At Apple’s iPhone 15 event, the Apple Watch Series 9 got some updates. Here’s how it compares on paper to the Apple Watch Series 8.
The new Apple Watch Series 9 has a brighter display
In September 2022, Apple unveiled the Apple Watch Series 8, a device that brought forward a plethora of features including a new Compass app, temperature sensing capabilities, and a Medications app to aid in health management.
Fast forward to September 12, 2023, Apple introduced the world to the Apple Watch Series 9, a smartwatch that promises to take the user experience to new heights with features such as a more vibrant and adaptive display, a powerful S9 SiP with a 4-core Neural Engine, and enhanced Siri functionalities that operate on-device for quicker and more reliable responses.
Apple Watch Series 9 vs Apple Watch Series 8 – Specifications
|Specifications||Apple Watch Series 8||Apple Watch Series 9|
|Sizes||41mm, 45mm||41mm, 45mm|
|Display||Retina LTPO OLED display
Up to 1,000 nits
|Retina LTPO OLED display
Up to 2,000 nits
|Processor||S8 SiP||S9 SiP|
|Health Sensors||Second-generation optical heart sensor||Third-generation optical heart sensor|
|Water Resistance||50 meters||50 meters|
|Battery Life||Up to 18 hours (36 in Low Power Mode)||Up to 18 hours (36 in Low Power Mode)|
|Other Sensors||Emergency SOS
Apple Watch Series 9 vs Apple Watch Series 8 – Case Sizes, Materials, and Weight
Both the Series 8 and Series 9 are available in two sizes: 41mm and 45mm, offering users options based on their preference. While both series offer aluminum and stainless steel cases, the Series 9 introduces a new pink shade for the aluminum case.
While the Series 8 takes a step towards environmental sustainability by incorporating recycled materials, the Apple Watch Series 9 goes further. The new wearable is carbon neutral to reduce carbon emissions from materials, electricity, and transportation.
Weight is another area in which the two models share the same measurements, although it slightly differs based on the material and size. For example, the aluminum variant of each Apple Watch weighs 31.9g for the 41mm model, and increases to 38.7g for a 45mm device.
Similarly, an Apple Watch Series 8 or Series 9 weighs 42.3g for a stainless steel 41mm model and bumps up to 51.5g for a stainless steel 45mm Watch. The GPS + Cellular version of each Apple Watch is slightly heavier, but it’s not something that users will notice while wearing the device.
In short, the two models share design, weight, and dimensions.
Apple Watch Series 9 vs Apple Watch Series 8 – Display
When it comes to the display, both the Apple Watch Series 8 and Series 9 offer standout features that promise to enhance user experience significantly. The screen resolution of the 41mm Apple Watch Series 8 and Series 9 is 352 by 430, while the 45mm variant boasts a resolution of 396 by 484 on each Apple Watch model.
The Always-On Retina display is a common feature in both series, a technology that allows users to see the watch face and time at all times without raising their wrist, offering better convenience and accessibility. However, the Series 9 takes it a notch higher with its ultra-high brightness feature, reaching a peak brightness of 2,000 nits, double that of the Series 8.
The greater brightness allows for easier readability in bright sunlight, promising a more vibrant display experience. Moreover, the Series 9 display can adapt to various lighting conditions, lowering to just one nit in dark environments to reduce disturbances to other people.
Apple Watch Series 9 vs Apple Watch Series 8 – Processor
In the heart of these smartwatches lies the processor, a critical component that dictates the performance and capabilities of the device. The Apple Watch Series 8 has a 64-bit dual-core S8 processor.
On the other hand, the Series 9 is powered by the new S9 SiP (System in Package), a powerhouse that houses a 4-core Neural Engine. It’s capable of processing machine learning tasks up to twice as fast as the Series 8, bringing a new level of speed and efficiency to the user experience.
Additionally, dictation on the Apple Watch Series 9 has become up to 25% more accurate compared to the Series 8. The improvement ensures that voice-to-text conversions are more precise, enhancing the user experience especially in scenarios where quick responses are required.
Apple Watch Series 9 vs Apple Watch Series 8 – Health and Fitness
Both series prioritize health and fitness, with the Series 8 introducing innovative temperature sensing capabilities and a feature providing insights into AFib history in 2022. The Series 9 goes a step further by introducing tools to support mental health, including state of mind logging in the Mindfulness app.
The Apple Watch Series 9 introduces a new feature to the Apple Watch lineup for the first time. Siri can handle requests directly on the device, eliminating the need for internet connectivity for tasks such as initiating a workout or configuring a timer.
People with an Apple Watch Series 9 can also use Siri to access data from the Health app in a private and secure manner. For instance, a user can ask about the number of hours they slept the night before, check the status of their Activity ring completion, or get updates on their blood glucose levels if they are using a compatible monitor.
The new system leads to faster and more dependable responses. Moreover, thanks to the potent Neural Engine, voice dictation is enhanced, achieving up to 25% greater accuracy compared to the Apple Watch Series 8.
Apple Watch Series 9 vs Apple Watch Series 8 – Battery and Storage
Both the Series 8 and Series 9 maintain an all-day 18-hour battery life. The Series 8 introduced a Low Power Mode that, when paired with an iPhone, can extend the battery life up to 36 hours, ensuring users stay connected for longer durations without frequent charging.
The Series 9 retains the 18-hour battery life leverages the efficiency of the new S9 chip to optimize battery usage, ensuring that despite the introduction of numerous new features and a more powerful processor, the battery life remains robust.
The new Apple Watch also doubles the amount of storage available, offering users 64GB compared to 32GB on the Apple Watch Series 8.
The upgrade allows for the storage of a larger library of high-resolution images, extensive music playlists, and a broader array of apps, ensuring that users have all their essential data right at their fingertips.
Apple Watch Series 9 vs Apple Watch Series 8 – Other Features
Beyond the core functionalities, both the Apple Watch Series 8 and Series 9 come equipped with a range of additional features that enhance the user experience significantly.
The Series 9 introduces a double-tap gesture functionality. The feature allows users to control the watch using one hand without touching the display, offering a convenient way to perform common actions such as stopping a timer or answering phone calls.
Apple Watch Series 9 has a new pink color
The Apple Watch Series 9 also brings a deeper integration with HomePod, offering features like “Now Playing” control and media suggestions, enhancing the home automation experience. Moreover, the Series 9 facilitates “Precision Finding” for the iPhone 15 family, providing distance and direction, as well as visual, haptic, and audio guidance to find a misplaced iPhone.
The powerful S9 processor also enables an on-device Siri that can access and log health data privately and securely.
Apple Watch Series 9 vs Apple Watch Series 8 – Price
Both the Series 8 and Series 9 start at a price of $399 in the US, offering users high-end features at the same starting price point. However, Apple no longer sells the Apple Watch Series 8 on its website.
While the color options for the aluminum case of both series include starlight, midnight, silver, and (PRODUCT)RED, the Series 9 introduces a new pink shade.
The stainless steel case for both series offers silver, graphite, and gold options.
Apple Watch Series 9 vs Apple Watch Series 8 – what to buy
For users who want a vibrant and adaptive display, coupled with a powerful processor that promises faster and more intuitive functionalities, the Series 9 emerges as a clear winner.
Powered by the new S9 SiP with a 4-core Neural Engine, the Apple Watch Series 9 promises faster and more efficient processing, powering features such as on-device Siri for quicker and more reliable responses. The Series 9 also introduces a double-tap gesture, allowing for convenient one-handed control without touching the display.
However, those looking for a smartwatch that offers substantial features at a potentially lower price point, given that it is a year older.