Apple Watch Series 9 is the latest version of the world’s most popular wearable. While much remains the same between Series 9 and its predecessors, there are a number of upgrades. Whether you’re thinking about upgrading your own watch or trying to figure out a gift, follow along for Apple Watch Series 9 vs 8.
Table of contents
Apple Watch Series 9 vs 8 and earlier
Processor, GPU, Neural Engine, storage
Last year, Apple used the S8 64-bit dual-core processor in the Series 8 which wasn’t that different from the S7 or S6 in the previous Apple Watches.
But with Series 9, Apple says the S9 SiP brings notable improvements across the CPU, GPU, and Neural Engine.
Apple didn’t give a specific measure of how much faster the CPU of the S9 is compared to S8, but it features 5.6 billion transistors – up 60% from S8.
For the S9 GPU, Apple says it’s 30% faster than the S8 and the Neural Engine is twice as fast.
|Series 9||8||7||6||SE 2|
|SiP/processor||S9 SiP 64-bit dual-core processor||S8 SiP 64-bit dual-core processor||S7 SiP 64-bit dual-core processor||S6 SiP 64-bit dual-core processor||S8 SiP 64-bit dual-core processor|
|Ultra wideband chip||✅ – gen 2||✅ – gen 1||✅ – gen 1||✅ – gen 1||❌|
Two more benefits if you’re coming from any of the older Apple Watch models are a jump in storage to 64GB and the ultra wideband gen 2 chip with Series 9.
Case and display
Apple Watch Series 9 keeps on with the same sizes that launched with Apple Watch Series 7. That’s 45 and 41mm cases and a larger display that’s 20% bigger than Series 4-6/SE and 50% larger than Series 3.
The main (only?) difference with the Series 9 Apple Watch display is brightness has doubled from 1,000 to 2,000 nits.
|Series 9||8||7||6||SE 2|
|Display size||396 x 484 pixels, 1143 sq mm (45mm model)||396 x 484 pixels, 1143 sq mm (45mm model)||396 x 484 pixels, 1143 sq mm (45mm model)||368 x 448 pixels, 977 sq mm (44mm model)||368 x 448 pixels, 977 sq mm (44mm model)|
|Brightness||2,000 nits||1,000 nits||1,000 nits||1,000 nits||1,000 nits|
|Sapphire crystal front||Yes with steel models, no with aluminum||Yes with steel models, no with aluminum||Yes with steel models, no with aluminum||Yes with steel models, no with aluminum||❌|
Apple also notes that graphics on the Series 9 display will be smoother than ever thanks to the new GPU in the S9 SiP.
Apple Watch band compatibility
For bands, loops, and bracelets, bands designed for the previous generation Apple Watch sizes 38/40/41 and 42/44/45mm will work with Apple Watch Series 9.
Battery life and charging
First introduced with Apple Watch 7 and continued with Apple Watch Series 8 and 9 is 33% faster charging than Series 6 and earlier. That means going from 0-80% in 45 minutes instead of around 60 minutes.
|Series 9||8||7||6||SE 2|
|Battery life – standard||18 hours||18 hours||18 hours||18 hours||18 hours|
|Extended battery with Low Power mode||36 hours||36 hours||36 hours||36 hours||36 hours|
|Charging||0-80% in 45 minutes||0-80% in 45 minutes||0-80% in 45 minutes||0-80% in 60 minutes||0-80% in 90 minutes|
If you’re interested in using Apple Watch Series 9 or 8 for sleep tracking, you also get 8 hours worth of use from an 8-minute charge (Ultra and Ultra 2 too).
Apple Watch Series 9 vs 8 and more – Key features
New with Apple Watch Series 9 is on-device Siri processing for faster responses and better security. There’s also a new double tap gesture to more easily use the wearable with one hand. Although the latter won’t arrive until an October software update is released.
However, as it happens, anyone with a Series 3 or later can use a double tap-like gesture feature called quick actions:
Another improvement that Apple says comes thanks to the new S9 chip is up to 25% more accurate dictation.
Finally, the new on-device Siri enables you to get answers to your personal health metrics.
Here are the core features you’re getting with Apple Watch Series 9 and earlier:
|Apple Watch model/features||Series 9||8||7||6||SE 2|
|Blood Oxygen app||✅||✅||✅||✅||❌|
|High/low heart rate notifications||✅||✅||✅||✅||✅|
|New Compass app w/ waypoints + backtrack||✅||✅||✅||✅||✅|
|IP6X dust resistant||✅||✅||✅||❌||❌|
|Water resistant to 50m||✅||✅||✅||✅||✅|
|Advanced cycle tracking with temp sensing||✅||✅||❌||❌||❌|
|Cycle tracking without temp sensing||✅||✅||✅||✅||✅|
|Double tap gesture control||✅||❌||❌||❌||❌|
- Series 9 starts from $399/$429 and up (Apple, Amazon, more)
- Series 8 and older usually goes at a discount (Amazon, Best Buy, more) – Apple has stopped selling Series 8
- Apple Watch SE 2nd gen goes from $249 (Apple, Amazon, more)
Apple Watch Series 9 vs 8 and earlier wrap-up
Apple Watch Series 9 doesn’t bring huge changes but there are a number of upgrades like on-device Siri, a brighter screen, double tap gesture control, 64GB of storage, and an improved S9 SiP that could tempt some.
For those with a Series 3, 4, or SE, you’ll be getting additional upgrades like a larger display, always-on screen, faster charging, and all of Apple’s health features.
What do you think? Does Apple Watch Series 9 feel like a worthy upgrade? Or are you planning to pass? Share your thoughts in the comments!
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