Apple Watch Series 8 Review: Better Female Health Monitoring in the Same Powerful Package

The latest Apple Watch adds new security features and a temperature sensor for some fascinating women’s health and family planning applications. But otherwise it remains the same as last year’s version.

Like the latest iPhones, the 8 Series gets a £50 (AUD30 AUD in Australia) price increase over its predecessor, costing from £419 (AUD629 AUD) despite remaining at $399 in the US due to weak exchange rates against the dollar. But the Series 8 isn’t Apple’s most expensive new smartwatch. That title goes to the Ultra model, which costs £849 ($799 / AUD1,299).

The new, now mid-range, Series 8 watch is essentially identical to the Series 7. The iPhone-only smartwatch has a sleek metal body, a bright and crisp always-on screen, and lasts around 36 hours between charges, including sleep tracking . It’s still the most powerful smartwatch.

The Apple Watch Series 8 back sensor cluster.
Sensors on the back of the watch measure heart rate, blood oxygen levels, take EKGs and enable a full range of general health monitoring functions. Photo: Samuel Gibbs/The Guardian

In addition to existing fall detection, a new accelerometer and gyroscope can detect the extreme forces of a car crash and automatically call emergency services if you don’t react within 20 seconds. A potentially life-saving feature that’s hopefully just there for reassurance.

A pair of temperature sensors can track the change in your wrist temperature overnight and set a baseline over five nights with sleep tracking enabled. It can’t tell you your exact temperature, but small changes can indicate a variety of things, from exercise and alcohol use to illness and jet lag.

Temperature data from an Apple Watch Series 8 displayed on an iPhone 14 Pro.
You can view temperature data alongside sleep in the iPhone’s Health app, although you’ll have to figure out what it means on your own. Photo: Samuel Gibbs/The Guardian

The main application of the sensor is for optional enhanced tracking of women’s health to log the menstrual cycle and ovulation. The watch tracks the small rise in body temperature that typically occurs after ovulation and combines this with logged cycle data to provide a retrospective estimate of the day of ovulation. It takes about two cycles for the estimates to work out, but it could be a useful tool for those trying to conceive or avoiding it, as well as generally tracking their cycle health for irregularities.

Health data collected by the watch, including heart rate, EKG results and cycle data, is logged in the Health app on your phone and end-to-end encrypted when backed up to your iCloud account. This means that only you and those with whom you intentionally share the data, such as B. your partner or doctor, can see them. Neither Apple nor third parties can read it.


  • case size: 41 or 45mm

  • case thickness: 10.7mm

  • Weight: 32/38.8g or 42.3/51.5g

  • Processor: S8

  • R.A.M: 1GB

  • Storage: 32GB

  • Operating system: Watch OS 9

  • water resistance: 50 meters (5ATM)

  • Sensors: HR, ECG, spO2, temperature, microphone, speaker, NFC, GNSS, compass, altimeter

  • Connectivity: Bluetooth 5, WLAN n, NFC, UWB, optional 4G/eSIM

Watch OS 9

Advanced running metrics, power and heart rate zones on Apple Watch Series 8.
It’s now easy to set your preferences while running on the watch’s main screen. Here it displays distance, pace, cadence and heart rate. Photo: Samuel Gibbs/The Guardian

The recently released watchOS 9 software added new watch faces, sleep stage tracking, and various other small improvements, but one of the best additions was the Exercise app.

You can now change the metrics shown on the face during runs, cycles and other workouts exactly how you want. There are also new advanced metrics to use including heart rate zones, running power, vertical oscillation, stride length and ground contact time. Finally, you can customize interval workouts too. The Series 8 uses about 15% of the battery tracking an hour-long run, so it’s capable of completing a marathon.


Apple doesn’t state an expected lifespan for the battery, but it should last over 500 full charge cycles at at least 80% of its original capacity and can be replaced for £85. Repairs cost between £309 and £409 depending on the model.

It contains recycled aluminum, gold, rare earth elements, tin and tungsten. Apple offers trade-in and free recycling for devices, and breaks down the watch’s environmental impact in its report.


The Series 8 comes in two sizes and two different materials, plus the 4G option, which requires an eSIM and a compatible phone plan add-on.

The Aluminum or Nike versions in 41mm are priced at £419 ($399 / AUD629) or £449 ($429 / AUD679). 4G models cost an additional £110 ($100/A$160). Stainless steel models start at £729 ($699 / AUD1,099).

To compare, the Apple Watch SE is £259, the Apple Watch Ultra is £849, the Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 is £269 and the Garmin Venu 2 is £299.


The Series 8 is the smallest update to the Apple Watch in a few years. That’s not necessarily a bad thing as its predecessor was the best smartwatch available for the iPhone and that’s still true for the new model.

Crash detection is a neat feature that you hope you’ll never use. While ovulation tracking isn’t new, there are only a handful of consumer wearable devices, like certain Fitbits and the Oura Ring, that offer similar functionality. It’s good to see another mainstream device being expanded to include more thorough female health monitoring. The data from the temperature sensor could also prove useful for other wellness features in the future.

If you have a newer model, it’s not worth upgrading. However, if you’re looking for a new general smartwatch for an iPhone, consider buying the Apple Watch Series 8. It is miles ahead of the competition, just a pity about the currency-related price increase.

Advantages: Excellent haptic vibrations, always-on screen, ECG, temperature sensor, top health tracking, great activity tracking, 50 meter water resistance, solid battery, car crash detection, long software support, recycled materials.

Disadvantages: expensive, only works with an iPhone, blood oxygen data not that useful, no 3rd party watch faces, a small upgrade.

The side button and digital crown of the Apple Watch Series 8.
Apple Watch is thin enough to slip under shirt cuffs and comes in two sizes with multiple strap options to fit a range of wrists. Photo: Samuel Gibbs/The Guardian

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