Apple Watch SE 2 vs. Apple Watch Series 8 Buyer's Guide

At its "Far out" event in 2022, Apple announced the second-generation Apple Watch SE and the Apple Watch Series 8. The ‌Apple Watch SE‌ is a low-cost option that still offers many of the Apple Watch features that have made the device so popular over the years, while the Apple Watch Series 8 offers a more feature-rich experience with additional health monitoring capabilities.

apple watch se gen 2
Both the ‌Apple Watch SE‌ and the Apple Watch Series 8 feature the S8 chip, Crash Detection, water resistance, an optical heart sensor, up to 18 hours of battery life, and more, but there are significant differences between the two devices.

The aluminum Apple Watch Series 8 starts at $399, while the ‌Apple Watch SE‌ is much more competitively priced at just $249. So what exactly do you get by spending the additional $150 and is it worth it? Our comparison helps to answer the question of which of these two Apple Watch models is best for you.

Key Differences

‌Apple Watch SE‌ (second-generation) Apple Watch Series 8
Aluminum casing Aluminum or stainless steel casing
Ion-X glass front Ion-X glass (aluminum) or sapphire crystal (stainless steel) front
Color-matched nylon composite back case Ceramic back case
44mm or 40mm case size 45mm or 41 mm case size with edge-to-edge display (nearly 20% more display area than ‌Apple Watch SE‌)
Retina display Always-On Retina display
324 by 394 pixels with 759 sq mm display area (40mm) and 368 by 448 pixels with 977 sq mm display area (44mm) 352 by 430 pixels with 904 sq mm display area (41mm) or 396 by 484 pixels with 1143 sq mm display area (45mm)
Second-generation optical heart sensor Third-generation optical heart sensor
Blood oxygen sensor and Blood Oxygen app
Electrical heart sensor and ECG app
Temperature sensing
Cycle tracking Cycle tracking with retrospective ovulation estimates
U1 chip
Fast charging
Available in Midnight, Starlight, and Silver Available in Midnight, Starlight, Silver, and PRODUCT(RED) (aluminum) or Silver, Graphite, or Gold (stainless steel)
Starts at $249 Starts at $399 (aluminum) or $699 (stainless steel)

The Apple Watch Series 8 is a minor improvement over the previous Series 7 model, offering Crash Detection and body temperature sensing. Yet compared to the ‌Apple Watch SE‌, the Apple Watch Series 8 is a considerably more feature-rich device with advanced capabilities.

With its larger display, advanced health monitoring features, and range of colors and finishes, the Apple Watch Series 8 will be the model of choice for those who want more out of their smartwatch. If you feel that the always-on display, additional health monitoring features, or fast charging would be particularly useful to you, or simply like a specific casing and color combination not available with the ‌Apple Watch SE‌, the Apple Watch Series 8 will be the best model for you.

If you are on a budget and are not particularly attracted to the additional features of the Series 8, the ‌Apple Watch SE‌ is still a very compelling option. As it shares so many features with the Apple Watch Series 8, in most cases you should probably choose the more inexpensive model, unless you particularly value features such as the larger, always-on display or advanced health monitoring and can justify the added cost.

The ‌Apple Watch SE‌ is an ideal device for children and senior citizens who do not have an iPhone thanks to Family Setup, but it is also the go-to model for most customers who are new to the Apple Watch and those who are upgrading from a Series 3 or older due to its competitive pricing and generous feature set, allowing users to get an unconstrained Apple Watch experience at a low cost.

Related Forum: Apple Watch

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Top Rated Comments

polyphenol Avatar
24 months ago

U1 chip
It's all very well that the 8 has this, and the SE doesn't, but what matters to potential purchasers is what advantages there are to having a U1 chip. Or what disadvantages there are to not having it! Without that, it's just a few characters in a list.
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)
MR_Boogy Avatar
24 months ago

The Apple Watch SE is an ideal device for children
Sorry, in what world is a smart watch costing several hundred bucks an ideal world device for a child?
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)
468837 Avatar
24 months ago
Articles like these also fail to mention that the Series 7 was a minor bump over Series 6. 7 got an extra millimeter display and fast charging. Same processor. Really, when you think about it that way, the 8 has two new features: body temp (not the most helpful for a male, at least how it was marketed) and crash detection. Besides that, and the two small 7 upgrades, Series 8 is essentially a Series 6.

I think if you’re a female interested in addition cycle tracking detail, then the 8 is a better value over the SE. If not, and you have Series 6, the 8 is not enough of an upgrade.
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)
GuruZac Avatar
24 months ago
I'd rather have the Series 8 as I prefer the newer style design and AoD, but the new SE is a great smartwatch for $249.
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Mick-Mac Avatar
24 months ago
I'll start caring when the battery life isn't chronically awful.
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Sir_Macs_A_Lot Avatar
24 months ago
These just don't seem as nice after seeing the Ultra. It's like psyching yourself up to go buy a McDonald's hamburger knowing that there's a Five Guys around the corner from there.
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)