Today is the day that we see the Apple Watch Series 7 start landing on doorsteps and onto wrists. I'm upgrading from a Series 5 to the new Series 7, so I thought I'd share with you my first impressions and whether I feel that this upgrade is value for money.
The Series 7 is virtually indistinguishable from the Series 5 despite being a 45mm watch face, one millimeter bigger than its predecessor. In terms of initial size and weight, I can't tell the difference between the two, and the only obvious visual indicator -- apart from the microscopic writing on the back -- is that the sensor on the back is different.
However, on firing up the watch, the increased screen real estate becomes obvious. Apple has managed to dramatically shrink the bezel to allow for a bigger working display.
What I've noticed is that, yes, it's bigger. 20 percent bigger than the Series 6. But most of that increase has been gained by extending the display into the curved portion of the display. Both visually and from a tactile point of view, this takes some getting used to. I'm sure that I'll learn to accommodate the changes, but it's hard to break the laws of physics, and that curved edge area is very prone to reflections, so right now I'm not sure how usable it will be.
Folks upgrading from the Series 3 will see a whopping 50 percent increase in screen size, and that's bound to be good for the eyes.
I'm also noticing that apps feel a little weird, visually. Whereas the app was previously on the flat part of the display, they now bleed more into the curves, and that, combined with reflections and distortions, just doesn't feel right.
The other interesting feature is the on-screen QWERTY keyboard.
I've had about 10 minutes of use on it so far, and it's pretty good. You're not going to be swiping out War and Peace on it, and it's going to get tedious for all but the shortest of messages, but it's a useful addition and comes in handy for some extra privacy when you don't want to be getting Siri to take dictation.
Depending on how you use your Apple Watch, this could be the most useful thing you get from upgrading.
As for other things, fit and finish is excellent --the transition from the display to the body of the watch is flawless on mine, and it doesn't seem to snag on hair or anything.
So, those are my first impressions. Yes, more screen to look at and interact with -- especially with regards to that on-screen keyboard -- but that extra screen is mostly in the curves and corners of the display, and it's clear that Apple did this primarily to make room for a keyboard as opposed to making apps bigger. Maybe as apps are tweaked to accommodate the new display style that things will improve.
Overall, a solid upgrade, especially for those who've had an Apple Watch for a few years. The longer you've held onto your old Apple Watch, the more significant I think this upgrade will feel. That said, the improvements -- even the 20+ percent screen size boost -- are subtle. It's another evolutionary step for the Apple Watch, as opposed to a huge revolutionary leap forward.