Apple Watch SE evaluate: The very best compromise between value and options

Apple Watch SE evaluate: The very best compromise between value and options

The Apple Watch SE is the most effective worth smartwatch you should buy and has been awarded CNET’s Editors’ Alternative for 2020. It would not have the superior well being sensors that the Collection 6 affords, or the always-on show, however it has every little thing else we love about Apple Watch for lots much less.  


  • Nice worth smartwatch
  • Fall detection and coronary heart well being notifications
  • Spectacular health options
  • Shiny and responsive contact display screen
  • Seamless integration with iPhone

Do not Like

  • No always-on show
  • Will be gradual to load sure apps
  • You continue to must cost it day by day
  • Costly choice for teenagers

Earlier than testing out the $279 (£269, AU$429) Apple Watch SE, I used to be satisfied I needed to spend no less than $120 extra on the Apple Watch Collection 6. I am a well being and health nut, so the concept of taking blood oxygen ranges and an ECG from my wrist utilizing the dearer watch was interesting. However after sporting each the Collection 6 and the SE for 2 weeks, I quickly realized the SE did every little thing I wanted.

The Apple Watch SE misses out on an always-on show and further well being sensors, however each of Apple’s new smartwatches give excessive and low heart-rate notifications, are available a mobile model and have security options like fall detection. 

Learn extra: Apple Watch Collection 6 vs. SE: Apple’s 2 latest smartwatches in contrast

Increase to wake display screen and processing energy is quick sufficient

If that is your first Apple Watch, otherwise you’re upgrading from a Collection Three or earlier, all it’s essential know is that the display screen on the Apple Watch SE is fast to wake on the flip of your wrist, easy to navigate utilizing the digital crown and simple to see in broad daylight. It seems to be precisely the identical as each different Apple Watch earlier than it, with two sizes (40mm or 44mm) and the slimmer bezels that Apple first launched within the Collection 4. However if you happen to’re seeking to improve from a Collection Four or Collection 5, the SE will not really feel like a lot of a step up.

The one large distinction between the SE and the Collection 6 (and Collection 5) screens is that it would not have an always-on show. By the point I examined out the Apple Watch SE, I had already been sporting the Apple Watch Collection 5 for nearly a yr. And as petty because it sounds, with the Watch SE it is exhausting to return to elevating my wrist to wake the display screen. An always-on show makes glancing at your stats throughout a exercise rather a lot simpler and is one thing you in all probability will not know you want till you attempt it.

The Apple Watch SE is quick at opening apps, taking calls and making funds, however it will probably take a bit longer than the Collection 6 to load some data-rich apps just like the information or climate. However you are in all probability not going to note until you are evaluating it immediately with the dearer watch. The SE has Apple’s S5 chip, the identical one present in final yr’s Collection 5. 

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Apple Watch SE and Apple Watch Collection 6 comparability


New loops, acquainted design

The Apple Watch SE is available in silver, gold and house grey in an aluminum end, with no different shade choices just like the Collection 6 has, however you’ll be able to boost the look with totally different band choices. 

Apple just lately launched a brand new sort of silicone band referred to as the Solo Loop with no clasps or buckles. It stretches like a rubber band round your wrist. As a result of there are not any overlapping elements, you’ll be able to’t alter the strap as soon as it is on, so you will have to verify to order the fitting dimension. Apple despatched me a dimension Four loop with my evaluate unit of the Apple Watch SE, and it felt a bit cosy. Had I measured my wrist earlier than ordering, which Apple recommends, I in all probability would’ve been higher off with a dimension up. The loop will stretch a bit over time, nevertheless, so if you happen to’re in between sizes it is in all probability greatest to go a dimension down. The Solo Loop prices $50 by itself, the identical value as a alternative silicone sports activities band. 

You even have extra watch face choices with WatchOS 7, together with an Animoji and Memoji choice that permits you to customise your personal avatar on the watch. 

Apple Watch SE as a cellphone different for teenagers or older adults

Household Setup helps you to configure a second Apple Look ahead to both your children or aged members of the family from a single iPhone

CNET’s Scott Stein arrange the Apple Watch SE for his 11-year-old son for just a few weeks and stated it was nice for maintaining in contact together with his child when out and about, however not fairly as interesting as a cellphone — which can really be a superb factor if you happen to’re not prepared to provide your children a smartphone. Children can nonetheless keep linked however haven’t got temptations like social media or net searching that include having a bigger display screen. You may program location alerts from the mother or father’s iPhone, designate which contacts they will talk with and restrict use throughout sure hours with a mode referred to as College Time. 

The second watch must have its personal cellphone quantity, so Household Setup solely works with the mobile model of the Apple Watch Collection 4 or later. With that watch and the Collection 5 now discontinued, which means the $329 Apple Watch SE with mobile is the most cost effective technique to give your children an Apple Watch with Household Setup. And that is not precisely low-cost contemplating the iPhone SE is just $70 extra. 

That stated, you are additionally getting a well being tracker in addition to a communication system. Scott stated that whereas maintaining tabs on the well being information of his son felt a bit bizarre, it may very well be an enormous profit when taking good care of aged members of the family from afar. 

Fall detection and different well being options

Regardless that the Apple Watch SE would not have Apple’s FDA-cleared ECG or blood oxygen apps just like the Collection 6, it nonetheless has loads of well being options to boast about. together with fall detection and coronary heart well being notifications, which might be useful when caring for getting older dad and mom.  

If the wearer has taken a tough fall and stays immobile for a sure period of time, the watch will mechanically contact emergency companies and ship a message with the GPS coordinates to emergency contacts. 

It additionally lets you understand if you happen to expertise an abnormally low or excessive coronary heart charge, or if it detects an irregular coronary heart rhythm which may be indicative of atrial fibrillation (aFib), a critical coronary heart situation. 

The Apple Watch even retains observe of noise ranges and sends you a notification when it detects ranges that may very well be dangerous to your listening to. I’ve needed to disable that characteristic as a result of I stored getting noise alerts throughout bathtub time and bedtime when my children have been squealing or crying.

If you happen to’re over the age of 55, most of those well being options will likely be turned on by default, but when not, you will have to show them on manually from the Watch app in your iPhone. The identical goes if you happen to’re giving an Apple Watch to members of the family. 


The Apple Watch SE has the identical design because the flagship Collection 6 minus the always-on show. 

Vanessa Hand Orellana/CNET

Among the finest health trackers on the market 

The Apple Watch is one in all my favourite health trackers. Its exercise ring system helps hold me trustworthy about how a lot (or how little) I am shifting, which has been particularly exhausting to gauge whereas working at residence. It additionally provides you month-to-month challenges to maintain you motivated, provides you a breakdown of longer-term traits throughout the Actions app in your cellphone and calculates your cardio health ranges utilizing your estimated VO2 Max (most oxygen consumption).

It tracks over 40 totally different workouts together with dance, yoga, swimming and climbing, and may detect some mechanically so you will nonetheless get credit score even if you happen to neglect to start out a exercise manually. The SE additionally has a brand new always-on altimeter than tracks elevation in actual time just like the Collection 6. 

And coming quickly to the Apple Watch: the brand new Health Plus app that gives guided exercises that you simply management out of your wrist and may stream in your iPhone, iPad or Apple TV for $10 a month or $80 a yr to take residence exercises to the subsequent stage.  

Native sleep monitoring on the Apple Watch is bare-bones

With the replace to WatchOS 7 within the fall, the Apple Watch Collection 3 and later can now observe your sleep. Not like different sleep-tracking wearables just like the Fitbit Sense, Oura ring or cellphone apps, the watch would not break down the standard of your sleep into mild or deep sleep. As an alternative, it focuses on period and helps you identify a greater bedtime routine by prompting you to go to mattress. The Apple Watch SE can even offer you a breakdown of your coronary heart charge throughout the night time, however you will want the Collection 6 to get blood oxygen or SpO2 ranges.

The Watch focuses on establishing a bedtime routine that will help you wind down from the day 30 minutes earlier than sleep that includes turning off all notifications on all of your units. That is nice in concept, however it hasn’t performed a lot to assist me get to mattress earlier as my most efficient work time is normally at night time after my children have gone to mattress, so I hold disabling the sleep mode. I additionally have not discovered the sleep data to be that useful but, however I can see the worth in having coronary heart charge information and finally SpO2 information (with the Collection 6) whilst you sleep to debate together with your physician if you happen to suspect you will have a sleep-related situation. 

Battery life is nice for a day after which some 

As a result of the Apple Watch has at all times had brief battery life (generally lasting lower than a full day), I used to be pleasantly shocked by how a lot I used to be in a position to get out of the SE. Whereas battery life hasn’t improved dramatically in contrast with its predecessors, on most days it surpassed Apple’s 18-hour declare and I used to be in a position to log a full night time of sleep and nonetheless squeeze in just a few additional hours of use within the morning. 

This may range relying on use, however until you go for a really lengthy out of doors exercise, you are most definitely going to make it to the tip of the day with no less than the 30% cost wanted for monitoring an evening of sleep. I did a side-by-side with the Collection 6 and each drained about 8% after a 30-minute out of doors jog. 

The very best Apple Watch with virtually every little thing you want 

If you happen to’re an iPhone consumer and have been debating whether or not or to not get an Apple Watch, that is the one you must get. The Apple Watch SE has sufficient well being, health and sensible options to make it value your whereas, however its lower cost makes it rather more accessible than the flagship Apple Watch. If you happen to do want extra superior well being options, or the always-on show, you’ll be able to’t go mistaken with the Apple Watch Collection 6, which we have additionally reviewed. What I do not know but is whether or not I can advocate shopping for a $300-plus Apple Watch SE for a kid. My children are nonetheless too younger anyway, but when it will assist hold them linked with out getting them hooked on screens, then perhaps it’s going to show to be a worthy funding in spite of everything. 

Apple Watch SE specs

Form Rectangle
Watch dimension 40mm, 44mm
Supplies/finishes Aluminum
Show dimension, decision 1.5 in (977 sq mm), 1.7 in (759 sq mm) Retina OLED 368×448 pixels
Colours Silver, house grey, gold
All the time on show No
Interchangeable bands Sure
GPS Constructed-in
Computerized exercise detection Sure
Compass Sure
Altimeter Sure, at all times on
Water resistance Sure, as much as 50m
Calls Sure
Notifications Textual content replies
Microphone Sure
Speaker Sure
Voice assistant Siri
Music Onboard, playback and streaming (with Mobile mannequin)
Cellular funds Apple Pay
Sleep monitoring Sure
Interval monitoring Sure
Particular options Coronary heart well being notifications, listening to well being alerts
Emergency options Fall detection, Emergency SOS
Compatibility iOS/iPhone solely
Software program WatchOS 7
Processor S5 chip with 64-bit dual-core processor
Connectivity Wi-Fi and Mobile choices
Storage 32GB
Energy Magnetic Apple charging cable (no wall charger)
Battery life All day (18 hours)
US value $279 (40mm, Wi-Fi solely), $329 (40mm, LTE)
UK value £269 (40mm, Wi-Fi solely), £319 (40mm, LTE)
Australia value AU$429 (40mm, Wi-Fi solely), AU$499 (40mm, LTE)

First revealed Oct. 7

The data contained on this article is for academic and informational functions solely and isn’t meant as well being or medical recommendation. All the time seek the advice of a doctor or different certified well being supplier relating to any questions you will have a few medical situation or well being aims.

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