Apple’s new good/better-best strategy is now available with the Apple Watch SE. The Apple Watch SE is $120 cheaper than the Apple Watch Series 7 and $80 less than the Apple Watch Series 3. It has many of the same features as the Series 7, but at a lower price of $279, it’s a little more affordable.
What does the Apple Watch SE offer that the Apple Watch 3 lacks? The Apple Watch SE has a larger display, international emergency call, fall detection, noise monitoring and optional LTE. The Apple Watch SE is a great smartwatch. However, it’s too expensive for all the features. I have been using it for some time. You can read why it was recognized in the 2021 Tom’s Guide Awards. It’s perfect for a particular customer, but we’re not surprised.
It might be worth waiting a while if you’re looking for an Apple Watch. The Apple WatchSE 2 could be coming out later in the year. With substantial upgrades, it is rumored. If you are looking for the best Apple smartwatch, there is the Apple Watch8. Here’s our assessment of the Apple Watch 8 mid-tier model.
Apple Watch SE: Prices and availability
Apple Watch SE is $279 for the 40mm GPS model and $309 for a 44mm case. The 40mm model is $329, while the 44mm version costs $359. This is a $50 discount for LTE, but you’ll pay $100 more if you’d like cellular options for your Apple Watch Series 6.
For the most current discounts on Apple products, take a look at our Apple Store Coupon page.
Apple Watch SE: Design & display
There are no major changes: The Apple Watch SE’s design is identical to every Apple Watch before it. The Apple Watch SE will come with an aluminum case only (the Apple Watch 6 can also be purchased in stainless steel or titanium), but you can choose from silver, gold, or space gray finishes. Apple sent me the space grey finish. It has a clean, crisp look.
The Apple Watch SE is the same screen and S5 processor that the Apple Watch 5 – which is 30% larger than the Apple Watch 3 – but there’s no always on display option on the SE like there is with the Apple Watch 6 or Apple Watch 5.
Although Apple wants to distinguish the SE from the Apple Watch 6 by offering different features, the absence of an always-on display on a device costing more than $250 is disappointing. The screen of the Apple Watch SE was responsive and came to life with just a flick of my wrist.
The screen resolution on the 44mm model I tested was 368×448 pixels. The smaller model, 40mm, has a 324×394-pixel display. Apple has the SE available in two sizes. My wife tried it on and found it too big for her small wrists.
Apple Watch SE: Solo Loop
Apple also sent a few Solo Loops, which are elastic bands that don’t have a clasp but can be adapted to fit around your wrist. The clasp of a traditional watchband presses against my wrist and makes it uncomfortable to wear while typing. This issue was eliminated completely by the thinner, uniform Solo Loop.
However, some customers have had issues with Apple’s sizing charts, which led to Solo Loops that were too large or too small for them. You can’t return just the Solo Loop. You must return the entire Apple Watch. You should purchase a watch strap that is more traditional until you get a chance to test the Solo Loop.
Apple Watch SE: Health Features
Apple Watch is a more holistic device than any fitness or Garmin-type devices. This is the case with the new, cheaper model.
The Apple Watch SE features the same accelerometer, GPS, and always-on altimeter that the Series 6. You also get fall detection, noise monitoring and emergency SOS.
The Apple Watch SE doesn’t have monitoring like the flagship Apple Watch 6. The SpO2 sensor in the Apple Watch 6 has not been approved by the FDA, so it should not be considered a medical device.
The Apple Watch SE does not have the ECG app, which allows you to perform on-the spot checks of your heartbeat. The SE can monitor your heart rhythm and alert you if there is an irregular beat.
Apple Watch 6 Review: WatchOS 7
The SE, along with the Apple Watch 3 or later, gets and watchOS 7. It also has sleep tracking, a hand washing app, and Apple Fitness, which offers new workout presets like core training, functional strength, cool down, and dance.
It works well to automatically track your activity. The Apple Watch asked me about 10 minutes into my brisk walk to ask me if I would like to record it. Although the GPS doesn’t kick in until the last quarter-mile, the watch calculates my total walk at 0.75 miles. This is just one tenth of a mile less than the actual distance.
Although the hand-washing guide worked well, it took a while for the watch’s to understand what you were doing. The watch will give you a gentle buzz to let you know it has begun timing you. A second buzz lets you know your hands are clean.
Although the hand-washing guide worked well, it took a while for the watch’s to understand what you were doing. The watch will give you a gentle buzz to let you know it has begun timing you. A second buzz lets you know your hands are clean. The watch is a bit sensitive; it also activated when I was peeling vegetables.
The Apple Watch SE was able to track sleep fairly accurately. It also counted TV-watching before bedtime as real rest. Like other Apple Watches I had to ensure that the SE’s battery was charged before I went to sleep.
Apple Watch SE: Smartwatch Features
Smartwatch features are where the Apple Watch SE (and all Apple Watches) excels. The Apple Watch SE has the most extensive app library of any smartwatch. This makes it a true extension to your phone on your wrist. The SE allowed me to control my smart home devices. I could make and receive calls, view directions, listen to music and more.
It can take longer to locate the app you need from the main screen if there are many apps on your Apple Watch. You can drag the app icons around to group them together but you cannot organize them in any other way.
Apple Watch offers a variety of watchfaces and NFC for mobile payments. If you buy the LTE model, it can also be used independently from your phone. Apple’s Family Setup allows you to set up and manage your child’s Apple Watch. The watch can be used to set goals for fitness, send allowance money and limit the features that they have while at school. You can also monitor their location with LTE, provided the watch has it. Although it’s quite expensive GPS tracker to monitor kids, it’s much more feature-rich.
Apple Watch SE: Battery life, charging
The Apple Watch SE is similar to the Apple Watch 3 or Apple Watch 6 in that it has a 18-hour battery. This means that you will need to recharge your watch each day. The Apple Watch SE’s battery life is slightly shorter than the Apple Watch 6 when it comes to music and GPS.
The biggest difference in charging time is the Apple Watch 6, which takes only 90 minutes to charge, whereas the Apple Watch SE takes 2.5 hours to charge. It was annoying that I forgot to charge it every day. I then looked down to see that I still had 10% battery.