Apple Watch series 8 and SE review: More sensors and longer battery

The new Apple Watch Series 8 has the updated design that landed with the Series 7 last fall. She introduced larger screens, longer durability and faster charging. It then looks and feels the same, and the colors are similar too, although there were additional ones last year.

The larger display is one of the standout features here, making it easier to read and having watch faces optimized for the larger screen.

Series 8 continues Apple’s emphasis on health monitoring. It does the things that most smartwatches (including the SE) do, like B. counting your steps and calories and tracking workouts including swimming, running, yoga and more. It has a heart rate monitor which, like the SE, can alert you if your heart rate is unexpectedly high or low, or let you know if you have an irregular heart rhythm, along with cardio fitness notifications.

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But it goes beyond the SE by adding a blood oxygen meter and sensors to take an EKG on your wrist. These were in last year’s model, but now there’s a temperature sensor too. Not to tell you if you have a fever, unfortunately, but to track your temperature while you sleep. This is used by the female cycle tracking app to provide an estimate retrospectively to indicate probable ovulation, which is helpful for family planning. Additionally, tracking temperature overnight can provide general insights into one’s health, Apple says.

Also new this year is a security update: Crash Detection. The improved accelerometer can detect if you’ve been in a car accident (hopefully never) and automatically connect to emergency services and share your exact location. It’s difficult to safely simulate this in testing, but Apple claims it has millions of hours of driving data to back it up.

The Series 8 has an always-on display, which means you can glance at your wrist and see the time in a boring meeting without having to lift your wrist to illuminate the screen. A feature that, once you get used to it, you won’t want to be without (and that the SE lacks).

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There is a new compass app in the latest software (compatible with the 8 and SE series watches, as well as previous watches running Watch OS 9). Sure, I never use the compass on mine either, but there’s a neat extra in the new app called Backtrack (for Apple Watch Series 6 and up) that helps you find your way back if you’re lost, and records GPS data so you can track your steps. If you go to a place where there is no WiFi or cellular connection, the watch will detect this and start recording automatically.

Both the Apple Watch Series 8 and SE have 18 hours of battery life, so daily or nightly charges are required. However, the Series 8 can be charged faster with the included special cable and charging puck. There’s also now a power saving mode that turns off the always-on display and a few other features, but retains activity tracking. This doubles the battery life to 36 hours.

Sleek and easy to use, the Apple Watch Series 8 is very responsive and fast, whether you’re launching an app, getting directions on your watch so you can keep your iPhone in your pocket, or setting a timer. Until the Apple Watch ultra comes along, this is the best Apple Watch yet.