Second impression: Apple Watch SE after five months of daily use


The Apple Watch SE is an excellent smartwatch for relatively little money, provided you do not attach too much value to an important function of watches: checking what time it is. We have had the Apple Watch SE on our wrist for months now and in this second impression we give an updated purchase judgment.

Apple Watch SE: Front view Silver Aluminum Case with Solo Loop

Second impression: Apple Watch SE after five months

2020 was a hugely busy year for Apple. Not only the iPhone family got a new member in the form of the iPhone 12 mini , the Apple Watch could also count on family expansion. At the same time as the Apple Watch Series 6, the company released the Apple Watch SE.

We have had this affordable entry-level model on our wrist every day since its release, and in this article we take stock. Is the smaller price tag justified, or is it better to save up and get the Series 6? We answer that question in this second impression of the Apple Watch SE.
Apple Watch SE: Front view Space Gray Aluminum Case with Sport BandApple Watch SE: Front view Gold Aluminum Case with Solo Loop

No lack of functions

In our initial Apple Watch SE review (after one week of testing) we write that entry-level model “has it all”. We still stand behind those words, but a nuance is in order. The SE is especially recommended for people who are now walking around with a somewhat older Watch. In our opinion, people with newer models have little reason to switch.

Compared to previous models (Series 3 and older), the Apple Watch SE has everything you would expect from a modern smartwatch. For example, the heart rate monitor works great, the watch uses Activity rings to map out how active you are and the waterproof housing is ideal for a rainy country like the Netherlands. Wearing the Watch in the shower is also no problem.

Furthermore, thanks to watchOS 7, the major Apple Watch software update of 2020, the watch has a sleep tracker. This keeps track of how (in) effective your night’s sleep is and gives tips to improve the quality. In addition, the watch is quick to use thanks to the S5 chip, which is also in the Apple Watch Series 5 , and paying with Apple Pay is a snap.


However, the entry-level watch is not perfect. This is because an important screen function is missing. The Apple Watch SE does not have an always-on display, which means that you cannot directly read the time and notifications from the screen. To do this, you must first tap the screen or lift your wrist. How (not) annoying you find this is probably very personal. In any case, it bothers us quite a bit.

Another disadvantage is the battery life. The watch lasts about a day on a full battery. After this you have to charge the Watch and that is easier said than done. To make full use of the sleep functions in watchOS 7 , you also have to wear it on your wrist at night. This is annoying, because many people want to use the night hours to charge electronics.

Now you have to provide the watch with power during the day and that is not convenient. It takes about two hours to get the battery of the Apple Watch SE completely full. In practice, it therefore means that we put the watch on the charger several times a day and recharge it a bit, instead of going to 100 percent in one go.

Differences from Series 6

There are three major differences between the Apple Watch Series 6 and Watch SE. The former has a pulse oximeter to measure the oxygen level in your blood, a sensor to make heart films and an always-on display. How much value you attach to these functions is very personal.

The fact remains that these extras come with a price tag. The Apple Watch Series 6 has a suggested retail price of 429 euros, although you can now also get it for less. The Watch SE is more than 100 euros cheaper and starts at 299 euros. Here too, you can buy the watch for less at some stores.

See also: Apple Watch Series 6: Our second impression after five months

Conclusion Apple Watch SE second impression

The Apple Watch SE is a great smartwatch with an impressive price-quality range. The watch has all the functions you would expect from a modern smartwatch, contributes to a healthier life, looks stylish and does all this without asking the main prize.

The biggest drawback of the Apple Watch SE is the lack of an always-on display. As a result, you cannot immediately check the time or notifications received on the screen: you have to tap the display or lift your wrist. The battery life could also have been better. If you don’t weigh too much on this, the Apple Watch SE is a good and affordable alternative to the Series 6.

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About the author
GeeksModo Staff
GeeksModo Staff
GeeksModo Staff is a team of iPhone, iPad, Mac and Apple Watch experts led by Moses Johnson. We're passionate about all things Apple!

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