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Apple Watch Series 7 vs 5 (2022): Should You Upgrade?

The Apple Watch Series 5 has been out for almost two years now. If you own one, you’re probably thinking of upgrading to the latest model. After all, the Apple Watch Series 7 โ€” the latest in the lineup โ€” boast a redesign and a couple of new features. But are these changes on the Watch 7 worth ditching your Watch 5 for? Below, we compare these Apple Watches to see if you should upgrade or not.

Apple Watch Series 7 vs Series 5 Comparison Chart

ModelApple Watch Series 7Apple Watch Series 5
 
PriceView at AmazonView at Amazon
Sizes41mm, 45mm40mm, 44mm
Available FinishesAluminum, Stainless Steel, TitaniumAluminum, Stainless Steel, Titanium, Ceramic
Display TypeAlways-on Retina displayAlways-on Retina display
ChipsetS7 SiPS5 SiP
Memory32GB32GB
Optical Heart SensorThird-generationSecond-generation
ECG AppYesYes
Blood Oxygen SensorYesNo
Heart Rate MonitoringYesYes
Sleep TrackingYesYes
Fall DetectionYesYes
ConnectivityLTE, UMTS, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 5.0LTE, UMTS, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 5.0
Water ResistanceUp to 50 metersUp to 50 meters
Charge Time2.5 hours; 45 minutes fast-charging (0% to 80%)2.5 hours
Battery LifeUp to 18 hoursUp to 18 hours

Design

The Apple Watch Series 7 sports a larger screen, brighter display, and thinner bezels compared to the Apple Watch Series 5.

Apple Watch Series 7 vs Series 5 Design
Apple’s Watch Series 7 (left) has thinner bezels and a larger screen area than the Apple Watch Series 5 (right).

When the Apple Watch Series 6 was released, it offered a few but significant upgrades over the Watch Series 5. However, none of them had to do with how the smartwatch looked. On the Apple Watch Series 7, you’re finally getting a revamped design.

A lot of the changes have to do with the screen. The Series 7 brandishes a 20% larger screen area than its predecessors. As a result, you’re also getting a slightly bigger watch. Apple’s Series 7 comes in 41mm and 45mm cases. On the other hand, the Series 5 is available in 40mm and 44mm models. Thinner bezels have much to do with the minimal change in dimensions. But they also make the Series 7 a more sophisticated-looking wearable than the Series 5.

Despite this difference, both devices have the same Ion-X glass display on their aluminum versions. If you’re opting for a stainless steel case, the Watch Series 7 and Series 5 will feature a sapphire crystal display instead. Nonetheless, the Series 7 display is the brighter of the two.

Both wearables sport a Digital Crown with haptic feedback. They also come with swappable bands. Lastly, Apple’s Watch Series 7 and Series 5 are water-resistant up to 50 meters.

Fitness and Activity Tracking

The Apple Watch Series 7 and Series 6 boast a strong suite of fitness features.

Apple Watch Series 7 vs Series 5 Fitness Tracking
Whether you’re swimming or cycling, the Apple Watch Series 7 (left) and Series 5 (right) can track your progress.

Apple’s smartwatches have always prioritized fitness. So on the Apple Watch Series 7 and Series 5, you’ll find a handful of activity-tracking features, including its popular Activity Rings. These rings are Move, Exercise, and Stand, each designed to simplify a user’s fitness goals. As such, they’re basically an on-screen guide.

Several standard metrics are also measured and recorded by the Watch Series 7 and Series 5. Steps, distance, floors climbed, and calories burned are just some of the information you get. You can also check your heart rate at rest or while working out.

Speaking of working out, there are several exercises available via the Workout app. These include Indoor and Outdoor Run, Walk, and Swim. However, when the Apple Watch Series 5 was released, it introduced Cool Down, Functional Strength Training, Core Training, and Dance. On the Series 7, you’re now getting Tai Chi and Pilates, too.

For added safety, Fall Detection has also been extended for Workouts. You can also get reminders to exercise just in case it slips from your mind. And if you do forget to track a workout, both watches have auto-detect on a handful of exercises. You’ll simply get notified so you can get the credit for the workouts you’ve carried out.

Health Features

Apple’s Watch Series 7 comes with improved health sensors and apps over the Watch Series 5.

Apple Watch Series 7 vs Series 5 Health
Strengthen your mind and body connection with Mindfulness (left); monitor and log symptoms using Cycle Tracking (right).

Over the years, Apple has highlighted the health features of its wearables. And why not, when it popularized ECG on consumer devices with the Apple Watch Series 4. So as expected, you have this feature on the Watch Series 7 and Series 5. Both devices also provide high and low heart-rate notifications, along with irregular heart rhythm notifications.

In terms of accuracy, Apple says the Series 7 is better. The watch comes with a third-generation optical heart sensor compared to the second-generation on the Series 5. Apple’s latest wearable brings the blood oxygen sensor from the Series 6 to its fold, too.

Other than these differences, the Watch Series 7 and Series 5 are comparable. You get sleep tracking, noise monitoring, and menstrual cycle tracking, among others. There’s also hand-washing detection, useful amidst health and hygiene concerns. Most of the new health features, after all, will come integrated into the watchOS. New wellness-focused apps like Mindfulness, for instance, will be available on the Series 5, too, since it’s eligible for the watchOS 8 updates.

Battery Life and Smart Features

The Apple Watch Series 7 battery life is the same as the Watch Series 5. However, fast charging is now supported.

Apple Watch Series 7 vs Series 5 Smart Features and Battery Life
The World Time face on the Apple Watch Series 7 (left); incoming calls on the Watch Series 5 (right)

One of the biggest gripes about Apple’s smartwatches is their battery life. Unfortunately, the Watch Series 7 offers no real advantage over the Series 5 in this area. Both wearables can only last up to 18 hours on a single charge.

Instead, Apple is making it easier to top up the Series 7. Unlike the Series 5, the Series 7 has support for fast charging. With the compatible charging cable and power adaptor, you can charge the watch from 0 to 80% in 45 minutes. Standard charging typically takes 2.5 hours.

When it comes to smart features, you’re more or less getting the same for the two devices. Like in the health capabilities, the Watch Series 5 can be updated to the watchOS 8 anyway. So in both wearables, you’ll have access to an extensive library of apps, tools, and clock faces.

The Watch Series 7 and Series 5 provide smart notifications and can make calls. Of course, staples like Apple Pay and built-in Siri are present. However, some actions on the watch will be easier on the Series 7’s larger display. Texting or adding contacts, for instance, is less cumbersome on a bigger screen.

Verdict

If you own an Apple Watch Series 5, it’s best to wait for the next few models. However, those buying an Apple Watch for the first time are better off with the Series 7.

Apple Watch Series 7

The best Apple Watch for first-time buyers

Apple Watch Series 5

Still a solid smartwatch for iOS users

Like its predecessors upon release, the Apple Watch Series 7 is the best smartwatch from Apple. The redesign it offers is the biggest since the Apple Watch Series 4. Combined with upgraded sensors, a faster processor, and an advanced watchOS, it’s geared to be the most engaging Apple Watch, too. For first-time buyers, you can’t go wrong with the Series 7.

Still, the Apple Watch Series 5 is no pushover. It is, after all, still eligible for a watchOS update โ€” this means that most of the new software features will come to the older models as well. This leaves the Series 7’s edge limited to a SpO2 sensor, larger display, and better sensor.

On a practical level, the Series 5 is far from obsolete. And given the Apple Watch Series 7 price point, the Watch Series 5 feels like a more reasonable purchase.

FAQs

๐Ÿ“Œ What are the Apple Watch Series 7 colors?

The Apple Watch Series 7 comes in several finishes. For the aluminum model, you can get the smartwatch in Midnight, Starlight, Green, Blue, and Product Red. If you opt for the stainless steel case, the colors are Graphite, Silver, and Gold.

๐Ÿ“Œ Is the Apple Watch Series 7 waterproof?

The Apple Watch Series 7 is water-resistant but not waterproof. It comes with a water resistance rating of 50 meters.

๐Ÿ“Œ What are the new workouts on the Apple Watch Series 7?

Apple has introduced Tai Chi and Pilates to Workouts app as part of the new watchOS 8.

๐Ÿ“Œ Does the Apple Watch Series 5 come with an ECG app?

Yes, Apple’s Watch Series 5 has an ECG app.

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Mari Bassig

Senior Editor, writer and researcher passionate about gadgets, social media, and music.