​Apple Watch SE launches – but don't call it a 'cheap' smartwatch

The new design for less, but this ain't no budget watch
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Update: The Apple Watch SE review has now landed. Check it out to find out why we feel the Apple Watch SE is now the mainstream Apple smartwatch.

The Apple Watch SE was tipped to launch at the Time Flies event and we weren’t disappointed. It was unveiled alongside the Apple Watch Series 6.

A stripped back, cheaper smartwatch, the Apple Watch SE offers people the chance to get an Apple Watch for less – but without making as many sacrifices as the Series 3.

Many are calling it the successor to the Series 3, and no doubt in time it will be. But somewhat surprisingly, the Series 3 remains on sale at the same price point.

And at , the Apple Watch SE is certainly no “cheap smartwatch”. It undercuts the Galaxy Watch 3, but lines up against the Versa 3, Huawei Watch GT 2 Pro and Oppo Watch, which will be getting attention this Holiday season.

Read on for everything you need to know about the Apple Watch SE.

Apple Watch SE hardware

​Apple Watch SE launches – but don't call it a 'cheap' smartwatch

The Apple Watch SE uses the new shape introduced from Series 4. It’s a better looking watch, and comes in same 40/44mm sizes.

That means it has the same screen size and dimensions as the Apple Watch Series 6.

And like other Apple Watch generations there will be LTE versions capable of making calls.

It also uses the S5 chip from the previous generation, but the features you get are stripped back. That means it’s 2x faster than the Series 3, which will count as Apple Watch apps get more sophisticated.

ECG and blood oxygen don’t make the cut, so it’s not such a potent health watch as the Series 5 or 6.

And the always-on display doesn’t make it to the Apple Watch SE either, so you have to raise your wrist to see the display.

But you do get access to some of the newer features.

The accelerometer and altimeter come across from the Series 6, so you get tracking of altitude, fall detection and warnings of loud environmental noise.

The Apple Watch SE will of course get watchOS 7 that launches for download on 16 September.

How we test

James Stables


James is the co-founder of Wareable, and he has been a technology journalist for 15 years.

He started his career at Future Publishing, James became the features editor of T3 Magazine and T3.com and was a regular contributor to TechRadar – before leaving Future Publishing to found Wareable in 2014.

James has been at the helm of Wareable since 2014 and has become one of the leading experts in wearable technologies globally. He has reviewed, tested, and covered pretty much every wearable on the market, and is passionate about the evolving industry, and wearables helping people achieve healthier and happier lives.

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