The Apple Watch Series 7 has bigger screens and better durability

Apple today took the wraps off its new Apple Watch Series 7. To the shock of many, the watch looks completely different than what leaks suggested with a rounded design instead of flat edges on either side. What the leaks got right were the larger screen and case sizes. Meanwhile, Apple had a few surprises up its sleeve for the device.

Touching on the tweaked design, the new Series 7 doesn’t look too different compared to the Series 6. However, its screen is significantly larger. The new 41mm and 45mm case sizes offer nearly 20 percent more screen real estate thanks to slimmer bezels and a larger overall footprint. Despite this, Apple says all of your existing bands will still be compatible with the Series 7 whether you have the larger or smaller model.

Left to right: Apple Watch Series 3, Series 6, Series 7

The screens are also brighter. Apple says they can get up to 70 percent brighter when the always-on display is on which will make it easier to glace at the time discreetly. Everything has been enlarged to fill the rest of the screen as well, so things like buttons and links are easier to tap.

Because of how much more screen there is, Apple was able to add a full QWERTY keyboard with both tap and swipe input. Any time a company puts a keyboard on a tiny screen like this, you can’t help but laugh.

Like I said, the design of the Series 7 is still curvy like the Series 6 and not flat by any means. However, it is much more durable. Apple says the new watch has received IP6X certification for dust and dirt resistance. The display’s glass is also over 50 percent thicker than what came on the Series 6, making it much more resistant to scratches and cracks. Of course, the watch remains WR50 certified for water resistance.

The Series 7 comes with watchOS 8 out of the box, and Apple includes a handful of new faces to take advantage of the tweaked form factor. The faces stretch all the way to the edges of the display to give you some perspective as to how extensive it is. There’s a new contour face, a new Modular Duo face, a new World Time face, and a tweaked Portraits face.

Apple is also throwing in bicycle workout detection to make it easier to record your bike ride. Your watch can also detect if you’ve fallen during a workout and will ask you whether you’re okay or need emergency help.

Charging performance is seeing a boost on the Series 7, something that we’ve never really seen before from an Apple Watch. Apple says the watch charges 33 percent faster than before thanks to an all-new USB-C-equipped charging cable. The magnetic portion is a bit smaller than it was before, and it can supply an eight-hour charge in just eight minutes.

It’s a bit hard to ignore how little the Apple Watch Series 7 shakes things up. There’s no denying that there was more hype around this watch than there was with previous generations, and it was all driven by the rumored redesign with flat edges. It would’ve been the biggest change to the watch’s looks since its debut back in 2014, so it’s a shame that it ultimately wasn’t in the cards for the device.

Apple will sell the Apple Watch Series 7 in a few different colors across three case types: aluminum, stainless steel, and titanium. There will also be new Nike and Hermès models.

The Series 7 starts at $399 for the 41mm model, while the 45mm starts at $449. The Apple Watch SE, released last year with the Series 5’s specs, will stick around at $279. For some reason, Apple is also keeping the Series 3 in its lineup priced at $199. We don’t have a launch date for the Series 7 beyond “later this fall,” so stay tuned for more on availability.