If you’re in the market for a new smartwatch; you absolutely must compare the Apple Watch SE 2 to the original Apple Watch SE. At a presentation on September 7; Apple introduced a new Apple Watch that is priced lower than previous models.
In 2020, Apple debuted the Apple Watch SE; which offered a “simplified” Apple Watch experience for $279 (instead of the standard $399). The Apple Watch 6’s always-on display; ECG reader, and SpO2 sensor set it apart from the Apple Watch SE.
So, what new features does the Apple Watch SE (2022) have over its predecessor? Our preliminary hands-on experience indicates that there are significant enhancements. While the Apple Watch Series 8 and Apple Watch SE (2022) use the same chipset; the latter costs an extra $100. When compared to the original Apple Watch SE’s initial price of $299; this one is a steal at just $249. Since the Apple Watch 3 is not among the devices that are compatible with watchOS 9; the Apple Watch SE (2022) may now be the greatest Apple Watch for people on a tighter budget.
The 40mm Apple Watch SE priced $279/£269/AU$429 and the 44mm GPS-only variant cost $309/£299/AU$479. Cellular model cost $329/£319/AU$499.
Apple no longer sells these versions, focusing instead on the Apple Watch SE 2. If you want to buy the original Apple Watch SE, a third-party vendor will likely have discounts.
Apple Watch SE 2 GPS costs $249/£259/AU$399 and cellular costs $299/£299/AU$479. It’s cheaper than Apple Watch SE at launch.
Apple Watch costs vary by band and casing.
Winner: The Apple Watch SE 2 is cheaper than the Apple Watch SE unless it’s on sale.
Apple Watch SE
The Apple Watch SE looks like every single Apple Watch since the Apple Watch 4 in 2018.
The same curving contour; which folds neatly into the OLED display (more on that in a moment), is present and accurate, packing the Digital Crown.
Below it is the power / multitasking button, which lets you access recently-opened programmes.
Despite being cheaper, the design isn’t compromised.
On the underside of the Watch SE are the heart rate monitor’s green LEDs, which bulge slightly but can’t be felt on the wrist.
Solo Loop, a new band style launching in 2020, looks cool. It’s a silicone (or braided silicon) loop that stretches over your hand to put on and take off your Watch SE.
Apple sent us the largest and third-largest sizes, turning our Apple Watch SE into a bangle.
Usually, you’d go to an Apple Store and get fitted, but in today’s Covid world, people are less inclined to do that; the alternative is to print off a paper sizing guide, which seems stressful.
There are plenty of alternative bands to select from, so you’ll always find something to suit, but they’re pricy and not always easy to put on and take off. We wish Apple would build a strap that’s easier to replace.
Unlike the Apple Watch 6, there are no fancy new colours for the Apple Watch SE. Cook’s Crew is keeping the red colouring for the flagship Watch to tempt buyers to spend a bit extra for the best-looking choice. The Watch SE comes in gold, silver, or space grey.
Apple Watch SE 2
This is Apple’s smallest watch, measuring 40mm and 44mm.
It has the Digital Crown and power/app button on the right and a crystal-covered heart rate sensor on the back, but this has been upgraded with the Watch SE 2.
Using ‘nylon-infused’ material, Apple made the Watch SE 2’s back match the aluminium frame, making it look more unified off the wrist. It’s not a major adjustment, but it’ll look better out of the box.
Wearing the Watch SE 2 is relatively normal for anyone who’s used an Apple Watch: it’s lightweight, the screen is legible (and as bright as the Watch 8), and it’s easy to swipe through and engage with apps on the go.
If you’re selecting between the Watch SE 2 and the Watch 8, you’re missing a few crucial things: no extra sensors for temperature, blood oxygen, or ECG monitoring, and a smaller, always-on screen. For many, these won’t be big losses, especially given the cheaper price.
You do receive automated car crash detection, which alerts emergency services if you’re in an accident.
Again, we couldn’t verify this, but the enhanced gyroscope and accelerometer found in more costly watches make it possible.
Apple Watch SE battery life is longer than Apple claims. The brand claims 18 hours of battery life, but you’ll get far more.
Due to the Watch SE’s off-most-of-the-time display, we got 24-36 hours of use with a full charge, even when using the GPS for 45 minutes to two hours every day.
Despite having the outdated S5 chipset, the Watch SE had better battery life than the Watch 5 at launch because to the display and OS enhancements.
The SE lacks heart rate and blood oxygen monitoring, which can drain the battery.
We say’most’ since watchOS 7’s new sleep monitoring feature has issues.
24 hours is a hard battery life number for sleep tracking. Charging the Watch SE to 100% from empty should take about two and a half hours (we timed it closer to two). If you don’t want to charge it overnight, that’s a tough time frame to find during the day.
You’ll wind up’spot-charging’ here and there to keep your Watch topped off; and unless you have a routine that makes that easy at the same time each day, you’ll fast need to charge it overnight every few days, losing sleep data.
By slotting in the new S8 chip, Apple has played a masterstroke. The ‘cheap’ Apple Watch now includes quick charging and low-power mode.
The Watch SE 2 is only designed to last 18 hours on a single charge. Therefore you can stretch it to a couple of days if you’re not working out every day. Even if you are, a quick top-up will be easier with the faster charger.
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