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Apple Watch Series 8 review: Incremental tweaks

Apple Watch Series 8 review: Incremental tweaks

Apple Watch Series 8

The latest Apple Watch Series 8 is similar to the last version, but it does come with some new hidden features. There's a new temperature sensor for your wrist, and like the iPhone 14 range, comes with crash detection. Otherwise, the specs are pretty similar to the Series 7, including an all-day 18 hour battery life, and the 41mm or 45mm always-on display.

Quick specs

  • 41mm or 45mm case size
  • Comes in aluminium or stainless steel
  • GPS + Cellular, or GPS, water resistant up to 50m, IP6X dust resistant
  • 64-bit dual-core processor, W3 wireless chip, U1 chip

The Series 8 comes running watchOS 9 out of the box. This means new watch faces, new running metrics, sleep tracking, medication reminders, and a low-power mode. The Watch itself has an 18-hour battery life, and low-power mode stretches that to 36 hours. It's useful if you know you'll be on a long flight and have no way to recharge. However, you will not be able to background monitor your heart rate and blood oxygen levels. It also turns off the always-on display. The Watch easily lasted a whole day for me, and a quick charge while I'm at the desk got it back to full quickly.

New to the Apple Watch is the wrist temperature sensor, which you'll need to wear for five nights straight so it can take your baseline temp. Once done, you'll be able to track if your temperature fluctuates. While not so useful for men, women will be able to better understand their menstrual cycle with ovulation estimates. It's a handy tool for family planning. Crash detection will dial emergency services with your location if you get into a car accident, and is unable to respond. However, it's only if you travelling in passenger cars, and not buses, or motorbikes.

The Compass app has also been redesigned with a new Backtrack feature for hikers. Turn it on when you start your journey, and if you get lost, you can use it to retrace your steps. While the Series 7 did come with exclusive watch faces, that's not the case with the 8. There are no new ones. Instead, the watch faces from 7 are available on the newest Watch. You also get the new faces such as Astronomy (a favourite of mine) in watchOS 9. These faces are also available on say, an older Series 6. So, there's not much reason to upgrade from 7, unless you're using even older models. Otherwise, consider the Apple Watch SE, which can measure your heart rate, has the same battery life, and is a lot cheaper with a S$379 starting price.

Retailing at S$599 onwards for the GPS version and S$749 or more for the GPS + Cellular, the Apple Watch Series 8 is an evolution of the Series 7. It adds some new useful features for family planning. Otherwise, it's as good as last year's model. If you want something completely new, then you'll want to check out the S$1,199 Apple Watch Ultra. Get it from Lazada or the Apple Store.

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Note: Review unit provided by Apple.

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Minor upgrades, but still great smartwatch.

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