Reviews

Is The Apple Watch SE Worth It?

Deciding whether or not to get an Apple watch is already a pretty big decision, as in all honesty the watch influenced my life quite a lot, as it allows me to always stay connected (both a positive and negative). Apple have now released the Apple Watch SE, which is meant to appeal to a wider market as a result of its lower price (retailing from $279). This is similar to what the iPhone SE was to the rest of the iPhone lineup, which proved to be a big hit when it was released. Now the question is, whether it is worth picking up one of these SE models, or whether you should try to get the Series 4/5/6 instead (we will even consider second-hand purchases). You will notice that I have discarded the series 3 that Apple continues to sell from this review – this is due to the fact that it doesn’t have the bigger screen that the other series have (38mm and and 42mm on S3 vs 40mm and 44mm on S4/5/6/SE). It also doesn’t have international emergency calling, fall detection, the compass, or the always-on altimeter (just has an altimeter). So in my opinion this option shouldn’t be one of your options!

Apple Watch SE Vs. Series 6 Vs. Series 3: Key Comparisons
From left to right: Series 6, SE and Series 3. Credit: Forbes

There are a number of reasons why I believe that the Apple Watch SE is perfect for the majority of people. Especially if it is your first Apple watch, this model makes a lot of sense due to the price point. Since it retails from $279 for the 40mm model and $309 for the 44mm model, this is currently far cheaper than even many of the Series 5 watches are selling for second-hand on facebook or eBay. So for the price you pay, which will be less than a second-hand Series 5, you get a brand NEW watch. This means that it won’t have any scratches or marks (and you of course get the amazing Apple original opening experience!). However, while the price may be lower, what features are you missing out on exactly?

Can you tell the difference between Apple Watch Series 4 (44mm) and Series 3  (42mm)?
Photo showing the difference in screen sizes between the older models (Series 3), and the newer models (Series 4 and up). Credit: The Mobile Spoon

Well you don’t get access to the ECG app and the blood oxygen app. Now, if you are wondering about what exactly those things are – then finish reading this post and just get the SE… All jokes aside, the Series 6 just adds a few medical features to the watch. The blood oxygen app is a good feature that uses reflective light to try and measure the amount of oxygen in your blood. This is actually a very cool feature. It just isn’t that accurate compared to a finger blood oxygen meter. Now, Apple doesn’t claim for this to be a certified medical device and so the inaccuracy of this, to some extent, has to be accepted. Another reason for the inaccuracy is that the wrist is not a good place to take a blood oxygen reading – if you take off the watch and place it on your finger (much better place to take a reading), the results are supposedly more accurate.

How to measure blood oxygen with the Apple Watch Series 6 and solve the  main problems
Apple Watch Blood Oxygen App. Credit: Apple

The series 4 and the SE also don’t have the always-on retina display. The always-on display is a fan favourite, and if you have tried it – you don’t want to go back to having to lift your wrist every time you want to check what time it is. The SE also claims to be up to 2x faster than the Series 3. The speed claims are hardly something I personally believe will be that noticeable. I had an Apple Watch Series 2 until recently and that always felt lightning fast. If my Series 2 felt fast (and I am a very impatient person), I genuinely don’t think that speed should be a factor when choosing which watch to buy.

Apple Watch Series 6 delivers breakthrough wellness and fitness  capabilities - Apple

Conclusion

I don’t like to make my posts longer than they need to be, so I won’t do that. Personally, for most people, the Apple Watch SE should be the ‘go-to’ Apple Watch. It is much cheaper, has a larger display and has all the fitness and notification capabilities that most people want from an Apple Watch. I would personally recommend this over a second-hand Series 5, as it will likely be cheaper (but you will not get the always-on display or the ECG). If you have the money and want the always-on display and the extra health features then go with the Series 6.

Low Budget option: Apple Watch SE

Mid-Budget option: Apple Watch Series 5 (Second-hand)

High-Budget option: Apple Watch Series 6

Discard the Series 3 the Apple continues to sell, and try to aim to get the Series 5 rather than the Series 4 if you want the Always-on display).

If you have found the advice helpful or think I could have written the post better in some way, then please let me know in the comments below.

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