Apple Watch Series 8 Review: This Smartwatch Should Be On Your WishList

Apple Watch 8 Starlight aluminum case with braided solo loop

Whether you’ve sworn fealty to ‘the Crown’, won’t sweat a bead without your Garmin, or just aren’t that fussed about 24/7 notifications, 2022 is trying its absolute damnedest to convert the smartwatch holdouts into true believers. There’s the gargantuan and delightfully rugged-looking Apple Watch Ultra to consider. Google is finally getting its skin in the game with the all-new Pixel Watch, the TAG Heuer Connected has hooked up with Porsche, and Samsung has staked its claim for fitness masochists everywhere with the Galaxy Watch 5 Pro. Oh, and there’s another Fitbit. There’s always another Fitbit, but still!

Alas, none of this newfound purchasing choice matters because the correct one is still the Apple Watch Series 8. Now as plot twists go, this is somewhat akin to Only Murders in the Building proclaiming the real killer was the friends that Selena Gomez made along the way or declaring that a Game of Thrones wedding might not end happily ever after. Still, what the standard Apple Watch lacks in dramatic suspense or any sense of jeopardy at all, it makes up for in being reliably good and joyously customizable. Even in its most iterative form yet, the watch is still a winner.

Matters of life, death, and inflation

If we’re all being honest here, then the Apple Watch Series 8 is more of an Apple Watch 7.5. It has the same chipset as last year’s model, the same 41 and 45mm sizings, the same recycled aluminum case, the same bright and colorful screen tech and… we’ve probably labored the point for long enough now. How much should you care about any of these similarities? Not that much. Especially since you can’t buy an Apple Series 7 anymore and no one of sound mind should be upgrading to a new smartwatch every year.

Any major annoyance will stem from the fact that the Series 8 starts at $399, which is $50 more than last year’s models. We’ve seen similar moves across the tech industry of late, including with Sony’s PlayStation 5, so this is less of an Apple cash grab and more standard cost of living/global chip shortage fare—an upgraded Apple Watch SE that covers all the fundamentals is also available for $249. However you feel about the Series 8’s slow-motion evolution, what it does illustrate is both how accomplished the Apple Watch already was and how unfazed it feels about its would-be rivals.

Far and away the most notable new feature that Watch Series 8 benefits from is a skin temperature sensor that’s accurate to 0.1 degrees Celsius. Although changes in your temperature can augur illnesses such as the flu and Covid-19, that’s not what this tech is used for. Instead, it will predict whether you’ve been ovulating—assuming that’s your biological bag—so that couples looking to conceive a child can check whether their recent intercourse was well-timed or otherwise. As with the latest iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Pro models, there’s also automatic car crash detection that’ll recognize when you’ve been in a severe collision and call emergency services if needs be. How? It’s all down to the use of a new high-g accelerometer and improved gyroscope, plus the Watch’s existing barometer, microphone, and GPS capabilities.

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Joanna Fletcher
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