Like with the iPhone SE 2 and its predecessor, Apple has looked to bring its tailored software and hardware experience down to a lower price once again – this time with the new Apple Watch SE. There may be a few premium features missing but the value is extraordinary.
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What we love – Same tremendous WatchOS experience, amazing value and great variety of design options
If you’ve looked on longingly at the flagship Apple Watch devices for some time but thought the price was a bit too rich, then the new Watch SE is certainly for you. The new cheaper model brings the easy-to-use WatchOS experience down to a more reasonably priced model.
WatchOS means you get access to the handy notification system and plethora of tailored apps. There’s all the basic fitness and wellness features you would want too, with a built-in GPS, fall detection, heart rate monitoring and activity tracking. ECG and blood oxygen tracking are absent but they aren’t a big miss, especially at this palatable price.
The price starts at just £269 and if the basic options don’t tickle your fancy, you can upgrade to one of the new solo loop bands or a wide range of options. You don’t get the new Blue and Red colours available on the Apple Watch Series 6 though. However, the available Gold, Silver and Space Grey options are stylish nonetheless.
Related: Check out our Samsung Galaxy Watch 3 review
What we don’t like – Lack of always-on display and just okay battery life
While the Apple Watch SE is all about value, there are certainly a few niceties that we still would have liked to see.
Apple introduced an always-on display with the Series 5 and it is quite the game changer when it comes to glances at notifications or the time without having to whack it up to your face. Apple Watch is all about convenience when it comes to presenting you with notifications and we would have loved the trend to continue with the SE.
As with the Apple Watch Series 6, the new SE model matches the smartwatch average of getting you from morning until night on a single charge (and that’s without heavy use). However, with Apple sticking to this for several Watch generations, we’ve been hoping for a revolution in this department. Unfortunately, it hasn’t come, so you’ll have to look to the likes of the Fitbit Sense and Withings Scanwatch for a battery life boost.
Instead, heavy GPS use or music streaming will deplete your battery well in advance of bedtime – requiring that annoying extra charge. With Apple Watch SE being the value pick, bulking it up to squeeze in a bigger battery feels like a compromise consumers would have welcomed.
Apple Watch SE does exactly what it was designed to do – provide the stellar Apple Watch experience at a more accessible price. While you miss out on a few premium features, there’s little to be disappointed about in this reasonably priced wonder.
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