Apple Watch Series 8 review: if it ain’t broke, don’t upgrade

2022 is a big year for the Apple watch there’s not one not two but three new models there’s the all-new Apple watch Ultra for Extreme Fitness Buffs and even a new slightly cheaper se but we’re not here to talk about those two watches today we’re here to talk about the brand new series 8. like the series 7 the series six before that and the series 5 before that the series 8 is a fairly iterative update as in most of the changes this time around are invisible to the naked eye seriously it’s got the exact same

design as the series 7. it just comes in slightly different colors I’ve got the larger 45 millimeter version in Starlight which is basically what you get if you split the difference between silver and gold you can also get the series 8 and 41 millimeters if you’ve got petite wrists or just prefer a smaller watch it’s also the same price as before starting at 3.99 for the GPS only version and 4.99 for the cellular but while the design hasn’t changed much there are significant differences inside the watch namely it’s got the new S8 chip with the

S8 Apple isn’t promising huge performance or battery life gains it’s more that it’s adding a bunch of new sensors for starters the S8 adds two new temperature sensors

there’s one right under the display that measures your environmental temperature and another closer to the skin that measures your wrist temperature the idea is to reduce environmental bias so that you can get a more accurate reading but the temperature sensors aren’t like the existing EKG or blood oxygen sensors you can’t take on-demand readings they only measure your wrist temperature while you’re sleeping kind of like the aura ring

it’s also mainly tracking changes from your Baseline it’s not going to tell you an absolute body temperature so why should you care about how your wrist temperature varies from night to night well it depends a lot of trackers like the Fitbit sense and Samsung’s Galaxy watch 5 mainly use temperature as an extra metric in determining Your Sleep Quality and you can do that with the series 8 too though it’s not going to be contextualized for you in the single sleep score or anything like that it’s more that you can monitor how things like jet lag

a particularly gnarly workout or even a few Margaritas might impact your Baseline for folks who use the Apple watch to track their Cycles enabling temperature tracking will also get you retrospective ovulation estimates after about two cycles it’s retro effective and not predictive for a reason the idea is that a better understanding of past Cycles might help folks who are trying to conceive but like many many other health and wellness features on the Apple watch this is strictly an awareness tool you’re not meant to use this in a medical capacity or as a contraceptive there are

other apps and devices out there that are FDA cleared for that purpose but this ain’t one of them don’t use the series 8 for that and just as another aside I can understand if in the post-real world Advanced cycle tracking leaves you feeling a bit uneasy you should know that you don’t have to use Apple’s cycle tracking app and if you do temperature data is totally optional you can turn that off in the settings if you do want to use it however Apple says that cycle tracking data is encrypted on your device and only accessible

with the passcode Touch ID or face ID if you enable a passcode and use two-factor authentication Health app data synced with iCloud is also end-to-end encrypted okay now that we’ve gotten that out of the way I wish I could tell you how well the temperature tracking works but I can’t just yet I’ve only had this for about a week and you need at least five nights of sleep tracking data in order to build a baseline I also don’t have two cycles worth of temperature data yet I will be testing this long term however so stay

tuned for some follow-ups the other new sensors in the series 8 are a souped up high G accelerometer and an improved gyroscope these two sensors work with the barometer GPS and microphone to detect if you’ve been in a severe car crash if you have the watch will alert emergency services for you now this isn’t limited to the series 8. it is also included on the iPhone 14 lineup as well as the Apple watch SE and Ultra again I wish I could tell you if this feature works but uh for obvious reasons this isn’t something I

was able to test out I love y’all but I’m not about to get myself into a car crash for a Smart Watch review we did use a little RC car here to try and trick the Apple watch into deducting a crash and to no one’s surprise we didn’t fool the watch I think we just wanted an excuse to play with a toy car that said like fall detection you’re not likely to get false triggers the new accelerometer can detect up to 256 G’s and the feature is designed to detect extreme impact and sudden changes in

speed while these are the two Marquee updates with the series 8 you also get a bunch of new features with watch OS 9. these updates will also be coming to the series 4 or later so they’re not exclusive to the series 8. as with every new version of watch OS you get some Nifty new watch faces I particularly liked the Metropolitan and lunar watch faces as well as the new color backgrounds for the modular watch face the Calendar app has also been redesigned and I found it really helpful for visualizing when all my meetings were

watch OS 9 also introduces medication reminders I am incredibly bad at taking my meds and these reminders didn’t exactly change that but they did help me take them more consistently and before you ask yes watch OS 9 introduces a new low power battery mode this low power mode turns off the always on display background sensors and limits Wi-Fi and cellular connectivity however enabling it doesn’t mean you’re suddenly going to get multi-day battery life on the series 8. Apple says you can get up to 36 hours on the series 8 with low power mode enabled but

I’ve yet to get that in testing I mostly got around 24 hours and found low power mode most useful for when I wanted to get a little extra juice to make it home from the office or if I forgot to top up the battery before a long run as for health features watch OS 9 improves sleep tracking so you can now view metrics like respiration rate and your sleep stages it’s still not quite at the level let’s say a Fitbit or or a ring but it’s a lot better than it used to be if you’ve

been diagnosed with afib the watch can also now passively monitor your afip history on the fitness front watch os9 adds some new running metrics like running power vertical oscillation stride length and ground contact time you can also monitor elevation changes and your heart rate zones directly from the wrist now this I have gotten to test it’s not as in-depth as some of the features you’ll find on a Garmin or a polar but it is a significant step up I run a lot and I really dug the ability to scroll through multiple workout views check which

heart rate zone I was in and create my own custom interval workouts good news for hikers watch OS 9 includes a redesigned compass app and some of those fancy features coming to the Apple watch Ultra will also be available on the series 8. while I loved a lot of what watch OS 9 brought to the the table again it is a software update so if these upgrades sound cool you don’t necessarily need the series 8 itself to get them those new Compass features you can also get them as long as you have a Series 6

or later so if you’ve got a Series 6 or 7 there really isn’t a compelling reason to upgrade unless you really want Advanced cycle tracking or crash detection and even then crash detection is available on the iPhone 14 lineup so you could just easily upgrade your phone if you’re happy with the watch you’ve got it’s a different story if you’ve got a series three four or five personally I’m a big fan of the larger screen and thinner bezels you’ll get on the newer Series 7 and series 8. I’ve got terrible eyesight and that extra readability

is a huge benefit I’m also a big fan of the always on display and think it’s worth upgrading if you’re on a series 3 or 4. again if you’re on a Series 6 or later you’re not gaining much by upgrading while the ultra is the shiny new Apple watch on the Block I gotta say this is the best Apple watch for the vast majority of people it’s not only more affordable but the style is also more versatile for formal occasions or if you have smaller wrists the SC might be the better choice if you’re on

a budget or a first-time Apple watch owner but if you already know you like the watch this gets you all the bells and whistles you’re used to plus if you’re more of a casual athlete you really don’t need the ultra’s extra durability or battery life though if that’s what you want don’t let me stop you all I’m saying is that while this isn’t the most exciting update we’ve ever seen it doesn’t need to be like they say if it ain’t broke the Apple watch was already the best smartwatch around for iOS users the series 8

just further cements that hey guys thanks for watching our thoughts on the series 8 the Apple watch Ultra is next so what feature are you most excited about let us know in the comments

%d bloggers like this: