Apple Watch SE
Last updated: 3 weeks ago
Apple revealed the more affordable Apple Watch SE during a September 2020 event. The device acts as a middle ground for those who don't want an older Apple Watch Series 3 but balk at the price of the latest models. The device is pushed towards first-time buyers and children.
● Uses newer design
● S5 SiP processor
● Silver, space gray, or gold
● 40mm and 44mm sizes
● cellular available
● Starts at $279
The Apple Watch SE offers an affordable entry price with a modern design, chipset, and feature set. It occupies the space between the Apple Watch Series 6 and Apple Watch Series 3 as an ideal option for most users who want the baseline Watch experience.
Apple Watch SE Pricing
The 40mm Watch is $279, and the 44mm Watch is $309. Add $50 for a cellular model plus the cost of a monthly cellular plan.
Apple Watch SE Features
Display and Sensors
The Retina display last seen in the Apple Watch Series 4 returns to this lower-priced model. It lacks always-on features, but still has the edge-to-edge design and bright OLED colors.
Raise-to-wake returns as users will need to perform the gesture to see the display. The accelerometer, always-on altimeter, and gyroscope are the same ones found in the Apple Watch Series 6, so gestures and tracking will be just as accurate.
The Digital Crown has the same haptic feedback as the Apple Watch Series 5. The microphone and speaker are both the latest iterations as well.
The budget-friendly Apple Watch uses Apple's S5 system-in-package, the same Apple Silicon used in the Apple Watch Series 5. The dual-core chip is twice as fast as the Apple Watch Series 3, providing fast performance and updates for years to come.
Fall detection is available in this model. When a user falls, the Watch can use advanced algorithms to detect a fall based on wrist trajectory and impact acceleration. If a user is unresponsive after a fall, the Apple Watch will call emergency services after a 60-second delay.
The microphone continuously measures ambient noise to alert users to potential hearing health risks. If the decibel level gets too high, an alert will notify users and suggest they move away from the noise. It tracks noise levels over time to determine overall hearing health.
The new model retains the heart-rate sensor that has been in every generation of Apple Watch. It alerts users to abnormal heartbeats or increased heart rates. These alerts have saved many lives as they direct users to seek medical help before potential cardiac arrest or other events.
Apple introduced watchOS 7 at WWDC in June 2020, announcing new features that launched alongside the Apple Watch SE reveal in September.
There are seven new watch face options:
- Chronograph Pro
Apple introduced new health capabilities alongside the watch faces. The latest OS can track a user's sleep or provide a timer when a user washes their hands. The Apple Watch still tracks noise levels automatically and will warn you if an environment is too loud.
Apple Maps was updated with new features for cycling directions. Now users can get cycling information directly on their Apple Watch.
Family Setup lets you set up your children's Apple Watches without needing to have their own iPhone. Children in the household get their own phone number for each Apple Watch, allowing the family to keep in touch even if the kids don't have phones.
Family Setup lets parents specify with which contacts children can communicate. Parents can also get automatic location notifications, so they can keep tabs on where their family is. Kids can use their Apple Watch to track their movement and all Apple Watch activity features.
Schooltime Mode is a feature that helps kids stay focused, limiting available features and activating Do Not Disturb during the school day, while giving them a unique watch face.
Family Setup requires cellular Apple Watches, Series 4 or later.
What it lacks
The Apple Watch SE is about the features it has as much as it is about the features it lacks. Two major health features present in the latest Apple Watch are not present here: ECG and blood-oxygen detection.
The ECG feature creates an electrical circuit using the heart-rate sensor on the Watch and a finger placed on the Digital Crown. It then takes an electrocardiogram over 30 seconds to determine if any issues are there.
The Apple Watch Series 6 can take blood-oxygen levels during use and manually by doing a 15-second reading. This information can determine how much oxygen passes into the bloodstream, indicating lung conditions and other ailments.
Common Apple Watch SE questions
When did the Apple Watch Series SE release?
Apple released the latest Apple Watches on September 18, 2020 after the "Time Flies" event.
What health features does the Apple Watch Series SE have?
The Apple Watch SE is designed to be a budget model, so some advanced health features are missing. It still has fall detection, abnormal heartbeat warnings, and all the popular workout tracking systems. It does not have the ECG function nor the blood oxygen detection features found in the Apple Watch Series 6.
Does the Apple Watch SE work with Family Setup?
Yes. You must have a cellular model to setup the Apple Watch without a paired iPhone. Using this process allows parents and caretakers to set up an Apple Watch for their child or elderly family member with restrictions and controls.
How much does the Apple Watch SE cost?
Apple Watch SE pricing starts at $279 for 40mm. The 44mm Apple Watch SE starts at $309.