Is there any difference between Apple Watch models? We tested the 6 and 7 series to find out

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If you’ve been thinking about getting a smartwatch for the first time or upgrading to a newer one, Apple’s Watch 6 and Watch 7 are both popular choices worth considering. I decided to put them to the test to see how they perform and how they compare to each other in features and functionality. 

After a bit of testing, I learned that while both offer a bevy of useful wellness and connectivity features, which I quickly integrated into my daily life, the Apple Watch 7 edges out the previous iteration, the Apple Watch 6, in a few key areas.

What is the Apple Watch 6?

The Apple Watch 6 is a one-generation-old, water-resistant smartwatch from one of the world’s most popular consumer companies. It boasts a plethora of health and connectivity features, including sleep tracking, blood oxygen monitoring and an electrocardiogram sensor. It also offers GPS and Siri integration and smart notifications.

Our experience with the Apple Watch 6

As expected, I found setting up and operating the Apple Watch 6 to be intuitive. The interface makes sense and, though the small screen can take a little getting used to, navigating through the various preinstalled and downloadable apps soon became second nature. The Always-On Retina display is bright enough to be seen in full sun and has vibrant colors that make everything pop on the screen. 

One feature I really appreciated on the Apple Watch 6 was the Siri integration, which allowed me to access many of the watch’s features without ever having to touch it. Voice commands were easily recognized too, so I never found myself having to repeat them.

Its fitness tracking functions worked well, and both the GPS and distance tracker appeared to be accurate when comparing the results of my runs with those on my iPhone. If you exercise regularly, you will definitely appreciate this, as it means you can leave your phone at home and simply use your AirPods and Apple Watch to track your exercise and listen to music. 

I also tested the sleep tracking features, which provided me with some useful information like how many hours of restful sleep I got and my sleeping respiratory rate. However, I don’t see myself using it often, since I will generally be charging my Apple Watch 6 while sleeping to ensure it has enough juice to last through the day.

Where to buy the Apple Watch 6

Apple Watch 6

The Apple Watch 6 can be purchased at Amazon.

What is the Apple Watch 7?

The newest Apple smartwatch release, the Watch 7 offers some notable improvements over the Watch 6 that many users will appreciate. These include a larger screen, faster charging, a digital QWERTY keyboard and a more durable build with its IP6X dust resistance rating and 50% thicker crystal covering the screen.

Our experience with the Apple Watch 7

Much of the functionality of the Apple Watch 7 is identical to that of the Watch 6, so it didn’t come as much of a surprise that the experience felt somewhat similar. That said, the larger screen on the Watch 7 was definitely a welcome addition that made the text easier to read and removed some of the navigation awkwardness I felt when starting out with the various apps on the Watch 6. Thankfully, Apple was able to achieve a 20% larger screen size with just a 1-millimeter increase in the overall size of the watch itself by shrinking the bezel. 

According to Apple, the display is also 70% brighter when indoors and your wrist is down. This may not seem like a big deal, but it did make it easier to view the display at a glance when typing on my keyboard and doing various other everyday tasks.  

Another thing worth noting is that I found myself using the sleep tracking features more with the Watch 7 than the Watch 6. This is due to the reduced charging time that allows me to plug in my watch and get a full charge in the hour it takes me to get ready in the morning before work.

I tend not to be too rough on my devices, so I haven’t yet put Apple’s durability claims to the test with the Watch 7. However, the thicker crystal does give me a little more peace of mind that I won’t damage the watch if I accidentally knock it against a wall or my desk.

Where to buy the Apple Watch 7

Apple Watch 7

The Apple Watch 7 can be purchased at Amazon.

Other products worth considering

Apple Watch SE

Apple Watch SE

If you’re looking for something a bit more affordable than the Apple Watch 6 or 7, but with many of the same features, the Watch SE fits the bill.

Sold by Amazon


Samsung Galaxy Watch 4

Samsung Galaxy Watch 4

If you own an Android phone, you’ll be better off with the Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 than any of  Apple’s smartwatches. It features similar fitness and connectivity features, but it integrates with the Android ecosystem better.

Sold by Amazon


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Brett Dvoretz writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. BestReviews and its newspaper partners may earn a commission if you purchase a product through one of our links.


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