(Pocket-lint) – Apple announced thealongside the second generation Watch SE in September 2022. The company also announced a rugged model – called , though this sits in a very different price bracket and field to that model.
We’ve compared the Watch Series 8 and the Watch Ultra in a separate feature, but here we are focusing on the differences between theand the Watch Series 8.
Which should you buy and how do the two compare? Read on to find out.
Let’s first consider the pricing of these two models to allow you to see how each may fit into your budget.
The Watch SE (2022) model is the new entry-point into the Apple Watch, starting at $249 in the US and £269 in the UK.
The Apple Watch Series 8 starts at $399 in the US and £419 in UK. These prices are both for the GPS-only model.
Design and display
- Watch Series 8: IPX6, Edge-edge display, Always-On Display, 1000nits
- Watch SE: 50m water resistant, 1000nits
The Apple Watch Series 8 and Watch SE both share a similar design. They both feature a rectangular casing with rounded edges and corners and they both feature a Digital Crown on the right edge, alongside an extra function button below. Neither has the programmable action button you’ll find on the Watch Ultra.
Both are waterproof to 50 metres but only the Watch Series 8 is, making it more suitable for harsher conditions like the beach.
The Watch Series 8 also offers a more impressive display that stretches to the edges of the space available. Overall, it’s 20 per cent larger than the Watch SE’s display. It’s also an Always-On Display so when your wrist is down, you can still choose to have some information showing rather than just a black rectangle.
Both the Watch Series 8 and the Watch SE have a 1000nits brightness though.
On the whole, the Watch Series 8 and Watch SE look very similar, with the display being the main differentiating factor between the two models on the surface.
- Watch Series 8: Aluminium, stainless steel, Hermes models, 41mm and 45mm
- Watch SE: Aluminium only, 40mm and 44mm
The Apple Watch Series 8 comes in 45mm and 41mm casing options. It is also available in stainless steel and aluminium models, with various colour options in both. There are also special edition Hermès models. The stainless steel models and the Hermès models have sapphire front crystals protecting the glass, while the aluminium models have Ion-X glass fronts.
The Watch SE meanwhile comes in 40mm and 44mm casing options. It is also only available in aluminium, with no stainless steel models. This means it only offers the Ion-X Glass protection too.
Both the Watch Series 8 and the Watch SE come in GPS only and GPS & Cellular models however and they are both compatible with the plethora of straps available, as well as all the older straps.
The aluminium colour options include Midnight, Starlight and Silver for both the Watch SE and Watch Series 8. The Watch Series 8 also comes in Product(RED) though and the stainless steel options of Graphite, Silver and Gold.
Hardware and features
- Watch Series 8: S8 chip, up to 18 hours battery, fast charging, ECG, Bloody oxygen, Body temperature sensor
- Watch SE: S8 chip, up to 18 hours battery
The Apple Watch Series 8 and the Watch SE both run on the same chip – which is the S8. Along with this, both models offer built-in GPS, a high-g accelerometer that allows for the company’s, Fall Detection, Emergency SOS and International Emergency Calling.
The two devices also offer Compass Backtrack, an always-on altimeter and up to 18 hours battery life. The Watch Series 8 does have a few extra features on top of the Watch SE though, including the ability to take an ECG, measure blood oxygen and it also comes with a body temperature sensor too, allowing for ovulation estimates in women.
The Watch Series 8 also has fast charging on board – claimed to charge around 30 per cent faster than the Watch SE and this is perhaps the biggest difference in use, especially if you want to use your Apple Watch for. The faster it charges, the quicker you can put it back on your wrist so you don’t miss out on any activity points and closing your rings.
- Watch Series 8: watchOS 9
- Watch SE: watchOS 9
Both the Apple Watch Series 8 and the Watch SE run onso there’s a very familiar user experience across both models. You can read all about watchOS 9 and what features the software brings to Apple Watch in our separate feature, but it includes things like more advanced sleep tracking.
There are a couple of extra features on the Watch Series 8, like the ability to take an ECG, the body temperature sensor and the blood oxygen sensor, but overall, the general experience between the Watch Series 8 and the Watch SE is identical.
You also get the faster charging on the Watch Series 8, as well as a few extra features that some might find useful, such as body temperature tracking. There are more premium options available too, but if you’re opting for those, budget is less of an issue and therefore the Watch Series 8 makes the most sense.
The Watch SE is an excellent smartwatch and it performs as well as the Watch Series 8, but you miss out on a couple of features. Not all of those features will matter to everyone though so if you can live without the Always-On display, ECG, blood oxygen and body temperature sensor, then it’s a great buy.
Writing by Britta O’Boyle.