Apple Watch SE

Apple Watch SE

The Apple Watch SE is a full featured smartwatch released in September 2020. Apple has been manufacturing smartwatches since 2015 and are currently on their 6th generation. This generation offers evolutionary improvements and consists of 2 watches: the SE and the Series 6 flagship.

The SE is using the new Apple S5 Chip processor. While this processor is branded as an improvement over the previous S4 chip, reports indicate it is just a rebadged S4. You should expect no improvements in processing performance.

The operating system for the SE is watchOS (Apple’s operating system designed for smartwatches). Currently on version 7, this operating system is very polished and works well.  Like all Apple Watches, the SE has access to the App Store which is a great feature. Many other smartwatches use proprietary operating systems that have no access to 3rd party apps.

Design

The SE has a rectangular watch face design with a aluminum case.  This stays true to the rectangular design of previous Apple watches. The watch is available in the following colors: silver, gray, gold. While many people prefer a more traditional circular watch, the SE has an attractive design and build quality is excellent. This smartwatch is not too big at 44 x 38 x 10.4 mm and weighs 36.4g. The watch is slim with a thickness of 10.4 mm. It is comfortable and can be worn while sleeping.

The SE can be purchased with either a 24mm polyester or fluoroelastomer strap. Fluoroelastomer is a synthetic rubber strap that is supposed to be more resistant to heat, moisture and oil than silicone. Both strap types are good quality, quite comfortable and the number of choices is impressive. Changing straps is also easy on the SE.

Apple Watch SE Colors

You can interact with the watch using the touchscreen, 1 physical button and digital crown. The digital crown is a unique feature that provides haptic feedback. When rotating the crown, you will feel clicks and bumps depending on where you are in the system. This feedback works very well.

The rectangular touchscreen is also excellent with no lag. Fonts, menus and icons can easily be read and navigation is not too complex.

Apple Watch SE Crown

The SE has a 5ATM water resistance rating which allows for swimming and showers. Unlike many smartwatches that exaggerate their water resistance, the Apple Watch SE performs well in pools and showers. The watch comes with a water lock mode that disables the touchscreen. The watch can be unlocked by turning the digital crown. This will also clear water from the watch and speaker.

Screen

The screen of the SE is one of the highlights of this smartwatch. The 1.78″ Retina LTPO OLED with 448 x 368 pixels delivers a high-quality visual experience. Indoors the display is excellent while outdoors it is good.

The SE uses Sapphire Glass to protect the screen. That being said, this is not a rugged watch and we imagine most people looking to purchase would not be doing activities that will be damaging the watch.

Unfortunately, the watch does not have an always on screen option like its more expensive sibling the Apple Watch Series 6. The watch allows for custom watchfaces which is a nice feature.

Battery

Apple claims that typical usage battery life is 0.75 days. Real world battery life matches this claim and is one of the biggest disappointments of this watch. Some smartwatches have battery life measured in weeks not days, albeit these watches typically have less functionality then what is found in the Apple Watch SE.

Connectivity Features

From a connectivity perspective, the SE has good functionality and can receive and respond to notifications from the watch. Like all Apple watches, the SE only works with an Apple iPhone (on iOS 14 or later) and the watch does a good job complementing the phone for notifications and calls.

The SE has both a speaker and a microphone and has the ability to both answer and place calls via Bluetooth. The speaker and microphone work well for both incoming and outgoing calls. The speaker can be used to play music stored on the 32GB internal memory.

The SE does not have a camera and the standard version does not have does not have cellular connectivity. Note there is a 4G LTE version of the SE. The LTE version is a good option if you are looking to completely replace your smartphone with your smartwatch.

On the positive side, the SE does come with built-in GPS. GPS connectivity is fast and accuracy is good. Some additional features are fall detection and emergency SOS.

Finally, Near Field Communication (NFC) is supported and you can use this smartwatch to make payments using Apple Pay. This is another big benefit for this smartwatch. Many competitors cannot boast a payment option with their smartwatches.

Apple Watch SE Payments

Health and Fitness Features

The SE comes with 8 sensors: Accelerometer, Altimeter, Ambient light, Barometer, Compass, Gyroscope, Heart Rate Monitor (HRM). These cover quite a bit of fitness functions and even some health areas. These sensors allow you to track the following 11 metrics: Calories, Distance, Fitness Level, Heart Rate, Incidental Fall, Menstrual Cycle, Sleep, Steps, Stress, Swimming, VO2 Max.

When compared to more fitness or health focused watches, the Apple SE is good but not best in class. Heart rate monitoring and SpO2 monitoring are reasonably accurate. While electrocardiogram (ECG) is available on the more expensive Series 6, the SE is lacking this function.

Apple Watch App

The Apple Watch SE uses the Apple Watch app, which is very good particularly for fitness and sports tracking. The app is not cluttered, easy to navigate and works quite well.

Internal Photos

Known Issues

As this watch has just recently been released, there are no common known issues.

Verdict

Looks identical to the Series 6 flagship smartwatch but lacks always on display, blood oxygen monitoring and ECG. Full of features and works very well with the exception of the very poor battery life. The large choice of straps allows you to customize the watch to your tastes. If you have an iPhone this is the best bang for your buck smartwatch to get.

Specifications

General

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Watch Type Full Featured Smartwatch
Gender Unisex
Release Date September 2020
Operating System watchOS
App Apple Watch
Supported Devices iOS 12.0+
Processor Apple S5 Chip

Design

Shape Rectangular
Case Size 44 x 38 x 10.4 mm
Case Material Aluminum
Weight 36.4g
Strap Width 24 mm
Strap Material Polyester, Silicone
Interchangeable Strap Yes
Watch Colors Silver, Gray, Gold
Input Touchscreen, 1 Button, Digital Crown
Water Resistance 5 ATM

Screen

Screen Size 1.78"
Screen Type Retina LTPO OLED
Resolution 448 x 368
Pixels per Inch Not disclosed
Always On No
Custom Faces Yes
Screen Protection Sapphire Glass

Battery

Typical Usage Battery Life (Days) 0.75
Watch Mode Battery Life (Days) Not disclosed
GPS Mode Battery Life (Days) 0.25
Charging System Magnetic
Capacity Not disclosed

Features

Notifications Recieve Notifications and Respond
Bluetooth v5.0
Bluetooth Calling Receive and Place Calls
Bluetooth Music Yes
Speaker Yes
Microphone Yes
Camera No
Cellular 4G LTE Version Available
GPS GPS (US), GLONASS (Russia)
Near Field Communication (NFC) Yes
Payments Apple Pay
WiFi Yes
Voice Command Siri
Memory 32GB
Sensors Accelerometer, Altimeter, Ambient Light, Barometer, Compass, Gyroscope, Heart Rate Monitor (HRM)
Tracking Calories, Distance, Fitness Level, Heart Rate, Incidental Fall, Menstrual Cycle, Sleep, Steps, Stress, Swimming, VO2 Max
Sport Modes Yes
Automatic Workout Detection Yes
Warranty 12 Months

Summary

Unique Features Digital crown
Fall incident detection
Emergency SOS
Advantages Excellent screen
Can receive and place calls with the watch when paired to your iPhone
NFC with Apple Pay
Disadvantages Horrible battery life
No always on display
No blood oxygen sensor or ECG
Verdict Looks identical to the Series 6 flagship smartwatch but lacks always on display, blood oxygen monitoring and ECG. Full of features and works very well with the exception of the very poor battery life. If you have an iPhone this is the best bang for your buck smartwatch to get.

Published: December 21, 2020

Apple Watch SE - WatchSmarty
Apple Watch SE

The Apple Watch SE looks identical to the Series 6 flagship smartwatch but lacks always on display, blood oxygen monitoring & ECG. Good value for iPhone users.

Product SKU: Apple Watch SE

Product Brand: Apple

Product Currency: USD

Product Price: 310

Price Valid Until: 2023-01-01

Product In-Stock: SoldOut

Editor's Rating:
6.6