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Apple Watch 8: first impressions with the new wearable

The Apple Watch Series 8 may look relatively similar to last year’s Apple Watch 7, but… well, it’s pretty similar on the inside, too.

The main focus was the new Apple Watch Ultra, but the Watch 8 also gives you some new features if you just want the base model.

Will it be different, or is the “new” Apple Watch 8 just a slightly improved Watch 7? We put them on our wrists to find out.

Apple Watch 8: price and release date

You won’t be too surprised, but, like almost everything, the price of the Apple Watch has also increased: the 41mm versions of the Watch Series 8 cost €499 with GPS and €619 with a mobile phone, and the 49mm versions go up to €539 and 659 euros.

As for the Apple Watch 8 release date, you’ll be able to get your hands on one starting September 16, and pre-orders are now open.

Project

The Apple Watch 8 doesn’t change much in terms of design. The new colors are probably the most different things in terms of comparing the new watch to the Apple Watch 7.

If you need a refresher on what came last year: a bigger screen and the push to the 41mm/45mm chassis, which brought a screen that can display more information, and that’s how we see it on Watch 8.

The 8 Watch comes in two finishes, stainless steel and aluminum. The watch is available in four colors for the aluminum option: midnight, starlight, silver, and product red, while metallic silver, gold, and graphite color combinations are available with the steel.

apple watch 8

We prefer the look of stainless steel, even though it’s much more expensive. The Watch 8 also features the Digital Crown and diamond-shaped App/Power button on the right side of the device and the glass-encased heart rate monitor on the back.

It’s all the same as previous years and the only changes coming are under the hood. That’s not to say the design is all bad: It fits well on the wrist, and the screen (an OLED affair) is clear and bright.

It’s just that we’ve seen all of this before on the Watch 7, so this is a repeating update designed to appeal to Apple Watch users who still have a Watch 4 or 5 and think it’s time to upgrade.

As for the screen, it has a useful always-on display that will show basic information when idle, before turning on when your wrist is raised. In our early tests, this was as quick and accurate as usual, with the new S8 chip inside driving things quickly and efficiently.

A new temperature sensor

As we’ve already mentioned, the big changes to the Apple Watch 8 are on the inside, where there’s a new temperature sensor to read your body heat and the new S8 chip that brings some small benefits.

Let’s take a look at the temperature sensor – when used over time it will learn the basic rhythm of your body and for those trying to get pregnant, it will be able to detect when you have started ovulating which can help with planning familiar.

Apple undertook to point out that this was retroactive and that it would not be able to predict ovulation in the future, but would instead guide those trying to track ovulation within their bodies.

The brand also clarified that without express permission this data cannot be shared with anyone, so anyone concerned that their menstrual data could be exposed or viewed is in full control, not even Apple can see it.

Temperature changes are picked up by a sensor on your skin and another just below the screen on top of the watch, meaning it can more accurately predict overnight how your body is responding to things like ovulation, illness, jet lag, etc.

It’s more of a usage tool than something that can provide specific guidance, but the Watch 8’s temperature sensor appears to be quite accurate, capable of detecting fluctuations as small as 0.1 degrees.

Traffic accident detection

Another novelty, but which we don’t want to test in any way, is the traffic accident detection function. Using an improved gyroscope and accelerometer that can now detect changes in G-force up to 256G, Apple is pretty confident that the new Watch 8 will be able to tell when you’ve been in a crash and notify 911 immediately, providing all the data in case you are unconscious.

It will only work when in motion, so use GPS and the connection to the iPhone to fully understand if the user is in the car. Think of this feature as something that brings peace of mind, rather than a dedicated reason to buy the new Watch 8.

It’s hard to sell when you can still get Watch 7, or even Watch 6 at some stores, for much less – buying Watch 8 now feels like investing in comprehensive insurance for peace of mind.

When every Apple Watch on sale has traffic incident detection, it will be a compelling reason to enter the Apple smartwatch arena as it is a brilliant feature. It’s not enough to buy the Watch 8 on its own (especially when you can get it on the much cheaper Watch SE 2 as well).

As for health features, there are all the old ones: atrial fibrillation detection, blood oxygen, an EKG, and more that can alert you to any abnormalities.

In short: there is nothing too new. Given the plethora of older Apple Watch models still on sale, it’s hard to get excited about these new features as reasons to buy the new Watch 8.

Apple Watch 8: Battery

The battery life of the Watch 8 is the same as the normal one: 18 hours, but capable of reaching the night without too many worries.

There’s nothing to talk about, but there’s now a low-power mode, which can extend the runtime up to 30 hours. This new mode will turn off the always-on display, slow down some of the sensors that track your vitals, and disable things like automatic exercise tracking.

Strangely, this mode has not been added until now, but it is possible thanks to the new S8 chip that ships with the 2022 models of the watch.

It may still be too low for some people, especially if you want to monitor your body temperature at night. Apple recommends charging it before bed or when you’re in the shower if you’re using the fast charger, but we’re not sure that will be enough to keep the battery from draining most days.

The low-power mode will help, but you can’t use it overnight to monitor the temperature while the sensors go off, so you’ll need to plan your usage a bit.

first conclusions

It’s very hard to get excited about the new Watch 8, especially with the look of the Watch Ultra, which shows how much the device can give.

Apple’s habit of updating the year-old device a bit is still evident here, playing on the fact that users will simply go to the Apple Store to get the latest model rather than purposely going to buy a specific one.

Of course, unless you’re planning on having kids and not having to manually track your ovulation cycle it helps, to let the watch on your wrist do the work for you.

Since the Watch SE 2 has many of the new features of the Watch 8 and is much cheaper, the popularity of the base model may increase, as there are very few revolutionary new features in this latest Apple device.

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