Technology

Apple Watch Series 7 test: our opinion –

While we wait for our test, here are the impressions of our colleagues at cnet.com.

Apple Watch Series 7 announced at the event

iPhone 13
September. Is available in € 429. The watch is equipped with a new screen, the surface area of ​​which is approximately 20% larger than that of the Series 6 and more than 50% to that of
Series 3. This larger screen allows for the first time the use of a virtual QWERTY keyboard and other features such as larger buttons in some applications such as Calculator and Alarms. But that’s not the only update Apple has made to its smartwatch. The design is more robust and is dust resistant for the first time. The 7 Series can charge up to 33% faster than the 6 Series and the aluminum housing is available in new colors.

Otherwise, the Apple Watch Series 7 has the same strengths as the Series 6, including more high-end features that were lacking in theApple Watch SEsuch as measuring the oxygen saturation of the blood, an always-on display, and the ability to perform an ECG.

A new design with a bigger screen

The larger screen of the 7 Series is the change that most differentiates the Series 6. Apple has reduced the size of the bezels to increase the viewing area without significantly changing the dimensions of the case.

Apple Watch Series 7 comes in sizes of 41 and 45 mm, while the Series 6 was available in 40 and 44mm. The watch itself is technically a bit heavier as well. The 41mm aluminum model weighs 32 grams, compared to 30.5 grams for the 40mm Series 6. But it is not noticeable when using it.

Series 7 is dust resistant (IP6X) and its protective glass is advertised as 50% thicker. The angles of the case have been softened, but you only notice it when you examine the watch very closely. The aluminum model also comes in five new colors: midnight, starlight, green, and updated options of blue and red, lighter than the shades that were available for the Series 6.

What can a larger screen be used for on a smartwatch like the Apple Watch? Apple tried to answer this question by redesigning the user interface. The buttons for applications such as timers, alarms and the calculator have been expanded to be easier to use. The most useful change in this regard is the keypad for unlocking the watch. The larger buttons make it easier to enter the password correctly the first time.

You also benefit from a few extra lines of text on the screen to read brief information or notifications. It’s a notable improvement, but it hasn’t significantly changed the way we use Apple Watch..

The Series 7 also brings new font size options to make text larger, which could be particularly useful for visually impaired users.

Apple Watch finally has its first real keyboard

The real benefit of the larger screen is the new AZERTY keyboard. In applications such as Messages or Mail, simply touch the message field when creating new text or email to bring up the keyboard.

Autocorrect works surprisingly well, which is important on such a small keyboard where it is difficult to be precise. We found the QuickPath function very useful, which allows you to type by sliding between letters. You can also use the watch’s dictation feature to send messages without having to take out your phone. This virtual keyboard is a real breakthrough for text input on the Apple Watch allowing you to type words and complete sentences. That being said, if you need to write something other than a short sentence, it’s best to use your smartphone.. In fact, for long sentences, writing on the clock requires too much concentration. There have been times when we have had to remove entire words when we only wanted to remove a single character, which can be frustrating.

New dials show the utility of a larger screen, but more is needed

Watch faces are an important part of the Apple Watch experience, as it is the screen we look at the most. With that in mind, it’s no surprise that Apple has designed new watch faces for the Series 7 big screen. There’s the Modular Duo dial, which is the first to feature two full-size complications for displaying information, and Contour, a dial. whose numbers spill over the curved edges of Series 7.

Personally, our preference is Modular duo because for us getting as much information as possible at a quick glance is more important than aesthetics. With the Modular Duo, you can see at a glance the time, the progress of your activity during the day, the temperature and the weather forecast.

Too bad there aren’t more watch faces to fit the new display at the moment, given that this is the most significant improvement to the Apple Watch Series 7.

Faster charging but identical autonomy

When it comes to autonomy, there is good news and bad news. The good news is that Series 7 can charge much faster than Series 6, which is useful if you use the watch to track sleep or forget to charge it overnight. The bad news: the range of the 7 Series has not improved compared to the 6 Series.

Let’s start with the positives. Apple says the new watch is expected to charge up to 33% faster than the old one thanks to changes to internal components and the new charger.

We have verified that this statement is correct in our tests, but only when the watch is charged for at least half an hour. After 30 minutes of charging, the battery in the Apple Watch Series 7 went from zero to 54%, while the Series 6 recovered only 37% in the same amount of time. Note: we use the same charger for both watches.

Those who charge their watches in the morning before leaving home will surely appreciate this improvement. But if you only have a few moments to charge your watch, there isn’t much difference in charging speed between Series 6 and Series 7. After charging both watches on the same charger for 15 minutes, the 7’s battery was at 24%. while that of the 6 was 23%.

The other downside is that it only works with Apple’s new charger. This means that if you have a charging station with a built-in charger for Apple Watch, like MagSafe Duo, you won’t be able to enjoy the fastest charging for Series 7.

Apple hasn’t improved the battery life of the new Apple Watch either. Apple estimates that the Series 7 should last 18 hours on a single charge, like the Series 6. Of course, battery life always varies with use, but we’ve found that the Series 7 and 6 last. a day and a half with permanent display activated.

Since clocks like the

Fitbit Versa 3
and

Sense
offer a battery life of several days, it would have been nice to see Apple make some progress in this area. Especially since the brand is now positioning the Apple Watch as a sleep tracker, with new data such as breathing rate during sleep with

WatchOS 8
.

Same sensors and health tracking as Series 6

Aside from these changes, the 7 Series has a lot in common with the 6 Series. a new S7 processor, but offers the same performance as the 6 Series.

Both watches can measure blood oxygen saturation, take wrist ECG, track heart rate with high and low heart rate alerts. They have a compass for more accurate location tracking, an always-on altimeter, they detect falls, and the U1 chip allows them to function as a digital car key.

In fact, you don’t even need the latest Apple Watch to get most of the latest features as they are provided by WatchOS 8, which is available for all models up to Series 3.

These include the most advanced fall detection system that can determine if you’ve fallen during a specific type of workout, the ability to use portrait mode photos as a watch face, and a new app. Mindfulness that replaces the Breathe app.

conclusion

Overall, the Apple Watch Series 7 looks more like an “Apple Watch 6s” than a major upgrade.. It doesn’t add anything entirely new to the health experience, as the Series 6 did, which was the first Apple Watch to support blood oxygen saturation measurement.

Frankly speaking, the Series 7 is not the generational upgrade we were hoping for. But this is not necessarily a reproach. It’s more like a polished version of a watch we already love, the Series 6. And since its price hasn’t gone up, the Series 7 is a totally valid option for first-time Apple Watch buyers. Or for those who want to change an older model.

If you have a Series 6 or Series 5, there is no need to invest in Series 7. On the other hand, if you have an aging model like the Series 3, the latest Apple Watch will give you the feeling of taking a real leap forward.

CNET.com article adapted by CNETFrance

Images: Lisa Eadicicco / CNET

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