Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in April 2022 and has been updated on August 2022 for accuracy and comprehensiveness.
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Since its inception back in 2015, Apple has a track record of releasing a new version of its smartwatch every year. Last year in 2021 Apple Watch 7 had been released. My wife and I have been using the 45mm model and 41mm model for the last 6 months. We would love to share our experiences with you all to help you determine if it is worth the price or not.
What is new in Apple Watch 7?
First and foremost the new features of the Apple Watch 7 are:
- New sizes: 41 mm and 45 mm
- 5 new aluminum colours: Midnight, Starlight, Green, Blue, Product Red
- All-around thinner bezels: Compared to the other models of the Apple watch the bezels are thinner all around in Apple Watch 7.
- Largest display (larger screen): 50% increase in screen size compared to the previous generations of Apple Watches like the Series 3. 20% bigger when compared to Apple Watch Series 6
- Faster charging: Charges 30% faster than Apple Watch 6
- More resistant and tougher front display: Ion-X glass display on aluminum cases, sapphire crystal display on stainless steel and titanium cases
- For the first time IP6X dust resistant and new watch faces
- The new upgraded internal chip S7
- New QWERT keyboard: The new QWERT keyboard for the Apple watch lets you tap or slide across the letters of the keyboard.
Apple Watch 7: Upgraded version of existing features in Apple Watch 5 and Apple Watch 6
If you have previously owned an Apple Watch 6 or Apple Watch 5 then the below mentioned features may not seem new to you. However you can consider them as an upgraded version of the existing features.
- Measuring the Blood oxygen via the app
- Heart Rate and ECG measuring via the app
- Sleep tracking
- More workouts
- Fall detection
- Always on Retina Display with 1000 nits peak brightness
- The watch doesn’t have a specific water resistance rating but Apple claims the Apple watch 7 to be water resistant to a depth of 50 meters plus swim proof. Which means you can use the watch in the pool or in the open sea but it is still not certified for scuba diving.
- Apple still offers a GPS or a GPS +LTE (cellular service) version of the watch.
There are also new colour bands available this year. So why not use all those colors and design the watch thats best suits your personality from the Apple Watch Studio site
The watch is available in 3 versions:
- Nike Edition
Irrespective of which version or size of the Apple Watch 7, Apple provides you with a 3 months subscription of Apple Fitness+ for free. Which in my opinion is a great pack in deal.
If this is your first time purchasing an Apple watch then its good to know that Apple currently sells only 3 versions on their US store website which are:
- Apple Watch Series 7
- Apple Watch SE
- Apple Watch Series 3.
You may be able to get previous models such as Apple Watch Series 6 or Apple Watch Series 5 from Apple or authorized sellers if they have it in stock.
If you want to know the difference between the Apple Watch Series based on your budget then refer to the summary below
Which Apple Watch 7 to consider 45mm or 41mm?
Well it all depends on your preference.
My wife decided to go for the Apple Watch Nike Series 7, 41mm Starlight Aluminum case with platinum Nike sports band. Whereas I decided to go for the Apple Watch 7, 45mm Midnight Aluminum case with Midnight sport band.
The 45mm is slightly heavier than the 41mm. Both the watches feel great on the wrist and fun fact the midnight colour is not entirely black, it has a hint of blue which is more visible during the day or in brightly lit rooms.
Tip: If you are unsure of which size is right for you would prefer then I highly recommend you visiting the nearest Apple store to try on the Apple Watch 7 and see which one suits you the best. As both the watches (45mm & 41mm) have much larger displays this time around so finding which size works for you is more important this time around.
Unboxing the 41mm Apple Watch 7 Nike Edition
It comes in a nice black rectangular box once you remove the pull tabs at the bottom, you will then have 2 rectangular boxes one has the actual case and the other the bands.
The box that contains the aluminum case also contains the charging puck.
Note: It doesn’t come with a wall adapter so you will need to use your existing iPhone charger or you can buy one from Amazon. There are cheaper and smaller in size 3rd party options to such as the below.
The 2nd rectangular box holds your bands and it comes with 2 sizes small/ medium and medium/large
Note: The instruction guide on how to attach the band to the case is printed inside the same box. If you follow the instructions correctly you will hear a small click your band is secured correctly. You can watch this video on How to change the band?
Unboxing the 45mm Apple Watch 7
The experience is similar to unboxing the 41mm only difference is that the Nike edition is in a black box and the Apple standard edition is in a white box with no Nike logo.
Note: If you do intend to pick up the standard edition you will not get the Nike watch face as that is only reserved for Nike edition. Whether you purchase 45mm or standard or 41mm Nike edition the prices are the same the only difference is the Nike wrist band and watch face.
You need an Apple iPhone to be able to use your Apple Watch 7
Since my wife and I recently upgraded our iPhones (iPhone 6 to Apple iPhone 13 Pro Max) and we thought it would be the perfect time to upgrade our smart watch game as well. Honestly at this point it’s more like in for a Penny in for a Pound 😅.
The Apple Watch 7 is best described as a great companion device for your iPhone. On a side note if you’re wondering what the Apple iPhone 13 Pro Max is like then do click on the link to read our first impressions.
The Apple Watch 7 can be paired right from an iPhone 6s all the way up to the current generation that is iPhone 13.
The watch does not work with an iPad or iMac. What I mean is that, the first-time setup of your device (Apple Watch 7) will require you to have a compatible iPhone for it to work.
Once the Apple Watch 7 has been paired and working you can off course use it to unlock your iMac or iPad and you can even download your Apple Fitness+ app on it.
Apple Watch 7: Initial setup and pairing experience
If you do happen to pair the Apple Watch 7 with an iPhone 6s or any of the older generation then the pairing experience is highly slugging despite of the 6s being on the latest version of iOS update which is 15.4
How to pair your Apple Watch 7 to your Apple iPhone the first time?
- Update your iPhone
Insure that you have the latest iOS software update installed in your iPhone.
- iOS store
Download the Apple Watch software from iOS App Store.
- Turn on your Apple Watch 7
Push and hold the digital crown to turn on the device and follow the instruction on the screen.
If you follow the instructions correctly then the set up process is painless but if for any reason the internet drops or the device is hung then the device can be easily shutdown and you can start the process again.
How to easily switch your Apple Watch Band
Irrespective of which strap or band you go for changing them to suit your style can be quiet easy once you get the hang of it. It is important to hear the “click” sound to be sure that the band is safely secured.
Protecting your Apple Watch
Although Apple claims that this series 7 is the most crack, dust and water resistant watch that they have built uptil now do note the device can be scratched despite what the flashy videos show.
Case in point my 45mm Midnight case got a small dent while walking in a crowd when someone happened to accidently hit my watch.
Having learnt my lesson both are Apple watches now have a clear screen protection on them and we also have purchased a third party snap on cover to protect the sides of the watch. Such as below:
Note: The snap on cover does add a bit of bulk but we only use this when we are doing outdoor sports.
Battery life of Apple Watch 7
Funny enough if you have a Apple Watch Series 6 then you know the “18 hour all day batter life” is highly subjectable to personal preferences i.e. it depends on how and how much you use the watch.
For instance: In the first 3 months I was constantly using the Apple watch even to track my sleep. In a single charge, I was able to get between 12 to 18 hours if everything in the watch was turned on but after understanding how much and for what all I am using my Apple watch I was easily able to set a cycle. That is if I charge it at 100% on a particular day then the day after, it would drain to 10% (basically I pulled it for nearly 2 days).
Also note that my battery health maximum capacity now sits at 99% after 6 months of use. Where as my wife who barely uses it besides while working out her watch battery health maximum capacity sits at 100%.
This is just an observation how we have been using our watches, your watch battery drain will vary depending on your usage.
If you are worried about such things then it’s a good idea to have the AppleCare+ .
The overall user experience for the past 6 months
The best way to describe the Apple Watch Series 7 is that, its more of a companion than a watch. The purpose of a regular watch is to tell time whereas the Apple watch does everything else and also just happens to tell you the time.
What I mean is because of the much larger display you no longer have to squint to read messages or see notifications on your wrist. The new swipe keyboard even makes replying to messages a lot easier but there is definitely learning curve to it. You can always use the handy dictation function in the watch as well to reply to your messages but your experience will vary depending on how thick is your accent and how clear is your speech.
I found the best success with this function when I was speaking very clearly and slowly. You have to forget what people around you think of you when you do this 😂.
The Apple watch fitness tracking app tracks your steps, your sleep pattern, your daily movement but I wouldn’t take the actual results at 100% face value. The best way to look at it is to use it as a reminder or motivator to help you be more active and achieve your set goals.
I personally found myself being more active and more conscious about my movements thanks to the watch. It is definitely a great gym partner.
The most under rated feature of the watch is the 3 months Apple Fitness+ subscription that comes with the watch and you can only download it after you have paired the watch.
Another great feature of the smartwatch is that you are able to customize the watch faces meaning I was able to match the watch face to the colour of my office shirts on a daily basis.
Having previously used a Samsung Galaxy Watch in particular the Active 2 you can definitely say with a lot of confidence that the Apple watch is a much more superior piece of tech and it works seamlessly within the Apple eco system. It is hands down the best smartwatch. If you own a pair of Airpods or Airpods Pro, it pairs instantly with the watch. Thereby making your workouts or answering calls much more convenient and effortless.
The smartwatch has a handy tip app which helps you get more out of it. The watch also has a walkie talkie function which you can use to talk to nearby Apple watches honestly I have never found any situation where this function would be useful.
The Apple watch as a built in storage of 32gb which may not seem like a lot but it is adequate enough to hold your music library or memos or screenshots.
Apple Watch Series 7 Water Resistance
The only feature of the watch that I didn’t test for was its water resistance ability. I mean sure, I could have taken a tub of water and thrown the watch inside to see what happened. Honestly, one I was scared of doing that to my brand new watch and number two I didn’t want to go to the apple store and explain myself.
The Apple watch series 7 claims to have a water resistance of up to 50 meters (open waters or in a swimming pool).
So anyways, fast forward to 9 months later and now that I have been using my watch on a regular basis and its outer case does show little signs of rough usage I was more brave and open to the idea of taking the watch for a swim at our upcoming family staycation.
I am happy to report the watch passed with flying colours and with no water damage whatsoever. My wife was extremely surprised to see me wearing the watch when my daughter and I were going into the pool. “don’t you want to take out your watch” she said and I with all the confidence in the world said, “Nah, it’s waterproof it will be fine” (in all honestly I still had 3 months of the manufacturer warranty left, hence the extra confidence in my voice. Also if anything did go wrong, I would have another content to write about “Apple warranty and return process” 😄.
But since I followed the necessary steps before going into the pool, the entire process was very pleasant and painless.
Steps to follow before testing the water resistance of Apple Watch 7
- Unlock your watch and swipe up from the bottom till you see the water droplet icon, tap it and follow the on-screen instructions.
- If you plan to record a workout, like doing laps in the pool then I suggest starting the app just before you jump into the pool as it’s easier to navigate the screen when your fingers aren’t wet.
- That’s it really and when you are done and getting out of the pool just rotate the crown to unlock your watch and start the water ejection procedure.
We were in the pool for a good 3 hours and I did some laps in the pool to see if the watch would recognise the strokes that I was doing. Sure enough, the watch was able to detect when I was doing the breaststroke or the backstroke and I was pleasantly surprised on how accurately it captured the data.
When my wife was tending to our daughter I logged into the Spotify app on the watch to see if I could play a song and if I could hear the audio coming out clearly or if it would be muffled because of the water inside. Once again happy to report no issues whatsoever.
Now, I did not test the watch in the open sea but considering how well it performed in the swimming pool, I am pretty confident it would last in the open waters (just as long as we don’t do deep dives with the watch).
Starting at US $399 for 41mm and US $429 for 45mm its definitely worth the price for admission.
If this is your first Apple watch you would not be disappointed. If you are thinking of upgrading and you currently have a Apple Watch Series 6 then the difference between series 6 and series 7 are not substantial enough to justify the upgrade.
However if your previous Apple watch is Series 5 or older then the upgrade would make more sense and you will get more value for money at that point in time.
Tip: Before purchasing your new Apple watch always check out for best deals in the Apple website as you have the option of trading in your previous Apple smartwatch.
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