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Apple Watch 7 — here’s why I can’t go back to an older Apple Watch

Apple Watch 7 review
(Image credit: Future)

After using the Apple Watch 7 for just over a week, I don’t think I can go back to the Apple Watch 6 — or any other Apple Watch, for that matter.

While the Apple Watch 7 vs. Apple Watch 6 aren’t all that different in terms of new features, the new Apple Watch 7 sizes and 20% larger display make the seventh-generation smartwatch the best Apple Watch yet. With more screen space, it’s easier to tap control buttons, view activity metrics and send messages from your wrist.

That last task relies heavily on the new Apple Watch QWERTY keyboard, an exclusive Series 7 perk. I’ve been saying the Apple Watch should steal a native keyboard from the Galaxy Watch for a while now, so I’m ecstatic it finally materialized. 

I will admit I hoped a keyboard would come with watchOS 8, so older Apple Watch models could benefit from Scribble-free typing, too. Apple essentially Sherlocked a popular out-of-house Apple Watch keyboard app called FlickType — or copied one of the best Apple Watch apps from a third-party as to render it redundant.

Such apps should still be supported by App Store-approved updates, especially so users don’t ask themselves “Should you upgrade to the Apple Watch 7?” just for access to a well-working keyboard. But if the question is whether the bigger display makes a big enough difference, my answer is, absolutely.

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It’s the little things that make the Apple Watch 7 the most usable smartwatch Apple’s ever released. Whether I’m tapping the snooze function on my alarm, selecting the intended setting in the control center and actually being able to calculate a tip after a drink, the larger buttons are incredibly better. 

I tried returning to the Apple Watch 6 to see the contrast, and couldn’t believe how frustrated I felt navigating the one-year-old smartwatch. I struggled to read my emails, and missed the keyboard immensely. How did I ever get anything done before? Maybe I'm exaggerating a little bit, but I couldn't wait to strap the Series 7 back on my wrist.

If there’s one practical improvement Apple needed to maximize the potential of its flagship wearable, it was increasing the screen size. As impressive as the Apple Watch stands in the short history of smartwatches, it hasn't been enough for the Apple Watch to advance past the need for an iPhone. I'm not saying we're there yet, but it's clearly the direction we're heading. 

I can appreciate the Apple Watch SE and Apple Watch 3 remaining on sale for first-time smartwatch users or those looking to save some dough with one of the best cheap smartwatches

But for those Apple users who like the idea of handling more tasks efficiently from a wearable, rather than an iPhone, the Apple Watch 7's bigger screen makes it the best smartwatch you can buy right now.

Kate Kozuch

Kate Kozuch is a senior writer at Tom’s Guide covering wearables, TVs and everything smart-home related. When she’s not in cyborg mode, you can find her on an exercise bike or channeling her inner celebrity chef. She and her robot army will rule the world one day, but until then, reach her at kate.kozuch@futurenet.com.