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 5Apple Watch 7
Release DateSeptember 20th, 2019October 15th, 2021
System ChipApple S5Apple S7
Dimensions40mm
44mm
41mm
45mm
BatteryUp to 18 hoursUp to 18 hours
ChargingMagneticMagnetic
watchOS6.08.0
ColorsSpace Black, Silver, GoldStarlight, Midnight, Blue, Green, Red
Price Range$399-$529$399-$529
DiscontinuedSeptember 15th, 2020September 7th, 2022

Apple Watch 5 vs 7: What’s the Difference?

Apple Watch Series 5 (GPS, 44MM) - Space Gray Aluminum Case with Black Sport Band (Renewed)
  • GPS Only
  • Always-On Retina display
  • 30% larger screen
  • Swimproof
  • 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

Apple Watch Series 7 (GPS, 41mm) Starlight Aluminum Case with Starlight Sport Band, Regular (Renewed)
  • Always-on Retina display has nearly 20% more screen area than Series 6, making everything easier to see and use than ever before
  • The most crack-resistant front crystal yet on an Apple Watch, IP6X dust resistance, and swimproof design just to name a few awesome features
  • Take an ECG anytime, anywhere - Get high and low heart rate, and irregular heart rhythm notifications - Measure your blood oxygen with a powerful sensor and app
  • Track your daily activity on Apple Watch, and see your trends in the Fitness app - Stay in the moment with the new Mindfulness app, and reach your sleep goals with the Sleep app
  • Track new tai chi and pilates workouts, in addition to favorites like running, yoga, swimming, and dance - Sync your favorite music, podcasts, and audiobooks - Pay instantly and securely from your wrist with Apple Pay

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

Sale
Apple Watch Series 6 (GPS + Cellular, 44mm) - Blue Aluminum Case with Deep Navy Sport Band (Renewed)
  • LEAVE YOUR PHONE AT HOME: Apple Watch Series 6 GPS + Cellular LTE Model lets you call, text, and get directions without your phone present. It offers multiple connectivity options, including: Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, NFC, and 4G LTE to suit your needs, whatever they might be.
  • ALWAYS-ON RETINA DISPLAY: You no longer need to raise your wrist or touch the screen to see the time or other information on your watch face, because the display never sleeps. All you need to do is glance to find the time or your workout metrics right there where you want them.
  • ECG ON YOUR WRIST: With the ECG app, Apple Watch Series 6 is capable of generating an ECG similar to a single-lead electrocardiogram. It’s a momentous achievement for a wearable device that can provide data for doctors and peace of mind for you wherever may be during the day.
  • WORKOUTS THAT DON'T QUIT: Cycling, yoga, swimming, high-intensity interval training.the list goes on. You me it, Apple Watch measures it. 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.
  • GET LOST IN YOUR MUSIC: 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.

Sale
Apple Watch Series 8 [GPS 45mm] Smart Watch w/ Starlight Aluminum Case with Starlight Sport Band - M/L. Fitness Tracker, Blood Oxygen & ECG Apps, Always-On Retina Display, Water Resistant
  • WHY APPLE WATCH SERIES 8 — Your essential companion for a healthy life is now even more powerful. Advanced sensors provide insights to help you better understand your health. New safety features can get you help when you need it. The bright, Always-On Retina display is easy to read, even when your wrist is down.
  • EASILY CUSTOMIZABLE — Available in a range of sizes and materials, with dozens of bands to choose from and watch faces with complications tailored to whatever you’re into.
  • INNOVATIVE SAFETY FEATURES — Crash Detection and Fall Detection can automatically connect you with emergency services in the event of a severe car crash or a hard fall. And Emergency SOS provides urgent assistance with the press of a button.
  • ADVANCED HEALTH FEATURES — Temperature sensing is a breakthrough feature that provides deep insights into women’s health. Keep an eye on your blood oxygen. Take an ECG anytime. Get notifications if you have an irregular rhythm. And see how much time you spent in REM, Core, or Deep sleep with Sleep Stages.
  • SIMPLY COMPATIBLE — It 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.

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.

Sale
Apple Watch SE (2nd Gen) [GPS 44mm] Smart Watch w/Midnight Aluminum Case & Midnight Sport Band - S/M. Fitness & Sleep Tracker, Crash Detection, Heart Rate Monitor, Retina Display, Water Resistant
  • WHY APPLE WATCH SE — All the essentials to help you monitor your fitness, keep connected, track your health, and stay safe. Now up to 20 percent faster, with features like Crash Detection and enhanced workout metrics, it’s a better value than ever.
  • EASILY CUSTOMIZABLE — 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.
  • HEALTH AND SAFETY FEATURES — 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.
  • SIMPLY COMPATIBLE — It 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.
  • SWIMPROOF AND STYLISH — Water resistant to 50 meters. Three finishes. And a redesigned, color-matched back case made with a new production process that reduces its carbon emissions over 80 percent.

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 5Cons of Apple Watch 5
Always-on displaySame basic design as the earlier Watch Series
The addition of a compassThe battery life is not the best
New titanium and ceramic finish optionsOnly compatible with Apple iPhones
The addition of several essential appsLacks sleep tracking and other key features
Pros of Apple Watch 7Cons of Apple Watch 7
Larger screen size optionsBattery life is still not the best
Improved charging speed over earlier modelsMost features are no different than the earlier Series 6
Addition of a full keyboardBuilt-in workouts are especially in need of an update
New and improved health appsLack of new watch faces

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 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.

Last update on 2022-11-29 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Apple Watch 5 vs 7: What’s the Difference? FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) 

What's the latest Apple Watch model?

The Apple Watch Series 8, the Second Generation SE, and the new Apple Watch Ultra were released in September of 2022.

How many different generations of Apple Watch have there been?

The Apple Watch is currently in its eighth generation. The first generation was released in 2015.

Can an Apple Watch work with an Android phone?

Apple Watches can only pair with Apple devices.

What's the cheapest Apple Watch?

The Apple Watch SE is the most affordable Apple Watch at just $249.

When will the Apple Watch 9 come out?

Apple typically releases a new entry in the Apple Watch Series every September.

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