6 things I wish I'd known before buying Apple Watch Series 7

Apple's Watch is one of the best smartwatches around, but it isn't perfect – and that means the Series 8 won't be either

Apple Watch Series 7
(Image credit: Apple)

I've had the Apple Watch since the very first version, so naturally I'm currently wearing the Apple Watch Series 7. And while I love it dearly – I think it's the best smartwatch for Apple users – it still has some flaws, some of which are quite important. It also has some great features that not everybody knows about.

I think both the good and the bad will be carried across to the Apple Watch Series 8, which we're expecting to launch two weeks from now. So here are six things I think you should know about the Apple Watch Series 7 and most likely the Series 8 too.

1. Charging it is a pain

While the Apple Watch charges wirelessly, it just looks at my various wireless charging pads with disdain: it's Apple's magnetic charging puck (or a licensed third party equivalent) or nothing. So that means packing an extra charger or buying a spare for travel.

It's also a real pain if like me you want to charge your phone on a stand overnight: if you don't position the watch perfectly, it'll lock on magnetically but it won't charge. In a typical week I'll get this wrong at least one day out of seven, and that's a pain because...

2. The battery life still isn't brilliant

If I misjudge the positioning and my Watch doesn't charge, it'll be on the completely useless low power mode by lunchtime. The Apple Watch Series 7 battery life sits in the uncomfortable gap between charging every day and lasting for several days, so even short trips mean packing that charging puck.

3. You can automate it

Time for some positivity. Using shortcuts you can make your Watch change based on the time of day, the Focus mode you're in or your location – so for example you can have one Watch face with its set of complications for work, a different one for when you're doing the big weekly shop and something much more Zen for when you're at home. It's incredibly easy to set up and works brilliantly.

4. Messages never, ever send

I'm absolutely baffled by this, because it used to work and now hasn't for a year or so despite endless resets, unpairings and long sessions reading the Apple support website. Whenever I reply to someone in Mail or Messages, either using Siri or by typing, my Apple Watch tells me that the message has been sent but then never ever sends it. I'm going to try and sort this yet again today but I'll be honest, I'm not optimistic.

5. It's not as pretty as it used to be

Apple changed the colour options with the Series 7, dumping the gold aluminium option and replacing it with what Apple calls "Starlight" but I'd describe as "bland, silvery beige". It's a lot paler in the metal than it looks in the official photos and just isn't as much fun. And that's a shame because it's the only colour that really works when you're getting dressed up for a night out: the others are too dark and in the case of the red and blue ones, a bit garish. There's nothing wrong with a bit of colour – I have the PRODUCT (RED) strap for casual wear – but for me at least, Apple dropped its classiest colour.

6. It really needs some new faces

The range of available Apple Watch faces is much better than in the first few editions, but it's still pretty poor compared to the range of options on Android smartwatches or watches from the likes of Garmin. I appreciate that Apple doesn't want to fill its gallery with poor quality third party faces – I'm a veteran of Winamp skins, WindowBlinds and other computer customisation apps, so I'm vividly aware of just how horrible some custom designs can be – but when Apple introduced the larger display of the Series 7 it only added two new faces to take advantage of the extra space. 

Carrie Marshall

Writer, musician and broadcaster Carrie Marshall has been covering technology since 1998 and is particularly interested in how tech can help us live our best lives. Her CV is a who’s who of magazines, newspapers, websites and radio programmes ranging from T3, Techradar and MacFormat to the BBC, Sunday Post and People’s Friend. Carrie has written more than a dozen books, ghost-wrote two more and co-wrote seven more books and a Radio 2 documentary series. When she’s not scribbling, she’s the singer in Glaswegian rock band HAVR (havrmusic.com).