For the year 2021, Apple is proposing an Apple Watch Series 7 to follow a very good Series 6, adding a larger screen and full dust resistance. What to perfect it a little more.
Changing a winning formula? Very little for Apple. The Apple Watch Series 7 follows in the footsteps of the Watch Series 6. The real novelty this year is not the arrival of a new sensor - as you might expect - but a larger screen, an IP6X standard, better support for cycling as an activity, and the addition of a real keyboard to answer your messages.
Ergonomics and design
As we explained in the presentation, this Apple Watch Series 7 is largely based on the 2020 model. But the arrival of a larger panel changes the look of the watch. The OLED display is now 1.9 inches this year, which means a change in the size of the case, which is one centimeter longer. Our 45mm test model therefore has dimensions of 45 x 38 x 10.7mm. The weight also changes, going from 47.3 g for the Series 6 in 44 m to 51.5 g for the Series 7 in 45 mm. We note a new color this year, with the appearance of a fir green version, rather dark and discreet. Let's also note the arrival of an IP6X standard which offers this Series 7 a protection against dust. Sand and other small particles will no longer be a problem. The watch, on the other hand, does not benefit from a waterproof certification, but can be immersed (it is capable of following swimming sessions).
As you can see, the design is quite unchanged, as are the capabilities of the screen integrated into this Apple Watch Series 7. If it is much larger this year, the light peak is unchanged and the readability is still correct. Of course, the Always-On mode is still present on this model.
The interface changes very little compared to the previous generation Watch. WatchOS still works together with iOS and does so very well. The synergy between the two devices happens automatically, without you having to do anything. However, it must be admitted that it is sometimes complicated to move through some of the watch's menus. Fortunately, Apple only offers a few settings and it is possible to use the Apple Watch directly out of the box - after a mandatory passage through the synchronization, of course.
The newcomer's larger screen allows Apple to offer a more readable interface - it's unstoppable logic! The buttons are bigger, which can be useful in some cases when, for example, you have to use the calculator, program a timer, send a message ... In the specific case of timers, note that this Watch Series 7 allows you to program several at once - which is still not possible on the iPhone.
New this year on the interface, a touch keyboard is now available. It allows you to enter messages by clicking on the letters, or to slide your index finger between the keys to form words.
If there is one thing that doesn't change on the Watch Series 7, it's the applications that come with it. They haven't changed much in recent years. The first synchronization is done through the Watch app. This app also allows you to manage your watch(s), such as settings and dials. It is also via this application that you can add your cards on Apple Pay. A "discover" tab allows you to familiarize yourself with your first connected watch.
A second application works in conjunction with the Apple Watch, it is called Health. You will find a summary of your physical activities, as well as various data collected by the sensors throughout your day. You'll find a summary of your physical activities, as well as various data collected by the sensors throughout your day, such as the number of walks, kilometers traveled, whether you listen to your music too loud or your heart rate. The application is very complete, but a bit cluttered. It is sometimes tedious to find a specific data.
A third application takes advantage of the Series 7: Fitness. This is where data from recent sports activities are gathered (duration, average heart rate, kilocalories burned ...). A graph illustrates the heart rate, but it lacks a little precision. This application also integrates the new Apple service, Fitness+. Various exercises are proposed and your Watch is happy to analyze all your movements during the execution.
Uses and accuracy
The Series 7 does not have any new sensors this year. So, we find those of the Series 6: GPS, heart rate monitor, altimeter, barometer, accelerometer, gyroscope, as well as a pulse oximeter - appeared in 2020.
What worked very well last year does not benefit from an improvement this year. But this is also true for what didn't really work, such as the measurement of oxygen levels in the blood. The application remains rather sketchy in terms of explaining the data - you'll have to go through the Health app to learn a tiny bit more. Reliability remains rather uncertain, even if we did not encounter any problems with the success rate of the test, unlike last year. In the same way as the ECG, the measurement of the blood oxygenation rate can be done automatically by the watch.
During exercise, the heart rate monitoring is as good as with a Watch Series 6. The new Apple Watch offers only a slight difference in measurement with the Polar H10 chest belt, which we use as a reference. Whether it's a split workout or a run, the margin of error is less than 1%. The GPS is still as accurate as ever, as is the altimeter. Apple says when launching an activity that it is possible to get a more accurate measurement by placing the watch on a Bluetooth chest strap - in case the accuracy of the wrist measurements doesn't work for you.
One regret remains, however, concerning the automatic detection of sports practices. It often takes a while for the Apple Watch to detect an activity. This is even more true for some activities, such as walking: it happened too often that the watch detected a walk even though we had just finished the activity. The same goes for racket sports, such as table tennis. In short, you should think about starting the measurement of the activity yourself to hope to have the most complete data possible.
The autonomy remains unchanged on this new Apple Watch. The Cupertino company still promises 18 hours before having to recharge it. In idea, on an intensive day, it will be necessary to put the watch on its base in the evening to recharge it. With moderate use, including only receiving and checking notifications, the Apple Watch Series 7 can last for 2 days, but no more.
If the watch doesn't last longer, it charges faster. Thanks to a new charging cradle, the Apple Watch Series 7 charges 33 percent faster than the previous version. A real gain on the first 80 percent, recoverable within 40 minutes. To reach 100 percent, it takes between 1 hour 10 minutes and 1 hour 20 minutes.
The Apple Watch Series 7 comes a little closer to perfection, although it must be said that this year the connected watch stagnates a little, relying perhaps a little too much on the recipe proven on the Series 6. All that is missing is a more generous autonomy to grab an additional star. For the rest, the Series 7 offers the best connected watch experience, whether it's for intensive sports practice, occasional use or even just to accompany you in everyday life.