Apple Watch Series 8 review: better tracking of women’s health in the same powerful package | Apple

The latest Apple Watch adds new safety features and a temperature sensor to some intriguing uses in women’s health and family planning. But otherwise it remains the same as last year’s version.

Like the latest iPhones, the 8 Series gains £ 50 ($ 30 in Australia) over its predecessor, costing from £ 419 ($ 629) despite the remaining $ 399 in the US due to weak exchange rates against the dollar . But the 8 Series isn’t Apple’s most expensive new smartwatch. This title goes to the Ultra model, which costs £ 849 ($ 799 / $ 1,299).

The new, now mid-range Series 8 watch is essentially identical to the Series 7. The iPhone-exclusive smartwatch features a smooth metal exterior, a bright and crisp, always-on screen, and lasts around 36 hours between charges, including sleep tracking. It is still the most efficient of smartwatches.

The sensors on the back of the watch measure your heart rate, blood oxygen levels, perform an EKG, and enable a wide range of general health monitoring functions. Photo: Samuel Gibbs / The Guardian

In addition to the existing fall detection function, the new accelerometer and gyroscope can detect the extreme forces associated with a car accident and automatically call the emergency services if you do not react within 20 seconds. A potentially life-saving feature that hopefully provides peace of mind.

A pair of temperature sensors can track the change in wrist temperature overnight, setting the baseline for five nights with sleep tracking turned on. It can’t give you an exact temperature, but slight changes can indicate things ranging from exercise and alcohol consumption to illness and jet lag.

Temperature data from Apple Watch Series 8 displayed on iPhone 14 Pro.
You can view your temperature data along with your sleep in the Health app for iPhone, but you can figure out what that means for yourself. Photo: Samuel Gibbs / The Guardian

The primary use of the sensor is for optional enhanced female health tracking to record the menstrual cycle and ovulation. The watch tracks the slight increase in body temperature that usually occurs after ovulation and combines this with recorded cycle data to give you a retrospective estimate of your day of ovulation. Estimates take about two cycles to complete, but it can be a useful tool for those trying to get pregnant or avoiding pregnancy, as well as generally tracking cycle status for abnormalities.

Health data collected by the watch, including heart rate, ECG results and cycle data, is recorded in the Health app on your phone and fully encrypted when backed up to your iCloud account. This means that only you and people with whom you intentionally share data, such as your partner or doctor, can view it. Neither Apple nor third parties can read it.

Specifications

  • Case size: 41 or 45mm

  • Case Thickness: 10.7 mm

  • Libra: 32 / 38.8 g or 42.3 / 51.5 g

  • Editor: S8

  • ARIES: 1 GB

  • Storage: 32 GB

  • Operating system: WatchOS 9

  • Waterproof: 50 meters (5ATM)

  • Sensors: HR, EKG, spO2, temp, microphone, speaker, NFC, GNSS, compass, altimeter

  • Communication: Bluetooth 5, wifi n, NFC, UWB, 4G / eSIM optional

WatchOS 9

Advanced metrics for run, power zones, and heart rate on Apple Watch Series 8.
Now you can easily set up what you want on the main watch screen while you run. Here it displays the distance, pace, cadence and heart rate. Photo: Samuel Gibbs / The Guardian

The recently released watchOS 9 software added new watch faces, sleep phase tracking, and various other small improvements, but one of the best additions was the training app.

Now you can change the metrics on your face during your runs, cycles, and more, just the way you want. There are also new advanced metrics such as heart rate zones, running power, vertical oscillation, stride length and ground contact time. Finally, you can customize your interval workouts. The Series 8 uses about 15% of the tracking battery for an hour, so it is capable of running a marathon.

Sustainable development

Apple doesn’t provide the expected battery life, but it should last over 500 full charge cycles with at least 80% of its original capacity and can be replaced for £ 85. Repairs cost between £ 309 and £ 409 depending on the model.

Contains recycled aluminum, gold, rare earth elements, tin and tungsten. Apple offers replacement and free recycling of devices, and in its report presents the watch’s environmental impact.

Price £

The 8 Series is available in two sizes and two different materials, as well as a 4G option that requires an eSIM card and a compatible phone plan add-on.

The 41mm aluminum or Nike versions cost £ 419 ($ 399 / AU $ 629) or £ 449 ($ 429 / AU $ 679). 4G models cost an additional £ 110 ($ 100 / $ 160). Stainless steel models start at £ 729 ($ 699 / AU $ 1,099).

For comparison, the Apple Watch SE is £ 259, the Apple Watch Ultra is £ 849, the Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 is £ 269 and the Garmin Venu is £ 2 £ 299.

Verdict

The 8 Series is the smallest Apple Watch update in several years. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, as its predecessor was the best smartwatch available for the iPhone, and it still is with the new model.

Crash Detection is a cool feature that you hope you’ll never use. While ovulation tracking is nothing new, there are only a handful of consumer wearables, such as some Fitbits and Oura Ring, that offer similar features. It’s good to see how more accurate women’s health tracking is being added to another major device. The data from the temperature sensor may also prove useful in the future for other wellness functions.

If you have the latest model, it’s not worth updating. But if you’re looking for a new generic smartwatch for your iPhone, the Apple Watch Series 8 is the one to buy. It is head and shoulders above the competition, just a shame about the price hike caused by the currency.

Pros: excellent touch vibration, always on screen, ECG, temperature sensor, best health monitoring, great activity tracking, water resistance up to 50 meters, solid battery, car accident detection, long software support, recycled materials.

Cons: expensive, only works with iPhone, blood oxygen data not so useful, no third party watch faces, minor update.

Side button and Apple Watch Series 8 digital crown.
The Apple Watch is thin enough to slip under your shirt cuffs and comes in two sizes with multiple strap options to fit a variety of wrists. Photo: Samuel Gibbs / The Guardian

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