apple watch series 7 gets a bigger screen, faster charging and more durability. is that enough?

© Provided by CNET Apple/Screenshot by Scott Stein/CNET

The Apple Watch Series 7 starts at $399 and is coming later in the fall. It was announced at Apple's event on Tuesday. But the changes don't seem that dramatic. It has a larger display with thinner bezels, a faster-charging battery that promises 8 hours of use after 8 minutes of charging and a more crack-resistant front crystal. But the battery life -- 18 hours -- is the same as last year's watch. There are also new colors for the aluminum case: blue, green, midnight, and starlight join the Product Red/silver/gold options.

apple watch series 7 gets a bigger screen, faster charging and more durability. is that enough?

© Screenshot by CNET

The only thing truly new about last year's Apple Watch Series 6 was the addition of estimated blood oxygen. This year, the updates seem sparse, too. And it doesn't look that different from a casual distance.

The larger screen should allow more readable and detailed watch faces, notifications and apps, much like the Series 4's size increase a few years ago. Apple says it's 20% larger than the Series 6, and 50% larger than the Series 3. Buttons are larger on the displays, and Apple says 50% more text can be fit on-screen, while the display is 70% brighter indoors in always-on mode. (A new on-screen full keyboard will pop up now for entering text, in addition to scribble/dictation options.) There are new watch faces, too: a revamped Modular watch face and a text-warping watch face. But Apple looks like it's staying the course on the rest of the watch's design, contrary to earlier reports of a massively revamped flat design.

Missing, however, are any new health features or sensors. Samsung's recent Galaxy Watch 4 and last year's Fitbit Sense started introducing new health sensors like body analysis and EDA, but Apple hasn't introduced anything new on the Series 7 health-wise compared to last year.

apple watch series 7 gets a bigger screen, faster charging and more durability. is that enough?

© Provided by CNET Apple/Screenshot by Scott Stein/CNET

Apple's watch lineup has been getting steadily more successful, especially as wearable competitors have consolidated. Apple's Fitness Plus subscription service, launched at the end of last year, requires the Watch to take advantage of its video workouts. Apple announced a new group workout feature at today's event, too. Also missing is any improvement in battery life (there still isn't a watch face store, either).

Last year's Apple Watch SE sought to become a more affordable Apple Watch, but its $279 starting price was still well above budget fitness trackers from companies such as Fitbit . This year, the Watch SE and Series 3 remain on sale, with the SE still at $279 and the Series 3 at $199.

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