Is now a good time to wear the latest Apple Watch?
Don’t get me wrong. The Apple Watch is still the best wearable on the market. It is elegant, easy to use and allows its owners to stay more in tune with their health and wellness.
The Apple Watch Series 8, available on September 16 with a starting price of $399, continues the tech giant’s trend of spitting out polished, efficient smartwatches. After trying the Series 8 for several days, I’ve learned that owning the latest model really depends on exactly what you want more than ever.
The main addition this year is the wrist temperature sensor, which Apple said will help users who track cycle. When you wear the Series 8 at night, it will take your wrist temperature over five nights to determine your baseline temperature. Every night you wear it, the watch will monitor any changes in your body temperature.
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The sensor can help people create ovulation estimates for family planning or to more accurately track their menstrual cycles. Once it gets to know the user’s body, the watch can send estimates if the cycle goes awry.
Moreover, the temperature sensor provides another health metric to help users stay informed of any changes in their body.
Also, in light of the concerns raised about data privacy following the Supreme Court’s decision on Roe v. Wade, Apple said all cycle tracking data remains locked on your device and is encrypted.
There’s also Crash Detection, an algorithm that takes advantage of tools on the watch including the accelerometer and gyroscope to identify when the wearer has had a serious crash. When it detects a malfunction, it will check on the wearer and call emergency services if they don’t respond. Emergency responders and contacts will then receive the wearer’s location.
The Series 8 is a great watch. Like the last two models, it features an always-on display that adjusts depending on whether you’re looking at the watch. Therefore, you will notice the watch faces duller or turn darker when your wrist is down. It also features sensors that measure blood oxygen and heart rate, and can perform an electrocardiogram to measure heart activity right from your wrist.
Series 8 is also comfortable to wear. Newly added sleep stages introduced through WatchOS 9 give the watch even more value at night. And like previous models, it’s a great fitness partner when working out. In addition, the battery life on the Apple Watch is very solid. You can easily spend an entire day wearing one.
Is the Apple Watch Series 8 worth the upgrade?
It depends on what you want from your Apple Watch.
Compared to last year’s Series 7, the Series 8 looks like a very similar watch. If you’ve owned a Series 7 or even a Series 6 for two years now, don’t be afraid to miss out on the upgrade.
Also, keep in mind that WatchOS 9 covers Apple Watches going back to Series 4, which means you get many great features like improved workouts and sleep stages.
If this is your first time owning a smartwatch, I will consider the Apple Watch SE. I own a first-generation SE and it gives you 80% of what you want from the latest Apple Watch, minus the blood oxygen sensors, temperature tracking, and an always-on display. Plus, it’s even cheaper at $249.
So who is the Apple Watch? You probably want the peace of mind you get from troubleshooting (since it’s hopefully not a feature you’ll need to use). You may want to make use of a temperature sensor for family planning. Maybe you have an old watch and feel it’s time to upgrade.
In these cases, you probably won’t find a better smartwatch.
Follow Brett Molina on Twitter: @BrettMolina.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Apple Watch Series 8 review: Time to upgrade your smartwatch?