Apple Watch Series 8


Apple Watch Series 8 on a table

The Apple Watch 8 is the best smartwatch around – although this is a minor year for updates.

Pros

  • Excellent tracking features
  • Plenty of sensors, including clever use of temperature sensor
  • Charges quickly
  • Additional low power modes
Cons

  • No big battery upgrade
  • Minimal additions over the last model
Availability

  • UKRRP: £419
  • USARRP: $399
  • EuropeRRP: €499
  • CanadaRRP: CA$529
  • AustraliaRRP: AU$629
Key Features
  • Plenty of sensorsHRM, GPS, blood oxygen and a new temperature sensor
  • Bright displayFantastic OLED screen that’s easily readable outside

Introduction

The Apple Watch 8 is a minor update to the best smartwatch you can currently buy.

2022 has become a year of modest updates to the majority of Apple’s products, with only a few packing hefty changes.

Like the iPad Pro M2 and iPhone 14, the Apple Watch 8 merely sprinkles in a few updates to make already an excellent product slightly better.

Design and Screen

  • Works with any previous Apple Watch bands
  • Bright, responsive display
  • Comes in two sizes

The design of the Apple Watch has stayed roughly the same since its inception. There have been years where the screen has grown, the colours swapped and the material choice altered – but the overall look has rarely changed. If you picked up the first Apple Watch and a number of bands to go with it, those bands would still work today. In this era of disposable tech, that’s a massive bonus.

With the Apple Watch 8 (or the Series 8), the design once again stays the same. Taking the slightly larger screen and tougher material choices introduced with the Series 7, the only real visible difference is a rejigged colour line-up.

I’ve typically been a huge fan of the look of the Apple Watch. It has become an iconic product for Apple and is instantly recognisable. The Series 8 remains a looker, however, after spending a lot of time wearing the Apple Watch Ultra, I do wish Apple had adapted the design of its more consumer-friendly wearable to more closely match the Ultra.

For instance, I prefer the flatter display on the Ultra over the more domed screen on the Series 8 as I find it far easier to read when I’m on the move. I also appreciate the addition of the new Action Button and again would have liked to see it present on the Series 8.

the front of the Apple Watch 8Image Credit (Trusted Reviews)

This third button, which joined the Digital Crown and the app switching button already present, lets you add another shortcut to a selection of apps and actions. It also changes its functionality when you’re in that app, so you can use it to open the stopwatch and then press it again to mark a lap.

But, none of the changes Apple introduced with the Ultra have filtered down to the Series 8, leaving this as a wearable that could do with some freshening up. Still, it remains comfortable to wear, even with the fairly large HRM sticking out of the underside, and it ticks most of the boxes I look for in a smartwatch at this price.

It’s durable thanks to both IP6X and a 5ATM water resistance rating, meaning it can withstand dust and be used for swimming or worn in the shower with no issue. The rounded glass covering the screen is tough too, and I have never cracked an Apple Watch, which is always a good sign it will stand up to daily use.

There are two sizes available and they stick with the same 41mm and 45mm sizes as before. Both remain a lot smaller than the 49mm Apple Watch Ultra. For this review, I have been using the larger model and it fits my wrist well and doesn’t feel overly large, though I do like the smaller nature of the 41mm size and it certainly looks a little more subtle.

While there haven’t been any updates to the display either, it still remains the best I have used on a wearable at this price. Yes, you’ll get a far brighter display on the Apple Watch Ultra but the 1000 nits of peak brightness here still make this screen visible outdoors on bright days with ease.

Just as importantly, it gets very dim too – to the point where it can be checked at night without a bright light exploding across the room.

the side of the Apple Watch 8Image Credit (Trusted Reviews)

Choosing the Series 8 over the SE 2 also gets you an always-on display, this uses LPTO refresh rate tech to keep the time visible at all times in a dimmed state. An always-on option helps it look more like a typical watch and lets you glance down the watch to check the time without properly interacting with it.

Fitness Tracking and Performance

  • Accurate data for runs and other activities
  • HRM, GPS, ECG and body temperature sensor
  • Sleep tracking is better thanks to watchOS 9

There are a few more changes and additions under the surface, notably the new temperature sensor and improved accelerometers – the latter of which enables the same Car Crash Detection feature found in the iPhone 14 series. This isn’t a reason as such to update, but it does add some extra peace of mind

The temperature sensor is the more interesting addition. This will track your body temperature over time (you’ll need to give it five nights to get going) and it can be used for female cycle tracking, giving estimates of when you last ovulated. This data can be helpful for family planning and is a really nice addition that expands the scope of the Apple Watch.

the front of the Apple Watch 8 showing some metricsImage Credit (Trusted Reviews)

It is important to note this is retroactive tracking, so it’s not going to be able to tell you future ovulation dates. Apple is also clear to make sure that this cycle tracking data stays on your device and is encrypted with either Touch ID or Face ID.

If you’re not interested in this cycle tracking, the sensor will also give you an overview of your body temperature each night, showing you how it deviates from a calculated baseline. I can’t say I have found this data overly interesting, and the Watch doesn’t tell you how to decipher it, but it’s there and I can only assume it will become more apparent with software updates in the future.

It feels like the blood oxygen sensor Apple introduced a few years ago, which simply gave you a percentage readout without little else. Apple is giving you access to these sensors, but not turning them into medical tools.

The workout app on the apple watch 8Image Credit (Trusted Reviews)

I’ve been seriously impressed with the skills of the Apple Watch when it comes to fitness, and during my testing of both this model and every single previous version, it can easily match pricier watches in terms of accuracy. I’ve been testing the Series 8 alongside the excellent Garmin Forerunner 955 and Apple’s watch manages to lock on to GPS just as fast and churn out equally accurate data, whether it be my heart rate or the distance of a run. The data is also far more accurate than that gleaned from the Pixel Watch, and cheaper watches like the Fitbit Versa 4.

While a Garmin Forerunner will offer more in-depth modes for runners, the Apple Watch is a better pick for the more casual person. The addictive nature of the Activity app – where you’re tasked with filling three rings a day by moving, exercising and standing – remains excellent and the smart, and fast, auto workout tracking means you’ll end up tracking longer walks and bouts of exercise you’d probably have not bothered starting a dedicated workout for.

The addition of heart rate zones in watchOS 9 is neat addition too, and something many have been asking for a number of years.

My favourite watchOS 9 feature is the updated sleep tracking, which now splits your slumber into time awake, deep sleep, REM and core sleep. Once you’ve woken up in the morning, all this data is viewable through the Health ap

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