Apple Watch SE 2 vs Apple Watch Series 8 Buyer’s Guide

At this month’s Far out event, Apple announced the second-generation Apple Watch SE and 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 SE‌ 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 ‌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 priced much more competitively at just $249. So what exactly do you get by spending the extra $150, and is it worth it? Our guide answers the question of how to decide which of these two Apple Watch models is best for you.


Apple Watch SE

  • Aluminum housing
  • Ion-X windshield
  • Nylon composite back in matching color
  • Case size 44mm or 40mm
  • Retina display
  • 324 by 394 pixels with 759 sq mm display area (40 mm) and 368 by 448 pixels with 977 sq mm display area (44 mm)
  • Second generation optical cardiac sensor
  • Cycle tracking
  • Available in Midnight, Starlight and Silver
  • It starts at $249

Apple Watch Series 8

  • Aluminum or stainless steel body
  • Ion-X front glass (aluminum) or sapphire crystal (stainless steel)
  • Ceramic back
  • 45mm or 41mm case size with edge-to-edge display (almost 20% more screen area than ‌Apple Watch SE‌)
  • Always-On Retina display
  • 352 by 430 pixels with 904 sq mm display area (41 mm) or 396 by 484 pixels with 1143 sq mm display area (45 mm)
  • Third generation optical cardiac sensor
  • Blood Oxygen Sensor and Blood Oxygen App
  • Electric heart sensor and ECG application
  • Temperature sensor
  • Cycle tracking with retrospective ovulation estimates
  • U1 chip
  • Fast charging
  • Available in Midnight, Starlight, Silver and PRODUCT(RED) (aluminum) or Silver, Graphite or Gold (stainless steel)
  • Starts at $399 (aluminum) and $699 (stainless steel)

The ‌Apple Watch Series 8‌ is a slight improvement over the previous Series 7 model, offering crash detection and body temperature reading. Still, compared to the ‌Apple Watch SE‌, the ‌Apple Watch Series 8‌ is a significantly more feature-rich device with advanced capabilities.

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

If you’re on a tight budget and aren’t particularly enamored with the additional features of the Series 8, the ‌Apple Watch SE‌ is still a very compelling option. Since it shares so many features with the ‌Apple Watch Series 8‌, in most cases you should probably go with the cheaper model, unless you particularly value features like the larger, always-on display or advanced health monitoring and can justify the added price.

The ‌Apple Watch SE‌ is an ideal device for kids and seniors who don’t have an iPhone thanks to Family Setup, but it’s also the model of choice for most customers new to the Apple Watch and those upgrading from Series 3 or older thanks to its competitive pricing and generous feature set, allowing users to get an unlimited Apple Watch experience at a low price.