Apple Watch SE vs. Apple Watch SE 2 Buyer’s Guide: Should You Upgrade?

At its “Far out” event earlier this month, alongside the Apple Watch Series 8, Apple announced the second-generation Apple Watch SE. The second generation ‌Apple Watch SE‌ offers an update on the original model launched in 2020, providing a full Apple Watch experience at a low price.

Apple Watch SE Gen 2
The second generation ‌Apple Watch SE‌ is a minor update, with the main update being a performance boost thanks to the S8 chip. While the second-generation ‌Apple Watch SE‌ shares the same S8 chip as the ‌Apple Watch Series 8‌ and Apple Watch Ultra, the S8 contains the same processor as the S7 and S6 chips, meaning it’s functionally just one generation newer than the S5 chip in the previous ‌Apple Watch SE‌ .

The new ‌Apple Watch SE‌ also introduces a lightweight, color-matched nylon composite back in place of the previous model’s ceramic back, Bluetooth 5.3, and Crash Detection. Apple also reduced the price of the device from $279 to $249.

The first-generation ‌Apple Watch SE‌ has now been discontinued by Apple, but can still be found at lower prices at third-party retailers. As such, some customers may be considering whether to purchase the second-generation ‌Apple Watch SE‌ or a discounted first-generation model. Likewise, existing ‌Apple Watch SE‌ users may consider upgrading to the new model. This breakdown also serves as a way to see all the differences that the new ‌Apple Watch SE‌ offers.


Apple Watch SE

  • S5 chip
  • Bluetooth 5.0
  • Black ceramic back
  • Available in Space Gray, Gold and Silver
  • It starts at $279

Apple Watch Series 8

  • S8 chip (20 percent faster than S5)
  • Bluetooth 5.3
  • Crash detection
  • Nylon composite back in matching color
  • Available in Midnight, Starlight and Silver
  • It starts at $249

The second-generation ‌Apple Watch SE‌ aims to modernize the first-generation model, rather than offering a clear upgrade path for those who bought the original. It probably won’t be worth the upgrade if you already have a first-generation ‌Apple Watch SE‌, unless you want significantly improved performance or crash detection. A discounted Apple Watch Series 7 might be a better option for existing ‌Apple Watch SE‌ users.

In some ways, the second-generation Apple Watch SE’s nylon back case is a step back in terms of material quality and durability, but it makes the device lighter overall. Likewise, Bluetooth 5.3 connectivity doesn’t unlock any additional functionality that most users will be able to take advantage of right now.

Instead, the second-generation ‌Apple Watch SE‌ is best suited for those new to the Apple Watch entirely or upgrading from Series 3 or older. Unless you can get the first-generation ‌Apple Watch SE‌ for a very low price, it’s probably worth buying the new model because of its updated specs that make it more future-proof.