The Apple Watch SE is a great smartwatch for relatively little money, as long as you don’t place too much value on one important function of watches: checking what time it is. We’ve had the Apple Watch SE on our wrist for months now and in this second impression we’re giving an updated purchase judgment.
Second impression: Apple Watch SE after five months
2020 has been an extremely busy year for Apple. Not only does the iPhone family have a new member in the form of the iPhone 12 mini, but the Apple Watch could also count on the expansion of the family. Along with the Apple Watch Series 6, the company launched the Apple Watch SE.
We’ve had this affordable entry-level model on the wrist every day since its release, and in this article we take stock. Is the lower price justified or is it better to save and buy the 6 series? We answer that question in this second impression of the Apple Watch SE.
No lack of functions
In our initial review of the Apple Watch SE (after a week of testing), we write that the entry-level model “has it all.” We are still behind these words, but a nuance is in order. The SE is especially recommended for people who are now walking around with a slightly older watch. In our opinion, people with newer models have little reason to change.
Compared to previous models (Series 3 and up), the Apple Watch SE has everything you would expect from a modern smartwatch. For example, the heart rate monitor works great, the watch uses activity rings to determine your activity level, and the waterproof case is ideal for a rainy country like the Netherlands. Wearing the watch in the shower is also not a problem.
Additionally, thanks to watchOS 7, the major Apple Watch software update of 2020, the watch has sleep tracking. This helps keep track of the (in) effective effectiveness of your nighttime sleep and gives you tips on how to improve the quality. Plus, the watch is quick to use thanks to the S5 chip, which is also part of the Apple Watch Series 5, and paying with Apple Pay is a snap.
However, the entry-level watch is not perfect. This is because it lacks an important screen function. The Apple Watch SE doesn’t have an always-on display, which means you can’t directly read the time and notifications on the screen. To do this, you must first tap the screen or lift your wrist. How (not) boring you find that is probably very personal. In any case, that bothers us a lot.
Another downside is the battery life. The watch lasts about a day with a full battery. After that you need to charge the watch and it’s easier said than done. To fully utilize the standby functions of watchOS 7, you should also wear it on your wrist at night. It’s annoying, because a lot of people want to use it at night to charge their electronic devices.
Now you have to power the watch during the day and it is inconvenient. It takes about two hours for the Apple Watch SE battery to be fully full. In practice, this therefore means that we put the watch on the charger several times a day and that we recharge it a little, instead of going to 100% all at once.
Differences from the 6 series
There are three major differences between the Apple Watch Series 6 and the Watch SE. The first has a pulse oximeter to measure the level of oxygen in your blood, a sensor to make heart films, and a permanent display. The value you place on these functions is very personal.
The point is, these extras come at a price. The Apple Watch Series 6 has a suggested retail price of $ 429, although you can now get it for a lower price. The Watch SE is more than 100 euros cheaper and starts at 299 euros. Here, too, you can buy the watch cheaper in some stores.
See also: Apple Watch Series 6: our second impression after five months
Conclusion Second impression of the Apple Watch SE
The Apple Watch SE is a great smartwatch with an impressive price range. The watch has all the functions you would expect from a modern smartwatch, contributes to a healthier life, looks stylish, and does it all without charging the main price.
The biggest downside to the Apple Watch SE is the lack of an always-on display. Therefore, you cannot immediately check the time or received notifications on the screen: you have to tap the screen or lift your wrist. The battery life could have been better as well. If you don’t weigh it too much, the Apple Watch SE is a good affordable alternative to the Series 6.