Apple Watch Series 7 review: How to get the most out of your Apple Watch 

Let’s take a quick look at the two marquee features on the Apple Watch Series 7

author_img Tushar Kanwar Published :  28th February 2022 08:56 PM   |   Published :   |  28th February 2022 08:56 PM
Apple Watch Series 7

Apple Watch Series 7

I’ve had the Apple Watch Series 7 on my wrist every day for a few months now, and for the most part I’ve tried to evaluate if it’s as iterative an update as most folks have made it out to be. On the face of it, that argument has some merit, but only if you’re looking at it from the perspective of someone who’s bought last year’s model – the display is larger, you get new colors and better durability and faster charging speeds (the latter limited by regulations in India), but the chipset, the battery life and the sensors largely remain the same. The bit about it not necessarily appealing to Series 6 owners is by design – the Series 7 is primarily for those who have either boarded the iOS train recently or someone who will actually need an upgrade this year, people who have a model from two, maybe three years ago. Particularly for the latter, the Series 7 is a no-brainer of an upgrade – smaller bezels around the screen, an always-on display, SpO2 tracking and a bunch of wellness features. 

With that being said, let’s take a quick look at the two marquee features on the Apple Watch Series 7 – the bigger screen and the enhanced durability. While the design and the overall lines are along…expected lines, the bezel is where the major cuts have happened. It’s not completely bezel-less, but since the screen wraps around the main enclosure and slopes down to the outer shell, it feels even more devoid of bezels. Available in 41mm and 45mm case sizes (bumped up by 1mm from their predecessors), the effect is a display that offers 50% more total screen area than the older Series 3 design, or about 20% more than the Series 6. The key thing for long-term Apple Watch owners will be that your long-accumulated collection of bands will still fit.

Apple’s smartly utilised all those extra pixels at its disposal on the Series via some subtle UI tweaks to the user interface, so a bigger screen actually yields some benefit beyond more screen space. So, for example, on-screen buttons are bigger and touch targets are easier to tap, which makes a huge difference when you’re trying to tap something accurately while walking. Bonus, it’s good for the elderly or anyone with some amount of precision issues tapping a smaller screen. The bigger screen also affords more text on the display to be rendered in a screen, or fonts can be made larger and easier to read. New watch faces can fit in two full size information widgets at one go, and for the first time, Apple has added a QWERTY keyboard to an Apple Watch for the first time, so that it's a bit easier to respond to messages from the watch directly. It might sound overkill, but that one time when I had my hands full with grocery shopping and needed to respond to a text message with a full address had me convinced…and it was hard to go back.

There’s a second improvement to the display, and that’s a significantly brighter always-on mode, that’s for when you don’t have your watch raised. Apple claims an improvement of 70% brightness over the Series 6, which I’d say is rather useful when you’re outdoors and discreetly want to look at your watch to look at the time. It’s interesting that the brightness of the Always-On mode is pretty close to regular brightness, with only colors getting more vibrant when you raise your hand. This is an always-on mode that looks pretty much like the screen is on all the time, without the associated battery drain.

And of course, there are new watch faces, as you’d have seen in our Unboxing video, and you can go to town on the number of complications you can add. My personal favorite is the new Portraits option, which plasters a photo from your album all over the watch face and floats the time over it.   

The other, more subtle change is that the Watch case is now dust-proof and is rated to IP6X, not to mention a more durable crack-resistant front crystal, which should promote a more outdoorsy lifestyle now that we’re stepping out a whole lot more than we were last year. Of course, the other health benefits we’ve seen in recent Apple Watches remain, and now’s as good a time as any to reel off some of the health monitoring capabilities you buy into when you pick up an Apple Watch.

 

Heart-monitoring: High or low heart rates or irregular heart rhythms (known as arrhythmias) could point to complications or a deteriorating condition. Notifications in your Heart Rate app, enabled manually after setup, will alert you to high/low heart rates or arrhythmias so you can seek medical advice.

  • On your iPhone, open the Apple Watch app.
  • Tap the My Watch tab, then tap Heart.
  • Tap High Heart Rate, then choose a BPM. 
  • Tap Low Heart Rate, then choose a BPM.

Irregular rhythm notifications will keep an eye on your heartbeat and check for irregularities that may be suggestive of atrial fibrillation (AFib).

  • On your iPhone, open the Health app.
  • Tap the Browse tab, then go to Heart > Irregular Rhythm Notifications.

The ECG app is capable of generating an ECG similar to a single-lead electrocardiogram, which you can export via the Health app from any Apple Watch series 4 onwards. Bear in mind, Apple Watch cannot detect heart attacks, and you should seek assistance immediately if you experience any symptoms indicative of your experiencing one.

Fall Detection: Apple Watch can sense if you’ve taken a hard fall and dial emergency services if you’re immobile for a while. Pressing and holding the side button achieves the same outcome. 

Wellness Tools: Beyond your immediate health and safety tools, Apple Watch can help you focus on your overall wellbeing and health by letting you easily track your menstrual cycle, protect your ears from sustained exposure to loud sounds and – still very relevant - get reminders to wash your hands.

Blood Oxygen: The Blood Oxygen app can allow you to measure the oxygen level of your blood directly from your wrist, giving you a good sense of how well oxygenated your blood is, a key measure we’ve tracked over the course of the pandemic. Unlike the ECG though, the measurements taken with the Blood Oxygen app are indicative and not intended for medical use.

Apple Watch Series 7

Pros: larger and better always-on screen, great health and activity tracking, water resistance, solid software support, great haptic feedback

Cons: Works only with iPhone, sleep tracking could be better, no third party watch faces

Rating: 8/10

Price: Rs 41,900 onwards

Tushar Kanwar is a tech columnist and commentator, and tweets @2shar

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