The Apple Watch SE is the company's smartwatch offering to users looking for a more budget-friendly option. The smartwatch is a more affordable alternative but comes with certain limitations.
Like the iPhone SE, the Apple Watch SE is a less-expensive product that offers the Apple experience on a budget. However, it's still a relatively premium offering in a market that has suddenly seen cheaper alternatives emerge.
Investing in a standard smartwatch comes with several advantages. The Apple Watch SE is a budget-friendly offering that makes some careful tradeoffs.
Apple Watch SE offers a premium experience, but it does have its limitations
The Apple Watch SE is completing its second year and is not exactly a new product. Apple launched the product in 2020 (following an announcement in 2019), and it has delivered on what was promised.
The watch runs on the same chip in the Series 5, as both were released around the same time. However, unlike the iPhone SE, the smartwatch hasn't been upgraded with a Series 6 or Series 7 chip.
The S5 chip has proven reliable, and the same can be said about the entire series. The Apple Watch SE is a mix of some older models like the S3 and S4 and relatively newer models like the S6. Compared to the latter, the SE version doesn't have features like the ECG or Blood Oxygen monitor.
However, the lack of these features also means that the product can be priced more competitively. The product is available at $279, which is less than the price of the S6.
Despite being a budget option, the device comes in two variants, with a display of either 40 mm or 44 mm. There have also been specialized editions made in collaboration with Nike in the past, offering a more rugged version of the watch. In terms of aesthetics, there can be very few complaints as this isn't really an area where compromises were made.
Although the device comes with an OLED display, it doesn't sport the always-on feature incorporated in the Series 7. Again, this is a feature many prefer to disable on their smartwatch, since it can be a significant drain on the battery.
The real strength of the Apple Watch SE is the sensor that offers the same accuracy and reliability found in products like the Series 7. Despite having fewer features, the budget option offers an accelerometer and gyroscope. In simpler terms, the device can accurately measure the steps walked and the calories burned, and also monitor the user's heart rate, among others.
The device is a solid offering at its price. Some believe that the iPhone SE is a mixed bag because of the compromises it makes to lower the price tag. However, Apple has found the perfect balance here. The ECG feature, for example, is a novelty in most cases (unless someone has chronic heart issues).
There are rumors about a new generation of SE smartwatches that are currently in the works, and a reveal could come later in September. However, there's been no confirmation in this regard, and even if there's a new device, it likely won't sport any radical changes. Unless the user requires ECG or Oxymeters, the Apple Watch SE remains a highly viable option for those who want an alternative to the brand's more expensive choices.