Apple Watch Series 9 Vs. Series 8: How They Compare

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When the Apple Watch Series 9 released in September 2023, it immediately supplanted the Series 8 in Apple’s lineup as the company’s flagship. Although it didn’t usher in many significant new upgrades, the Series 9 is the best Apple Watch you can buy, especially for new Watch wearers and those with older models. 

But that’s not to say the Series 8 is past its prime. For certain users, the Series 8 is still a highly useful wearable, especially if it can be purchased at a discount on its original sticker price of $399. Current users don’t necessarily need to rush out and upgrade to the Series 9 and can instead wait for the Series 10 (or whatever gets announced next year). 

Below is an in-depth breakdown of the Apple Watch Series 9 and Series 8, with comparisons of the watches’ design, smartwatch functionality, health and fitness tracking tools, and battery life. Read our full review of the Apple Watch Series 8 for more detailed insight.

Apple Watch Series 8 (41mm, GPS)

The Apple Watch Series 8 features a temperature sensor, car crash detection, and low-power mode that weren’t available to previous generations of the smartwatch. Now the Series 9 is out, we’re seeing regular discounts on the previous model.

Apple Watch Series 9 (41mm, GPS)

The Apple Watch Series 9 includes the newest S9 processor, a 2000-nit always-on Retina display, expanded Apple Health integrations with Siri, and a unique single-hand gesture to answer calls and interact with widgets.

Apple Watch Series 9 vs. Series 8: Specs

Apple Watch Series 9 vs. Series 8: Size and design

A side by side picture of an Apple Watch Series 9 and an Apple Watch Series 8.

The design of the Apple Watch Series 9 (left) is identical to that of the Series 8 (right)

Rick Stella & Antonio Villas-Boas/Insider

Both the Series 9 and Series 8 are identical in size and appearance. However, the biggest distinguishable difference between the two is that the Series 9 is available in a new pink colorway. 

Each comes in two different display sizes, 41mm and 45mm, and both feature an always-on display, as well as two case options of either aluminum or stainless steel.  Both watches are also compatible with a variety of the best Apple Watch bands and the best Apple Watch Series 9 bands.

For the Series 9, its finish options include pink, Midnight black, Starlight tan, silver, and red in the aluminum case, and gold, silver, and Graphite black in the stainless steel case. The Series 8 comes in Midnight black, Starlight tan, silver, and red with its aluminum case, and Graphite black, silver, and gold with the stainless steel case.

Internally, the Series 9 has Apple’s new S9 chip, while the Series 8 uses the S8 chip.

Apple Watch Series 9 vs. Series 8: Smartwatch features

The Series 9 and Series 8 are also nearly identical in terms of smartwatch functionality. Although Apple released the updated WatchOS 10 operating system alongside the Series 9, it’s also

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