Apple Watch Series 8 review: The most effective Apple Watch gets higher

Apple Watch Series 8

MSRP $399.00

“Powerful, comfortable, and familiar. The Apple Watch Series 8 is not a revolution in Apple’s portfolio, however it’s still one of the best smartwatch you possibly can buy.”


  • Sleek, comfortable design
  • Display is big and lovely
  • Excellent health features
  • Fast charge speeds
  • WatchOS 9 is best than ever
  • Automotive crash detection


  • Temperature sensors are limited
  • Almost an identical to the Series 7

In 2022, the Apple Watch is a known quantity — and one of the vital recognizable products in Apple’s portfolio. That’s why whenever you have a look at the Apple Watch Series 8, you could have a reasonably good idea of what to anticipate. It’s certain to be easy to wear, have loads of health features, and offer one of the best software yow will discover on any smartwatch.

After wearing the Apple Watch Series 8 for some time, I can confidently say that each one of those things are true. Wearing the Series 8 has jogged my memory a variety of my Apple Watch Series 7 I’ve worn for the past 12 months because, well, the Series 8 is practically an identical to it. It’s very much like the iPhone 14 in that way. Apple didn’t reinvent the wheel with the Apple Watch Series 8, and that’s since it’s already to this point ahead of the curve that it doesn’t must.

Call it “boring” or “bland” if you happen to want, but that doesn’t stop the Apple Watch Series 8 from being one of the best smartwatch money should purchase.

Apple Watch Series 8 design

The always-on mode on an Apple Watch Series 8.Joe Maring/Digital Trends

What’s happening with the Apple Watch Series 8’s design? Well, it looks like an Apple Watch. Apple’s had a really clear and focused design approach ever because the original Apple Watch debuted in 2014, and while latest models have improved things through the years, the overall aesthetics haven’t modified very much. When you could have a design foundation that’s this good, it’s comprehensible why that’s.

Whether you get the Apple Watch Series 8 within the 41mm or 45mm trim (the version I actually have), each feel unbelievable to wear all day long — and even throughout the night if you happen to’re inquisitive about sleep tracking. The watch sits comfortably on my wrist, the squircle shape is one I personally love to take a look at, and a WR50 rating provides waterproofing for as much as 50 meters of submersion.

The Digital Crown on an Apple Watch Series 8.Joe Maring/Digital Trends

Apple’s execution of the Apple Watch’s design can be as excellent because it’s ever been. Whenever you scroll through menus or notifications, the Digital Crown feels wonderful to interact with. Pressing the side button below it offers great tactility to swap apps or open Apple Wallet. Whenever you’re able to placed on a latest watch band, Apple’s band system is amongst the simplest to make use of.

For those who’ve never liked how the Apple Watch looks, the Apple Watch Series 8 doesn’t do anything to alter that opinion. But if you happen to do like how the Apple Watch looks and feels, the Series 8 is more of what you like.

Apple Watch Series 8 screen

An Apple Watch Series 8 with the screen turned on.Joe Maring/Digital Trends

The standout feature of the Apple Watch Series 7 was its larger screen and slimmer bezels, enabling you to see more content on the tiny display than ever before. The Apple Watch Series 8 recycles that very same design, and identical to last 12 months, it creates a really impressive viewing experience. Watch faces have room to shine, notifications creep out to the very edges of the screen, and navigating apps/menus never feels restrictive — especially on the larger 45mm model.

And it’s not only the dimensions of the screen that’s so impressive. Colours pop with vibrancy, text is definitely readable, and the 1,000 nits of peak brightness ensure you possibly can easily read the watch even in broad daylight.

The always-on mode on an Apple Watch Series 8.Joe Maring/Digital Trends

Whenever you’re not interacting with apps or notifications, the Apple Watch Series 8 has an always-on display to point out a dimmed version of your watch face in any respect times. The Apple Watch has had an always-on display because the Series 5, so while it’s nothing latest, it still stays one in all my favorite Apple Watch features. With the ability to subtly glance down and see the time, weather, and other info while not having to lift my wrist is enormously convenient — and one in all the most important missing features from the cheaper Apple Watch SE 2.

Apple Watch Series 8 health and activity

An Apple Watch Series 8 running the Activity app.Joe Maring/Digital Trends

The marketplace for health/fitness trackers in 2022 is crowded, to say the least. From Fitbit, Garmin, Oura, Amazon Halo, Whoop, Amazfit, and more, the myriad of options to trace your day by day activity often feels overwhelming. Despite all of that, Apple has done an incredible job of creating the Apple Watch’s health and activity suite feel concurrently approachable, intuitive, and comprehensive.

The crux of activity tracking on the Apple Watch Series 8 revolves around your activity rings — more specifically, your Move, Exercise, and Stand rings. Each encourages you to burn calories, perform X amount of exercise minutes, and rise up and stand throughout the day. It’s one of the vital recognizable activity metrics around and has created something of a cultural phenomenon to “close your rings” daily.

WatchOS 9 software with its new workout screens.Latest Workout views in WatchOS 9 Apple

For those who’ve ever used an Apple Watch, you’ll know precisely why that’s. Aiming to shut your rings every day is fun, difficult, and a transparent metric to work toward. It’s still not great at promoting recovery days, but third-party apps (like Gentler Streak) help to fill that void.

To measure your ring progress throughout the day, the Apple Watch Series 8 records an unlimited array of health metrics.  It tracks your steps, distance, resting and energetic energy, and 24/7 heart rate. There’s also an ECG app to get on-demand ECG readings, a SpO2 sensor for manual and automatic blood-oxygen level tracking, and sleep tracking to measure the standard of your slumber at night. You should utilize all of those features if you happen to’d like, pick and select those you would like, or ignore all of them.

Apple Watch Series 8 showing sleep tracking results.Joe Maring/Digital Trends

While health tracking on Apple Watch Series 8 is almost an identical to previous models, Apple’s WatchOS 9 software does add a couple of nifty additions. Some exercises now show heart rate zones in real-time, making it much easier to gauge the intensity of your workouts. Speaking of workouts, WatchOS 9 permits you to create custom workout routines that you would be able to tweak with custom time, distance, calorie, and pacer goals. And when it comes time to rest up, WatchOS 9 adds sleep stages to point out you ways much time you’ve spent in REM, Core, and Deep sleep (critical data that was previously missing in WatchOS 8).

Apple Watch Series 8 temperature sensors

The back of an Apple Watch Series 8.Joe Maring/Digital Trends

That said, there may be one latest hardware addition to the Apple Watch Series 8’s health toolkit — a pair of temperature sensors. Using one sensor on the back and one other underneath the display, the Apple Watch Series 8 tracks your wrist temperature and displays those readings within the Health app in your iPhone. You want to enable sleep tracking and wear the Series 8 for about five nights before it establishes a baseline, but once that’s done, you’ll see a latest Wrist Temperature section within the Health app.

Per Apple’s website, wrist temperature changes could be related to your “weight loss plan and exercise, alcohol consumption, sleep environment, or physiological aspects equivalent to menstrual cycles and illness.” It’s a neat metric to have, but I also don’t know what to do with it. I see my wrist temperature within the Health app, but there’s no guidance about what these numbers mean. My temperature was 1.05 degrees higher on September 19 but 0.59 degrees lower on September 26. There’s probably some intending to that, but I don’t know what it’s. I’ll give Apple credit for doing something out of the box with its temperature sensors (unlike the Galaxy Watch 5), but I’m rather more inquisitive about seeing what third-party apps do with this data.

Apple Watch Series 8 health features.Apple

There may be one other aspect of the Series 8’s temperature sensors, however it’s not a feature I’ve been in a position to test. After wearing the Apple Watch Series 8 for five nights, users who reap the benefits of Apple’s Cycle Tracking app will see retrospective estimates for once they last ovulated — something potentially very helpful for family planning.

Apple Watch Series 8 automotive crash detection

Car crash detection on Apple Watch Series 8.Apple

There’s one other Apple Watch Series 8 feature I haven’t been in a position to test, and it’s one I’m hoping that I never will. Just like the iPhone 14, the Apple Watch Series 8 offers automotive crash detection. For those who’re ever in a severe accident, the Series 8 will ask if you happen to’re OK with a prompt to call emergency services. For those who don’t reply to that prompt inside 10 seconds, the decision is routinely placed for you.

The feature appears to work quite well on this 12 months’s iPhones, so it’s protected to assume it’s just nearly as good on the Series 8. While I’m crossing my fingers that I (and anyone else with a Series 8) never must use automotive crash detection, it’s reassuring to know that it’s there — just in case.

Apple Watch Series 8 WatchOS 9

An Apple Watch Series 8 with the display turned on.Metropolitan watch face on Apple Watch Series 8 Joe Maring/Digital Trends

Whenever you buy an Apple Watch Series 8, WatchOS 9 is the software powering it right out of the box. As mentioned above, WatchOS 9 improves the health/fitness experience with latest workout metrics and higher sleep tracking. But that’s not all.

In typical Apple fashion, WatchOS 9 brings a couple of latest watch faces to maintain your watch feeling fresh. Metropolitan is my personal favorite, which is an analog clock with customizable numerals and has loads of room for complications. There’s a captivating face called Playtime, which is a digital face that turns the numbers into playful characters.

For those who’re an astronomy nut, the Lunar face has a full breakdown of the present lunar calendar. Apple also updated the Astronomy watch face to higher utilize the Series 8’s large display, while the Modular, Modular Compact, and X-Large faces can now be customized with full-color backgrounds.

Apple Watch Series 8 running the new Compass app in WatchOS 9.Joe Maring/Digital Trends

Together with trying out the brand new watch faces, I’ve also had a variety of fun fidgeting with WatchOS 9’s latest Compass app. By default, the Compass app shows the present direction and degree you’re facing, together with a everlasting marker for north at the highest of the screen. You may rotate the Digital Crown as much as get a more detailed view of your elevation, incline, latitude, and longitude.

Where the Compass app gets really interesting is with its Backtrack feature. From the Compass app, tap the footprint icon at the underside right corner and begin walking. The app keeps a log of where you go and shows a visible outline of your path in real time. Whenever you’re done, tap the pause icon after which Retrace Steps to follow the trail back from which you got here. To make things much more interesting, you possibly can create custom waypoints along the method to enable you to remember where a lake, hill, or one other focal point is.

Apple Watch Series 8 running the Compass app.Joe Maring/Digital Trends

I used the Compass app and the Backtrack feature while out walking around a neighborhood nature preserve, and it actually proved quite handy. I took a unique path than I normally do, got a bit turned around, and was able to take a look at my place to begin and simply walk back toward it. It’s not a tool I’ll use day by day, however it was very convenient to have.

There’s plenty more with WatchOS 9 to sink your teeth into. The Medications app is an ideal method to track the medication and vitamins you repeatedly take, users with atrial fibrillation can now track their AFib history, and the Calendar app finally allows you to create events right in your wrist.

Apple Watches with different WatchOS 9 features.Apple

WatchOS has at all times been far ahead of wearable software from the competition, and while WatchOS 9 isn’t an overhaul of that have, it does make it higher in some very key ways. All of these items work beautifully on the Apple Watch Series 8, and if you could have an Apple Watch Series 4 or newer, you possibly can experience them right away with a free software update — no latest Series 8 required.

Apple Watch Series 8 battery and charging

Apple Watch Series 8 showing how much battery is remaining.Joe Maring/Digital Trends

The Apple Watch has at all times been a reliable one-day smartwatch, and with the Series 8, that’s no different. Whilst you won’t find the next-level endurance of the Apple Watch Ultra, there’s loads of power here for all-day use without battery anxiety.

During my time wearing the Apple Watch Series 8, I’ve ended every day somewhere within the 40% to 30% battery remaining range. Someday saw me placed on the Series 8 at about 6:00 am and find myself at 9:15 pm with 48% battery still available. That was after tracking a 20-minute core workout on Apple Fitness+, receiving constant notifications throughout the day, using a few timers while cooking dinner, and having the always-on screen enabled.

On a more intensive day, I took the Series 8 off the charger at 9:00 a.m. and had one other day full of notifications and the always-on screen. I also tracked a 1.8-mile outdoor walk and used the Backtrack feature on the Compass app for 40 minutes. I had 33% battery remaining at 2:03 a.m. and woke up at 8:00 a.m. with 23% remaining after tracking my (much too short) sleep.

Similar to last 12 months, the Apple Watch Series 8 supports fast charging speeds. It easily goes from 0 to over 80% in 45 minutes and reaches a full battery in around an hour. That’s fast enough to throw the Series 8 on the charger whenever you get up after an evening of sleep tracking, prepare for the day ahead, after which take it off the charger with a full battery able to go.

Apple Watch Series 8 price and availability

An Apple Watch Series 8 showing its always-on display.Joe Maring/Digital Trends

The Apple Watch Series 8 is offered for purchase now. It starts at $399 for the 41mm aluminum case with GPS only. Stepping as much as the 45mm aluminum case with GPS will run you $429. If you would like to add LTE cellular connectivity, the value goes up by $100 to $429 and $529, respectively.

You can even get the Apple Watch Series 8 with a more premium stainless-steel case. Here, the 41mm GPS/LTE model costs $749, and the 45mm version is $799.

The Apple Watch Series 8 is the smartwatch to beat

An Apple Watch Series 8 with the screen turned on.Joe Maring/Digital Trends

There’s nothing surprising or shocking concerning the Apple Watch Series 8. It does all the Apple Watch belongings you expect in 2022, with some added niceties to make it higher than ever.

Just like the iPhone 14 and iPhone 13 comparison, there’s no must upgrade to the Apple Watch Series 8 if you happen to have already got a Series 7. The chipset is virtually an identical, the screen and design are the identical, and also you’ll get the identical WatchOS 9 software experience. But if you happen to’re coming from an Apple Watch Series 6 or older, I feel there’s enough here to justify an upgrade. The massive display is a joy to take a look at and interact with, fast charging generally is a lifesaver, and the temperature sensors and automotive crash detection — while not immediately useful for everybody — are very nice to have. And also you get all of that at the identical $399 price Apple’s been charging for Apple Watches for the previous few years.

The Apple Watch Series 8 will not be a revolutionary chapter within the Apple Watch story, but as one other entry within the family, it’s a remarkably good one. If you could have an iPhone, need a smartwatch, and wish more functionality than what the Apple Watch SE provides, the Apple Watch Series 8 is our latest go-to suggestion. Similar to the Series 7, it truly is that good.

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