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 6
Buyer's Guide: Apple Watch (Neutral)

Top Rated Comments

szw-mapple fan Avatar
8 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
8 months ago
Flagship or nothing for me. :D
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)
jent Avatar
8 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
8 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
8 months ago
[img width="251px"]https://images.macrumors.com/images-new/macrumorsthreadlogo@3x.png[/img] (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
8 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)

Top Stories

siir apple event april 20

Siri Reveals Apple Event Planned for Tuesday, April 20

Tuesday April 13, 2021 12:04 am PDT by
Siri has apparently prematurely revealed that Apple plans to hold an event on Tuesday, April 20, where the company is expected to reveal brand new iPad Pro models and possibly its long-awaited AirTags trackers. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. Upon being asked "When is the next Apple Event," Siri is currently responding with, "The special event is on Tuesday, April...
apple event spring loaded

Apple's 'Spring Loaded' Event Officially Announced for Tuesday, April 20

Tuesday April 13, 2021 9:04 am PDT by
Following an overnight leak by Siri, Apple today officially announced that it will be holding a special "Spring Loaded" event on Tuesday, April 20 at 10:00 a.m. Pacific Time at the Steve Jobs Theater on the Apple Park campus in Cupertino, California. As with all of Apple's 2020 events, the April 2021 event will be a digital-only gathering with no members of the media invited to attend in...
apple event hashflag

Twitter Hashflag for April 20 Apple Event Goes Live

Tuesday April 13, 2021 2:21 pm PDT by
Following the overnight Siri leak and subsequent announcement that Apple will hold a media event on Tuesday, April 20, a new Twitter hashflag has appeared to help provide visibility for the event on the platform. For the last several recent events, Apple has utilized hashflags, which are little icons next to hashtags on Twitter, as a way to market its events. The company first started the...
iphone12cameras

Kuo: 2022 iPhones to Feature 48-Megapixel Camera, 8K Video, and 6.1 and 6.7" Sizes With No 5.4" Mini Option

Tuesday April 13, 2021 10:45 pm PDT by
The upcoming 2022 iPhone lineup will feature two 6.1-inch devices and two 6.7-inch devices, with no mini-sized 5.4-inch iPhone, well-respected Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said in a note to investors that was seen by MacRumors. Two of the iPhones will be high-end models and two of the iPhones will be lower-end models, similar to the current iPhone 12 lineup. Apple introduced the 5.4-inch...
macos catalina serial number

Apple Preparing Rollout of New Randomized Product Serial Numbers Ahead of 'Spring Loaded' Event

Wednesday April 14, 2021 2:08 am PDT by
Apple is advising its authorized premium resellers and dealers to prepare for new products with 10 and 12 digital serial numbers, days ahead of when it's expected to reveal a slew of new products. MacRumors previously reported that Apple plans to switch to randomized serial numbers for future products starting in early 2021. The company now seems to be preparing for that roll-out, telling...
duanrui iphone13 notch samples

More Leaked iPhone 13 Samples Show Smaller Notch, Repositioned Earpiece and Front Camera

Wednesday April 14, 2021 1:06 am PDT by
Leaker known as "DuanRui" has today shared an image of two iPhone 13 "film samples," which show the same rumored smaller notch design coming to the iPhone 13 series that we've seen from other sources. In past tweets, DuanRui has accurately leaked the correct names of the iPhone 12 models and an iPad Air 4 manual revealing its new design, so there's good reason to think this leak is credible, ...
Google maps feaure green

Google Maps App for iOS Finally Updated After Four Months

Monday April 12, 2021 10:03 am PDT by
Following the completed rollout of App Privacy labels for its App Store apps, Google today updated the Google Maps app for the first time in four months. Apple in December began requiring all new app submissions and app updates to include App Privacy labels, detailing the data that is collected by the app so consumers know what they're sharing. Google didn't begin implementing App Privacy ...
iPad Pro Mini LED

Mini-LED iPad Pro Expected at Apple Event on April 20 as Production Ramps Up

Tuesday April 13, 2021 9:53 am PDT by
Apple today announced that it will be hosting a virtual event on Tuesday, April 20 at 10 a.m. Pacific Time, and one of the new products expected to be unveiled at the event is a new iPad Pro with a Mini-LED display. In a brief snippet shared with paid subscribers, Taiwanese supply chain news website DigiTimes today reported that Apple supplier Ennostar has substantially improved its yield...
apple event particularly innovative article

Gurman: Apple's 'Spring Loaded' Event Won't Feature Anything 'Particularly Innovative'

Thursday April 15, 2021 1:30 am PDT by
Bloomberg's highly-respected Mark Gurman says that he expects nothing "particularly innovative" or "extraordinary" to launch at Apple's "Spring Loaded" event next week, Tuesday, April 20. Gurman made the remarks during an interview for Bloomberg Technology, in which he reaffirmed that Apple will launch a new 11-inch and 12.9-inch iPad Pro, with the higher-end model featuring a brand new...
spotify car thing 1

Spotify Announces the 'Car Thing' as its First Hardware Device

Tuesday April 13, 2021 7:03 am PDT by
Spotify has today announced its first hardware device, the "Car Thing," which is an in-car dash-mounted music and podcast player (via TechCrunch). Spotify is looking to provide a product for customers who want a "more seamless" and personalized in-car listening experience, especially in the large number of cars that do not support modern in-car infotainment systems. The Car Thing is aimed ...