The new Apple Watch Series 9 looks and feels almost similar to the Series 8. Plus, we didn’t get a new health feature in the latest iteration. Still, Apple calls the new watch ‘Smarter, Brighter, and Mightier’. So, we’re digging deep and comparing Apple Watch Series 9 vs.Series 8 to understand what’s new and what remains the same.
Apple Watch Series 9 houses the most powerful watch chip yet and a 2x brighter display. Moreover, it’s Apple’s first-ever carbon-neutral product. However, the real question is whether the new Series 9 is a mere spec bump or is worth an upgrade. Let’s find out.
What’s New in Apple Watch Series 9: It’s All About the S9 Chip
While it’s Apple’s ritual to call the latest product their best ever, we’ll need to give credit where it’s due. The all-new and powerful S9 Chip boats a dual-core CPU with 5.6 billion transistors, a 60 percent increase from the S8 Chip.
Moreover, the new four-core Neural Engine can do machine learning tasks up to three times faster. Although no new standout feature takes advantage of such power, the overall power and performance are certainly improved.
Tip: Wanna know what’s new in iPhone 15? Check our detailed article on all the new features of the iPhone 15 Series.
Apple Watch Series 9 vs. Series 8: Spec Comparison
|Series 9||Series 8|
|Battery||Up to 18 hours||Up to 18 hours|
|Fast Charging||Yes ✅||Yes ✅|
|Display||Always-On Retina display||Always-On Retina display|
|Brightness||Up to 2000 nits||Up to 1000 nits|
|Water-resistant||Up to 50m||Up to 50m|
|Siri||Faster on-device access||Needs network to operate|
|Blood Oxygen app||✅||✅|
|High and low heart rate notifications||✅||✅|
|Irregular rhythm notifications||✅||✅|
|Low cardio fitness notifications||✅||✅|
|Fall Detection and Crash Detection||✅||✅|
|International emergency calling||✅||✅|
|Gesture support||Advanced double-tap gesture||Basic accessibility gestures|
Apple Watch Series 9 continues the narrow-bezel and crack-resistant design with the Always-On display of the Series 8. However, it offers a 2x brighter display, i.e., a maximum brightness of up to 2000 nits (similar to Apple Watch Ultra 1).
Additionally, it can dim to just 1 nit, working as smoothly in low-light situations (like theatre) as the full sun occasions.
Battery Life and Performance
On paper, both Series 9 and Series 8 offer all day, i.e., up to 18 hours of battery life and up to 36 hours of battery life in low-power mode. However, before we raise an eyebrow or a question, we’ll have to counter in the 2x brighter display situation.
Additionally, we’ll have to wait for real-life usage reports to fully understand whether the new watch offers improved battery life or not. And while not on this front, there are some performance improvements, thanks to the S9 chip.
Apple Watch Series 9 Improves Siri Experience
The fast processing power of the S9 chip makes Apple Watches’ Siri ‘Siri-ously capable’ (pun as intended by Apple). With Series 9, Apple has improved Siri’s on-device capabilities for the first time.
So now you can access Siri without an internet connection for tasks that don’t require a connection, like setting a timer or starting a workout. Moreover, Siri can also log health data and access health- and fitness-related data from your health app, even if you’re offline.
Most importantly, it speeds up Siri by cutting down the response time and dependency on internet speed. Additionally, on-device processing enhances privacy, so it is a win-win situation.
Series 9 Makes Finding iPhone Easier
The S9 chip also incorporates a second-generation Ultra Wideband (UWB) chip, which improves precision finding, i.e., makes finding your misplaced iPhone easier. It will not only provide distance and direction but also visual, haptic, and audio guidance.
Additionally, it paves the path for deeper HomePod integration. You can play or control media from the Apple Watch if you’re within 4 meters of the HomePod.
Apple Watch Series 9 vs. Series 8: Gesture Support
While Apple is selling the new double-tap gesture as a key USP of the Apple Watch Series 9, it’s not entirely a new feature. Whether Series 8 or Series 9, you can use AssistiveTouch on the Apple Watch to control the Apple Watch with gestures.
However, the gesture control and capabilities were limited till now. Now, with Series 9, you can tap the index finger and thumb of the watch hand together twice to pick or hang a call, stop a timer, play/pause music, etc.
Although it’s not a make-or-break feature, it will certainly make your life easier, especially if your other hand is occupied.
watchOS 10 Support
Whether the newly designed Smart Stack feature, the new watch faces, or cycling workout, almost all watchOS 10 features will be available on both Apple Watch Series 8 and Series 9. However, people using the watchOS beta experienced lag in some features while using Series 8, something we hope the powerful S9 chip will overcome in Series 9.
Although that was the beta version, we can’t judge the performance from it. So, let’s reserve judgment on that matter until we test watchOS 10 on both devices.
While the Apple Watch Series 8 contributed to Apple’s carbon-neutral goals, the Series 9 takes the cake. Some select case and band combinations of Apple Watch Series 9, Apple Watch Ultra 2, and Apple Watch SE are Apple’s first-ever carbon-neutral products.
So, if you’re eco-conscious and don’t mind spending extra to help Mother Nature, you know which watch to pick, right?
Apple Watch Series 9 vs. Series 8: Final verdict
While Apple claims the Apple Watch Series 9 is ‘Smarter, Brighter, and Mightier’, we aren’t impressed. It boasts a smarter Siri, helpful gesture support, better carbon neutrality, and is precisely 2x brighter than the Apple Watch Series 8, but is that enough?
Definitely not if you already own a Series 8 and are considering upgrading. Again, a no if you consider the price difference (Series 8 might be available at a cheaper price from third-party resellers).
But yes, if you own a Series 6 or earlier, a newer iteration will always last longer and offer more software support. And a definite yes if you want to own a carbon-neutral product.
Last updated on 13 September, 2023
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