The Apple Watch Series 7 is available for purchase, but unlike prior years, there aren’t any huge standout sensors or features. Yes, the screen is bigger than the Series 6, but otherwise, the Apple Watch Series 7 isn’t a huge upgrade over its predecessor.
That just means you have some time to take a close look at the Apple Watch Series 7. In fact, the Series 6 is still the only flagship Watch you can buy, so you might be able to find a really good price on it before the Series 7 hits shelves. So if you have an older Apple Watch and you want to upgrade, or you’re looking to buy your first Apple Watch, don’t automatically count out the Series 6. Let’s take a look at how the two models compare.
Update 12/1: Apple has released new (Product) RED watch faces for the Apple Watch Watch Series 6 and Series 7.Read our reviewMSRP:$399 (base model)Best Prices Today:$345.62 at Amazon | $390 at Costco | $399 at Apple
Design and display
The Series 7 features a design that’s still based on a square, but it’s a tiny bit more rounded at the corners than the Series 6. Unless you’re wearing them together, you probably won’t even notice the difference.
The major noticeable difference is the Series 7’s larger display. The Series 7 is available in 41mm and 45mm sizes, up from the Series 6’s 40mm and 44mm. Consequently, the bezels around the screen are much smaller on the Series 7. In addition to bezels that are 40 percent thinner, the Series 7’s display has has a wraparound effect to give it a true edge-to-edge feel, all in a case that’s not much bigger than the Series 6.
Both the Series 7 and Series 6 have always-on displays, but the Series 7 is 70 percent brighter indoors, according to Apple.
Our pick: If you always thought that the Apple Watch screen isn’t big enough, then the pick is obviously the Series 7.
The Series 7 features a thicker front crystal display that makes it stronger and more scratch- and crack-resistant than the Series 6. The Series 7 is also certified at IP6X dust-tight resistance, while the Series 6 doesn’t have such a certification. Both watches have a water-resistance rating of 50 meters.
Our pick: The Series 6 is by no means delicate, but users who find themselves in extreme situations will have better peace of mind about the Series 7 watch. For everyday use, the Series 6 is fine.
Faces and features
While both watches run watchOS 8, the Series 7’s screen makes a big difference across the interface. Apple has tweaked watchOS to take advantage of the larger display so it now has a full keyboard for texts and typing, something you won’t find on the Series 6. Additionally, buttons are larger across all of Apple’s apps, making them easier to tap. The Series 7 also has two unique watch faces, Contour and Modular Duo.
Our pick: The differences may be small, but that Contour face is incredibly cool. And if you find on-screen elements on the Apple Watch hard to see or tap, you’ll want to go for the Series 7.
Colors and bands
Both watches are available in aluminum, stainless steel, or titanium. The color offerings for the aluminum models are different between the two models. Here are the color choices.
As for bands, all of the Series 6 bands are compatible with the Series 7 watch.
Like the Series 6, Apple is also offering Nike and Hermès versions of the Series 7. The Nike Series 7 is available in three colors and includes a “refreshed” Nike Sport Loop band and the Nike Bounce watch face. The Hermès Series 7 models include the Gourmette Double Tour and the Circuit H, and new colors for the Classic, Attelage, and Jumping Single Tour models.
Our pick: The Apple Watch is all about style and personal taste, so get the model that reflects your personality. But if you really want a green watch or the new Starlight color, the Series 7 is the only option.
Apple finally announced on launch day that the Series 7 has the same S6 processor as the Series 6 (though it’s calling it the S7 due to some slight changes). That’s not a bad thing—in our review of the Series 6, we said that compared to competitors like the Fitbit Versa or Galaxy Watch, “the Apple Watch will feel like a revelation.” Our thoughts haven’t changed since that review so we expect the Series 7 to be plenty fast and powerful. But it’s notable in that it’s the first time Apple has ‘t updated the processor in a new model. The watches also both have the same LTE chip for cellular connectivity, so if you’re looking for 5G, you’ll need to wait for the Series 8.
Our pick: With the same chip and connectivity, both watches will be quite capable, but you’re not getting any gains with the Series 7.
Battery and charging
Apple doesn’t provide capacity specs, but the Series 7 Apple Watch has the same 18-hour battery life as prior models. That’s enough to get you through the day, but if you want to do sleep tracking, you’re going to have to charge the watch.
That’s where the Series 7 has a serious advantage. Apple’s new watch supports fast charging via a new USB-C charging cable, which Apple claims will charge 33 percent faster than the Series 6. When you need to charge it, Apple says it only needs to be connected to its charger for eight minutes to be able to cover eight hours of sleep tracking. However, in our testing, we didn’t find it was all that much faster than the Series 6, which needed about 10 minutes.
Our pick: The Series 7 is the choice if sleep tracking is a top priority, or your usage is super demanding and often needs to charge in the middle of the day. With lots of small improvements, the ability to fast charge is definitely an advantage for the Series 7, but it still falls short of the battery improvements we really want.
Sensors and features
For the first time between generations, is no difference between the two watches when it comes to health and fitness tracking. Here’s what you get:
During the Series 7 unveiling, Apple showcased the Series 7’s expanded fall detection, which can now sense an improper fall during a workout and can call emergency services if needed. However, this is a watchOS 8 feature not specific only to the Series 7 and should work just as well on the Series 6 and other watches, too.
Our pick: Since the sensors are the same, you can’t go wrong with either watch.
Apple announced that the Series 7 pricing starts at $399, the same starting point for the Series 6. The other options are basically the same as well, with some slight changes based on band choice:
45mm (GPS): $429
41mm (GPS+Cellular): $499
45mm (GPS+Cellular): $529
41mm Stainless Steel: Starting at $699
45mm Stainless Steel: Starting at $749
41mm Titanium: Starting at $799
45mm Titanium: Starting at $849
But if you want the latest features, the Series 7 is soon to be your only option, since the Series 6 will be discontinued. While supplies last, you might be able to find a discounted price on a new Series 6 at a third-party retailer, such as Best Buy or Amazon. You’ll also be able to buy a refurbished Series 6 at Apple’s Refurbished and Clearance store until the stock runs out.
Our pick: All things being equal, the Series 7 is the smarter choice. But if you’re looking to save some cash, you’ll likely find the Series 6 for less if you shop around, especially after the Series 7 hits shelves. We’ve seen the Series 6 discounted by as much as $120 and we expect the discounts might be even greater once the new model lands. The two watches are similar with some big differences, but it might be hard to pass up the deep discounts the Series 6 is likely to see.