Powerful, comfortable, and familiar. The Apple Watch Series 8 isn't a revolution in Apple's portfolio, but it's still the best smartwatch you can buy.
The Apple Watch 8 is the best smartwatch around – although this is a minor year for updates.
An iterative update but the Apple Watch Series 8 is still the best smartwatch around.
It has become increasingly clear that Apple doesn’t want you to think of just yourself when buying an Apple Watch. With Family Setup, ECG, and emergency response features, your Apple Watch is more and more becoming a tool to tie us all to each other. This is the first Apple Watch that I wished my spouse had, instead of me, and the first time I’ve considered that my kid might want an Apple Watch of her own.
With new features such as body temperature sensing and car crash detection, the Apple Watch Series 8 is the right choice for most smartwatch buyers.
The Apple Watch Series 8 gets a skin temperature reader, low power mode and crash detection to make the best smartwatch around a tick better. But the design and watchOS 9 are what really make Series 8 shine.
I’ll most likely keep using the Series 8 as my primary smartwatch (after trading it in for a smaller model), but not because I really need the skin temperature sensing or crash detection; my job requires me to stay up to speed on the latest devices and features.
That Apple has long been dominant in the category is not from lack of competition. There are plenty of smartwatches on the market. But while the company’s not in any risk of surrending the top spot soon, fiercer competition from the likes of Samsung and Google can only help the space, moving forward.
If you’ve already got a recent-model Apple Watch, I would not suggest upgrading. I hardly noticed a difference when using the Series 8 compared with my Series 7, or even the Series 5. The new health tracking features such as the temperature sensor don’t feel worthwhile enough to justify the price, especially since ovulation tracking is backward-looking.
Apple’s smartwatches have continuously led the field and to be honest, even if there were no upgrades here, they still would. The fact that there are useful, even life-saving, improvements means the Apple Watch Series 8 outpaces its competitors without breaking a sweat.
Hands on: The Apple Watch 8 is one of the best smartwatches around, mostly because the Apple Watch has been getting it right since the first model. However, the Watch 8 is the smallest update we’ve ever seen to the series, with only the temperature sensor and crash detection being offered as upgrades over the Watch 7 - the new software is good and offers some nice updates, but that’s coming to many older models.