Apple Watch SE review: the new entry-level model has it all

This year Apple is releasing not one, but two Apple Watches: the Apple Watch SE and the high-end Apple Watch Series 6. The Watch SE serves as an entry-level model, but it actually has everything you need.

This is our Apple Watch SE review

From this year, the Apple Watch has become a lot more versatile. Apple unveiled a budget model in addition to the premium Apple Watch Series 6 at the event on September 15. This Apple Watch SE has slightly fewer functions than the Series 6, but for many people, it will have everything you expect from a smart watch. We have extensively tested the Watch SE and in this article, you can read our findings.

Minor differences from the Series 6

A big advantage of the Apple Watch SE, and also an important difference with the Apple Watch Series 6, is the price. The SE version is more than a hundred euros cheaper than the Series 6. The 40-millimeter version of the Apple Watch Series 6 costs 429 euros. This is offset by a 40 millimeter Apple Watch SE of 299 euros, and you get a lot in return.Watch SE review

The Series 6 runs on a brand new S6 processor, while the SE has to make do with the S5 chip. That’s the exact same processor as the Series 5, but that’s not to say the Watch SE is slow. Far from experience shows that the SE works super fast. The Series 6 is of course faster, but in practice you notice very little of it.

In terms of material you don’t get a choice at the SE. The housing is always made of aluminum. With the Series 6 you also get the option to choose stainless steel or titanium in addition to aluminum. This of course also affects the price.

Furthermore, the always on display is missing from the SE, which you will find on the Apple Watch Series 5 and 6. The Series 6 also has the option to make heart movies and measure blood oxygen levels. However, these two functions are not indispensable and the question is whether you will really use these functions regularly.Watch SE

The fact that there is only one material option and the slightly faster chip of the Series 6 are differences that the average Watch user will not notice. The biggest differences are therefore the last three: the lack of the always on display, the sensor for heart films and the pulse oximeter.

Lots of deals for a lot less money

So there are many more similarities between the two new Apple Watches, which is also what makes the Watch SE such a good choice. The entry-level model has, just like the Series 6, Fall detection, SOS emergency notification, Sound measurement, Heart rate notifications and a Heart rate monitor.

The only thing missing from sensors here is the heart film and the pulse oximeter. And that pulse oximeter does not always work well, as our review of the Watch Series 6 shows . In addition, it is not reliable enough for medical use. You can of course ask yourself how important these three missing functions are to you, and whether you want to spend more than a hundred euros for them.


The design of the Watch SE fits in well with the other smartwatches from Apple. The SE looks exactly like the rest. While the Series 6 will be available for the first time in the new colors red and blue, the SE sticks to silver, black or rose gold.Apple Watch SE review

As far as we are concerned, that’s fine: if you want to brighten up the Watch with a color, you can do that with a strap. Although it is a budget model, the Apple Watch SE does not look cheaper than other Apple Watches. The front-filling OLED display is also excellent and the Digital Crown and normal side button are no different from previous Watch models.


As far as we are concerned, the Watch SE has everything you need. The Watch is water resistant, so you can safely take a shower or take a refreshing dip. In addition, the Watch SE neatly keeps track of your Activity Rings and gives you a notification when the device suspects that you are doing a workout.

The heart rate monitor also works great, and the new watchOS 7 sleep tracker ensures that the Apple Watch stays on my wrist at night. That brings me to a small downside: the battery life.

Battery life

Because the watchOS 7 Sleep app ensures that you keep the Apple Watch in bed, there is hardly a moment to charge the smartwatch. This makes it a shame that the battery only lasts one day. So there is a moment every day when you have to put the smart watch on the power.

This can be difficult, especially when you are out and about. In addition, you should make sure that your watch is charged in the evening before going to bed, otherwise the alarm will not go off the next morning. Fortunately, charging is very fast: after an hour your Apple Watch is fully charged and you can go forward all day.

No always on display

One of the biggest drawbacks of the Apple Watch SE is the lack of an always-on display. Now you have to turn your wrist or press the screen each time to see the time, while this is not necessary with the Series 5 and 6. If the Watch SE is your first Watch, you probably won’t miss this feature.Apple Watch SE - Apple

The fact that you can see the time continuously is useful, but it can also be distracting. Because the screen is not on continuously, the battery also lasts a little longer.

Perfect upgrade from the Series 3

If you have a Series 3 or older, we would no doubt recommend upgrading to a new Watch SE. The Series 3 is now outdated and also works slower. The Watch SE has all the functions you expect from a new Apple Watch, such as water resistance, fall detection and noise measurement. These new features will be a significant improvement when moving from a Series 3.

Conclusion Apple Watch SE review

There are so few differences from the latest Apple Watch Series 6 that you should personally consider how important these differences are to you. If you do not find making a heart movie or measuring your blood oxygen level important, then you are more than a hundred euros cheaper by choosing a Watch SE. However, if you’re used to an always-on display, the Watch SE may not be a good choice for you.

The Apple Watch SE is in any case the perfect model as a first smartwatch, or the good upgrade if you currently wear the Watch Series 3 or older on your wrist. The Watch SE will last for years and has all the basic functions. If you decide to purchase the SE, you will certainly not regret it.

Buy Apple Watch SE

Are you convinced after reading this review and do you want to buy an  Apple Watch SE? Then we give you a hand to score the best deal. Check out our handy Apple Watch SE price comparison where we have listed all recent deals for you.

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