Smartwatches (smart watches) are part of that type of device that a lot of people don’t understand the usefulness until, in fact, they use one often. Of course, this applies to the incensed Apple models, whose latest versions, the second generation of the Watch SE, the Watch Series 8 and the Watch Ultra (for extreme sports), have just arrived in Brazil. Prices start at R$3,999, R$5,299 and R$10,299, respectively.
In the case of the Watch Series 8, the protagonist of this review, it brings specific changes compared to its predecessor. The most relevant of them — or, at least, the one that tends to be used the most — are temperature sensors. They can indicate a feverish state, for example, in addition to making it easier to follow the menstrual cycle of women.
A feature that caught the attention during the launch that is a “simple” watch is now able to detect if its user has been in a car accident and automatically call an emergency service, thanks to improvements made to the device’s gyroscope and accelerometer. .
Check out the full review of Apple’s smartwatch below, which I tested for almost two weeks.
‘Doctor’ and wrist personal trainer
I have tested smartwatches from different companies and the Apple model, by far, is among the most practical to use.
The interface of watch Series 8 is pretty intuitive. Applications (such as watch, heart rate monitor and other physical activities) are distributed in small balls on the touch-sensitive screen. Anyone who has used an iPhone will notice that the watch follows an Apple standard of design.
You can customize time displays, list favorite functions and add other personal touches. Menu navigation takes place both through the screen and through the rotating crown (traditional in traditional watches).
As with other smartwatches, the stars of the Watch Series 8 are the health tracking and fitness tracking functions.
In the first aspect, the ease – and apparent precision – with which the watch takes pulse measurements, blood oxygenation and even electrocardiogram stands out. It can also remind the user that it is time to take a medication or give alerts if any of the measured parameters require attention.
A caveat is worth mentioning here: health data are interesting and help the user to have more information about them, but they do not serve as a medical diagnosis. If you notice anything out of the ordinary, seek specialist care.
Sports functions are also worth mentioning, both because of the variety available right away: 20 predefined modalities. And there are others that are “hidden” at the bottom of the menu.
Some examples are:
- Hiking (outdoors or indoors)
- Bike (indoor or outdoor)
- Swimming (in a pool or open water)
During the clock test, I went down to my building’s court to play basketball, an activity I do (or at least try to do) daily. The disappointment of not finding it right away in the Watch Series 8’s menu was replaced by surprise when accessing this “secret menu” of activities.
Not only did it have basketball, but dozens of other less conventional options, like fishing and lacrosse.
And even if you don’t find your preferred mode, there’s still an option to create one.
What’s interesting here is that the sports function combined with the watch’s summary of daily activities kind of “gamify” the habit of exercising, whether through cute graphics or encouraging messages that pop up in the form of notifications on the watch screen and from your smartphone. It ends up being a good incentive for those who want to get out of a sedentary lifestyle.
More attention to women
Cisgender women got some extra attention from Apple with the Watch Series 8.
From its body temperature sensors (made when wearing the watch while sleeping), it is possible to monitor data to help better control the menstrual cycle.
In this process, algorithms can more accurately estimate the fertile period (which can help with family planning) and when the next period will be (if the cycle is more regular).
It’s a welcome feature, especially in a gadget that traditionally didn’t have exclusive features for this audience — except for the size options, with smaller variations that are more comfortable on thinner wrists.
More Apple Watch 8 hits
1. Easy to use
The clock setting process was pretty quick and lasted just over ten minutes.
Pairing (when devices connect with each other) with the cell phone only depends on you placing the two devices close together. From there, the configuration takes place practically automatically, simply by choosing the desired options.
2. Various application options
The watch even downloads compatible versions of the apps you have on your iPhone, for example. As I wanted a more “pure” experience, I ended up uninstalling some of these apps through the Watch app on my phone.
Either way, the device’s compatibility with various apps gives it versatility. If the person wants, they can go straight to the app store to download more programs to use with the watch.
Apple Watch 8 errors
So far only praise for the Apple watch, no? Despite being a great smartwatch, it has flaws.
1. Only works with iPhone
The biggest one is that Apple’s line of watches only works with the iPhone, as there is no possibility of connection, even limited, with Android devices.
In other words: if you don’t have a cell phone of the brand and would like to use the watch… don’t spend your money.
Okay, it’s a strategic decision to keep the products within the same ecosystem. But this is still a constraining factor for many consumers.
2. Battery doesn’t last long
The problem is almost a hallmark of Apple watches: the battery doesn’t last long. If you leave the watch with all the functions activated, such as the “always on” mode of the screen, after a day’s use, you will have to leave it charging for a few minutes.
There is the battery saver mode, but it ends up limiting the device’s functions to keep the device active. In this case, the always-on screen is turned off, in addition to the sensors for measuring heart rate and oxygenation.
The background “conversation” between it and the iPhone is also limited. This low battery life ends up clashing with the device’s proposal to be something you’ll use most of the time on your wrist.
Other models on the market already have batteries that last more than a week.
The bracelet of the tested model bothered me a lot. Not that she’s uncomfortable, but strapping the watch to her wrist was a task that took some getting used to. It’s not that simple to make compared to a standard watch clasp.
It’s one of those moments when an Apple product tries to reinvent the wheel, but the result ends up not being so positive in my view.
The model I tested came with the so-called sports bracelet. It is made of fluoroelastomer to be tough and soft, according to the manufacturer. The clasp is in the form of a pin.
Worth the investment?
The greatest merit of the Apple Watch Series 8 is that it is a smartwatch that unites two almost distinct worlds: while it brings robust functions, it is simple to use and does not assume that you will have the time and willingness to delve into tutorials and devote to settings.
The biggest problem here is in the device’s news package, which practically boils down to the improved temperature and gyroscope and accelerometer sensors.
Apart from these two points, it is practically identical to the Watch Series 7, and that implies a positive and a negative point. The positive is that, well, the Watch Series 8 inherits everything good from its predecessor, which is a model full of qualities and quite complete.
The downside is that, if you look at the bigger picture, there’s little reason to spend the BRL 5,299 charged for the 2022 launch when you can find the Watch Series 7 for less than BRL 3,000 at retailers.
Buying the eighth generation Apple Watch would be worth it in some ways:
- Women who want to have more menstrual cycle tracking data.
- Who has old versions of Apple Watch and wants an upgrade.
- Who will keep the watch for good years and is interested in the possibility of the device detecting accidents.