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Apple Watch Series 7 Review

If you are looking for the absolute best wearable to pair with your iPhone, then look no further
Apple Watch Series 7
Credit: Apple
Editors' Choice Award
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Price:   $399 List | $329.00 at Amazon
Pros:  Loaded with smart functions, beautiful display, intuitive
Cons:  Poor battery life, expensive
Manufacturer:   Apple
By Benjamin Hickok ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Dec 23, 2021
Our Editors independently research, test, and rate the best products. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Learn more
82
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#1 of 8
  • Ease of Use - 30% 9.0
  • Smart Functions - 20% 8.0
  • Display - 20% 9.0
  • Fitness Impact - 15% 9.0
  • Battery - 15% 5.0

Our Verdict

The Apple Watch Series 7 has yet again surpassed the performance of its predecessors, earning one of the very best scores for any smartwatch we've tested. This watch is impossible to beat if you are looking for an iPhone-compatible smartwatch that offers an impressive number of intelligent features. It is sleek, stylish, and available in a variety of colors and bezel sizes, so it is easy to match your personal aesthetic. It also has one of the best displays available on a wearable device. Its only significant drawback is a less than budget-friendly price tag and a shorter battery life, making it a difficult recommendation for budget-conscious shoppers and non-iPhone users.

Compare to Similar Products

 
Apple Watch Series 7
Awards Editors' Choice Award Editors' Choice Award Best Buy Award Top Pick Award  
Price $399 List
$329.00 at Amazon
$280 List
$244.99 at Amazon
$230 List
$164.74 at Amazon
$250 List
$259.99 at Amazon
$200 List
$199.99 at Amazon
Overall Score Sort Icon
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Pros Loaded with smart functions, beautiful display, intuitiveLoaded with smart functions, beautiful display, easy to use, great priceGood value, great fitness tracking ability, excellent battery lifeIncredible battery life, great fitness trackingSupports mobile payments, good display, Android OS friendly
Cons Poor battery life, expensiveSubpar battery life, fitness impact tracking could be betterCould be more convenient to use, doesn't have the most smart functionsLack of smart features, could be easier to useFinicky to setup on the charger, just okay at everything
Bottom Line If you are looking for the absolute best wearable to pair with your iPhone, then look no furtherAn incredible smartwatch for Samsung phone users but a little underwhelming when it comes to battery lifeThe fitness features packed into this wearable make it an excellent choice for the priceIncredible battery life and great fitness tracking abilities make this watch a notable fitness wearableA great value option for Android users that want to add a little convenience to their wrist
Rating Categories Apple Watch Series 7 Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 Fitbit Versa 3 Huawei GT 2 Pro Mobvoi Ticwatch E3
Ease of Use (30%)
9.0
8.0
6.0
6.0
6.0
Smart Functions (20%)
8.0
7.0
5.0
4.0
6.0
Display (20%)
9.0
9.0
8.0
7.0
7.0
Fitness Impact (15%)
9.0
6.0
8.0
8.0
6.0
Battery (15%)
5.0
5.0
8.0
9.0
5.0
Specs Apple Watch Series 7 Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 Fitbit Versa 3 Huawei GT 2 Pro Mobvoi Ticwatch E3
Water Resistance 5 ATM 5 ATM 5 ATM 5 ATM IP68
NFC (contactless payment) Yes, Apple Pay Yes, Samsung Pay Yes, Fitbit Pay Yes, Google Pay Yes, Google Pay
GPS? Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
HR Monitor? Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Built-in Microphone? Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Built-in Speaker? Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Display 41mm or 45mm Retina LTPO OLED 40mm or 44mm AMOLED 1.58 inch OLED 1.39 inch AMOLED 1.3 inch AMOLED
Resolution 420 x 352 (41mm),
484 x 396 (45mm)
396 x 396,
450 x 450
336 x 336 454 x 454 360 x 360
Other Sensors Accelerometer
Gyro
Barometer
Altimeter
Compass
SpO2
VO2max
Accelerometer
Barometer
Gyro
Geomagnetic
Light
Electrical heart
Bioelectrical Impedance Analysis
Ambient light
Altimeter
3-axis accelerometer
Accelerometer
Gyroscope
Geomagnetic
Air pressure
Accelerometer
Gyro
SpO2
Low Latency Off-Body
Processor Apple S7, Dual-core Dual-core 1.18 GHz Cortex-A55 N/A Kirin A1 + STL4R9 Qualcomm Snapdragon Wear 4100+ processor
Available Sizes 41mm, 45mm 40mm, 42mm, 44mm, 46mm One size One size One size
Size Tested 41mm 44mm N/A N/A N/A

Our Analysis and Test Results

The Apple Watch Series 7 is loaded with features and a familiar and easy-to-use interface that we think is the best choice for Apple iPhone users. It also can be purchased with cellular capability (for more money), so you can leave your iPhone behind without sacrificing any services or connectivity. Of course, you will also need to set up a cellular service through your carrier for the smartwatch, adding to its overall cost of ownership. This watch commands a premium price because of its top-notch functions, features, and performance, but it is also one of the best smartwatches available today.

Performance Comparison


Apple Watch Series 7 smartwatch - incredible app selection and performance help make this one of the...
Incredible app selection and performance help make this one of the best wearables ever.
Credit: Laura Casner

Ease of Use


Our set of tests for this metric assessed the ease or difficulty of swapping wristbands, water resistance, the interface, and the respective screen, crown, bezel, and button responsiveness. The Apple Watch 7 has built on the success of previous models, further increasing ease of use with a QWERTY keyboard and a slightly bigger screen. It easily performed at the top of our test group for the metric


The 7 is an incredibly easy-to-use device and will be familiar to iOS users and anyone who has used previous models. Besides an intuitive UI, a crown makes scrolling through apps and screens simple, and haptic feedback positively affects the experience. The watch is also incredibly responsive. It has a touch interface with zero delays and instantaneously wakes and reacts to the turn of the wrist. The screen response to taps and swipes is immediate too, as are zooming, scrolling, and pressing on the digital crown.

The slightly larger screen and the integration of a QWERTY keyboard that also detects swiping and offers predictive auto-fill make using the watch easier on your eyes as well as your fingers. The 7 is also water-resistant to 50 meters, so it will easily survive a shower, pool workouts, and accidental spills and splashes.

Apple Watch Series 7 smartwatch - you'll forget it is there when you don't need it, and will love it...
You'll forget it is there when you don't need it, and will love it when you do.
Credit: Laura Casner

Just like previous models, wristbands are incredibly easy to change out. Replacing a band only requires a press on the band release button on the bottom, allowing it to freely slide out. The new band simply slides back in, snapping into place.

Apple Watch Series 7 smartwatch - replacing wrist bands is an incredibly easy task.
Replacing wrist bands is an incredibly easy task.
Credit: Laura Casner

Smart Functions


For this metric, we awarded points based on the availability and performance of apps, whether the device allows the user to make phone calls or control music, and whether or not contactless payment options are supported. We also evaluated whether or not the device has an integrated GPS module and if it has the option for standalone cellular capability.


The Series 7 has some of the greatest support and selection for popular apps. And, like many Apple products, using apps is easy and intuitive. Phone calls are easy to take on this watch as well, thanks to a high-quality microphone and speaker. You can kick the call back to your phone if you'd rather talk there, and calls can also be declined with a default message. Lastly, you can call out from the watch via the contacts that sync over from your phone. Pretty much, if you can do it on your iPhone, you can do it on this watch.

Apple Watch Series 7 smartwatch - add convenience to your life and take calls from your wrist.
Add convenience to your life and take calls from your wrist.
Credit: Laura Casner

Continuing a trend of great smart features and functionality, the Series 7 makes it easy to control music while on the go. Making payments and purchases on the go also couldn't be easier, as the watch fully supports Apple Pay. And, as you might expect, the Series 7 has standalone GPS and cellular abilities (for an upgraded price), so it is possible to put the watch on its own data plan, letting you ditch the iPhone completely.

Apple Watch Series 7 smartwatch - an incredible amount of smart apps and features enhance life on the...
An incredible amount of smart apps and features enhance life on the go.
Credit: Laura Casner

Display


The Series 7 also impressed us as we moved onto our display metric. We based our scores for this metric on display quality, the ease of reading in different lighting conditions, auto-brightness, and always-on abilities and settings.


The Series 7 has an exceptional OLED display, the premium level of quality you would expect from a top-tier watch. The screen is also ever so slightly larger than on previous models. Only the auto-brightness settings (or lack thereof) left something to be desired, but the brightness can be adjusted from either the watch or a paired iPhone.

Apple Watch Series 7 smartwatch - a crown makes navigating apps and menus easy and the screen is as...
A crown makes navigating apps and menus easy and the screen is as clear and crisp as could be.
Credit: Laura Casner

Fitness Impact


Just about every modern smartwatch can double as a fitness tracker, but many are specifically tailored towards fitness tracking, including the Apple Watch Series 7. We tested out step counting, heart rate monitoring, and workout tracking. We even tested the accuracy of stair-stepping. Yet again, this watch excelled in our tests, earning one of the top overall scores for the metric.


Predecessors to the Series 7 were exceptional fitness trackers, so Apple hardly had to make improvements, and yet it seems like they made minor ones anyhow. Compared to the previous model, we recorded a slightly smaller margin of error in step counting. Yes, it was a minor improvement, but an improvement nonetheless.

Apple Watch Series 7 smartwatch - a high-quality display makes it easy to read in bright light and...
A high-quality display makes it easy to read in bright light and when on the go.
Credit: Laura Casner

The already great workout selection, auto-detection of workouts, and goal setting essentially stayed the same between the previous model and this one. So if you loved the previous model's fitness tracking features and functions, you'll be happy with the Series 7. If you are new to the Apple series of smartwatches, then you will not be disappointed.

Apple has essentially nailed the technology on wearables for heart rate monitoring. Where other devices struggled, the Series 7 excelled. The watch was able to track heart rates at rest and during interval workouts, maintaining a 1.4 bpm average of the control data we collected.

Apple Watch Series 7 smartwatch - the apple watch is a great fitness tracker, with a variety of...
The Apple Watch is a great fitness tracker, with a variety of workout apps.
Credit: Laura Casner

Battery


Our battery metric tested and ranked every watch's battery life, charging times, and ease with each watch recharged. The overall performance of the Series 7 took a dip with regards to battery life compared to some of the other products.


As mentioned, the battery life was only average, which is a trend amongst the top-tier smartwatches we tested. Snappy processors, high-quality displays, and a wide array of smart apps and features consume more power than less feature-rich and performant offerings. Battery life is supposed to be the same as the previous model, but we found the newest model had actually taken a minor step backward in this regard.

The Series 7 performed fairly well in our recharging time tests, recharging to 50% in 21 minutes and achieving a full charge in 86 minutes. Like most premium power-hungry devices, this isn't where performance is going to be exceptional. However, this watch still charges relatively quickly and easily, so you can get it back on your wrist and get back to convenience and health tracking with only short interruptions.

Battery life and charging times are not the same across all devices.
Battery life and charging times are not the same across all devices.
A magnetic charger adds user-friendliness.
A magnetic charger adds user-friendliness.

Value


The old adage that you get what you pay for rings true for the Apple Watch Series 7. It is a top-tier product with incredible performance but comes with a premium price tag. It is not a bargain smartwatch and a difficult recommendation for the budget-conscious shopper looking for a new smartwatch. That said, it also is undoubtedly a product that will not leave you with regrets, even at the steep price.

Conclusion


In our opinion, and based on our tests, the Apple Watch Series 7 is easily the best smartwatch currently available if you have an iPhone. It is loaded with smart features and functions, making it a great option for tracking your workouts, in addition to simply aiding your life. It is a sleek and stylish smartwatch, and you wouldn't make a mistake purchasing it if you have the budget for it and already use an iPhone.

Apple Watch Series 7 smartwatch - the watch face is still visible and fairly easy to read in bright...
The watch face is still visible and fairly easy to read in bright light.
Credit: Laura Casner

Benjamin Hickok

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GearLab is founded on the principle of honest, objective, reviews. Our experts test thousands of products each year using thoughtful test plans that bring out key performance differences between competing products. And, to assure complete independence, we buy all the products we test ourselves. No cherry-picked units sent by manufacturers. No sponsored content. No ads. Just real, honest, side-by-side testing and comparison.

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