Apple Watch Series 7 long-term review: the world's best smartwatch just got better

Apple Watch isn’t just the biggest-selling smartwatch, it’s the world’s number one selling watch.

Series 6 was such a complete wearable that it was difficult to see where the tech giant could make improvements this year.

But refine the watch it has, with its taller case size and smaller bezels combining to deliver a 20 per cent larger display area.

My review model was the 45mm size version (1mm taller than its 44mm predecessor) and came in the new green colour which I fell in love with quickly.

It’s another Apple Watch with a slim profile that is comfortable to wear around the clock. You can easily swap out straps to change your look to fit the occasion. The selection of straps available is fantastic.

On-screen buttons in apps such as Calculator are now larger and easier to tap. More text fits on the display and fonts can be made larger and easier to read.

New watch faces such as Modular Duo can fit two full-size information widgets on screen at once, and you can now use a full QWERTY keyboard for typing messages.

When viewed from the side, you can see that the display’s edges are curved and almost flush with the case.

Another new watch face, Contour, stretches out its numerals right to the edge of the screen to take advantage of this.

Battery life is the same as on the predecessor, and with me that is roughly 24 hours with the display always switched on.

Naturally, battery endurance depends on how much you use the built-in GPS.

I've seen some reviewers report getting 36 hours from the battery and others who say it only lasts 18 hours.

Watch Series 7 is the first iteration to include USB-C charging which the firm says is 33 per cent faster.

Ten minutes on the new charger is enough to power eight hours of sleep tracking which incidentally is improved but still not as in-depth as, for example, Fitbit devices.

There’s no charger in the box incidentally, just the charging cable. But at this stage, most people would have at least one USB-C charger at home.

Key features

WatchOS 8 is still the most functional and easy to use operating system on a smartwatch. But don't forget Apple Watch only works with iPhone so there is no point buying one if you use an Android smartphone such as OnePlus or OPPO.

Series 7 has the same comprehensive array of health tracking features as its predecessor, including blood oxygen level monitoring, gyroscope, compass, altimeter, heart rate and ECG along with sleep tracking, GPS/GNSS and a microphone and speaker for making and taking calls and using Siri or sending message replies.

Apple Watch Series 7 long-term review: the world's best smartwatch just got better

You also get fitness tracking across dozens of workout types, with a particular emphasis on cycling this time around along with the likes of dance, functional strength training, core training , cool down, walking, running, cycling, swimming and boxing.

Apple Watch Series 7 can automatically detect when you start exercises such as running, cycling and swimming. It kicks in about ten minutes after you start. It will even remind you to end the workout when the watch senses you’ve stopped exercising.

And, as you would expect, the wearable tracks your steps, the distance you travel and the calories you burn.

The only wearables to track more metrics across running, cycling and adventure sports are dedicated multisport watches such as Garmin Fenix 6 Pro Solar, Polar Vantage V2 or Coros Vertix 2.

Apple Watch isn’t just a super fitness tracker. You can make and take calls through the device, read and reply to messages and see app notifications from your smartphone.

There is much greater support for third party apps than on any other wearable I’ve tried.

Some of the most convenient uses of Apple Watch are the ability to unlock an iPhone with Face ID when wearing a mask, the ability to unlock your Mac computer and Apple Pay.

The latter is a function I use every day. It offers a quick and secure method of contactless payment – just double tap the side button and it’s ready.

On a recent trip to London, I paid for everything using Apple Watch and was thrilled to be able to use it to tap on and off of public transport services and get the same discounts as travel card users.

The use of contactless payments from cards, phones and wearables is something that Ireland's National Transport Authority should introduce here without delay.

Like its predecessors, Apple Watch Series 7 features offline music playback which is a key feature for many fitness enthusiasts. There is 32GB of storage onboard and you can either sync playlists from the Apple Music library or your own personal music collection.

And I love the way it has easy access to your music controls when out and about – you can adjust the volume instantly using the Watch’s Crown.

The haptic vibrations on the device are excellent, especially when used with Apple Maps.

And it now has an official IP6X dustproof rating to go its water-resistance rating of 50 metres.

As with the firm’s phones and tablets, you will receive at least five years of software support; much longer than any competitors’ wearables.

A larger, better screen and faster charging are enough to keep Apple Watch at the top of the smartwatch pile given that this was already the best smartwatch you could buy even without these new features.

The integration of Apple Watch with iPhone is excellent, particularly with Siri and Apple Pay.

Many of the watch’s functions work completely offline so you don’t need to take your phone out with you on a run or walk.

Apple Watch will be even better if and when Irish network operators introduce e-sim support as then you will be able to see where you are on Apple Maps and you will be able to receive messages.

But even without e-sim support, Apple Watch Series 7 is best all-in-one smartwatch with excellent health and activity tracking features.

Apple Watch Series 7 with Sport Band costs €429 (41mm) and €459 (45mm) . Replacement straps such as the Black Nike Sport Loop cost €49.

Case size:41 or 45mmCase thickness:10.7mmWeight:32/38.8g, 42.3/51.5g, 37/45.1g (material and size varies)Operating system:WatchOS 8Processor: S7RAM:1GBStorage:32GBWater resistance:50 metres (5ATM)Sensors:gyro, HR, ECG, blood oxygen, microphone, speaker, NFC, GNSS, compass, altimeterConnectivity:Bluetooth 5, wifi n, NFC, ultra-wideband, optional cellular 4G