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Apple Watch Series 9 vs Series 8 – which one is better?

Design and aesthetics: what's new?
Last Updated on January 2, 2024
Apple Watch Series 9 vs Series 8
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Every year, when Apple launches new products, we get confused about which is better. The same question arose again when Apple revealed the Apple Watch Series 9 alongside the iPhone 15 during its Wonderlust event on September 12, 2023. In this article, we will compare the Apple Watch Series 9 vs 8 and see the newly added features in Series 9. We will look at the new features and updates added in Series 9 and if it is worth buying.

Apple Watch Series 9 overview

The Apple Watch Series 9 has a new and powerful S9 SiP chip. It is the most powerful watch chip developed by Apple to improve the performance of its new Series 9 devices. And if you’re wondering if the Apple Watch 9 is worth it, you’ll want to compare it against the previous model.

This new watch series features a new array of bands developed by Nike and Hermès. These new bands will enrich the look and feel of the Apple Watch Series 9 on your hands. Apple has introduced a new pink color for the aluminum cases to further increase the visual appeal. Besides, four more options are available: starlight, midnight, silver, and (PRODUCT) RED.

Apple Watch Series 9 [GPS 45mm] Smartwatch with Midnight Aluminum Case

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Apple Watch Series 8 – GPS + Cellular [various sizes/specs]

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The table below compares the display, battery, body, and other specifications of the Apple Watch Series 9 vs. 8.

DetailApple Watch Series 8Apple Watch Series 9
Dimensions45 × 38 × 10.7 mm (1.77 × 1.50 × 0.42 in)45 × 38 × 10.7 mm (1.77 × 1.50 × 0.42 in)
Weight41mm: 42.3 g45mm: 51.5 g (45mm)41mm: 42.3 g45 mm: 51.5 g
Display TypeRetina LTPO OLED, 1000 nits (peak)Retina LTPO OLED, 2000 nits (peak)
Display Size1.9 inches1.9 inches
Resolution484 × 396 pixels (~326 ppi density)484 × 396 pixels (~326 ppi density)
watchOSwatchOS 9.0watchOS 10
ChipsetApple S8 SiPApple S9 SiP
Battery LifeUp to 18 hoursUp to 18 hours
ColorsAluminum: Starlight, midnight, silver, (PRODUCT) REDStainless Steel: Silver, Graphite, GoldAluminum: Starlight, midnight, silver, (PRODUCT) RED, pinkStainless Steel: Silver, Graphite, Gold
PriceAluminum 41mm Case With GPS: $399Aluminum 45mm Case With GPS: $429
Aluminum 41mm Case With GPS + Cellular: $499
Aluminum 45mm Case With GPS + Cellular: $529
Stainless Steel 41mm: $699Stainless Steel 45mm: $749
Aluminum 41mm Case With GPS: $399Aluminum 45mm Case With GPS: $429
Aluminum 41mm Case With GPS + Cellular: $499
Aluminum 45mm Case With GPS + Cellular: $529
Stainless Steel 41mm: $699Stainless Steel 45mm: $749
Apple Watch Series 9 specs vs Series 8

Apple Watch Series 9 vs 8: watchOS and more

The Apple Watch Series 9 and Series 8 may look similar at first glance, but when it comes to their operating systems, they’re worlds apart. The Series 9 runs on the latest watchOS 10, while the Series 8 is still on watchOS 9. Let’s delve into the key differences.

New watch faces: Snoopy and Palette

One of the most noticeable upgrades in watchOS 10 is the new watch faces—Snoopy and Palette. These aren’t just visually appealing; they add a touch of personality to your smartwatch experience.

Smart Stack: Customizable widgets

Another significant upgrade is the introduction of the Smart Stack feature, which allows for customizable widgets similar to those found in iOS Smart Stacks. These widgets can integrate with various applications such as Alarms, Calendar, Activity, and more, making your daily interactions more seamless.

UI changes in key apps

The user interface has also received a facelift in essential apps like Weather, Contacts, Heart Rate, Activity, and Workout. These changes make navigation easier and more intuitive.

Additional features in Series 9

Precision finding and ultra-wideband

The Series 9 also comes equipped with an ultra-wideband chip that enables precision finding. This is particularly useful if you misplace your smartwatch.

Temperature sensor and blood oxygen

Health monitoring is more advanced in the Series 9, thanks to new sensors for measuring temperature and blood oxygen levels. These features are not available in the Series 8.

Apple Watch Ultra: A step further

If you’re looking for even more advanced features, the Apple Watch Ultra offers additional capabilities, including a more robust temperature sensor and enhanced blood oxygen monitoring.

Timer and button functionalities

The Series 9 also introduces a more responsive timer function and redesigned buttons for better tactile feedback under your thumb.

By comparing these features, it’s clear that the Series 9 offers a more comprehensive and advanced smartwatch experience, making it the better upgrade option for most users.

Apple Watch Series 9 vs 8: Chipset and performance

When it comes to the chipset, the new Apple Watch Series 9 clearly outshines its predecessor, the Series 8. Let’s dive into the specifics to understand why the Series 9 might be the better option for you.

Advanced S9 SiP chipset

The Series 9 is powered by the advanced S9 SiP (System in Package) chipset, which significantly boosts its performance. This chipset features a 64-bit dual-core processor and a staggering 5.6 billion transistors, making the CPU 30% faster than the Series 8.

4-core Neural Engine

Another standout feature is the new 4-core Neural Engine in the Series 9. This engine offers up to twice the speed, enabling faster and more efficient processing of tasks.

On-device Siri processing

The powerful S9 chipset allows for on-device Siri processing. This means that Siri requests are processed faster because they don’t rely on the cloud. This is a feature that the Series 8 lacks, leading to a lag in responses for common queries.

Similarities in hardware

Despite these upgrades, it’s worth noting that both the Series 9 and Series 8 have the same GPU, accelerometer, and gyroscope. So, if these features are your primary concern, the Series 8 might still hold value for you.

Additional features in Series 9

Emergency SOS and fall detection

The Series 9 also comes with enhanced safety features like Emergency SOS and fall detection, making it a more reliable device in times of need.

ECG and health data logging

The new Apple Watch also allows you to log health data more efficiently, including ECG readings, which can be crucial for medical tracking.

Wi-Fi and connectivity

Both watches offer robust Wi-Fi connectivity, but the Series 9 delivers a more stable and faster connection, thanks to its advanced chipset.

Customization and watch face

When it comes to customization, the Series 9 offers a wider range of watch faces and even allows for a leather strap, adding a touch of luxury to your wrist.

By examining these features, it’s evident that the Series 9 offers a more robust and feature-rich experience, making it the better choice for those looking to upgrade.

Apple Watch Series 9 vs 8: Display and visibility

When it comes to the display, the Apple Watch Series 9 takes the cake with some significant improvements over the Series 8. Let’s delve into the details to see how the Series 9’s display sets it apart.

Brightness levels

The Series 9 features a brighter display with a peak brightness of up to 2,000 nits, which is double the 1,000 nits peak of the Series 8. This increased brightness ensures that you can clearly see the watch face even in bright sunlight. Additionally, the Series 9 allows you to reduce the brightness to as low as 1 nit during nighttime, ensuring that you don’t disturb anyone else.

Adaptive brightness algorithm

What makes the Series 9’s display even more impressive is its adaptive brightness algorithm. This feature automatically adjusts the screen’s brightness based on your surroundings, making it easier on your eyes and more energy-efficient.

PC Guide View

While the Apple Watch Series 9 has much in common with the Series 8, it is still more advanced, thanks to the S9 SiP and watchOS 10. Many new updates, like a brighter display, on-device Siri, and double tap gesture, make the Apple Watch Series 9 worth it.

You can pre-order the Apple Watch Series 9 now or purchase it on September 22, 2023, when it will become available to everyone.

Maria is a contributer to PC Guide, highly-interested in productivity and AI tools, and ensuring the inclusion of detailed product info and coverage across versus pieces.