Apple Watch Series 7: No small thing

Mala Bhargava | Updated on October 21, 2021

A new Apple Watch makes you sit up to wonder what’s new

A refresh that brings a bigger, brighter screen, quicker charging and more usability

The Apple Watch has been my companion since April 2015 when it was first launched. Well, not the same one, obviously, but successive generations of what became the world’s favourite wearable. Unsurprisingly, a new Apple Watch makes me sit up to wonder what’s new. Like all Watch users, I couldn’t help hoping against hope that glucose monitoring had finally been integrated, along with body temperature, blood pressure and more. That time certainly isn’t 2021 however and we actually have no new major health measures. But we do have a refreshed Apple Watch Series 7 - and it looks good.

Much like the four iPhone 13 devices, the Apple Watch brings no revolutionary changes this time. Instead it improves on a product that is already extremely good and a total game changer in the world of smartwatches. The highlight new feature is a bigger display — and it’s no small thing. At first, putting the Series 6 and Series 7 side by side, I didn’t think there was that’s much of a difference. But as I began to use the new watch, I found it wasn’t just a matter of a few millimetres, but a big change in usability.

More to see: With tiny adjustments, Apple has managed to coax the screen into becoming 20 per cent larger than Series 6 and a lot bigger than the ones before that. The corners are more rounded off and the display itself spills over the sides so that the screen looks bezel-less and seamless. You can see what’s on the watch face from just about any angle, even if you put it down flat and go eye-level with the side of the screen. With this re-design, the screen actually looks bigger than it is. In fact, those who have always opted for the larger model of the watch may want to explore the smaller of the two.

What I find myself appreciating is that it isn’t just a matter of physically stretching the screen as much as it will go. It’s also that there’s been some software work so that now you see things larger — if you want to — or you squeeze in much more visible information. I like my text to be rather larger than usual and taking the cue from the iPhone, the watch has sized everything so that I see it nice and big and bold and easy. This is actually a big leap in comfort and usability, specially as the screen is also now brighter, even stepping up a few notches in its reduced wrist-down level. Indoors, the watch is actually 70 per cent brighter, and so that too is no small thing.

The Contour face: The larger screen means being able to fit in more ‘complications’ or data sets and text on the screen. Apple is celebrating with a new funky watch face they call Contour. The numbers, in a special custom-designed font, on the clock are pushed right to the edge and sort of fall off like a waterfall. The Contour face gradually changes to highlight the current hour. Other new watch faces include World Time which lets you see the time in 24 places at once. There’s also Portrait which uses cropped images of whoever you choose and fits it into the display — and tells the time. This one has limited complications. Modular is a watch face that shows the time and three other complications.

Another thing Apple has managed to do is to squeeze in a whole QWERTY keyboard on the display. It’s sensitive and intuitive, even if it’s small, and you can actually tap or swipe from one letter to the next to answer messages. Not the best method of input because voice input can always beat it, but a good alternative for when you need it. Overall, you can see everything better, bigger and clearer, making usage of the watch more immersive and making it more likely that you will start to use features and apps you ignored. Interacting with the screen is also easier in the sense that even text on the absolute edge reacts sensitively to touch.

While the battery is the same as it was in the previous generation, and the battery life is also approximately the same, charging is much faster by 33 per cent with a new charging puck and cable, which incidentally has moved on to USB -C. As is typical for the present times, there’s no charging brick. An eight minute charge can take you through the night, if you want to track your sleep.

Dust resistance: There are a number of other changes such as IP6X dust resistance. The watch was always water resistant in any case. The device is also more crack resistant though that depends on the model you choose. There are also some new watch straps and this is important because the straps can be so easily changed there’s a whole industry of straps available. One of the new ones is Apple’s Solo Loop which has no buckles or holes and is a very fitting single plain band. If you get the right size, it’s very convenient.

There are various materials from which the chassis of the Apple Watch is made and each is priced differently.

It all starts from ₹41,900 — and of course, you need an iPhone to use it.

Published on October 20, 2021

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