Apple Watch Series 8 review: Another year, another Apple Watch


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Apple Watch Series 8 is a jack of all trades for the average user, although lack of new features is a bit more apparent than in years past.

The speed of iteration on the default Apple Watch seems to be slowing down. The biggest changes in 2022 will come from watchOS 9 which delivered long-awaited features such as a power-saving mode, improved workouts, and better tracking with the Compass app.

Even though there are less flashy features in the Apple Watch Series 8, it’s still the smartwatch to beat.

Choose your Apple Watch

Even with the addition of the Apple Watch Ultra to the lineup this year, users have fewer choices than they normally would. Which is probably for the best.

The Apple Watch Series 8 is available for pick up in Midnight, Starlight, Silver, and (Product)RED if you choose aluminum, and if stainless steel is more your style, you can choose from gold, silver, and graphite.

Titanium is now reserved only for Apple Watch Ultra owners, and the green and blue versions of the aluminum Apple Watch are a thing of the past. Not to mention the discontinuation of the Nike Edition.

Many apps on our Apple Watch Series 8

When you choose your Apple Watch, you can pair it with any of the Nike bands, including the stainless steel versions.

Now that the Nike Edition is over, titanium is no longer available, and two colorways are discontinued, there are far fewer options for retail users.

But silver is back. This in-demand color was absent last year when Apple switched to Starlight. The light gold hue was a deterrent to people who wanted a more neutral silver – and they seem to have heard their requests.

Silver Apple Watch Series 8

Silver Apple Watch Series 8

We take a look at the 45mm silver aluminum Apple Watch Series 8.

A solid recipe for success

Apple Watch has followed a reliable recipe for success in recent years, with incremental improvements supported by ever-improving software.

This year, watchOS 9 was a great update for new and existing owners. Power-saving mode can nearly double your Apple Watch’s promised battery life, enough for a weekend trip, depending on your usage.

There are plenty of new training features, such as triathlon and duathlon support, the ability to race on your own while running, and new training views with heart rate zones, activity rings, and more.

Even if the Apple Watch Series 8 doesn’t have that rumored redesign, it works with the same bands it’s supported for years, works reliably, and is more capable than the Apple Watch before it.

What’s actually new?

Let’s talk about what’s new, instead of hammering away at Apple’s proven technology.

Crash detection is one of those new features, and it’s something Apple openly says it hopes you never have to use. There’s no denying that this new crash detection is sure to save a life in some cases.

It works by connecting to a large number of sensors integrated into the Apple Watch. First, it relies on the all-new accelerometer that can detect sudden changes in speeds of up to 256g.

Crash Detection Switch for Apple Watch Series 8

Crash Detection Switch on Apple Watch Series 8

Then there’s the updated gyroscope that detects when there’s been a sudden movement in motion — such as a front, rear, or side impact.

The barometer detects a shift in air pressure caused by the inflation of the airbag. Finally, the microphone listens for loud noises that accompany a crash. All of this comes together to (hopefully) reliably detect when you’ve been in a car accident.

If a crash is detected, your Apple Watch will start and ask if you’re okay. If you are unable to respond, it will automatically call emergency services with your location and send an alert to your emergency contacts. Granted, you either have a mobile Apple Watch or you iPhone nearby to make this work.

Crash detection is a fantastic feature to bring to Apple Watch and is a great example of how Apple is taking full advantage of its existing sensors by applying creative software. It will only be a matter of time before we start hearing stories of people saved by this addition.

The Apple Watch Series 8 runs on a new S8 SiP, but you won’t get a real speed boost here. The S8 relies on the same CPU as the S7 in the Series 7 Apple Watch.

As we opened apps, navigated and typed on the watch, we didn’t notice any lag, which is exactly our experience on the Series 7 too. The S8 only includes Apple’s new sensors that we described above, as well as the improved Bluetooth 5.3 radio.

The latest new feature Apple touts is the temperature sensor, or rather, the pair of sensors. Apple has placed two temperature sensors in Apple Watch Series 8: one against your wrist and the other against the screen, which is used to measure the environment.

However, these sensors do not work like a traditional thermometer. You won’t see a warning from the top of your Apple Watch telling you that you have a fever and that you need to see your doctor.

Instead, Apple offers two primary use cases for temperature sensors.

Side view of Apple Watch Series 8

Side view of Apple Watch Series 8

There are typical body temperature abnormalities at certain points in a menstrual cycle that may indicate ovulation. Apple’s cycle tracking app uses data from this sensor to retroactively determine ovulation.

Otherwise, the temperature sensor will track a wearer’s body temperature at night, assuming you wear your Apple Watch to bed. We’ve been using our Apple Watch for sleep tracking for years, so this wasn’t an issue.

After several days of data collection, Apple Watch was able to indicate when our body temperature deviated about two degrees or more from our baseline readings. This can indicate illness, stress, diet, exercise, alcohol and more.

This feels like a very Apple approach. Rather than promise too much to its users, Apple has hedged its bets and only delivers what it can be sure of.

Far too many fitness trackers make dubious claims backed by questionable science, and Apple has made a concerted effort to avoid this pitfall.

We wouldn’t be surprised if Apple adds additional benefits to the temperature sensor via software in the future, and developers will eventually help tell the full story. From September 2022 it will be a nice statistic again

Apple’s Biggest Apple Watch Problems

With its wearable, Apple has a few issues to address. Sensors are getting harder and harder to integrate into the Apple Watch’s tiny body — or they’re prohibitively expensive — and Apple isn’t competing with more dedicated fitness trackers.

One of the most notorious sensors Apple has researched is a glucose meter. We have been inflexible that anyone expecting this in the near future should temper their expectations.

The Apple Watch Series 8.  to wear

The Apple Watch Series 8. to wear

A non-invasive glucose meter is still years away from appearing in Apple Watch, and even then it’s more likely to be generic readings and not something as accurate as a prescription monitor like the Dexcom G6 or Medtronic Enlite.

Apple has settled for something more feasible this year: a temperature sensor. Still, Apple is careful here to only use it for nighttime background measurements and retrospective ovulation predictions.

Then we have the problem of Apple’s lack of competition with more dedicated fitness trackers. Garmin’s Fenix ​​line is a favorite for weekend warriors and triathletes who want something more powerful than what Apple Watch offers.

In this case, however, Apple did have an answer. It just wasn’t the Apple Watch Series 8. It’s the Apple Watch Ultra, and we’ll leave that conversation for another review

Should you buy the Apple Watch Series 8?

Annual upgraders will upgrade anyway. There isn’t necessarily one great feature that makes this a must-have upgrade over the Series 7 or even the Series 6. It’s meant to be the best, most capable Apple Watch for the average user, and be readily available — which the Apple Watch Ultra probably won’t be for a while.

Apple Watch Series 8

Apple Watch Series 8

The new Apple Watch Series 8 is now at the center of the lineup. It’s (barely) more capable than the new Apple Watch SE we’ll talk about shortly, but won’t set you back as much as the Apple Watch Ultra.

For most people, that’s the right place.

Apple Watch Series 8 – Benefits

  • Still the best smart watch for the everyday user
  • Unique use for temperature sensor
  • Crash detection is not flashy, but life-saving
  • All day battery life
  • Lots to love with watchOS 9

Apple Watch Series 8 – Cons

  • Few reasons to upgrade from Series 7, Series 6 or maybe even the Series 5
  • Most watchOS 9 features are coming to older watches, like power saving mode

Rating: 4 out of 5

Where to buy the Apple Watch Series 8

The Apple Watch Series 8 is on sale now, with exclusive Apple Watch Deals available when you tack on AppleCare.

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