For the first time, Apple is proposing a new Apple Watch to accompany this year’s reference model, the Watch Series 6 . It does this by cutting back on features related to advanced sensors to get a more affordable price.
The new Apple Watch SE has gone through the Xataka work table and we are ready to tell you the main pros and cons of buying an Apple Watch SE as a reference smartwatch for day to day.
Apple Watch SE Datasheet
|APPLE WATCH SE|
|BOX||40 or 44 mm|
|SCREEN||Retina display “not always” active|
|CONNECTIVITY||GPS GPS + LTE|
|DRUMS||Up to 18 hours|
|PRICE||GPS from 299 euros
GPS + cell phone from 349 euros
New Apple Watch SE (GPS, 40mm) Space Gray Aluminum Case – Black Sport Band
RRP on Amazon € 299.00
Price at El Corte Inglés € 299RRP in Media Markt € 299
A familiar Apple Watch
If it weren’t for the extra tones of the Apple Watch Series 6 , externally, there would be no way to differentiate the two new Apple Watch in its version with an aluminum case. This generation (double) maintains the square shape of the watch, as well as the controls on the crown and the physical button, which are the main basis for moving around the interface and options when we do not need to touch the screen.
Here Apple did not have many design options, and keeps the two possible sizes for the case: 40 and 44 mm . Choosing one or the other will depend more on the size of your wrist than on the price, since the difference between one and the other is only 30 euros.
Unless you are very clear, my choice would be the 44mm Watch SE because of the extra screen we gain without the difference in size on the wrist being very critical. On the other hand, if you prefer a very compact watch without giving up a good screen diagonal, the 40 mm model we have tested has been very comfortable, light and you really forget you are wearing it .
The Apple Watch SE can only be chosen with an aluminum case, and there are LTE models and only Wifi. It is water resistant up to 50 meters. The available colors are silver, gold and gray.
The design of the Apple Watch SE is an “old” acquaintance
Here we miss that, in the image and likeness of the iPhone SE , Apple has not opened its hand more with the possibility of choosing more colors for the Apple Watch box. Its more relaxed approach could well have embraced the two new shades available on the Series 6 (blue and red), and a few more. It would have given a series of interesting combinations along with the wide world of Apple straps, where we always also find good compatible third-party models at a price very far from what Apple asks for its own.
The performance of the Watch SE is identical to that of the Watch Series 5, and the experience it offers us is the maximum in a smartwatch from the company
As for the interior, the Watch SE copies the Series 5, with the S5 processor, 1 GB of RAM and 32 GB internal memory. This interior is the one that gives it a huge advantage over the Series 3, Apple’s other affordable model currently on sale.
These days with the Apple Watch SE, with the same routine that I have been using with the Watch Series 5 for months, the user experience at the level of speed of operation and execution of applications has been exactly the same: not having to wait to use any clock function or app .
At the software level, the arrival of watchOS 7 hardly changes anything from day to day with the watch. There are some more activities, the usual loading of new spheres, the very basic quantification of sleep and aspects already associated with the new sensors that this Watch Se does not have.
WatchOS 7: main news, compatible devices and how to install it
To have or not have the screen always on, that is the question
If for the interior the Apple Watch SE copied the Series 5, the screen inherits design and characteristics of the Series 4. This means having an OLED Retina panel where the most characteristic thing is that the option of having the screen always on is lost.
The fact that the Apple Watch SE does not have an always-on screen mode is the most determining barrier to entry in the user experience with this new smartwatch
Personal preferences play more than ever in this regard. For me it is the great decision to make by whoever is behind an Apple Watch, much more than the sensors associated with health that for now in markets such as Spain are almost an anecdote in the day to day with the Apple watch.
Return to the screen “not always” on … for relief of autonomy
If you don’t mind having to touch or rotate the screen to wake it up, the Watch SE won’t let you down when it comes to performance or screen quality . And it will depend a lot on how you use the watch. The panel is still quite bright, sharp, very accurate in touch response and with correct display outdoors.
In matters of physical activity, the fact that the screen is not always active can be a problem if you need to know parameters of that exercise and you do not have the possibility of turning or touching the wrist. Or that you no longer want to go back to having information and data continuously on the clock screen.
Relief for autonomy but no fast charging
That the Apple Watch SE only turns on the screen with the touch or turn of the wrist is a significant relief for the battery of the watch , a point where in my opinion Apple watches have never been able to stand out in any generation except perhaps in the Series 6 .
This “functionality” coupled with the greater efficiency of the S5 chip allows the Watch SE to easily go beyond the day of use.
Our watch use pattern has been with always-on notifications, without LTE, some music and physical activity recorded by the watch (with use of GPS) for between 45 minutes and an hour. And using the 40mm model.
The most efficient chip and the fact that the screen is not always active improves the autonomy but we cannot reach two days without giving up the functionalities of the smartwatch
Under these conditions, the watch would arrive at night with more than 40% battery remaining. Good figures for an Apple watch but insufficient to calmly reach two days without being attentive to the charge of the watch or at least placing it on its base for a minimum of an hour.
We can touch that situation if we do without physical activity and music, but it is still a clear improvement element in the Apple watch.
So is the charging of the watch, both for the poor comfort of using the wireless charger depending on the strap we are using and for the charging time. From 10% to full charge, the Apple Watch SE needs around two hours .
Putting it all together, those two hours required to charge the watch are quite incompatible with an interesting new feature of the Apple Watch: sleep measurement .
When we have used this option, which being also a Fitbit watch user I have to say that it is not up to par, the watch barely had a 20/25% autonomy in the morning. And charging the watch is not as simple or straightforward as with a smartphone.
Basic sensors for daily activity (and some health)
In addition to the “not always” active screen, the biggest difference between the Watch SE and the Watch Series 6 is in the inclusion of new sensors in the top model.
Blood oxygen measurement and ECG are out of the sensor list of this Watch SE
The Apple Watch SE runs out of blood oxygen measurement , the great novelty at the health level of the Series 6, as well as the electrocardiogram (ECG). We do have the heart sensor, the acoustic health sensor to measure the decibels of the environment and the fall detector (with notification to the emergency systems).
In the more sporty and less healthy field, the Watch SE includes GPS, compass and barometric altimeter , the latter renewed and that improves the fitness aspect of the Watch, where the margin of improvement is also very wide if we compare it with dedicated sports watches.
Oximeters, fashionable in the middle of COVID-19: what are the ones in smartwatches and bracelets for (and why not)
Apple Watch SE, the opinion and note of Xataka
Apple adds and continues with the preparation of a line of products somewhat more affordable than its reference models and to which it cuts news and features to justify this price reduction. The last to arrive is one of those we least expected: the Apple Watch SE .
This decaffeinated version of the new Apple Watch Series 6 is positioned as a smartwatch that offers practically the entire experience of using the Apple watch but with the great exception that the screen is not always active . It is clearly the great absence given that, in certain markets, the new sensors have little real impact on a day-to-day basis. And it seems that it will take time to have it.
In addition, with the Series 6 relatively close in price and the improvements it brings in autonomy and fast charging (where the SE does not stand out either), its choice is complicated unless you are very clear that the always-on screen you do not consider necessary.