgrade, but not all functionalities, notably the health and fitness ones, will be accessible. You might or might not want to upgrade to the Series 8 for that reason alone.

Activity – Fitness

The Series 8 wearable, which keeps fitness at its heart, offers a variety of additional monitoring and measuring tools that might be very helpful to users of all skill levels.

The watch can now monitor the “zone” in which your heart rate falls during aerobic workouts. You can determine if your heart rate is in Zone 1, 2, 3, or 4 similar to a professional-grade heart rate monitor. For instance, I pushed myself harder to bring my heart rate back up and exercise more effectively during a spin class when I felt out of breath and noted that it had dropped to Zone 3 but had not gone any lower. Each Zone is customised to your unique heart rate and updated monthly since watchOS 9 calculates these zones with your resting and maximum heart rates taken into consideration. On your watch’s settings, you can see how the various zones relate to your heart rate levels and discover a lot about your cardiovascular health.

If you’re a long-distance runner, Apple Watch Series 8 now displays your mile split, which is useful. Even though I’m not in training for a race, I still found it to be quite useful for my daily walk to work. The watch simply established a baseline for my walking speed by measuring how long it took me to walk a mile or two, which motivated me to go faster every morning.

You can see exercises differently thanks to the new metrics monitoring. With the inclusion of heart rate zones and split pace, there are now additional facts you can sort through, allowing you to more effectively tailor your watch face to show the data that matters to you. You could, for example, change the standard “calories burnt” indicator on your watch display to the split pace values inside the workout app. You can also configure the watch to show the three trackers at a glance if, like me, you have a slightly compulsive need to close all of your rings. I was frequently inspired to perform a few more reps when I realised that I just needed 50 more calories to complete my move ring.

With the Apple Watch Series 8, you can also spice up your run with additional diversity. You may now create drills and repeats for your primary “work” periods and account for warm-ups and recovery instead of just logging runs on your watch. This application can help runners preparing for a 5K or half marathon make their runs more planned and dependable.

By competing against oneself on an already completed outdoor course, you may even become your own toughest opponent. Once more, if you have a preferred training location and want to improve on your benchmark time, this option can be enough to justify the purchase.

The Series 8 also features a “multi-sport” mode, which, for those who are genuine multitaskers, enables you to swiftly go from running to bicycling or swimming without having to end your workout — unlike the Series 7.

It’s important to note that the Apple Watch Series 8 is still unable to independently determine body composition and blood pressure, two measurements that Samsung’s newest Galaxy Watch 5 series can do thanks to its BioActive sensor. If you are concerned about those figures and the necessity for extra equipment, I would advise looking elsewhere.

Sleep tracking

Although Apple talked extensively about the sleeping monitoring capabilities of the Apple Watch Series 8 at its keynote on September 7, I’ve always felt that wearing a watch to bed would be uncomfortable. But after the first night, the Apple Watch started to replace my retainer as my go-to bedtime gear. I cherished learning more about the one thing I wasn’t accustomed to tracking: my sleep.

This year’s model measures how much time you spend awake, drifting in and out of REM sleep, deep sleep, and core sleep. The information is then accessible in the iPhone’s Health app, allowing you to determine how effective or ineffective your sleep actually is. I was pleased to find that the Apple Watch was able to accurately note those timings and the depth of my sleep after the fact, as I routinely get up around three in the morning.

After a week, I am more committed than ever to developing good sleeping habits. I started going to bed 30 minutes earlier after realising that I frequently enter my REM sleep cycle right before my dreadful alarm goes off, which has helped me feel less groggy in the mornings.

Jason Hiner, a coworker of mine, has been evaluating the Apple Watch Series 8 and has been using it to track his sleep for more than three years. He has also experimented with smart beds and under-the-mattress sleep sensors. Overall, he claims that he still prefers the Apple Watch’s Sleep Watch app over the software that comes preinstalled in the Health app.

The information on sleep phases to assist comprehend the quality of sleep was, however, the main thing he missed from the under-the-mattress sensor. He now frequently makes use of that feature on the Series 8 and is pleased with the visuals and accuracy. The sleep app for the Apple Watch, however, would be much better if it included information on HRV, blood oxygen levels, and other factors. He also noted that Apple has to release a companion Sleep app for the iPhone.

The features I didn’t test

Crash Detection

The Apple Watch Series 8 can, like the iPhone 14 series, measure changes in the environment’s sound, pressure, and motion to identify serious auto accidents and assist in connecting you to emergency personnel. In the case of an automobile accident, the Apple Watch will inquire as to whether it should dial 911 or not. If no answer is received after 20 seconds, the latter action will be taken. Preventing crashes is enabled by default.

Women’s health features

The improved health features in watchOS 9, especially those geared at women’s health, may be one of the largest improvements. I liked that I could track my period as a woman simply completing a few questions and wearing my watch every day. Although women who just want to be more in touch with their bodies might benefit from this technology, it’s important to remember that a wristwatch is not more intelligent than your doctor. The Apple Watch may be a helpful first evaluation if you have an irregular cycle or have medical anxiety, but you shouldn’t base your medical decisions only on that.

Although I personally do not use the watch for family planning, I am aware that many others do. After five days, WatchOS 9 may measure variations in your basal body temperature while you sleep and track your ovulation.

Battery life

Given the similarities in battery capacity between the Apple Watch Series 8 and the model from the previous year, you may anticipate a comparable battery life performance. However, after switching from the Series 3, I was even more pleased with the Series 8’s stamina.

I usually wear the watch from dawn to night while walking two miles to and from work, working out for 30 to 60 minutes, and sleeping for seven hours total. If you intend to use the Apple Watch day and night, this means that time management and charge management are necessary.

The new Apple Watch charges quickly, which is a blessing. I’ve been using Apple’s USB-C charging cable and Anker’s 511 Charger (Nano 3), which takes the Series 8 about an hour to fully charge. I’ve been trickle-charging the watch now and then during the day, like while I’m in a meeting, because I’ve been using it while I sleep.

Bottom Line

I’m not moaning about the Apple Watch Series 8’s minor improvements over the original, squircle wristwatch. With the improved health and fitness monitoring functions, the watch is more helpful than ever for assisting me in staying in touch with my body both during exercise and at rest. The same selection of attractive and useful watch faces is still available.

The only thing I’d like to point out is that watchOS 9’s wealth of upgrades and features could be too much for certain users to handle. But the new Series 8 is the one to choose if you want the most complete Apple Watch experience—aside from the Ultra. If you already own the Series 7 from last year, there’s no need to upgrade to the Series 8, as we frequently say with the newest items. But if you currently own a Series 6 or earlier and are debating whether it’s time to update, you’ll probably find a lot to appreciate about the Series 8 — particularly the battery life.

Alternatives to consider

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