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Compared: Apple Watch Series 8 versus new Apple Watch SE

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Apple released the Apple Watch Series 8 alongside an updated Apple Watch SE on September 7. Here's how they compare with one another.

The Apple Watch SE is an affordable model for buyers on a budget or parents wanting to purchase an Apple Watch for their children. On the other hand, the Apple Watch Series 8 has more advanced features that could make it a worthwhile upgrade from the Apple Watch Series 7 or older.

Apple Watch SE 2022 vs Apple Watch Series 8 - Specifications

SpecificationsApple Watch SE 2022Apple Watch Series 8
Price (starting)$249.00$399.00
Sizes40mm, 44mm41mm, 45mm
DisplayLTPO OLED Retina
1,000 nits brightness
LTPO OLED Retina
Always-on display
1,000 nits brightness
Increased crack-resistance
Case MaterialsAluminumAluminum
Stainless Steel
ProcessorS8 SiPS8 SiP
Health SensorsSecond-generation optical heart sensorThird-generation optical heart sensor
ECG
Blood oxygen sensor
Temperature sensor
Fall Detection
Crash Detection with watchOS 9
Water Resistance50 meters50 meters
Dust Resistance-IP6X
Battery LifeUp to 18 hoursUp to 36 hours with Low Power Mode
RechargingWirelessWireless
USB-C Fast Charging
ConnectivityLTE
UMTS
Wi-Fi
Bluetooth 5.3
GPS/GNSS
LTE
UMTS
Wi-Fi
Bluetooth 5.3
GPS/GNSS
Other SensorsEmergency SOS
Fall Detection
Crash Detection
Always-on altimeter
Accelerometer
Gyroscope
GPS/GNSS
Compass
Barometric altimeter
Accelerometer
Gyroscope
Ambient light sensor
Colors (Aluminum)Midnight
Starlight
Silver
Starlight
Midnight
Silver
PRODUCT(RED)
Colors (Stainless Steel)-Gold
Graphite
Silver

Apple Watch SE 2022 vs Apple Watch Series 8 - Case Sizes

The size of the Apple Watch SE hasn't changed from previous models, and it is available in 40 and 44mm options. The Apple Watch Series 8 comes in larger 41mm and 45mm display sizes introduced with the Apple Watch Series 7.

Apple Watch SE 2022 vs Apple Watch Series 8 - Materials and Weight

As the budget option, the Apple Watch SE is only available in aluminum, while the Apple Watch Series 8 comes in aluminum and stainless steel.

Apple redesigned the back case on the Apple Watch SE 2022 to use a new production process that reduces carbon emissions by over 80%. It's made of a nylon composite material that makes it lighter than previous models.

The company didn't otherwise say how the new production process differs from the old one.

The redesigned Compass app provides more in-depth information and new zoomable views
The redesigned Compass app provides more in-depth information and new zoomable views

The Apple Watch SE 40mm model is 40mm by 34 mm by 10.7mm. The GPS variant weighs 26.4 grams, and the cellular model is 27.8 grams.

The Apple Watch Series 8 41mm model is 41mm by 35mm by 10.7mm, and the 45mm model is 45mm by 38mm by 10.7mm.

The 41mm Apple Watch Series 8 weighs 32 grams (aluminum, GPS, GPS + Cellular) and 42.3 grams for stainless steel. The bigger 45mm size is 38.8 grams (aluminum, GPS, GPS + Cellular) and 51.5 grams for stainless steel.

Apple Watch SE 2022 vs Apple Watch Series 8 - Display

The two models share the same display, reaching up to 1,000 nits of brightness. The screen is Retina low-temperature polycrystalline oxide (LTPO) OLED.

There are a lot of resolutions at play between the two models, given their physical size differences.

The Apple Watch SE has a 324 by 394 display for its 40mm model, 368 by 448 for the 44mm version. Meanwhile the Series 8 uses a 352 by 430 resolution display for the 41mm, and a 396 x 484 resolution for the 45mm version.

The Apple Watch Series 8 feature's an always-on display, which can be read at all times. The Apple Watch SE doesn't have this facility, so you will only see the display if you wake it, typically by raising your wrist.

Apple Watch SE 2022 vs Apple Watch Series 8 - Processor

Despite being a low-budget model, the Apple Watch SE 2022 received the latest S8 processor found inside the Apple Watch Series 8. As a result, it's up to 20% faster than the Apple Watch SE 2020.

The Apple Watch Series 8 includes Apple's U1 chip (Ultra Wideband). This powers location tracking and discoverability when it's lost within the Find My app and other location-aware features. The Apple Watch SE does not have this chip.

Apple Watch SE 2022 vs Apple Watch Series 8 - Health and Fitness

The Apple Watch Series 8 has a third-generation optical heart sensor, an electrical heart sensor for the ECG app, a blood oxygen sensor, and a new temperature sensor. The temperature sensor enables menstrual cycle tracking with retrospective ovulation estimates.

A temperature feature on Apple Watch Series 8
A temperature feature on Apple Watch Series 8

Temperature sensing involves one sensor on the back of the watch, nearest the skin, and another just under the display to reduce bias from the environment.

The Apple Watch SE has a second-generation optical heart sensor that can alert users of unusually high or low heart rates or irregular rhythm. Unfortunately, it's not capable of taking an ECG, so AFib results are not going to be available for the device.

Apple Watch SE 2022 vs Apple Watch Series 8 - Battery

Battery life for the Apple Watch SE is up to 18 hours, and the Apple Watch Series 8 can reach an identical 18 hours normally, up to 36 hours with Low Power Mode.

Each model includes a USB-C magnetic charging cable. The Apple Watch Series 8 can fast charge, while the Apple Watch SE cannot.

Apple Watch SE 2022 vs Apple Watch Series 8 - Other Features

Both Apple Watch models include Fall Detection. Introduced with the Apple Watch Series 4 in 2018, it uses the accelerometer to detect if a person has experienced a severe fall and asks what happened.

Crash Detection on Apple Watch Series 8
Crash Detection on Apple Watch Series 8

If it was a false positive, or the wearer fell but isn't hurt, they can tap the "I'm OK" button on display. If the person doesn't tap I'm OK, the Apple Watch automatically contacts emergency services after a certain amount of time, around one minute.

Both models also include Crash Detection, a new feature that uses various sensors and a microphone to detect if the wearer was in a severe car crash. This feature found within watchOS 9 can also automatically notify emergency services if the wearer is unresponsive.

Apple Watch SE 2022 vs Apple Watch Series 8 - Pricing, Storage, and Colors

The Apple Watch SE 2022 is available in midnight, starlight, and silver. The Apple Watch Series 8 aluminum model comes in midnight, starlight, silver, and (PRODUCT)RED. Stainless steel is available in graphite, silver, and gold.

Both models have 32GB of storage, with no other storage options.

Apple lowered the starting price of the Apple Watch SE 2022, now at $249 for the smaller 40mm size with Wi-Fi connectivity.

The Apple Watch Series 8 starts at $399 for the aluminum model and $499 for GPS + Cellular. The 45mm Wi-Fi-only model starts at $429.

Apple Watch Series 8 (PRODUCT)RED
Apple Watch Series 8 (PRODUCT)RED

Pricing for each model also depends on what kind of band is included. For example, an aluminum Apple Watch Series 8 with a Solo Loop band starts at $399, while a stainless steel model with a Sport Loop band starts at $699. A stainless steel Apple Watch Series, 8 with a Leather Link band, starts at $749.

Apple Watch SE 2022 vs Apple Watch Series 8 - What to Buy

The Apple Watch SE is an obvious choice for budget-conscious shoppers. Given the small gap between the SoC in both units, it's not a significant upgrade from the Apple Watch SE 2020 model.

The Apple Watch Series 8 brings a faster SoC, better battery life, and a new sensor.

Owners of the Apple Watch SE 2020 may be tempted by the new Crash Detection feature. It arrives with watchOS 9 but requires upgraded components only found within new Apple Watch models.

For new and existing customers, the new temperature sensor could be a reason for women to purchase the Apple Watch Series 8. Apple promoted the temperature sensor for women's health, but it will likely have other uses in the future.

Where to buy the Apple Watch SE 2022 and Apple Watch Series 8

AppleInsider readers can save $15 on AppleCare for the Apple Watch Series 8 and SE 2022 with this activation link and promo code APINSIDER at Apple Authorized Reseller Adorama.

The 2022 Apple Watches can also be purchased at Amazon and Best Buy.