The Apple Watch SE is set to start shipping Friday, September 18, but the first hands-on reviews of Apple's lower-cost wearable are now appearing online. Several journalists and media outlets were provided with review units, and so far Chris Velazco from Engadget and Victoria Song from Gizmodo have shared their opinions after 24-hours with the wearable.

Apple announces watch se 09152020

Given that the Apple Watch SE is a lower-cost option that does not introduce any new features, reviews have focused on the balance of features that Apple chose to include in the device. Nonetheless, the Apple Watch SE is being treated as a welcome, good value-for-money option. Song outlined the features that the Apple Watch SE is lacking:

For starters, you're not getting the electrocardiogram app for atrial fibrillation detection or the new blood oxygen-monitoring sensor. You're also not getting the always-on screen that was introduced with the Series 5, the Series 6's faster S6 chip, or the U1 Ultra Wideband chip. From a charging standpoint, the Series 6 will also go from zero to 100% a bit faster at 1.5 hours versus the Watch SE at 2.5 hours. For wifi, the Series 6 supports 2.4GHz and 5GHz, while the SE only supports the former.

In spite of these drawbacks, she was positive about the Apple Watch SE's performance, and said that "you're not giving up as much as you might think."

The S5 chip is, so far, still snappy. I have zero complaints about downloading or launching apps. I'm sure the S6 chip is faster, but the S5 is better than simply "fast enough." So far, the tilt-to-wake responsiveness for the Watch SE's display is also pretty great. I’m not sure if it’s just my memory failing me, but it feels faster than I remember it being on the Series 2, 3, and 4. Perhaps it's the S5 chip?

In terms of performance and battery life Velazco was similarly positive:

In other words, you can expect performance that's in line with what was -- up until just recently -- Apple's flagship wearable. I haven't had the SE long enough to fully test its battery life, but I easily got a full day of use from the Series 5 when it launched, and the SE might last a little longer since it doesn't have an always-on display to worry about.

Song also commented on the lack of always-on display found on the Apple Watch Series 5 and Series 6, but said "I don't feel cheated by not having an always-on display."

Unsurprisingly, the reviews tended to convey some disappointment about the Apple Watch SE lacking advanced health features such as ECG and blood oxygen monitoring, but ultimately resolved that they were not of vital importance. Song said:

ECG and atrial fibrillation notifications are wonderful innovations. But unless you have a heart condition, or are in the at-risk age range for Afib, it's not the most necessary feature. Lacking ECG doesn't mean you won't get the potentially life-saving warnings if your heart rate suddenly skyrockets or plummets beyond your normal range. That's something that comes with watchOS—even the Series 3 has that capability. As for blood oxygen-monitoring... this is also a cool innovation that, generally speaking, wearables companies haven't figured out how to implement in a truly meaningful way just yet... you won't be missing out on the vast majority of what makes an Apple Watch great if you don't have blood oxygen-monitoring.

Velazo echoed the sentiments, saying that Apple Watch SE "still has most of the health-focused features Apple has rolled out in the past few years, like fall detection, alerts for excessive ambient noise, and non-ECG-based heart rate monitoring."

Overall, Velazco described the SE as "a mixed bag of the best parts and features from the last few years of Apple Watch history," and notes that it is "surprisingly similar" to the high-end Apple Watch Series 6. Song said that the Apple Watch SE "feels like an extremely good deal... Apple may have a real affordable winner on its hands."

More detailed, longer-form reviews of the Apple Watch SE will be arriving soon.

Related Roundup: Apple Watch Series 9
Buyer's Guide: Apple Watch (Caution)

Top Rated Comments

szw-mapple fan Avatar
48 months ago

I didn't realize the SE lacks 5ghz wifi. That's pretty lame.
It’s probably good to have, but when would a watch really need 5ghz WiFi?
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)
cocky jeremy Avatar
48 months ago
Flagship or nothing for me. :D
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)
jent Avatar
48 months ago
I for one like Apple's concept for an SE model across multiple product lines and hope that it's here to stay. I don't always need the latest and greatest but I like the idea of still getting a newer product that is affordable and in making trade-offs with the technology used, has some of the newest/best model's features.
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Digital Skunk Avatar
48 months ago
I've been on the fence about the AW for a while now. Nothing wrong with it, I wasn't sure I needed/wanted another device to charge and maintain.

I will say though, that the price and maturity of the product can't be beat and it's tempting now more than ever.
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
cardfan Avatar
48 months ago
(https://www.macrumors.com/review/apple-watch-se/)

The Apple Watch SE is set to start shipping Friday, September 18, but the first hands-on reviews of Apple's lower-cost wearable are now appearing online. Several journalists and media outlets were provided with review units, and so far Chris Velazco from Engadget (https://www.engadget.com/apple-watch-se-hands-on-price-specs-availability-130031876.html?guccounter=1) and Victoria Song from Gizmodo (https://gizmodo.com/you-dont-sacrifice-much-with-the-apple-watch-se-1845079025) have shared their opinions after 24-hours with the wearable.




Given that the Apple Watch SE is a lower-cost option that does not introduce any new features, reviews have focused on the balance of features that Apple chose to include in the device. Nonetheless, the Apple Watch SE is being treated as a welcome, good value-for-money option. Song outlined the features that the Apple Watch SE is lacking:



In spite of these drawbacks, she was positive about the Apple Watch SE's performance, and said that "you're not giving up as much as you might think."



In terms of performance and battery life Velazco was similarly positive:



Song also commented on the lack of always-on display found on the Apple Watch Series 5 and Series 6, but said "I don't feel cheated by not having an always-on display."

Unsurprisingly, the reviews tended to convey some disappointment about the Apple Watch SE lacking advanced health features such as ECG and blood oxygen monitoring, but ultimately resolved that they were not of vital importance. Song said:



Velazo echoed the sentiments, saying that Apple Watch SE "still has most of the health-focused features Apple has rolled out in the past few years, like fall detection, alerts for excessive ambient noise, and non-ECG-based heart rate monitoring."

Overall, Velazco described the SE as "a mixed bag of the best parts and features from the last few years of Apple Watch history," and notes that it is "surprisingly similar" to the high-end Apple Watch Series 6. Song said that the Apple Watch SE "feels like an extremely good deal... Apple may have a real affordable winner on its hands."

More detailed, longer-form reviews of the Apple Watch SE will be arriving soon.

Article Link: Apple Watch SE First Impressions: Good Price for Surprising Similarity to High-End Models (https://www.macrumors.com/review/apple-watch-se/)
You mention “several journalists and media outlets”and then go on to quote two amateur bloggers. Lol. Try to find more credible sources.
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
recoil80 Avatar
48 months ago

No always-on display is a dealbreaker. Apple should no longer sell models without that feature.
Even if I had a series 6 I'd probably turn it off to save battery. The watch does a pretty good job in turning on the display when I slightly move the wrist to check the time.
I know for some people this is a deal breaker, but not for every customer. They need to differentiate the products in order to have cheaper devices in the lineup, AoD wasn't there until series 5 so it is something we can live without.
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Popular Stories

iOS 17

iOS 17.5 Bug May Also Resurface Deleted Photos on Wiped, Sold Devices [Updated]

Friday May 17, 2024 12:24 pm PDT by
A bug in iOS 17.5 is apparently causing photos that have been deleted to reappear, and the issue seems to impact even iPhones and iPads that have been erased and sold off to other people. A Reddit user wiped an iPad following Apple's guidelines in September of 2023 before selling it off to a friend. That friend updated the iPad to iPadOS 17.5 this week, and began seeing the Reddit user's old ...
iphone se 4 modified flag edges

When to Expect the Next iPhone SE to Launch

Friday May 17, 2024 2:03 pm PDT by
It has been over two years since Apple released the third-generation iPhone SE, and rumors continue to surface about a new model. The latest word comes from The Information, which today reported that Apple plans to release a new iPhone SE with a design similar to the standard iPhone 14 in the spring of 2025. If this rumor is accurate, the iPhone SE would finally gain Face ID and a notch...
oled m4 ipad pro grainy display reports

OLED iPad Pro Users Report 'Grainy' Displays, But It May Not Be a Defect

Friday May 17, 2024 5:57 am PDT by
Some new M4 iPad Pro models are exhibiting a visible static grain pattern across the OLED display, according to several user reports on Reddit (1, 2, 3) and the MacRumors Forums. Image credit: MacRumors user bk215 Users who see the grain generally report that it is most noticeable in dark environments with the display set at a low to medium brightness while viewing content with gray or muted...
iOS 17

Troubling iOS 17.5 Bug Reportedly Resurfacing Old Deleted Photos

Wednesday May 15, 2024 5:29 am PDT by
There are concerning reports on Reddit that Apple's latest iOS 17.5 update has introduced a bug that causes old photos that were deleted – in some cases years ago – to reappear in users' photo libraries. After updating their iPhone, one user said they were shocked to find old NSFW photos that they deleted in 2021 suddenly showing up in photos marked as recently uploaded to iCloud. Other...
iPhone 16 Camera Lozenge 2 Perspective

iPhone 16 Lineup Rumored to Come in These Two New Colors

Sunday May 19, 2024 11:08 am PDT by
Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo today outlined his expectations for the iPhone 16 lineup's color options, revealing that two new colors should replace two of the existing shades. Kuo outlined his expectations in a post on X (formerly Twitter) earlier today. He believes that the iPhone 16 Pro and iPhone 16 Pro Max will be available in black, white or silver, gray or "Natural Titanium," and rose....
Delta Hands On Feature

iPhone Emulators on the App Store: Game Boy, N64, PS1, PSP, and More

Thursday May 16, 2024 12:45 pm PDT by
In April, Apple updated its guidelines to allow retro game emulators on the App Store, and several popular emulators have already been released. The emulators released so far allow iPhone users to play games released for older consoles from Nintendo, Sony, SEGA, Atari, and others. A list of some popular emulators available on the App Store so far follows. Released Delta Delta is...