Apple Watch Series 9 hands-on

Apple revealed a number of new devices at its September event, from the new super flagship iPhone 15 Pro Max to the Apple Watch Ultra 2. The company also unveiled the standard iPhone 15 models though, as well as the latest update to its smartwatch in the Watch Series 9.

It might be a bit of a quiet year for the Apple Watch this year, following on from the excitement of the Apple Watch Ultra launch last year and the anticipation of the 10-year Apple Watch model next year, but that doesn’t mean the Series 9 should be overlooked. Here are my first impressions.

apple watch gradient-1


Design and display

The Apple Watch Series 9 takes the classic “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” approach. The Apple Watch has had a very similar design since it launched in 2015 and sure, we have had a couple of changes here and there, including a larger display that makes better use of the space available, but on the whole, the design has remained similar with every iteration since its beginning. The 9th generation continues with that same design. That’s not necessarily a bad thing. It’s worked for nine years so hey, why change it? I’d love to have seen the Action Button added to the Series 9 that we saw on introduced on the Watch Ultra in 2022, but that wasn’t to be this year. So instead, the casing is rectangular with rounded corners and you’ll find the Digital Crown and side button on the right edge in their traditional positions.

The way you interact with Apple Watch has changed slightly though. There’s a new Double Tap feature that allows you to double tap your thumb and index finger together in order to perform various functions, whether that’s answering a call, taking a photo with the Camera Remote feature or scrolling through your Smart Stacks widgets. It’s very fluid in use based on my first impressions, with good response time and a natural feel – much like it was for Vision Pro which uses a similar gesture. The way you interact with Apple Watch doesn’t stop their either though, as watchOS 10 also changes things up a little so there are a number of changes with the Series 9, they are just on a software level rather than hardware.

On the underside of the Watch Series 9 casing is where you’ll find the majority of the sensors – more on those in a second – meanwhile on the top is the display. It’s not quite edge-to-edge, but it’s not far off and it continues to look great. The colours really pop, the blacks are lovely and deep and the display is lovely and responsive.

Apple Watch Series 9 -17

The Watch Series 9 – like the most recent iterations that have gone before it – comes in 41mm and 45mm size options. It’s smaller than the Watch Ultra and Watch Ultra 2 that have a 49mm casing – and it comes in aluminium and stainless steel material options rather than titanium like the Ultra. Stainless steel is the more premium of the two finishes, but it’s also the more expensive and aluminium looks great, especially with the right strap.

For this year, there’s a new colour in town too. Pink joins the line up of slightly more standard colours – Midnight, Starlight, Silver and Product (RED). A pink smartwatch is bold, and it certainly won’t be for everyone, but it’s different and I’m definitely here for different. As the design of the Apple Watch remains predominately the same, it won’t come as a huge surprise that old straps will remain compatible for another year, though there are a number of new ones available, all of which are Carbon Neutral like the rest of the Apple Watch Series 9 (and the Watch Ultra 2 for that matter). It might be the last year the straps do remain compatible – who knows what will happen with the 10th year anniversary Apple Watch – but I’m thrilled to see another year of strap support, as I’m sure anyone who has invested in a strap over the last few years would also say.


The design might be the same, but just because you can’t see changes doesn’t mean they aren’t there. Under the hood, the Apple Watch Series 9 features an updated processor and it looks like it’s going to be a bigger bump in terms of performance than the last three generations of Apple Watch have offered. While the processor name has changed from year-to-year, there hasn’t been a huge leap since the Watch Series 6, with the Series 8 offering basically the same. I’ll need to wait and see until I get the Watch Series 9 in for review as to how much of a difference the S9 processor makes, but I’m hopeful it will allow for improvements in battery life, as well as day-to-day performance. It’s also required for the Double Tap feature (which is different to one of the accessibility features available for older Apple Watch models), so there are obviously some performance upgrades here.

Apple Watch Series 9 -5

Elsewhere, you’ll find a 50-metre water resistance like the Watch Series 8, along with a plethora of sensors. There’s an optical heart rate sensor, which I expect to perform brilliantly like the Series 8’s heart rate sensor does, and you’ll find an electrical heart rate sensor too, allowing for the ECG/EKG feature we have seen on the Apple Watch since the Series 4. You’ll also find a compass, always-on altimeter, high-g accelerometer and a blood oxygen sensor. The body temperature sensor that launched on the Series 8 is also present on the Series 9, as you would expect, so there’s no shortage of sensors on board.


When it comes to features, the Watch Series 9 launches on watchOS 10, which in itself brings a number of new elements with it, from the Snoopy Watch Face (which I absolutely adore), to the new Cycling app and the ability to add widgets to your Apple Watch, which is a game changer. Many of these filter down to older Apple Watch models that are also compatible with the new software so you don’t necessarily need the newer hardware to take advantage of Snoopy Watch Face for example, but the processor upgrades on the Watch Series 9 should at least allow for great execution of the new features. It’s also worth noting that the Double Tap feature does require a Series 9 or Watch Ultra 9 as it uses the S9 chip, as I mentioned.

We’ve got a separate feature on everything you can expect from watchOS 10 and how it’s different to watchOS 9, though I’ll need to wait until my full review of the Watch Series 9 to analyse exactly how the new smartwatch performs and what the benefits of the new hardware and chip are.

First impressions

The Apple Watch Series 9 is what I’d consider a minor generational upgrade. The design remains the same as what we have now come to expect from the Apple Watch, while a processor bump offers those with an older model a reason to upgrade. There aren’t any new features to write home about, though Double Tap will change the way you interact with Apple’s smartwatch and I’m excited to see how that translates in day-to-day use. I’m also still expecting solid performance from this smartwatch. The Series 8 hasn’t left my wrist for a year and it was still enjoyable to wear over the Series 7 despite also not adding any major features.

I’ll need to wait until I get this device in for a full review to make a full judgement on it. For now, my first impressions are if you’re looking to make the Apple Watch leap, then it looks like it’s going to be a great place to start. If you’re considering an upgrade from the Series 7 or newer, it may be worth waiting another year to see what the Watch X might bring to the smartwatch party.

apple watch gradient-1


Trending Products

Add to compare
Corsair 5000D Airflow Tempered Glass Mid-Tower ATX PC Case – Black

Corsair 5000D Airflow Tempered Glass Mid-Tower ATX PC Case – Black

Add to compare
CORSAIR 7000D AIRFLOW Full-Tower ATX PC Case, Black

CORSAIR 7000D AIRFLOW Full-Tower ATX PC Case, Black


We will be happy to hear your thoughts

Leave a reply

Register New Account
Compare items
  • Total (0)
Shopping cart