April 14, 2024
A person wearing the Apple Watch Series 8.
Andy Boxall / Digital Traits

I put the Apple Watch Collection 8 again on my wrist not too long ago in preparation for the upcoming — and inevitable — launch of the Apple Watch Collection 9. It’s no secret that the Apple Watch is nice, however I needed to see if it’s actually pretty much as good as I remembered.

After a number of months of sporting different smartwatches, I’d solely used the Apple Watch Collection 8 on a number of totally different events, however I’d at all times thought of it the benchmark. Properly, it’s not so good as I remembered — it’s even higher, and I can’t consider I haven’t worn it extra this yr.

Returning to the Apple Watch

A person wearing the Apple Watch Series 8.
Andy Boxall / Digital Traits

Over the previous yr, I’ve worn the Apple Watch Collection 8 and the Apple Watch Extremely pretty persistently, whether or not it’s to overview, examine, revisit, or check. However since mid-2023, I’ve reviewed and examined varied different smartwatches, so the Apple Watch didn’t get worn as a lot. After I put it again on in August, I used to be instantly reminded why it’s at all times such a pleasure: It’s completely easy to put on, use, and personal in each respect. It is a big deal, as when a well being and health product is needy, annoying, or poorly designed, you received’t wish to put on it.

I love sporting the Apple Watch. It’s fairly astounding that the Apple Watch’s core design hasn’t modified for the reason that very first model was launched, proving Apple received it precisely proper the primary time round. Different, much less assured producers consistently play with the form, design, and match of their wearables, however not Apple. It has caught to a broadly related method all through, refining it and enhancing the underlying know-how as a substitute. The Apple Watch Collection 8 appears implausible on my wrist, and with the proper band, I barely understand it’s there.

Apple Braided Solo Loop in blue.
Apple Braided Solo Loop Andy Boxall / Digital Traits

The band is essential to the Apple Watch’s success. The fast-release system, though proprietary, is neat and versatile and avoids messing round with fiddly pins if you wish to swap bands. It’s finished within the blink of a watch, and the whole avoidance of lugs retains the case compact and cozy whereas maximizing display screen actual property. It provides one thing particular to the Apple Watch’s virtually distinctive, 100% recognizable design too.

I’ve lengthy paired my Apple Watch Collection 8 with a Braided Solo Loop band, which I believe is probably the most snug band I’ve ever tried. It’s light-weight, robust, washable, and appears good too. It additionally lessens the visible impression of the Apple Watch in your wrist. I’ve little interest in flashy steel bracelets for the Apple Watch Collection 8. For me, they damage its simplicity and attempt to make it an announcement piece. I don’t see it as an announcement watch, so dressing it up like one isn’t for me, but it surely’s one other testomony to Apple’s design that it may be dressed up if you’d like.

A person wearing the Apple Watch Series 8, with a Tudor Black Bay on the other wrist.
Andy Boxall / Digital Traits

The Braided Solo Loop is ideal for after I wish to put on the Apple Watch with an precise assertion watch. It’s in all probability controversial, however I don’t thoughts sporting a conventional watch on my left wrist and the Apple Watch on my proper wrist. As a result of the Solo Loop is inconspicuous and supremely snug, it doesn’t look odd (nicely, not that odd), and it doesn’t turn into bothersome if you pair it with one other watch. Change the Watch face to an all-digital one, and I get to get pleasure from my present favourite mechanical watch and nonetheless hold “closing my rings.”

What about health?

The Apple Watch Series 8 showing a Perfect award for exercise.
Andy Boxall / Digital Traits

The Apple Watch Collection 8 is actually useful, and it’s extraordinarily good at virtually every part it does. My very own smartwatch wants are comparatively fundamental. I need interactive notifications, straightforward cellular funds, and a strategy to management my music — plus well being and health monitoring that I can perceive and that may encourage me. I additionally need a number of cool watch faces, good efficiency, and the possibility so as to add to all this as my wants change.

All of that is lined with none drawback in any respect. The Apple Watch shrugs all of it off when different smartwatches make such a meal out of every part from connectivity to organising well being monitoring, when options are disabled attributable to a need to maximise battery life for the sake of slapping some huge numbers on the promotional materials. I discover this unacceptable, as not solely do I not wish to dig via menus to search out if a characteristic is turned on or not, however I shouldn’t have to do it. There aren’t any such issues with the Apple Watch Collection 8.

It auto-tracks exercises with out fail, the motion alerts and medals after I meet my targets are enjoyable with out being intrusive, and it’s straightforward to see how I’m progressing in direction of these targets too. All my notifications are delivered reliably and with the choice to work together with them, and I fortunately change between the GMT, World Time, Contour, and typically the Gradient watch face. A alternative of fantastic, free watch faces is fairly uncommon. I’m wanting ahead to the Snoopy watch face in watchOS 10, a personality with a protracted historical past of being featured on watches.

The place the Apple Watch fails

Tracking sleep on the Samsung Galaxy Watch 6 Classic.
Samsung Galaxy Watch 6 Traditional Andy Boxall / Digital Traits

If I believe the Apple Watch Collection 8 is so good, does it do something badly? The battery life isn’t implausible, and with a single 30-minute exercise tracked and no sleep monitoring, it nonetheless doesn’t final two full days — with the ten% warning developing within the early night. Two full working days are potential with out a exercise or sleep monitoring. If you need an Apple Watch with longer battery life, the Apple Watch Extremely is for you, as it can double the time you get from the battery even with actions tracked.

Sleep monitoring isn’t good both, and Apple has fallen nicely behind Samsung right here. The Samsung Galaxy Watch 6 and Samsung Galaxy Watch 6 Traditional’s new sleep monitoring platform is superb, with lots of element and even a sleep teaching program if it sees a necessity to enhance. The Apple Watch is greater than snug and light-weight sufficient to put on in a single day, however there’s little purpose to take action, as the information it gives could be very fundamental.

Oura Ring, iPhone 13 Pro, and Apple Watch Series 7.
An Oura Ring subsequent to an iPhone and Apple Watch Andy Boxall / Digital Traits

I get round this by sporting an Oura Ring, which is an excellent sleep tracker. I additionally like the best way the Oura Ring reliably hyperlinks with Apple’s HealthKit, which means exercises tracked and knowledge gathered via both product seems within the respective apps. This faultless integration, which is so easy to arrange, is an enormous advantage of Apple’s tightly managed ecosystem. The one draw back is it’s an costly mixture.

Lastly, in a latest replace, Apple determined to activate Siri’s voice steerage when monitoring some exercises as commonplace. It’s a hateful resolution, as Siri will yell out some fundamental stats at varied intervals if you’re outdoors. It occurs even if in case you have the quantity on the Watch turned down and it’s important to dig into the settings to show Siri off. There’s nothing fallacious with the characteristic (it’s helpful for cyclists or headphone wearers, I suppose), but it surely needs to be off by default, because it’s fairly embarrassing and simple to overlook about till it occurs once more.

The Apple Watch is the most effective smartwatch there’s

For those who personal an iPhone and wish to purchase a smartwatch, you need to solely be wanting on the Apple Watch. You actually have a alternative that extends past case dimension or colour. If the Collection 8 isn’t fairly hardcore sufficient, the Apple Watch Extremely will doubtless match the invoice. For those who don’t need an electrocardiogram or an always-on display screen, then avoid wasting cash and purchase the Apple Watch SE 2. No matter which one you purchase, you’re rewarded with the identical simplicity, the identical broad customization choices, and the identical frictionless possession expertise.

There are different smartwatches I’ve beloved this yr, with the Samsung Galaxy Watch 6 Traditional coming very near replicating the Apple Watch’s brilliance for Android, and whereas it’s undeniably extra spectacular on the subject of well being tech, it’s nonetheless not fairly there with efficiency, software program, or reliability. I additionally just like the Tag Heuer Linked Calibre E4, however I can’t put on that on the other wrist to my Tudor Black Bay.

After I put the Apple Watch Collection 8 again on not too long ago, I assumed to myself that I merely haven’t worn it sufficient this yr. It does every part I may need, with no fuss, and is flexible sufficient for me to put on by itself and be happy with it, and even deal with it virtually like a glorified health band and put on it with one other watch. I’m wanting ahead to seeing the Apple Watch Collection 9 together with different merchandise on September 12, but it surely has a really onerous job forward of it, because it must someway enhance on what’s the best possible smartwatch obtainable, regardless of having been round for a yr already.

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