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Apple Watch 7 vs Apple Watch SE: Is it worth upgrading?

There are plenty of differences between the Apple Watch 7 and the Apple Watch 6, but what if you’re looking to upgrade from the Apple Watch SE? Here’s how Apple’s new flagship compares to its cost-effective wearable.

The Apple Watch SE was a fantastic sell upon release, offering the same great Apple Watch experience but at a far more affordable price that had it competing fiercely against similarly matched Wear OS devices. It was arguably a better buy than the Apple Watch 6, but now that the Apple Watch 7 has finally been unveiled, is it time to plump for an Apple flagship?

For anyone trying to make that decision, these are the top things you need to know when weighing up the Apple Watch SE against the newly announced Apple Watch 7.


Let’s start off with the big one. As we all know, the appeal of the Apple Watch SE is in its competitive pricing. With an entry level cost of just £269/$279, the SE isn’t just affordable by Apple Watch standards, but it’s also one of the best price premium smartwatches on the market.

Luckily, Apple has decided not to increase the rate of its latest wearable over the Apple Watch 6, as the Apple Watch 7 has a starting price $399 (UK pricing TBC). At the very least, this means you won’t have to break the bank if you want to upgrade, but even in 2021, the SE is still a hard recommendation to beat.


Here’s where things get interesting. Apple has gone all out in making the Apple Watch 7 screen the largest Apple Watch display yet – nearly 20% larger than the Watch 6 and a ridiculous 50%+ larger than the Watch 3.

Because the Watch SE has the same sized display as the Watch 6, this means that it is also lagging behind by that aforementioned 20%. With that extra retail space, the Apple Watch 7 is crammed with exclusive watch faces that makes use of the upgrade, including a new modular face that allows for even more information to be shown in one screen.


With battery life long being an issue for the Apple Watch series, common wisdom might dictate that the issue might finally be rectified by the Apple Watch 7, but sadly this is not the case. The Apple Watch 7 and the Apple Watch SE come with the same 18-hour battery life, so it isn’t much of a consideration if you’re weighing up the pros and cons.

Where the Watch 7 does differentiate is in its charging. Fast charging is now available on the Apple Watch 7, supposedly operating at a rate that’s 33% faster than before. Apple’s stated that you can even get eight hours of sleep tracking from a brief eight-minute charge. If you’re in a hurry and need of a quick top up, this feature could make all the difference.


Just as with the screen, Apple’s gone all in with making the durability of the Watch 7 the best in the company’s range thanks to an official IP6X certication. This distinction will allow the Apple Watch 7 to keep dust away from its internals, while a new crystal coating should make the screen crack proof – I dread to thing how many devices suffered for that testing.

The Watch 7 and the Watch SE do come with the same 5ATM waterproofing however, so you won’t have to worry about taking ether device into the pool with you.

Fitness tracking

Health and fitness tracking has always been a key focus for the Apple Watch – last year’s Watch 6 made blood oxygen tracking its headline feature – but Apple appears to have let its foot off the pedal for the latest update.

There are no new sensors or major health tracking upgrades to speak of, meaning that both the Watch 7 and Watch SE will operate almost identically where fitness tracking is concerned.

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