Tech

Apple Watch Series 8, analysis: the best in its category catches up

The family of smartwatches from Manzana was renewed on September 7 with three new models (four if we count the Watch Hermès): the WatchSeries 8the Watch SE and the Watch Ultra.

As a great novelty, those of Cupertino surprised us with the Ultra model, a smartwatch designed for those athletes who with the other Apple Watches do not cover all their needs both in resistance (its 49mm titanium case has raised edges to protect the flat sapphire crystal from side impacts, and both the Digital Crown and the side button are larger so they can also be used with gloves), such as the ability to submerge it up to 40 metersyour dual-frequency GPS system or your autonomy of up to 36 hours normal use or 60 hours in low consumption mode.

The Watch Series 8 was presented faithful to its annual renewal without major differences compared to the Watch Series 7, nor if we compare it with the Watch Series 6 that we were able to analyze two years ago, but it is that if in its day we already said that the Apple Watch it was “the best smartwatch in its category”, every little detail added from Cupertino makes this appreciation still valid, and also the fact that updates to Apple’s operating systems (in this case watchOS) give a new life to the devices of previous generations, it is undoubtedly the greatest success that, in my opinion, the apple brand brings.

Apple Watch Series 8 Specifications

Operating system watchOS 9.1
Box (size and weight)
45mm: 45 x 38 x 10.7 mm / 38.8 grams in aluminum, GPS; 39.1 grams in GPS + Cellular; 51.5 grams in stainless steel. 41mm: 41 x 35 x 10.7mm / 31.9 grams in aluminum, GPS; 32.2 in aluminum GPS + Cellular; 42.3 grams in stainless steel. IP6X dust resistance certification
Screen Retina OLED LTPO always on. Edge-to-edge screen. Brightness up to 1,000 nits. 352 x 430 pixels 41mm model. 396 x 484 pixels on 45mm model
Processor S8 Dual Core SIP
Waterproof 50 meters. suitable for swimming
health functions
Blood oxygen app. High or low heart rate notifications. Aerobic capacity notifications. Temperature sensor. cycle control
emergency functions SOS emergency. International emergency calls (GPS + Cellular model). Fall detection. Accident detection. Return provision (on the compass)
sensors
Blood oxygen, electrical heart rate, 3rd generation optical frequency and temperature. Haptic Feedback Digital Crown
microphone and speaker
Yes
connectivity LTE and UMTS (GPS + Cellular model). WiFi 802.11 b/g/n at 2.4 and 5 GHz. Bluetooth 5.3
Feeding Built-in rechargeable lithium-ion battery. Up to 18 hours of autonomy. Magnetic Fast Charging to USB-C Cable
Models GPS + Cellular: aluminum in midnight, star white, silver and PRODUCT Red; stainless steel in graphite (PVD), silver and gold (PVD). GPS: aluminum in midnight, star white, silver and PRODUCT Red
Box contents Watch Series 8. Bracelet with two sizes. Magnetic Fast Charging to USB-C Cable
Price There are many variants that you can configure on the Apple website. As an example, the GPS model with an aluminum case and sports strap sells for 499 euros (41mm) or 539 euros (45mm). If it is the GPS + Cellular model, the 41mm one is sold for 619 euros and the 45mm one for 659 euros

Watch Series 8, without novelty in the design

As I have mentioned, the Watch Series 8 is identical to the Watch Series 7 in terms of its design and size; if you put them next to each other it is impossible to differentiate them, and it is also very difficult to do it between the Watch Series 6 and the Series 8, as you can see in the image below.

The Watch on the left is the Series 8 and the one on the right is the Series 6. In format and design, practically impossible to differentiate, except that the Series 8 (and also in its case the Series 7) has a 41 mm screen or 45mm vs. Series 6’s 40mm or 44mm (ie only 1mm difference) and the screen on both Series 7 and Series 8 makes better use of available space and almost goes edge to edge, leaving only 1 .7mm vs. 3mm on the Series 6.

I comment on these details, which may seem insignificant, not as a criticism of Apple’s design, on the contrary, it seems so right to me that I applaud the continuity, although yes, I think that those who read this analysis should be aware that the Apple Watch Series 8 does not represent a revolutionit is an evolution, one more step that for those who have a Watch Series 7 (even a Series 6 well updated to watchOS 9) does not justify a renewal, since both models still have “a looong” of life ahead of them.

Apple Watch Series 8, analysis: the best in its category catches up

Returning to the Watch Series 8, the protagonist of our analysis, it is marketed in many “flavors”. To begin with, it is advisable to go to the configuration page that Apple has because it is not easy to summarize in a paragraph or two all the options that we will find. We can filter by the Watch Series 8 and the Watch Hermès. If we do it for the latter, the case will be 41mm or 45mm only in stainless steel and colors silver or black, with leather or nylon strap.

But if we filter through the Watch Series 8 things get complicated. To begin with, in addition to the two formats of 41 mm or 45 mm, the case material can be aluminum or stainless steel. If it is the first, the colors to choose will be midnight blue, star white, silver or (PRODUCT) RED. If it is in stainless steel, we have gold, silver and graphite. And regarding the straps, there is Solo Loop, braided Solo Loop, sports, Nike Sport, leather, stainless steel… but it all depends on the material of the chosen case. That said, the best thing to do is go to the configuration page because each variety will have a different price.

Apple Watch Series 8, analysis: the best in its category catches up

Regarding its screen, it is a Retina OLED LTPO that goes from edge to edge (in fact, it seems to blend with the edges of the box) and is always active (if we want it to be, although this function can be deactivated if, for example, we want to increase the autonomy of its battery; I personally like I charge the Watch every night and it reaches me without problems, I always keep the screen active).

This 352 x 430 pixel Retina on the 41mm model and 396 x 484 pixel on the 45mm model has a brightness up to 1,000 nitsmore than enough to see it without problems even in conditions of a lot of sunlight.

Apple Watch Series 8, analysis: the best in its category catches up

Temperature sensor and accident detection

Apple Watch Series 8 measures body temperature thanks to two sensors: one located on the rear glass and another just below the screen. This design improves accuracy by reducing bias caused by the environment (very hot or very cold day, for example).

During the night, the smartwatch takes temperature samples from our wrist every five seconds and each sensor is capable of detecting changes as small as 0.1 degrees Celsius. Nighttime wrist temperature is a good indicator of overall body temperature because while you sleep your blood vessels dilate and blood flow to your extremities increases.

After wearing the watch for five nights and after activating the Apple Watch to control your sleep (essential for all data to be saved in the Health app), we can see (again in the Health app) that our body temperature fluctuates from naturally from one night to the next due to factors such as the exercise we have done during the day, if we are jet lag, if we have consumed alcohol, if we are sick…

Wrist temperature joins other metrics that Apple Watch records during sleep such as heart ratethe Breathing frequencythe blood oxygen and the sleep phases. The only drawback of all this is that the temperature sensor only works if you sleep with the Watch on your wrist, for which you must make sure that it has enough charge to spend the night and especially if you are one of those people who can sleep with a watch on; there are many who can’t stand it.

Apple Watch Series 8, analysis: the best in its category catches up

Refering to accident detectiona feature present in the iPhone 14 family, Apple has developed an algorithm that combines data from sensors and takes advantage of the greater power of the gyroscope and the accelerometer of the Apple Watch.

For the first time, Apple Watch can detect if you’ve unfortunately been in a serious traffic accident, the one most likely to cause injury. Its motion sensor and the aforementioned algorithm (based on Machine Learning, it has been trained and continues to be trained with more than a million hours of real driving and real accident data) allow it to detect if we have had a serious accident and it will automatically contact emergency services and notify our contacts.

The new motion sensor features an accelerometer capable of detecting up to 256g (previous generation maxed out at 32g). It also includes an improved gyroscope that doubles the dynamic range (samples up to 800 Hz compared to 400 Hz on previous models) and thus increases the fidelity of the data collected. And if all this wasn’t enough, along with motion data, accident detection uses the iPhone’s barometer, microphone, and GPS to identify unique patterns that indicate a serious accident has occurred.

Although when a car accident is detected, the emergency services call interface will appear on the Apple Watch because this device is most likely the closest to the user, the call will be made through the iPhone if it is within the proper range to get the best possible connection.

Apple Watch Series 8, analysis: the best in its category catches up

conclusions

As I have said, the Apple Watch Series 8 is not a revolution compared to the previous version and not even in relation to the Watch Series 6, which is already a little over two years old. The perfect symbiosis of Apple devices with its ecosystem of apps and especially with the operating system that controls them (for example iOS for iPhones or watchOS in the case of so-called smart watches) means that you can enjoy many of the features of the new models on your older Watch.

MC Seal Recommended Product

This is undoubtedly the best of the Apple Watch and of course this Watch Series 8 that we have analyzed. However, and despite the fact that it still seems to us to be the best smartwatch in its category, especially if you are an iPhone user, and that thanks to the low consumption mode, Apple promises that you can reach 36 hours of autonomy with the Watch Series 8 If the iPhone is nearby, our first recommendation is that in a next generation Apple should increase the 18 hours that the Watch Series 8 provides without going into low consumption mode.

Just like many Formula 1 features end up reaching the cars that circulate daily on our roads, I hope that the 36 hours of real autonomy of the Watch Ultra end up being one of the novelties of a future Watch Series 9. I accept that the mode Low consumption can be interesting at certain times, but I would like to have an Apple Watch at full capacity for more hours a day.

The second “but” that I have been putting on the Watch for a long time is not Apple’s fault, although I think it could promote a solution. I am a Jazztel user and edition after edition of the Watch I feel frustrated when Jazztel does not give me support for the GPS + Cellular model, that is, the one that allows me to make and receive calls without having the iPhone nearby.

Jazztel works with eSIM but it is not compatible with the Watch. When will this be fixed? Jazztel user forums are full of complaints in this regard, but just as I am happy with this operator in other aspects, this one has me very disappointed.

Final assessment

ABSTRACT

The Watch Series 8 is a device that continues the excellence present in previous models of Apple smartwatches.

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