Apple Watch 8 in the test: A watch for emergencies


Nur anhand der Gehäusefarbe vom Vorgänger unterscheidbar: Apple Watch Series 8 Nur anhand der Gehäusefarbe vom Vorgänger unterscheidbar: Apple Watch Series 8

Only distinguishable from its predecessor by the case color: Apple Watch Series 8 Photo: Matthias Kremp / DER SPIEGEL

The least important news first: The new Apple Watch Series 8 also has a new chip, the S8 According to Apple it is 20 Percent faster than its predecessor In daily use of the new model, I didn’t feel anything like the S7 in the Apple Watch 7 – For the sake of simplicity, I leave out the addition »Series« in the rest of this text – leaves nothing to be desired. It ensures that everything you do on Apple’s smartwatch is implemented almost immediately. So the upgraded chip is nice, but not essential.

More interesting is the now possible measurement of the skin temperature. This is initially used primarily to subsequently assess when users of the Watch 8 ovulated. This in turn should help to estimate fertile phases. However, Apple insists that this technology is not a contraceptive aid.

The sensors should also not be confused with a thermometer, as they cannot be used to measure body temperature at the push of a button. Instead, the watch only measures the temperature on the wrist during sleep and does not give any absolute values ​​in degrees Celsius or Fahrenheit. Instead, it sets an “initial state” and shows deviations from this average, which is calculated for the first time after five nights. It takes even longer before you get the first indication of a possible ovulation, namely two menstrual cycles.

The fact that all of this only works if you wear the watch to sleep every night also shows how long the company is preparing for new functions. Without the sleep tracking that was introduced with watchOS 7 and the fast charge feature that came with the Watch 7, nighttime temperature tracking wouldn’t be possible.

Nur anhand der Gehäusefarbe vom Vorgänger unterscheidbar: Apple Watch Series 8

Apple Watch 7 (l.) and 8 in comparison: The temperature sensors cannot be seen from the outside

Photo: Matthias Kremp / DER SPIEGEL

Apple Watch 7 (l.) und 8 im Vergleich: Von außen sind die Temperatursensoren nicht erkennbar

It remains to be seen whether the measurements can be used for other evaluations with future software updates. Apple itself already notes that changes in body temperature at night can also be caused by intensive training or jet lag, for example.

Crash Boom Bang

Reagiert man nicht auf den Unfallhinweis der Watch 8 (l.), setzt sie nach einer kurzen Wartezeit einen Notruf ab (r.)

If you don’t react to the accident message from the Watch 8 (l.), it will make an emergency call after a short wait (r.)

Photo: Apple / Apple

The second innovation that you can only use with an Apple Watch 8 but do not want to use is the accident detection. Just like the new iPhones, the Apple Watch 8 should be able to detect when you have been in a car accident by measuring various parameters. And just like Apple’s smartphones, it can also make an emergency call in such a case, unless you confirm within ten seconds that you are still able to do so yourself. Since I mostly ride my bike and wouldn’t have liked to sacrifice my car for a crash test, I didn’t try out whether and how well it worked to be on the safe side.

Hold on a little longer

Eines der neuen Ziffernblätter von watchOS 8: Metropolis Eines der neuen Ziffernblätter von watchOS 8: Metropolis

One of the new watchOS 8 watch faces: Metropolis

Photo: Matthias Kremp / DER SPIEGEL

What I have tried against is the battery life, which Apple conservatively rates as »up to 18 hours«. How far you actually get depends massively on how intensively you use the watch. After a lazy day and night, my review unit was still showing

the following morning percent remaining capacity. On the other hand, after hours of bike training, I had to charge it before bed so it could get through the night.

What I haven’t been able to test sufficiently in the few days with the new Watch 8 is the new power-saving mode, in which the watch can be used for up to 36 should last hours. To achieve this, the always-on display and heart rate measurement are switched off in the background. I could have used that on my bike tour lasting several weeks in summer.

The new compass: Older models get it via software update Photo: Matthias Kremp / DER SPIEGEL

Der neue Kompass: Ältere Modelle bekommen ihn per Softwareupdate

Like most of the other features the Watch 8 is advertised with, however, the battery saver mode is not exclusive to the new model. Rather, older Apple smartwatches from Series 4 onwards also benefit from this after they have installed the update to watchOS 9. As if that weren’t enough, this update also brings new watch faces, a new compass app, new training features, international roaming and the ability to get directions if you get lost on a trip.

I’ll watch all of this with the Apple Watch Ultra, which will be released a little later in the Trading will come as the Watch 8 and its cheaper offshoot, the Apple Watch SE.

Conclusion

👍 Very good design

👍 Temperature measurement

👍 Accident Detection 👎 High price

👎 Hardly any changes compared to the Apple Watch 7

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Why reinvent the wheel when it’s already running smoothly? This is how you could describe Apple’s Watch 8 in short. It continues the successful concept of the Series 7 with just two additional functions, looks good, has a great display and can be equipped with a number of apps. Just like its predecessors, if you don’t use the power saving mode, it has to be charged daily.

And, just like the iPhones, it has unfortunately become more expensive, even the cheapest version costs 499 Euro, i.e. 70 euros more than its predecessor a year ago. If you have an Apple Watch but don’t want to spend that much, you have to go for the Watch SE. It has a smaller display, no temperature measurement and other fewer functions, but the same chip and the same watchOS 9 as the Watch 8. Above all, it has the same price as 2021: With 299 Euro it is significantly cheaper than the larger models.

Background: product tests in the network world -Department

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