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Apple Watch Series 8 review roundup: Think before you upgrade

Published Sep 15th, 2022 10:13AM EDT
Apple Watch Series 8: All new features.
Image: Apple Inc.

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The Apple Watch Series 8 launches alongside the iPhone 14 this weekend, and right on cue, reviews are now up. Much like Apple’s iPhone 14 lineup, there are huge differences between the 2022 Apple Watch models. The Apple Watch Ultra is a significant upgrade with an all-new design and never-before-seen features. Meanwhile, the Apple Watch Series 8 looks virtually identical to the Series 7. So is it worth the upgrade?

It’s fascinating to see the parallels between the iPhone 14 reviews and the Apple Watch Series 8 reviews. As with the standard iPhone 14, your mileage may vary when it comes to upgrading. Many reviews indicate that the Apple Watch Series 8 is Apple’s best watch to date (Apple Watch Ultra reviews aren’t out yet), but doesn’t bring enough to the table to make anyone with a recent Apple Watch rush out and upgrade.

Here are some of the more revealing quotes from Apple Watch Series 8 reviews:

  • CNET: “The best part of the Apple Watch this year is its software improvements. WatchOS 9 adds a number of extras that are really great: a compass app that now tracks your steps via GPS to help you navigate back home during hikes, medication tracking, multistage sleep tracking and a low-power mode that shuts down some functions to extend battery life. But you don’t need a new watch for these; a free update to WatchOS 9 could give you these upgrades and make you feel like you already have a new watch.” – Scott Stein
  • PCMag: “The Series 8 is the Goldilocks option in the current lineup of Apple smartwatches. If the $799 Apple Watch Ultra is too pricey or big for your wrist, or the $249 Apple Watch SE lacks the features you want, the $399 Apple Watch Series 8 is probably just right. The Series 8 can track your body temperature deviations, estimate the date of your last ovulation, and detect severe car crashes and automatically call for help, features that are not available on last year’s model.” – Angela Moscaritolo
  • USA Today: “So who is the Apple Watch for? Maybe you want the peace of mind you get from Crash Detection (because hopefully it’s not a feature you’ll need to use). Perhaps you want to take advantage of the temperature sensor for family planning. Maybe you have an older watch and it feels like the right time to upgrade. In these cases, you’re likely not going to find a better smartwatch.” – Brett Molina
  • The Verge: “You’d be hard-pressed to spot the differences between the Series 7 and Series 8. Full disclosure: the only reason I can is because my review units are different sizes and colors. This is a fancy way of saying nothing’s changed. The Series 8 still comes in two sizes: 41mm and 45mm. There are fewer color options this time around — RIP green and blue — and that’s about it. The price also remains unchanged. The Series 8 starts at $399 for the GPS-only version and $499 for cellular.” – Victoria Song
  • The Wall Street Journal: “Some of the Apple Watch’s best new features don’t require Series 8 or the updated SE. WatchOS 9, available as a free software update to Series 4 or newer models (including the original SE), comes with a medication reminder, sleep stage information, a feature to retrace your steps if you get lost on a hike, heart-rate zone training and my favorite: a low power mode that can extend battery life for up to 36 hours.” – Nicole Nguyen

It’s almost eerie how similar the Apple Watch Series 8 reviews are across the board.

If you want a great smartwatch, you can’t go wrong with the Series 8. On the other hand, if you already have a great smartwatch, the Series 8 might be a tough sell.

I think the WSJ’s suggestion to upgrade to watchOS 9 first and then decide whether or not to upgrade is probably the best advice. On the other hand, if you’re all in, you can preorder an Apple Watch Series 8 now, starting at $399.

More Apple coverage: Check out the best Apple deals and sales in September.

Jacob Siegal
Jacob Siegal Associate Editor

Jacob Siegal is Associate Editor at BGR, having joined the news team in 2013. He has over a decade of professional writing and editing experience, and helps to lead our technology and entertainment product launch and movie release coverage.