CNET logo Why You Can Trust CNET

Our expert, award-winning staff selects the products we cover and rigorously researches and tests our top picks. If you buy through our links, we may get a commission. Reviews ethics statement

Apple Watch Series 8 vs. Series 7: A Quick Look at Their Differences

We compare features and specs between last year's Apple Watch Series 7 and the new model.

Kourtnee Jackson Senior Editor
Kourtnee covers TV streaming services and home entertainment news and reviews at CNET. She previously worked as an entertainment reporter at Showbiz Cheat Sheet where she wrote about film, television, music, celebrities, and streaming platforms.
Expertise Cord-cutting | TV and music streaming services | Netflix | Disney Plus | Max | Anime | Interviews | Entertainment Credentials
  • Though Kourtnee hasn't won any journalism awards yet, she's been a Netflix streaming subscriber since 2012 and knows the magic of its hidden codes.
David Katzmaier Editorial Director -- Personal Tech
David reviews TVs and leads the Personal Tech team at CNET, covering mobile, software, computing, streaming and home entertainment. We provide helpful, expert reviews, advice and videos on what gadget or service to buy and how to get the most out of it.
Expertise A 20-year CNET veteran, David has been reviewing TVs since the days of CRT, rear-projection and plasma. Prior to CNET he worked at Sound & Vision magazine and eTown.com. He is known to two people on Twitter as the Cormac McCarthy of consumer electronics. Credentials
  • Although still awaiting his Oscar for Best Picture Reviewer, David does hold certifications from the Imaging Science Foundation and the National Institutes of Standards and Technology on display calibration and evaluation.
Kourtnee Jackson
David Katzmaier
3 min read

Apple's "Far Out" presentation on Wednesday debuted a sleek new lineup of wearables that includes the Apple Watch Series 8, Apple Watch Ultra and a new 2022 Apple Watch SE. While the Ultra is the most expensive option with a variety of bells and whistles, you may find that Series 8 is better for your needs. Now a midtier offering with the introduction of the $799 Ultra, the $399 Series 8 comes with a string of features not available on SE or the Series 7 that arrived in 2021.

All Apple Series watches are a step above the SE versions, but if you're new to the brand's smartwatches or are tempted to upgrade, you're probably wondering how Series 7 and Series 8 compare. Both have health tracking functions and activity logs, but here's how they stack up in price, features and aesthetics.

Watch this: Apple Watch Series 8 and Apple Watch SE: First Look

Series 8 has more health and safety options

While both models have fall detection, emergency SOS, blood oxygen sensors and gyroscope, the Series 8 offers a set of tracking upgrades that assist with wellness and safety. Apple announced two new temperature sensors available on Series 8; one is located close to the skin, and the other is within the display.

These sensors monitor body temperature throughout the day and night but can also help women track menstrual periods and ovulation cycles. A log tracks a woman's cycle history and sends out notifications for any irregularities, which can assist with family planning or potential health concerns.  

In the safety category, Apple now provides car crash detection feature on the Series 8 and all other new Apple smartwatches. This sensor alerts emergency responders and your emergency contacts if you're unresponsive after 10 seconds. 

The Apple Watch Series 8 in gold stainless steel

The Apple Watch Series 8 in gold, stainless steel

Lisa Eadicicco/CNET

Display is the essentially the same

If you were hoping for a larger screen on the Series 8, you'll have to let it go. Both the Series 7 and Series 8 have an always-on retina display and either a 41mm or 45 mm face. Their similar designs use the same glass material for the screen and curved casing. Like the Series 7, the Series 8 comes with a dust and crack resistant screen.

Where they differ is in the watch faces. You get a few extra choices with the Series 8, including "Lunar," "Astronomy," "Modular" and "Metropolitan."

Apple Watch Series 8 and Series 7 have the same battery power

While Apple touted its 36-hour battery life when the Series 8 is in low-power mode, the Series 7 is also capable of an extended battery when the WatchOS 9 update hits. Currently, both watches possess 18 hours of battery power. Low-power mode will preserve life by restricting certain features like the sensors, the always-on display or the heart tracking apps. 

Apple Watch Series 8 vs. Series 7

Apple Watch Series 8Apple Watch Series 7
Size 41mm/45mm41mm/45mm
Display (diagonal size) Always-on, 20% more screen area than SE (1.9 inches)Always-on, 20% more screen area than SE (1.9 inches)
Display resolution 352x430 (41mm), 396x484 (45mm)352x430 (41mm), 396x484 (45mm)
Durability Water resistance (50m); IP6X dust resistanceWater resistance (50m); IP6X dust resistance
Sensors Temperature, blood oxygen, electrical heart, optical heart, compass, always-on altimeter, accelerometer, gyroscope, GPS/GNSS, ambient light Blood oxygen, electrical heart, optical heart, compass, always-on altimeter, accelerometer, gyroscope, GPS/GNSS, ambient light
Safety features Crash detection, fall detection, noise monitoring, emergency SOS, international emergency callingFall detection, noise monitoring, emergency SOS, international emergency calling
Processor Apple S8 system-on-a-chipApple S7 system-on-a-chip
Colors Aluminum: midnight, starlight, silver, red; stainless steel: silver, graphite, gold, space blackAluminum: midnight, starlight, green, blue red; stainless steel: silver, graphite, gold; titanium: natural, space black
Battery Life Up to 18 hours (36 hours in low-power mode)Up to 18 hours (low-power mode coming in WatchOS 9)
Storage 32GB32GB
Connectivity Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 5.0, W3 wireless chip, optional LTEWi-Fi, Bluetooth 5.0, W3 wireless chip, U1 chip, optional LTE


New watch faces, an always-on and larger display (thanks to smaller bezels), and better durability are the highlights of the new series. There's better menstrual cycle tracking thanks to a new suite of features, including a new temperature sensor to get ovulation estimation, among other things.

There are also new safety features, such as crash detection to provide automatic notification to emergency services and contacts. It's made possible by updated motion sensing with a new gyroscope and accelerometer.

Low-power mode disables some of the less necessary features, like the always-on display, to extend to a projected 36 hours. International roaming will also be rolling out on all cell models running WatchOS 9. And pretty new colors and bands.

Apple Watch Series 8 Hands-On.

Lexy Savvides/CNET

Although it lacks the temperature sensor and crash detection features found on the series 8, the older Series 7 offers the same battery life and most of the same connectivity and features.