The Apple Watch Series 8 gets a consistent look and a few new elements

News Summary:

  • I’ve been an Apple Watch user since its release in 2015, when my wife bought one for our anniversary.

  • It is the first Apple Watch with a temperature sensor, and it has improved motion sensors for crash detection.

I still wear that 7-year-old watch, which still works beautifully even though it stopped getting software updates a few years ago.

I’m not going to compare my original watch to the Series 8, but let’s see what’s new compared to last year’s model.

I tested the new Apple Watch Series 8 (starting at $399), and quite a few things have changed in seven years.

The Series 8 looks just like the Series 7, but it includes some important new features that might appeal to you.

Apple also introduced a new Apple Watch SE and Apple Watch Ultra, which we’ll come back to later.

What’s the same?The Apple Watch Series 8 has the same casing and screen as the Series 7. The screen is an always-on display that lights up for about five seconds when you lift your wrist.

The screen stays on all the time unless you set sleep mode, which took me a few days to figure out. It tracks sleep well, and when you set it, it asks you to estimate your bedtime and what time you want to wake up. The watch screen turns off 45 minutes before your bedtime and stays off until your alarm goes off. You can check the time by pressing the crown.

The battery life is much better than my original Apple Watch. The new watch comes with a charger with a USB-C connection. Do yourself a favor and buy a USB-C charger (it’s not included) and you’ll get a quick charge. I wear it for sleep tracking, so I find time to charge it during the day. Putting it on the charger for an hour or so before I go to bed works well for me.

Should You Buy?Overall, I am very happy with the updates in the Series 8, but remember that I am still using a 7-year-old Apple Watch. The temperature sensor and crash detection are the most important new features in the Series 8.

If you have the Series 7 or even Series 6, I’d say you really don’t need to update unless you really want to track your ovulation or worry a lot about crash detection, which are great features. The cheaper $249 Apple Watch SE has much of the functionality of the Series 8, but lacks the Series 8′s health features, such as blood oxygen readings, pulse temperature and the ability to take an electrocardiogram.

If you have health conditions that warrant close monitoring of those measurements, you should opt for the Series 8. If you’re concerned about fall detection, crash detection or sleep monitoring, the SE is fine.