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In September 2021, Apple introduced the Apple Watch Series 7, featuring larger displays, improved durability, and faster charging. This came one year after Apple unveiled the Apple Watch SE, a low-cost Apple Watch option that still offers many of the Apple Watch features that have made the device so popular over the years.


The Apple Watch Series 7 starts at $399, while the Apple Watch SE is priced much more competitively at $279. As these two models share many key features, including design, water resistance, and an optical heart sensor, it may not be immediately obvious which model is better for you. Is it worth purchasing the cheaper model with fewer features? Our guide answers the question of how to decide which of these two Apple Watch models is best for you.

Comparing the Apple Watch Series 7 and the Apple Watch SE

Many of the features of these two models of Apple Watch are the same, with Apple listing the following identical features:

Similarities

  • Available with aluminum casing option
  • Digital Crown with haptic feedback
  • Retina LTPO OLED display, with brightness of up to 1,000 nits
  • "Swimproof" water resistance up to 50 meters
  • 64‑bit dual-core processor
  • High and low heart rate and irregular heart rhythm notifications
  • Accelerometer and gyroscope (fall detection)
  • Always-on altimeter
  • Compass
  • Ambient light sensor
  • 50 percent louder speaker than Series 3
  • Microphone
  • Noise monitoring
  • 18-hour "all-day" battery life
  • GPS and GPS + Cellular models
  • Support for Family Setup (GPS + Cellular models)
  • International emergency calling and emergency SOS
  • W3 wireless chip
  • Bluetooth 5.0
  • 32GB capacity

Apple's breakdown shows that these two models share a majority of features. Even so, there are a number of meaningful differences between the Apple Watch Series 7 and the Apple Watch SE that are worth highlighting, such as display size, ECGs, and blood oxygen monitoring.

Differences

Apple Watch SE
  • Available with aluminum casing only
  • 44mm or 40mm casing sizes
  • Retina display
  • Display with 3.0mm borders
  • S5 SiP with 64‑bit dual-core processor
  • Second-generation optical heart sensor
  • Available in Space Gray, Silver, and Gold
  • Weighs 30.8g/36.5g
  • Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n 2.4GHz
  • Comes with 1m USB-C charging cable

Apple Watch Series 7
  • Aluminum, stainless steel, and titanium casing options
  • 45mm or 41mm casing sizes
  • Always-On Retina display
  • 20 percent larger display with 1.7mm borders
  • Crack-resistant front crystal
  • IP6X dust resistance
  • S7 SiP with 64‑bit dual-core processor (up to 20 percent faster than Apple Watch SE)
  • Third-generation optical heart sensor
  • Blood oxygen sensor
  • Electrical heart sensor
  • Fast charging (up to 80 percent charge in about 45 minutes)
  • Aluminum models available in Midnight, Starlight, Green, Blue, and (PRODUCT)RED, stainless steel models available in Graphite, Silver, and Gold, and titanium models available in Silver and Space Black
  • Aluminum models weigh 32.0g/38.8g, stainless steel 42.3g/51.5g, and titanium 37.0g/45.1g
  • Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n 2.4GHz, 5GHz
  • U1 Ultra Wideband chip
  • Comes with 1m USB-C magnetic fast charging cable


Read on for a closer look at each of these aspects, and see what exactly both of the Apple Watch models have to offer.

Click here to read more...

Article Link: Apple Watch SE vs. Apple Watch Series 7 Buyer's Guide
 
Last edited:

javisan

macrumors 6502
Dec 4, 2006
471
603
Chicago, IL
After my Series 4 stainless steel dies, it will be an SE or a refurb. I won't pay full price any longer for Apple Watches that don't hold their value and are impossible to repair.

My wife's $699 Series 4 stainless steel fell this week and cracked the glass on her screen (OLED display is intact) and the repair by Apple is $399, outrageous. She is no longer covered by AppleCare+ as it is over 2 years.

If I trade in my $749 Series 4 stainless steel, Apple would give me $100.

So going forward, I'll buy whatever is cheapest. IMO all the sensors are massive gimmicks. The SE has everything you truly need.
 

jz0309

Contributor
Sep 25, 2018
4,207
11,779
Temecula, CA
After my Series 4 stainless steel dies, it will be an SE or a refurb. I won't pay full price any longer for Apple Watches that don't hold their value and are impossible to repair.

My wife's $699 Series 4 stainless steel fell this week and cracked the glass on her screen (OLED display is intact) and the repair by Apple is $399, outrageous. She is no longer covered by AppleCare+ as it is over 2 years.

If I trade in my $749 Series 4 stainless steel, Apple would give me $100.

So going forward, I'll buy whatever is cheapest. IMO all the sensors are massive gimmicks. The SE has everything you truly need.
I agree with you on resale value, not very good. I extended the AC+ on my S4 after 2 years and 4 or so months ago my speaker dies and I got a refurb, new body/glass/battery. Whatever next AW I'll be getting, AC+ is a must, for me, and I am sure that if I were to get an alu model, I'd crack the screen within < 1 year
 
Last edited:

rowi1de

macrumors member
Sep 10, 2016
50
84
Apple Watch 4 here …
Blood Oxigen and UWB are nice.
Don’t need always on display but hopefully could get better battery life.

Last upgrade was 2 -> 4 and bigger screen was really a nice change
 

Cheesehead Dave

macrumors member
Sep 14, 2020
55
132
Also to note: If you're buying a watch as a gift for a teen and don't want the headache of dealing with the Series 3, you have to be 18 years old to be able to use the blood oxygen monitoring and 22 to take an ECG, so that's another consideration for getting the SE over the Series 7.
 

ahaslam

macrumors newbie
Oct 31, 2017
12
15
Arizona
I've been rocking a Series 4 since that launched in 2018. I am a little underwhelmed at the Series 7. It is an upgrade from the 4 to be sure, but I think I'll wait until the Series 8 comes out in the hopes that it'll offer something more substantial or at least be a little more different.

I was hoping for new health tracking features, some of which the competition already offers. Or perhaps a different form factor. We've had the same shape since day one, and I've been wanting a round watch face ever since.
 
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Apple_Robert

macrumors Penryn
Sep 21, 2012
28,983
37,003
In the middle of several books.
I usually get the SS model. I prefer having the health sensors as I use them daily. This year, I decided to use my Apple account credit and get the aluminum. Hopefully, it will hold up. No out of pocket expense for a new watch. :D
 
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unfunfionn

macrumors regular
Mar 12, 2015
202
179
Berlin, Germany
I had the S6 for a week but had an allergic reaction to the sports band and Apple made me return the entire watch. I replaced it with an SE instead and I never missed any S6 features for a second. I’m completely happy with it and it felt like a much better way to spend the money.
 

CharlesShaw

macrumors 6502a
May 8, 2015
683
656
After my Series 4 stainless steel dies, it will be an SE or a refurb.

Thanks for reminding me about the refub option. Stainless Series 4 here too. I love it and if something unfortunate happened, I’d buy one of Apple’s many refurbs —of the same model even—without hesitation.
 

dukebound85

macrumors P6
Jul 17, 2005
18,695
3,474
5045 feet above sea level
I gave up the Apple Watch and the iPad recently and went with just an iPhone mini… I couldn’t be happier…one device to charge and it does all I need. Keep it simple. Don’t have your nightstand end up looking like a giant charging station
those are 3 separate product categories

an iPhone doesn't replace an apple watch. If it does for you, then you aren't in the market for the watch to being with
 

QCassidy352

macrumors G4
Mar 20, 2003
11,767
5,372
Bay Area
Does anyone find the blood oxygen levels or ecg monitoring useful or helpful in any way?
No. The blood oxygen sensor in particular is so inaccurate as to be useless - I routinely get readings from the high 80s to high 90s with no good reason for the variation.

maybe older people or people with preexisting conditions find them helpful but I do not.

that said, the S7 (or 6, which I have) is an easy call over the SE for the AOD alone. The speed difference between the processors is also way bigger than you’d think (I went from a S5 to a S6)
 

JustAnotherOpinion

macrumors newbie
Oct 5, 2021
16
9
I've been rocking a Series 4 since that launched in 2018. I am a little underwhelmed at the Series 7. It is an upgrade from the 4 to be sure, but I think I'll wait until the Series 8 comes out in the hopes that it'll offer something more substantial or at least be a little more different.

I was hoping for new health tracking features, some of which the competition already offers. Or perhaps a different form factor. We've had the same shape since day one, and I've been wanting a round watch face ever since.
Don’t think we’ll see a round watch as that limits content, but I agree on health. Also on a 4, wanted to go 7 this year but leaning to pass.

The battery situation is also suboptimal. It would be ideal if the battery life went up to 48 hours. Then a 15-20 minute quick charge should be able to get you to 18 hours of charge. Having to charge over an hour to get 18 hours of use makes it a no go for sleep tracking.
 

gomichaelgo

macrumors member
Sep 21, 2016
96
81
After my Series 4 stainless steel dies, it will be an SE or a refurb. I won't pay full price any longer for Apple Watches that don't hold their value and are impossible to repair.

My wife's $699 Series 4 stainless steel fell this week and cracked the glass on her screen (OLED display is intact) and the repair by Apple is $399, outrageous. She is no longer covered by AppleCare+ as it is over 2 years.

If I trade in my $749 Series 4 stainless steel, Apple would give me $100.

So going forward, I'll buy whatever is cheapest. IMO all the sensors are massive gimmicks. The SE has everything you truly need.
I paid $500 for an AW6 and sold it last week for $400 to get the AW7. I personally find them to hold their value very well.
 

Deliro

macrumors 65816
Sep 20, 2011
1,080
1,129
After my Series 4 stainless steel dies, it will be an SE or a refurb. I won't pay full price any longer for Apple Watches that don't hold their value and are impossible to repair.

My wife's $699 Series 4 stainless steel fell this week and cracked the glass on her screen (OLED display is intact) and the repair by Apple is $399, outrageous. She is no longer covered by AppleCare+ as it is over 2 years.

If I trade in my $749 Series 4 stainless steel, Apple would give me $100.

So going forward, I'll buy whatever is cheapest. IMO all the sensors are massive gimmicks. The SE has everything you truly need.

Right. Additionally SS is not really a premium material to justify that cost on somewhat disposable tech. Sure it looks nice and has sapphire crystal (again this can be found on cheap watches too). Lots of folks don’t care about cellular on their watches either.

If you look at a second hand one they are dirt cheap so as you said they don’t retain their value.

These aren’t heirlooms so aluminum is the best choice for me.
 
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