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.
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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.
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.
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Kate Kozuch is the managing editor of social and video at Tom’s Guide. She covers smartwatches, TVs and audio devices, too. Kate appears on Fox News to talk tech trends and runs the Tom's Guide TikTok account, which you should be following. When she’s not filming tech videos, you can find her taking up a new sport, mastering the NYT Crossword or channeling her inner celebrity chef.