Apple Watch 8 vs. Apple Watch 7 — biggest upgrades

Apple Watch 8 vs. Apple Watch 7
(Image credit: Future)

Wondering what makes the Apple Watch Series 8 vs. Apple Watch Series 7 different? 

Compared to the Apple Watch Series 7, the Apple Watch Series 8 offers two new features: a skin temperature sensor and crash detection. Yes, it also introduces low power mode, but the Apple Watch Series 7 now gets that feature with the full watchOS 9 update.

Otherwise, the Apple Watch Series 8 is very similar to the Apple Watch Series 7, keeping with an upgrade cycle that has been mostly incremental. While the small changes make the best smartwatch even better, it's likely not enough for you to upgrade from last year's smartwatch to the latest one. (The Apple Watch Ultra, on the other hand...)

But if you're curious about what's new, or are thinking of upgrading from an older Apple Watch device, here are all the differences between the Apple Watch Series 8 vs. Apple Watch Series 7, from price and design to feature and battery life. 

Apple Watch Series 8 vs. Series 7: Price

• Apple Watch 8 (GPS/41mm): $399 $349 @ Amazon (opens in new tab)

Apple has held steady on the same Apple Watch prices for several years, with the Apple Watch Series 8 starting price matching that of the Apple Watch 7. The Apple Watch 8 starts at $399 for the 41mm model, with premiums for the larger 45mm model and cellular connectivity. 

As retailers clear stock, you might be able to find the Apple Watch 7 on sale with the best Apple Watch deals. However, most of what we can find online now are renewed models, which often cost as much as a brand-new Apple Watch 8.

And while we mentioned you probably don't need to upgrade, you can check out our guide on how to trade in your Apple Watch to score added savings.

For the value-minded, Apple also announced a new, $249 Apple Watch SE (2022).

Apple Watch Series 8 vs. Series 7: Design

The bigger Apple Watch 7 sizes introduced an important design change compared to the Apple Watch Series 4 through Apple Watch Series 6. It made the Apple Watch slightly curvier than before, with slimmer bezels around the display. Apple made the Series 7 design more dust-resistant as well.

Apple Watch Series 8 shown on wrist

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

This design carries over to the Apple Watch Series 8 design, almost exactly, from what we can tell. The biggest difference is the color selection, with the Apple Watch Series 8 coming in Midnight, Starlight, Silver and Product Red. Blue and Green have left the building.

Apple Watch 7 apps

(Image credit: Future)

Basically, there's little chance at telling the Apple Watch Series 7 from the Apple Watch Series just by looking at the two watches. The same cannot be said for the Apple Watch 8 vs. Apple Watch Ultra, though.

Apple Watch Series 8 vs. Series 7: Features

Most of the Apple Watch Series 8 vs. Apple Watch Series 7 experience will be similar thanks to the release of watchOS 9. As one of the watchOS 9 support devices, existing Apple Watch Series 7 units will get new running features, added sleep-tracking metrics, the Medications app for keeping tabs on different prescriptions or pills, an AFib history tool and more. 

The Apple Watch Series 8 will ship with watchOS 9. It'll see the launch of the low power mode for Apple Watch, but more on that in the battery life section below. 

Apple Watch Series 8 shown on wrist

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

What about the features exclusive to Apple Watch Series 8? The big upgrade is the skin temperature sensor, which is being promoted as a tool for cycle and fertility tracking.  Changes to wrist temperature have been proven accurate indicators of probable ovulation.

And as for crash detection, the Apple Watch Series 8 features two new motion sensors inside, along with updated gyroscopes and accelerometers. These together can sample motion 4x faster than before, so the watch will be able to detect a crash precisely as it happens. If a car crash were to happen, the Apple Watch will automatically call emergency services and notify your emergency contacts.

Apple Watch Series 8 vs. Series 7: Battery life

The Apple Watch Series 8 and Series 7 are both rated 18 hours of battery life with regular fitness tracking, sleep-tracking and the always on display enabled. We're familiar with daily charging at this point, though it's been enhanced by the Apple Watch 7 fast charging feature.

Apple Watch Series 8 shown on wrist

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

But stealing a setting from the iPhone and iPad, the new Apple Watch low power mode will disable certain power-draining features while leaving the device still mostly usable. With low power mode, the Apple Watch can last up to 36 hours.

Apple Watch Series 8 vs. Series 7: How do they compare?

Apple set the smartwatch bar high for itself several years ago, which is why the incremental improvements continue to pay off. But competing smartwatches are getting better — not quite good enough yet to beat Apple at its own game, though the gap is closing. The Google Pixel Watch and Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 are the top challengers expected later this year.

While not all that much is different this time around, it's still a tick better. Though I think those with older Apple Watch devices will benefit more from a upgrade, since they'll get the new design introduced last year. 

Kate Kozuch is an editor at Tom’s Guide covering smartwatches, TVs and everything smart-home related. Kate also appears on Fox News to talk tech trends and runs the Tom's Guide TikTok account (opens in new tab), which you should be following. When she’s not filming tech videos, you can find her on an exercise bike, mastering the NYT Crossword or channeling her inner celebrity chef.