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100 Most Wanted Holiday Gifts: Apple Watch Series 8

CBS News 10/3/2022 Carolin Lehmann
 / Credit: Amazon/CBS Essentials © Provided by CBS News / Credit: Amazon/CBS Essentials

It's a given: The brand new Apple Watch Series 8 will be one of the most wanted holiday gifts this season. Find out more about why the Apple Watch 8 is our pick for the smartwatch to gift this holiday season -- and why we chose to add it to our 100 Most Wanted Holiday Gifts series.

Top products in this article:

Best smartwatch to give in 2022: Apple Watch Series 8 (GPS, 41mm), $399

Get the Apple Watch 8 with cellular: Apple Watch Series 8 (GPS + cellular 45mm), $529

Best Apple Watch 8 upgrade: Apple Watch Ultra (GPS + cellular 49mm), $799

Why we picked the Apple Watch Series 8 for the Holiday 100

Apple products are best-selling gifts every holiday season, and the brand new Apple Watch Series 8 will be no exception. It features the new S8 chip for improved performance, plus has an always-on display and new watch face options. The Apple Watch 8 has a larger battery than previous models: Battery life can be extended to 36 hours when in low-power mode. It features a durable design and is swim-proof, dust-proof and crack-resistant. 

Like the iPhone 14, the Apple Watch 8 also detects when the wearer is in a car crash.

The trendy Apple Watch 8 has a number of health features, including an optical heart sensor, electrical heart sensor for ECG, blood oxygen sensor, and a new body temperature sensor. The temperature sensor is presented as a women's health tool to more accurately track ovulation times and other changes in a woman's monthly cycle. (In light of increased concern regarding data privacy around cycle tracking information, Apple assured consumers that their data is secure and encrypted.)

There is one important thing to note about giving the Apple Watch 8 as a gift -- whoever you give it to will need an iPhone to pair it too. Unfortunately, the Apple Watch 8 -- and other Apple Watch models, such as the new Apple Watch Ultra -- won't work with Android phones.

Apple Watch Series 8 (GPS, 41mm), $399

Apple Watch Series 8 (GPS + cellular 45mm), $529

Best smartwatch gift: Apple Watch Series 8

 / Credit: Apple © Provided by CBS News / Credit: Apple

The Apple Watch 8 is available in 41mm and 45mm sizing options. Shoppers can choose between stainless steel or aluminum casing and several different colors; new watch band options are available via Nike and Hermes.

One verified Amazon owner says they "absolutely love my new watch... I do not regret my decision to buy this watch at all!

(Not sure what size to get? Check out our guide on how to pick the right Apple Watch size.)

Apple Watch Series 8 (GPS, 41mm), $399

Apple Watch Series 8 (GPS + cellular 45mm), $529

Best alternatives to the Apple Watch 8 for Apple iPhone owners

The Apple Watch Series 8 isn't the only new Apple Watch available. Learn more about Apple's other new models below, both of which will make excellent gifts this holiday season.

Apple Watch Ultra

 / Credit: Apple © Provided by CBS News / Credit: Apple

The Apple Watch Ultra is designed to be a more rugged and durable option for athletes and adventurers. It provides up to 36 hours of life on a single charge with standard use, or 60 hours of battery life with the soon-to-be-released battery optimization setting. It is made with a stronger titanium alloy material for improved impact resistance. It also offers a brighter display and a second speaker for better sound and display visibility during outdoor use. Apple says it's optimized for diving and water sports.

The Apple Watch Ultra provides enhanced GPS functionality to trace your steps and improve navigation for outdoor expeditions. There is also an action button that can be used to more accurately track your workouts by marking segments of your workout.

The Apple Watch Ultra features a large 49mm display screen. 

Apple Watch Ultra (GPS + cellular, 49mm), $799

Apple Watch SE 2nd generation

 / Credit: Apple © Provided by CBS News / Credit: Apple

The Apple Watch SE (2nd generation), the most affordable Apple Watch option, includes core Apple Watch features such as car crash detection, heart rate monitoring, fall detection and activity tracking. The updated watch can be paired with a parent's iPhone, but still operate independently for calling and texting. It's a smart choice for families that want to stay connected.

The new Apple Watch SE is 20% faster than the last generation. The display is 30% larger than the prior model as well. The back case design now features 100% recycled aluminum.

Apple Watch SE 2nd Gen (GPS + cellular, 40mm), $299

Apple Watch SE 2nd Gen (GPS, 44mm), $279

The best Apple Watch 8 alternatives for Android phone owners

You'll need an Apple iPhone to use all of the features of an Apple Watch. Don't have one? Then check out these Apple Watch alternatives that don't require an iPhone.

Samsung Galaxy Watch 5

 / Credit: Samsung © Provided by CBS News / Credit: Samsung

The Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 is an upgrade from the popular Samsung Galaxy Watch 4. It features 10W smart-charging capabilities, a notable upgrade from the slower 5W charging offered by the prior model. It also offers an advanced workout algorithm and sleep tracking technology.

The Galaxy Watch 5 features an advanced bioactive sensor that collects more accurate data. This data can be managed and tracked in the Samsung Health app.

This is the first time that Samsung is offering its sapphire glass on its non-premium smartwatch options. (Sapphire glass isn't actually glass. It is a ceramic that mimics the transparency of glass and offers more durability.)

Like prior Galaxy Watch models, the Galaxy Watch 5 is available in 40mm and 44mm display sizes. It is also available in five colors. 

Samsung Galaxy Watch 5, $280 and up

Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 Pro

 / Credit: Samsung © Provided by CBS News / Credit: Samsung

The Galaxy Watch 5 Pro offers a bigger and stronger smartwatch option. The watch face and battery are larger in the Pro model. The Pro model features a titanium case and sapphire glass. The Galaxy Watch 5 Pro also boasts improved navigation with track-back mode to help you navigate your way to back your starting point. 

The Watch 5 Pro is available in two colors. It comes in one size, 45mm. 

Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 Pro, $450 

Amazfit Bip U

 / Credit: Amazfit/Amazon © Provided by CBS News / Credit: Amazfit/Amazon

A water-resistant, budget-friendly alternative to the Apple Watch, and compatible with both Android and iOS, the Amazfit Bip U boasts a longer battery life—up to nine days per charge—and a variety of activity tracking options. Measure heart rate, blood oxygen levels, breathing, sleep quality and even stress levels. Women can track periods and get reminders when it's almost that time of the month. 

Amazfit Bip U, $50 (reduced from $60)

Amazon Halo View

 / Credit: Amazon © Provided by CBS News / Credit: Amazon

Released in late 2021, the slender, Alexa-enabled Amazon Halo View measures heart rate, activity, sleep and even blood-oxygen levels. It also offers connectability to popular health apps, such as Headspace and Bettersleep, as well as connectivity to your phone. It also boasts a seven-day battery life.  Another added bonus? Each watch comes with a 12-month membership subscription with access to workout and programs. After the trial period, it auto-renews at $4 per month. 

Amazon Halo View, $80

Fitbit Charge 5

 / Credit: Fitbit/Amazon © Provided by CBS News / Credit: Fitbit/Amazon

The latest incarnation of the popular Charge line from Fitbit, this well-equipped activity and health tracker packs advanced technology into a slender device and features a color touchscreen. The smartphone-enabled device helps you manage stress and stay on top of heart health and sleep. Android users can even respond to text messages.

Fitbit Charge 5, $128 (reduced from $180)

Fitbit Inspire 2 

 / Credit: Fitbit/Amazon © Provided by CBS News / Credit: Fitbit/Amazon

A budget-friendly, no-frills Fitbit that gets the job done, this easy-to-use, entry-level activity and sleep tracker offers a whopping 10-day battery life, various exercise modes, and 24/7 heart rate tracking. New subscribers receive a one-year, free trial of Fitbit Premium. Available in three colors (black, lunar white and desert rose) and with multiple accessory options. 

Fitbit Inspire 2, $61 (reduced from $100)

Garmin Instinct 2 Series

 / Credit: Garmin via Amazon © Provided by CBS News / Credit: Garmin via Amazon

The Garmin Instinct 2 Series was introduced in February. It's built not just to be worn, but to be actively worn. It's an outdoorsy, thermal- and shock-resistant GPS smartwatch that boasts damage- and scratch-resistant glass. It measures your heart rate, stress level, sleep metrics, blood oxygen, your fitness age and more. It delivers daily workout prompts, comes with built-in workout and sport apps and even tracks your mountain-biking stats, if any. Download apps from Garmin's Garmin Connect IQ store to up the watch's game even more, and track everything from hydration to menstrual cycles. The battery will last up to 30 hours in GPS mode -- and up to 28 days in smartwatch mode. Or get the solar version for what Garmin says will be unlimited battery life. 

The Instinct 2 Series comes in two case sizes: 40mm and 45mm. It also comes in a range of editions, from standard to surf and more. Pictured above is the 40mm, solar, standard-edition Instinct 2 in mist gray. This version of the watch lists for $441. 

In general, the Garmin Instinct 2 Series lists for $350 and up.

Garmin Instinct 2 Series (40mm) standard edition, solar (mist gray), $441

Garmin Epix

 / Credit: Garmin via Amazon © Provided by CBS News / Credit: Garmin via Amazon

The premium Garmin Epix, launched in January, is not just another outdoor-ready Garmin smartwatch -- it's an outdoor-ready Garmin smartwatch with a luxe look. Billed as a "premium multisport watch," the Epix features an AMOLED display, and, in a nice touch, comes with preloaded maps to thousands of golf courses and ski resorts worldwide. It boasts a number of health- and fitness-monitoring powers, and includes features that'll help you on the next ski run, or surfing wave. The battery runs for 16 days in smartwatch mode, and 42 hours in GPS mode. The Garmin Epix lists at $900 and up. The Sapphire-White Titanium model (pictured) goes for $995.

Garmin Epix (Sapphire-White Titanium), $995

Garmin Fēnix 7 Series

 / Credit: Garmin © Provided by CBS News / Credit: Garmin

The latest iteration of Garmin's Fēnix line of multisport smartwatches, the Garmin Fēnix 7 Series, released in January, features a touchscreen, a hands-free, multi-LED flashlight,  and offers what Garmin says is upgraded "daily smartwatch interaction and map navigation." It comes with multiple Garmin-esque perks, including built-in workouts, performance metrics, health and wellness sensors, ski-course maps, golf-course maps and mountain-biking-trek tracking.  

Like the Garmin Instinct 2 Series, the Garmin Fēnix 7 Series comes in a solar-powered model – a model that can deliver up to five weeks' worth of battery life in smartwatch mode (and up to five days in GPS mode).  

The Garmin Fēnix 7 Series comes in three case sizes: 42mm; 47mm; and, 51mm. And you have your choice of three editions: standard; solar; or the top-line sapphire solar version. The watch lists for $700 and up. The 42mm, solar-powered Fēnix 7S in rose gold is pictured. It goes for $795. 

Garmin Fēnix 7 Series smartwatch (42mm) solar, solar (rose gold), $795

More great gifts from Apple

Apple gifts are almost always well-received for Christmas and Hanukkah. Here are some more Apple products to consider giving this year. Many are on sale at Amazon right now.

Apple iPad 9

 / Credit: Apple via Amazon © Provided by CBS News / Credit: Apple via Amazon

The 10.2-inch iPad 9, released in 2021, is the most affordable of Apple's iPad offerings. It offers a 8 MP wide-angle back camera, and a 12 MP ultra-wide-angle front camera. It boasts stereo speakers, too. This iPad is powered by a A13 Bionic chip. It boasts up to 10 hours of battery life, and is compatible with the Apple Pencil ($99) for drawing or note-taking.

Available in two colors; prices vary.    

Apple iPad 9 (64 GB) (silver), $299 (reduced from $329)

Want to protect your new tablet investment? Get the 64 GB Apple iPad 9 bundled with a two-year subscription to Apple's protection plan, Apple Care+. That bundle's on sale on Amazon, too.

Apple iPad 9 (64 GB) (silver) bundled with Apple Care+, $368 (reduced from $398) 

Apple iPad Air 5

 / Credit: Apple via Amazon © Provided by CBS News / Credit: Apple via Amazon

Introduced in 2022, the 10.9-inch Apple iPad Air 5 is the latest in the lightweight iPad Air line. The iPad Air 5 offers performance up to 60% faster than the prior model, thanks to Apple's turbo-charged M1 chip. The device boasts a 12 MP wide-angle back camera that supports 4K video. It also offers touch ID, and Apple's Liquid Retina display.

Available in five colors; prices vary.        

Apple iPad Air 5 (64 GB) (pink), $559 (reduced from $599)

The 256 GB iPad Air 5 is also available in five colors; prices vary. The best deal we saw was for the space gray model (pictured) with Wi-Fi-only connectivity. 

Apple iPad Air 5 (256 GB) (space gray), $679 (reduced from $749)

Apple iPad Mini 6

 / Credit: Apple via Walmart © Provided by CBS News / Credit: Apple via Walmart

The iPad Mini 6 is a compact tablet with an 8.3-inch Liquid Retina display screen. Released in 2021, the Apple tablet is powered by an A15 Bionic chip. It features a 12 MP wide-angle back camera, and a 12 MP ultra-wide-angle front camera. It boasts landscape stereo speakers. Available in four colors. 

Note that the Apple iPad Mini is not compatible with Apple's external Magic Keyboard. It can, however, be used with other Bluetooth-enabled external keyboards.

Apple iPad Mini (64 GB), $459

Amazon has a wider range of inventory -- and a good deal -- on the Wi-Fi and cellular model with 64 GB of storage. Choose from four colors. 

Apple iPad Mini 6 with celluar connectivity (64 GB), $599 (reduced from $649)

Apple iPad Pro 5

 / Credit: Apple via Amazon   © Provided by CBS News / Credit: Apple via Amazon  

Apple's high-end tablet, the iPad Pro, features an 11-inch Liquid Retina XDR display, a pro camera system and a Thunderbolt port for lightning-speed data transfers. Looking for a traditional laptop experience? It's compatible with Apple's Magic Keyboard.

Available in two colors; prices vary. The sale prices listed below are for the space gray iPad Pro 5 with Wi-Fi-only connectivity.  

As with other iPad models, the iPad Pro 5 with cellular connectivity is more expensive than the Wi-Fi-only device. But if 5G is the connection you're craving, then the extra expense may be worth it. 

Apple iPad Pro 5 (256 GB) (space gray), $849 (reduced from $899)

14" MacBook Pro

 / Credit: Amazon © Provided by CBS News / Credit: Amazon

A step up from the MacBook Air, the slightly weightier (3.0 pound) 14-inch MacBook Pro boasts a powerful active cooling system, which helps keep the 8-core CPU running fast. It delivers up to 21 hours of battery life on a single charge, and features a Retina display that's brighter than the MacBook Air. 

14" Apple MacBook Pro (Apple M1 Chip, 16 GB RAM, 512 GB SSD), $1,950 (regularly $1,999)

14" Apple MacBook Pro (Apple M1 chip, 16 GB RAM, 1 TB SSD), $2,100 at checkout (regularly $2,499)

16" MacBook Pro

 / Credit: Apple © Provided by CBS News / Credit: Apple

Is the 14-inch MacBook Pro not powerful, or big enough for you? Then try its sibling, the 16-inch MacBook Pro. On Amazon, you can get a deal on the 16-inch MacBook Pro with a 10-core CPU, as well as 16GB of unified memory, and 512GB of storage. All of that is more than enough for you to be able to edit 8K videos on the machine. You also get four Thunderbolt ports, an HDMI port and a SDXC card slot.

With its size and more powerful guts, the 16-inch MacBook Pro is aimed at professionals who need a seriously powerful laptop for graphics-intensive applications, such as video-rendering and design. Just keep in mind, this is a machine that comes with a professional-level price tag.

16" Apple MacBook Pro (Apple M1 Pro, 16 GB RAM, 512 GB SSD), $2,100 at checkout (regularly $2,499)

13.6" MacBook Air (2022)

 / Credit: Apple via Amazon © Provided by CBS News / Credit: Apple via Amazon

Save $100 on the new-for-2022 Apple MacBook Air at Amazon. The laptop features a 13.6-inch Retina display, 8GB of RAM, 256GB of storage and a backlit keyboard. Designed for portability, it weighs just 2.7 pounds and lasts for up to 18 hours on a single charge thanks to the Apple M2 chip.

13.6" MacBook Air (2022 model, 8GB), $1,099 (reduced from $1,199)

Apple AirPods Pro 2

 / Credit: Apple © Provided by CBS News / Credit: Apple

The latest Apple AirPods Pro 2 earbuds offer 30 hours of listening time with the included charging case. They have an upgraded wireless chip for improved audio functionality, a new low distortion driver for clearer audio and improved active noise cancellation. The Apple AirPods Pro 2 provide truly custom sound: You can use your iPhone's camera to analyze your unique ear anatomy and find the perfect audio settings for you.

The design of the AirPods Pro 2 is fairly similar to the previous generation, but Apple has introduced touch control to the AirPods Pro 2 to help users more seamlessly control their AirPods. Users will also get a new extra-small tip with their AirPods. The case did get a notable design upgrade with a new lanyard loop and a built-in speaker to help track the location of your AirPods case.

Apple AirPods Pro 2, $240 (reduced from $249)

Apple AirPods Pro (1st generation)

 / Credit: Apple © Provided by CBS News / Credit: Apple

The Apple AirPods Pro are a CBS Essentials bestseller. Our readers love the AirPods Pro for their active noise cancellation tech, well-fitting design and great sound quality. They're water resistant, as well, and offer up to 24 hours of battery life with the included case.

Now on sale at Amazon for $180, the older model of the Apple AirPods Pro offers a great deal.

Apple AirPods Pro, $180 (reduced from $249)

Apple iPhone 14 is on sale at Walmart

 / Credit: Apple © Provided by CBS News / Credit: Apple

Looking to save money on Apple's newest smartphone, the iPhone 14? You won't save a ton of money, but the Apple iPhone 14 is $20 off at Walmart right now. You can get a phone that runs on the Verizon or AT&T network.

Apple's new iPhone 14 offers several improvements over the prior model, including a new operating system with iOS 16. It is getting a camera upgrade, improved retina display and a larger battery. The new iPhones will feature 6GB of RAM, an increase over the 4GB offered in the iPhone 13. 

The iPhone 14 has a new 12MP main camera with a larger sensor and wider aperture. The upgraded smartphone also includes an improved front-facing camera with autofocus for better selfies. 

The iPhone 14 starts at $799, though we found it slightly cheaper at Walmart ($779). The iPhone 14 Plus will start at $899. Apple iPhone 14 Plus models will not be available until Oct. 7, but they are available for preorder at Walmart now for $879.

Apple iPhone 14 on AT&T (128GB), $779 (reduced from $800)

Apple iPhone 14 on Verizon (128GB), $779 (reduced from $800)

Apple MagSafe Battery Pack

 / Credit: Apple via Amazon © Provided by CBS News / Credit: Apple via Amazon

This year, give the gift of extended iPhone battery life. The Apple MagSafe Battery Pack magnetically attaches to your iPhone (iPhone 12 models and newer), providing a portable, wireless phone charge. If need be, your MagSafe Battery Pack and iPhone can be charged at the same time. 

Apple MagSafe Battery Pack, $98 (regularly $99)

Apple iPhone 13 (128 GB)

 / Credit: Apple via Walmart © Provided by CBS News / Credit: Apple via Walmart

If you're looking to buy a new 6.1-inch Apple iPhone 13, know this: You'll save money if you buy the iPhone at Walmart rather than the Apple Store. Right now at Walmart, you can get the Apple iPhone 13 (128 GB model) for $18.87 per month for 36 months. That's a final price of $679, well under the $799 you'd pay at the Apple Store.

Apple iPhone 13 (128 GB), $679 (reduced from $799)

You can get better-than-Apple pricing on other models of the iPhone 13, as well, including the 5.4-inch iPhone 13 mini ($16.09 per month for 36 months) and 6.7-inch iPhone 13 Pro Max ($29.14 per month for 36 months).

Apple iPhone 13 mini (128 GB), $579 (reduced from $699)

Apple iPhone 13 Pro (128 GB), $949 (reduced from $999)

Apple iPhone 13 Pro Max (128 GB), $1,049 (reduced from $1,099)

CBS Essentials' 100 Most Wanted Holiday Gifts

It may seem early to start shopping for Christmas and Hanukkah gifts, but trust us, it's not. Last year's holiday season was riddled with supply-chain issues, and CBS News is anticipating more of the same in 2022. Plus, there's inflation -- unfortunately, prices may rise even more before December comes.

So it's time to shop for holiday gifts now. Pick out a great hiding spot and check out CBS Essentials' 100 Most Wanted Holiday Gifts of 2022. We've based our top 100 gift picks on our own bestsellers, owner reviews and our own extensive research into the most-buzzed-about gifts of 2022, such as this pooping purple turtle.

Stay tuned to the CBS Essentials 100 Most Wanted Holiday Gifts Series for our picks of the hottest gifts to give in 2022. Our list includes some of Apple's newest products, the top toys of 2022, game-changing kitchen appliances and so much more.

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