IT’S not this year’s headline act, but the Apple Watch SE is one of the best gadget deals around.
I’ve been testing the new model and there’s a lot to love – especially the price.
Apple launched the first SE back in 2020, offering up a cheaper way into the Apple Watch ecosystem.
Now there’s an upgraded model with a few bonus perks.
It’s a great alternative to the more powerful Apple Watch Series 8 (and super high-end Apple Watch Ultra), which also launched this month.
The Watch SE pricing hasn’t changed significantly with the new model.
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The discontinued original version retailed at £249/$279 (a steady price since launch) – and the new one costs £259/$249.
Yes, it’s actually had a price drop in the US. Brilliant.
The exterior aluminium design is mostly the same as the old version. That’s great, as it looks just like a premium Apple Watch.
But look out for the fact that the bottom casing now matches the colour of the bezel.
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On colours, the old Silver, Gold and Space Grey versions have been swapped out for a new roster of Silver, Starlight and Midnight. They all look great, honestly.
You can still customise the Watch Face in whichever way you want, making it as detailed or minimalist as you like.
Or you can use a big picture of your cat, as I often do.
There’s no battery life improvement: it’s still set at 18 hours.
But a new Low Power Mode can help you conserve charge when you absolutely need it most.
Inside there’s a souped-up S8 chip (just like the Apple Watch Series 8.
It’s said to be 20% faster than the S5 from 2019 that appeared in the original Apple Watch SE.
And – of course – the new watch runs on Apple Watch’s watchOS 9 as standard.
WatchOS 9 is the best smartwatch operating system available today, without question. It's brimming with features, is easy to use, and pairs perfectly with an iPhone.
Of course the Apple Watch SE is missing plenty of features that you’ll see on the Series 8.
There’s no Always-On Display, ECG for detecting heart rhythm defects, blood oxygen reader or temperature sensor.
But there’s a lot to love, aside from the design and price.
For instance, Apple has added in the new Car Crash Detection.
This can sense when you’ve been in a severe motoring accident and then automatically share your location with emergency responders if you’re unresponsive for 10 seconds.
It’ll also get in touch with your emergency contacts too.
I obviously (and thankfully) wasn’t able to test this, but it could be a literal lifesaver.
It's a must-have feature if you're a regular road user. You never know when you might need it (and you'll hope you won't), but it's something you won't regret having if tragedy strikes.
There’s Fall Detection too, which performs a similar function when you take a hard fall.
And all the usual Apple Watch perks are included.
That means you get great fitness tracking (including a heart-rate monitor that can tell you about calories burned and, well, your heart rate).
And it uses the Rings game system that motivates you to close each circle daily (Move calories, Exercise minutes and hourly Stands).
If you’re looking at getting your first proper fitness tracker, the Apple Watch SE isn’t a bad way to go.
It's even water-resistant so you can track a swim with it.
The Watch SE also supports Apple Pay so you can make purchases at checkouts – or use some public transport – without ever having to reach for your iPhone.
It’s generally hard to knock the Apple Watch SE.
Sure, it misses some of the bells and whistles seen on the Series 8.
But it’s also very capable for its low price, especially when you consider all of its health-tracking capabilities.
Plus it looks great as a smartwatch, is highly customise (digitally with faces, and physically with straps), and doesn’t get in the way.
The Sun says: A seriously slick Apple Watch that keeps costs down by giving you the must-have features and trimming the fat. A rare Apple bargain. 5/5
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All prices in this article were correct at the time of writing, but may have since changed.
Always do your own research before making any purchase.
The Apple Watch SE is available to buy right now for £259/$249 – UK / US
Read our reviews for the iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Pro here.
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