Apple Watch 5 vs 7: 5 Must-Know Facts
- Apple introduced the online Apple Watch Studio with the Series 5. This allowed buyers to mix and match bands at purchase instead of having to do so after.
- The Apple Watch Series 7 was the first to receive an IP6X dust resistance certification.
- A standard option for the Watch for years, the ceramic white color case option came to an end with Series 5.
- The Apple Watch Series 7 was the last edition to come with the case color options Natural and Space Black titanium.
- The Series 7 changed the Watch’s nominal case sizes from 40mm and 44mm to 41mm and 45mm.
Apple has introduced a new Apple Watch every year since the 1st Generation’s release in 2015. Presently, this includes the Apple Watch Series 8, the Second Generation Apple Watch SE, and the brand-new Apple Watch Ultra. Two of the most prominent are the Apple Watch 5 and the Apple Watch 7. How do these two models stack up against one another? What distinguishes the Apple Watch 5 vs 7? With so many similarities between them, it can be hard to tell.
However, hard doesn’t mean impossible. There are still distinguishing factors to be identified between the Apple Watch 5 vs 7. These include things like the system chip, the watchOS, and the various colors to choose from. There are also several distinct internal specs between the two.
With these differences in mind, how do the two Watch types stack up against one another? Let’s place the two side by side, paying close attention to the key differences between their individual specs.
Apple Watch 5 vs 7: Side by Side Comparison
|Apple Watch 5
|Apple Watch 7
|September 20th, 2019
|October 15th, 2021
|Up to 18 hours
|Up to 18 hours
|Space Black, Silver, Gold
|Starlight, Midnight, Blue, Green, Red
|September 15th, 2020
|September 7th, 2022
Apple Watch 5 vs 7: What’s the Difference?
- GPS Only
- Always-on Retina display
- 30% larger screen
- Electrical and optical heart sensors
Across the full range of Apple Watch products, the tech giant has kept things more or less consistent. Unlike, say, the iPhone or the Mac, Apple has made a point to keep each new Apple Watch Series as similar to the previous one as possible. After all, there’s only so much you can do with the physical makeup of the Apple Watch.
Its small size and its need to fit comfortably on the user’s wrist keep them from becoming too bulky or too heavy. Alas, there are some key differences worth identifying between the Apple Watch Series 5 and the Apple Watch Series 7.
#1: Charge Time
According to Apple’s official presser upon the Watch’s release, the Apple Watch Series 5 takes two and a half hours to fully charge. The Apple Watch Series 7, on the other hand, can reach a full charge in about half that time: an hour and fifteen minutes. For the first 45 minutes, the Watch charges up to 80%. During the last 30 minutes, the Watch charges the rest of the way.
This fast charging feature made its debut with the Series 7. It was intended to ensure your Watch was back on your wrist with a functional charge faster than with previous entries (such as the Series 5).
#2: Case Size
Another key distinction between the Series 5 and the Series 7 is the case size. We’re only talking a matter of millimeters here, but it’s still a distinction. The Series 5 retains the size of previous models, boasting a 40mm case and a 44mm case. Conversely, the Series 7 adds an additional millimeter to each case. Additionally, the Apple Watch Series 7 comes in 41mm and 45mm sizes. This extra millimeter was necessary to make key hardware improvements to the Series 7, which we’ll get into in the next section.
#3: Internal Hardware
Perhaps the most important distinction between the Series 5 and the Series 7 is the internal hardware. The Series 5 added all new location features, including a built-in compass and a monitor that tracks the wearer’s current elevation. It also introduced a Cycle Tracking app and a Noise app. The Series 7 added even more new features, including improvements to the Watch’s heart monitor and ECG. The Series 7 also introduced the Blood Oxygen sensor and app, a Mindfulness app, and several new workouts to the Watch’s built-in workout trackers.
The History of the Apple Watch
- Starlight aluminum case and sport band
- Always On Retina display
- Measure your blood oxygen and your heart rhythm
- Track your workouts and your daily activity
- Sync music, podcasts, and audiobooks
While the Apple Watch didn’t hit shelves until 2015, there were rumors about the device circulating around as far back as 2011. The word on the street was that Apple was developing an iPod you could wear on your wrist, complete with Siri integration and more. Those rumors were considered nothing more than that at the time. That is, until they received a serious boost from both The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal in 2013.
These major papers reported that Apple was, in fact, working on a wearable device. Bloomberg and Financial Times backed up these rumors later in 2013 and into 2014. Shortly after, CEO Tim Cook added more fuel to the fire. He confirmed to The Wall Street Journal that Apple did indeed have new products coming very soon.
However, he didn’t get any more specific than that. Not until their annual presser in September of 2014, when he emerged on stage wearing a prototype of what would soon be known as the Apple Watch. The 1st Generation Apple Watch hit stores in April of the following year. The tech giant predicted 40 million Apple Watch sales in the first year alone. They only sold a fraction of that: 10 million units.
While these numbers were far less than what the company expected, they nevertheless found something to be proud of. Tim Cook claimed the Apple Watch’s sales beat early sales for both the iPhone and the iPad. He wasn’t lying — it really did top the iPhone and iPad’s first nine weeks — but it was undoubtedly far short of what they were hoping for.
Nevertheless, Apple kept chugging forward on the second generation, confusingly titled the Apple Watch Series 1. They had the new and improved Watch — and even a Series 2 — ready by September 16th, 2016.
Apple Watch’s Latest Models
- Apple Watch Series 6 GPS + Cellular LTE Model lets you call, text, and get directions without your phone present
- Multiple connectivity options, including Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, NFC, and 4G LTE
- The display never sleeps, so all you need to do is glance to find the time or your workout metrics right there where you want them
- With the ECG app, Apple Watch Series 6 is capable of generating an ECG similar to a single-lead electrocardiogram
- Track any workout including cycling, yoga, swimming, high-intensity interval training
- Set workout-specific goals, see full summaries when you’re done, and track how you’re trending over time in the Activity app on your iPhone
- With Apple Music on your wrist, you’ve got 60 million tracks of musical motivation to take you places. You can also catch up on the latest podcasts or listen to an audiobook if that's your thing. Stream everything you need right from your watch, even without your phone.
Presently, this 17-month gap is the longest one between Apple Watch models to date. Apple has stuck to a consistent, reliable 12-month schedule (save for a 13-month cycle between the Series 6 and 7) ever since. They introduced an SE model in 2020, released alongside the Series 6. It was a lower-cost model compared to the Apple Watch’s main entries, utilizing the Series 5’s processor and heart rate sensor in an aluminum casing.
- Starlight aluminum case and sport band
- Blood oximeter and ECG apps
- Crash detection and fall detection can connect you with emergency services
- Heart monitor and sleep tracker
- Fitness and activity trackers
- Stream music and podcasts
- Always On retina display
They took a year off from SE models in 2021 with the release of the Series 7, then returned to the SE model with the release of the Series 8 in 2022. The Series 8 and the 2nd Generation SE were released on September 16th, 2022. These releases marked some of the most significant improvements over previous releases. Additionally, the Series 8 has a brand-new temperature sensor, incorporating more accurate accelerometers, and implemented gyroscopes designed to detect and report if wearers have fallen down, or even been in a car crash.
- Up to 20 percent faster
- Comes with enhanced workout metrics
- Available in a range of sizes and colors, with dozens of bands to choose from and watch faces with complications tailored to whatever you’re into.
- Get help when you need it with Crash Detection, Fall Detection, and Emergency SOS
- Get deep insights into your health, including notifications if you have an irregular rhythm or an unusually high or low heart rate
- Works seamlessly with your Apple devices and services. Unlock your Mac automatically. Find your devices with a tap. Pay and send money with Apple Pay. Apple Watch requires an iPhone 8 or later with the latest iOS version.
- Water-resistant to 50 meters
- Three finishes available and a redesigned, color-matched back case made with a new production process that reduces its carbon emissions by over 80 percent
- Small/medium size
It also added an always-on display and made vital improvements to the Watch’s women’s health monitors. The 2nd Generation SE debuted at a new, lower price and retained a majority of the Series 7’s best features. In addition to the Series 8 and the 2nd Generation SE, Apple also introduced a brand-new Apple Watch variant: The Apple Watch Ultra. To date, the Ultra is the first and only Apple Watch model to utilize a rugged, durable titanium casing.
It’s also much larger than previous models, featuring a 49mm case and a flat sapphire front crystal. Furthermore, the Ultra has a new button, dubbed the “Action” button, on the opposite side of the watch from the Digital Crown and Side Button. Apple intends for the Watch to be used for the most extreme activities.
Apple Watch 5 vs 7: Pros and Cons
|Pros of Apple Watch 5
|Cons of Apple Watch 5
|Same basic design as the earlier Watch Series
|The addition of a compass
|The battery life is not the best
|New titanium and ceramic finish options
|Only compatible with Apple iPhones
|The addition of several essential apps
|Lacks sleep tracking and other key features
|Pros of Apple Watch 7
|Cons of Apple Watch 7
|Larger screen size options
|Battery life is still not the best
|Improved charging speed over earlier models
|Most features are no different than the earlier Series 6
|Addition of a full keyboard
|Built-in workouts are especially in need of an update
|New and improved health apps
|Lack of new watch faces
Apple Watch 5 vs 7: Which Is Best?
So, when all is said and done, the difference between Apple Watch 5 vs 7 remains pretty indistinguishable. There are undeniably some discernible distinctions, but nothing too major. If you place the two side by side, you might be able to tell that the 7s are a millimeter bigger than the 5s, but beyond this, they look more or less the same (save for the different colors, of course). This means that in order to determine a winner between the Apple Watch 5 vs 7, it’s worth resorting to the age-old expression: It’s what’s on the inside that counts.
Because of the number of ways the Apple Watch Series 7’s internal specs improve upon the Apple Watch Series 5’s, it’s clear to see that the 7 is superior to the 5. That’s not to suggest that the Series 5 is in any way a bad product, however. No matter which Series you have on your wrist, it’s still going to be a functional product.
There are very few differences between each new model for this very reason. The Apple Watch was undoubtedly great from the beginning, and it still continues to be great. Nevertheless, it’s undeniable that the Apple Watch Series 7 is ever so slightly better than the Series 5.
Interested in any other riveting comparisons? Read some of our favorite articles in this category, below:
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