The long-awaited Apple keynote brought us the debut of the Apple Watch 6 and the much more affordable Apple Watch SE.
Starting at $280 for the GPS-only model, it’s at least $120 cheaper than the Apple Watch 6 and shares a lot of the features.
Is it an actual upgrade from your current Apple Watch, though?
The answer is “depends on what you have” and, of course, what you can live without.
At a glance, a budget-oriented shopper will notice the Apple Watch SE offers just a bit less than the Apple Watch 5, even though the 40 mm and 44 mm displays are tempting.
The new dual-core S5 SiP chip offers a 20% improvement in performance but the Apple Watch SE doesn’t have an ECG or an always-on display like the Series 5.
If you have the time and energy to bargain hunt, the older model might be a better bet.
Now let’s see what the Apple Watch SE does bring to the table.
The Apple Watch SE features fall detection, a compass and an always-on altimeter showing your elevation at all times.
It would be a great gift for family members, as fall detection is a great feature for the elderly.
However, since it’s significantly cheaper than the Series 6, it doesn’t have the blood oxygen sensor and app, nor the ECG app.
If you’re looking for those health features, the Series 4, 5 and 6 are a better investment, but that’s to be expected, since the Apple Watch SE is an entry-level model.
The only way to really feel an upgrade is to jump from the Apple Series 3.
The SE has the same large display like the Apple Series 6, which is 30% larger than an Apple Series 3.
Since an Apple Watch 3 now goes for around $200, if you go for this upgrade you get the bigger screen, plus the new chip, which promises double the performance of the S3, for just $70. It’s nice to see that the previous rumors were true!
That’s not to mention it also comes with three months of Apple’s Fitness+, the new subscription-based workout program.
The Apple Watch SE is only available in a recycled aluminum model, with silver, space gray and gold for the display.
If you want more color options, the Apple Series 6 has blue and (PRODUCT)RED, which redirects money to people impacted by HIV/AIDS.