OPINION: The Apple Watch Series 7 finally hit shelves this week and I’ve had this rather fetching green model on my wrist for a couple of days.
It’s fair to say this isn’t a huge upgrade for Apple’s wearable, especially as many predicted a complete redesign for the first time. Instead, the Series 7 brings with it a bigger and brighter screen, tougher glass and faster charging.
It’s that faster charging that I have really noticed the most out of these few new additions since I first strapped it to my wrist in place of the Apple Watch Series 6 and it’s already started to change how I use the wearable.
Included with the Apple Watch 7 is a new charging cable that enables far speedier juice-ups than before. This USB-C -ended cable has a redesigned coil system in the magnetic puck that works with the improved coil in the watch itself to charge (as Apple says) 33% quicker.
It’s important to note that you won’t get faster charging if you pair the newer charger with an older Apple Watch, nor will you get the same new speeds with an older cable on the new watch. You need that new cable and a Series 7 Watch for this all to work.
This annoyed me initially, as I tend to charge both my iPhone 13 Pro and Watch on one of Apple’s handy MagSafe Duo charging pads. However, this doesn’t support the new speeds.
With the new cable though, the charging speed improvements are notable and very much welcome. A full charge took me around 60 minutes, but arguably more important is how fast it can charge just a little.
For instance, a 10 minute charge took me from 0-17% – that’s more than enough juice to stop me flinging the watch on a charger overnight and use it instead to track my sleep. I can then charge it up fully in the morning while I have a shower or have some breakfast. A charge from 10-90% took under 40 minutes.
You’ll be able to use any USB-C (at least 5w) plug to achieve the new speeds, but there isn’t one bundled alongside the watch. Hardly surprising given Apple’s recent iPhone releases. At least you won’t need a super-quick one to benefit from the changes though we’re not yet at the stage where USB-C plugs are ubiquitous household items.
The faster charging, in part, makes up for the Apple Watch 7’s battery life still sticking around that same mark as the last few generations.
I would have really appreciated an Apple Watch that could go for two or three days between charges, but that’s not the case and Apple doesn’t seem overly keen on sacrificing features (or letting us sacrifice some of them in some sort of low power mode) to stretch out the battery life.
The other feature missing from the Apple Watch still is a more universal charging standard. You need the specific Apple Watch charger, rather than just any Qi pad or stand that would charge an iPhone and most other competing watches.
So, while the Apple Watch is still missing that multi-day endurance and support for Qi charging, the speedier juice-ups here are very welcome and already feel like a bigger update than the screen – at least for me.