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Apple Watch 7 vs Apple Watch SE: Which should you buy?

Apple unveiled the Apple Watch 7 at its event on September 14. We’ve already looked at how the smartwatch differs from the Apple Watch 6, but what about the Apple Watch SE? Here’s how Apple’s latest flagship wearable compares to the more affordable SE. 

The Apple Watch SE launched in 2020 offering the Apple Watch experience to iOS users on a budget. We actually awarded the SE a higher score than the Apple Watch 6 for prioritising the most important features, including the IP rating, GPS and OLED display, and removing those necessary to keep the price cheap. 

Read on to discover how the Apple Watch SE stands up to this year’s flagship Apple Watch 7. 

Apple Watch 7


The Apple Watch SE is Apple’s entry level smartwatch at just £269/$279. This makes it one of the most affordable premium smartwatches on the market. 

The Apple Watch 7, on the other hand, is Apple’s flagship smartwatch. The wearable is priced at $399 (around £379), putting it at the same level as its predecessor, the Apple Watch 6. That makes the 7 more expensive than the SE by £110. 

Apple Watch SE Face
Apple Watch SE

Design and display 

Many of the updates coming to the Apple Watch 7 focus on it’s design, putting it a step ahead of last year’s SE in terms of display size and durability. 

While the two watches look very similar with their straight edges and soft corners, the bezels on the Apple Watch 7 are thinner at just 1.7mm. This makes the Apple Watch 7’s display the largest Apple Watch screen yet at 41mm and 45mm. The screen is also 20% bigger than the display on the Apple Watch SE which, like the Apple Watch 6, came in 40 and 44mm variants. 

The Apple Watch 7 also features an Always-On Retina display – something that was available on the Apple Watch 6 but not the cheaper Apple Watch SE. 

The Apple Watch 7 includes a new crack-proof crystal coating, is dust resistant up to IP6X and water resistant to WR50, making it the most durable Apple Watch yet. Like the Apple Watch 7, the Apple Watch SE is water resistant up to 50 metres, but does not include any dust resistance rating or the crystal coating

The Apple Watch E is available in Silver, Gold and Space Grey finishes, while the Apple Watch 7 is available in the more colourful Green, Blue, Product Red, Starlight and Midnight shades. 

Apple Watch 7
Apple Watch 7

Specs and features 

As far as what’s going on inside the Apple Watch is concerned, the Apple Watch 7 and the SE are very similar. 

One difference is that the Apple Watch SE runs on the S5 chip introduced in 2019’s Apple Watch 5, while the Apple Watch 7 is powered by the slightly newer S6 chip launched in the Series 6 in 2020. 

The Apple Watch 7’s larger display also makes room for a full QWERTY keyboard.

Apple didn’t introduce any new health or fitness tracking sensors alongside the Apple Watch 7, so the Apple Watch 7 is likely to perform the same as the Apple Watch SE when it comes to health and fitness tracking. 

This means that both watches will include ECG, sleep and blood oxygen tracking, as well as the new WatchOS 8 features, including new message editing features, portrait mode photos on your watch face and access to the new Mindfulness app. 

Apple Watch SE
Apple Watch SE


The Apple Watch 7 and the Apple Watch SE feature the same 18 hour battery life, meaning you won’t get any more hours out of the new flagship. 

However, the Apple Watch 7 does take advantage of fast charging. Apple claims the watch is capable of charging 33% faster than previous Apple watches, offering around eight hours of sleep tracking from a quick eight minute charge. 

Apple Watch 7

Early verdict 

Right now, the biggest differences between the Apple Watch 7 and the SE are the screen size and durability, both of which have seen large improvements with Apple’s latest flagship. The Apple Watch 7 also packs a slightly newer chip and faster charging

However, if your main interest here is in health and fitness tracking, you’ll find the same features in the cheaper Apple Watch SE for over £100 less.

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