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Apple Watch Series 6 vs SE: Which device is the right fit for you?
Apple Watch Series 6 vs SE: Which device is the right fit for you?
Apr 24, 2024 4:27 AM

Jimmy Westenberg / Android AuthorityWe’ve said it before: Apple smartwatches are hard to beat. Even the Apple Watch Series 6 and original SE, though older models, are still powerful devices. The Apple Watch SE was originally launched to offer an overall excellent value for anyone on a budget. Since then, the Apple Watch SE 2 has replaced the SE as a mainstay on Apple’s website, but the original generation still sells elsewhere.

Likewise, now outdone by the Apple Watch Series 7, Series 8, and Series 9, the Series 6 can also typically be found on sale from third-party retailers. It doesn’t have everything you’ll find on the newest model, but a Series 6 vs Series 9 shows a lot of similarities. If you are happy to stick with one of the older devices, we’re here to help you choose which one. Read what the watches have in common and what sets them apart.

Apple Watch Series 6 vs Apple Watch SE

The specs

Apple Watch SEApple Watch Series 6
Display

Apple Watch SELTPO OLED Retina

368 x 448 pixels

Apple Watch Series 6LTPO OLED Retina

368 x 448 pixels

Always-on display

Dimensions and weight

Apple Watch SE44mm:

44 x 38 x 10.7mm

GPS: 36.2g

GPS+Cellular: 36.36g

40mm:

40 x 34 x 10.7mm

GPS: 30.49g

GPS+Cellular: 30.68g

Apple Watch Series 644mm:

44 x 38 x 10.7mm

Aluminum: 36.5g

Stainless steel: 47.1g

Titanium: 41.3g

40mm:

40 x 34 x 10.7mm

Aluminum: 30.5g

Stainless steel: 39.7g

Titanium: 34.6g

Durability

Apple Watch SEWR50

Apple Watch Series 6WR50

SoC

Apple Watch SEApple S5 with 64-bit dual-core processor

Apple W3

Apple Watch Series 6Apple S6 with 64-bit dual-core processor

Apple W3

Apple U1

RAM

Apple Watch SE1GB

Apple Watch Series 61GB

Storage

Apple Watch SE32GB

Apple Watch Series 632GB

Battery

Apple Watch SE18 hours

USB-C magnetic fast charging cable

Apple Watch Series 618 hours

USB-C magnetic fast charging cable

Software

Apple Watch SEWatchOS 8.1

Apple Watch Series 6WatchOS 8.1

Case materials and colors

Apple Watch SEAluminum

Space Gray, Silver, Gold

Apple Watch Series 6Aluminum, stainless steel, titanium

Aluminum: Silver, Space Gray, Gold, Blue, Product Red

Stainless steel: Silver, Graphite, Gold

Titanium: Titanium, Space Black

Connectivity

Apple Watch SEGPS

GLONASS

Galileo

QZSS

Wi-Fi 802.11b/g/n 2.4GHz

Bluetooth 5.0

Model A2353 (40mm)

Model A2354 (44mm)

LTE bands: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 12, 13, 17, 18, 19, 25, 26, 39, 40, 41, 66

Apple Watch Series 6GPS/GNSS

GLONASS

Galileo

QZSS

Wi-Fi 802.11b/g/n 2.4GHz and 5GHz

Bluetooth 5.0

Model A2293 (40mm)

Model A2294 (44mm)

LTE bands: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 12, 13, 17, 18, 19, 25, 26, 39, 40, 41, 66

Sensors

Apple Watch SEAlways-on altimeter

Second-generation optical heart sensor

Accelerometer

Gyroscope

Ambient light sensor

Apple Watch Series 6Always-on altimeter

Third-generation optical heart sensor

Accelerometer

Gyroscope

Ambient light sensor

Blood oxygen sensor

ECG

Compatibility

Apple Watch SEiOS 14 or later

Apple Watch Series 6iOS 14 or later

The features

Eric Zeman / Android AuthorityThe Apple Watch SE and Series 6 are very similar in design. The only differences between the smartwatches are case materials and available colorways. Users will find the SE in aluminum only, while the Series 6 comes in aluminum, stainless steel, and titanium. If you opt for a higher-end Series 6, you can upgrade your device with sapphire glass. The Apple Watch SE is limited to Ion-X Glass, which is more susceptible to scratches.

Color-wise, the Series 6 comes in Silver, Space Gray, Gold, Blue, and Red cases, but you will only find the SE in Silver, Space Gray, and Gold cases. Luckily, Apple Watch bands are interchangeable across the lineup, so there are plenty of opportunities to add color to either pick.

As far as display, only the Series 6 offers always-on functionality. The SE, meanwhile, will turn on whenever you raise your wrist. Both have 32GB of internal storage and house internal microphones and speakers. The Series 6 uses a newer system on a chip than the SE, which Apple claims is up to 20% faster than its predecessor. Meanwhile, the SE sticks with the same specs as the Series 5. We have no complaints about the SE regarding speedy performance, but it is a differentiating data point.

Apple Watch SE

Apple Watch Series 6 Above all, the major health and fitness features to consider when comparing the Apple Watch SE vs the Apple Watch Series 6 are sensors. The SE model lacks blood oxygen monitoring and an electrocardiogram sensor. During our Apple Watch Series 6 review, we found these sensors accurate, but not tools every user necessarily needs.

That being said, the Apple Watch SE offers all-day heart rate monitoring. Like the Series 6, it can identify abnormally high or low heart rates, and both devices will notify you if they detect irregular heart rates. The Series 6 uses an upgraded heart rate sensor, so it’s the leader if you want the best in terms of accuracy.

Jimmy Westenberg / Android AuthorityAfter hours, differences in sleep tracking are also worth considering. If you choose the Series 6, you can use the SpO2 sensor to track your blood oxygen while you snooze. Unfortunately, it’s not a clinically validated sensor, so it can’t alert you to any potential signs of sleep apnea. The Apple Watch SE, meanwhile, doesn’t offer SpO2 monitoring.

As for fitness tracking, both devices automatically track various workouts and can manually track many others. Both track steps, resting and active heart rate, active and resting energy burn, standing minutes, distance, floors climbed, and more. Apple’s fitness tracking has also received major software updates since the launch of these products, and both devices are compatible with the newest features.

Jimmy Westenberg / Android AuthorityOverall, the Apple Watch SE doesn’t make any real sacrifices in smartwatch features compared to the Series 6. Both feature the same library of watch faces and allow users to share faces with friends. Both provide access to unmatched third-party app support, Siri, Apple Pay, smart home controls, and more. Family Setup is also available on both models, allowing you to set up one of the best smartwatches for kids even if they don’t have an iPhone.

The price

Apple Watch SE

Apple Watch Series 6 Originally, it was hard not to get excited about the price tag of the Apple Watch SE. It launched at $279, falling right between the $199 Series 3 and the Series 6 at $399. In other words, users could cash in on an improved processor and better display for just $80 more than the cost of a Series 3. Apple no longer supports the Series 3, making the SE an even more valuable buy. By ditching a few sensors, shoppers can save over $100. Now, the original SE can be found for even cheaper, given the launch of the 2022 SE model.

Apple Watch SE

Apple Watch SEExcellent hardware • Plentiful features • AffordableMSRP: $49.00The Apple Watch SE is the smartwatch most people should buy.Powerful features keep you connected, active, healthy, and safe. Advanced sensors to track all the ways you move and to measure your favorite workouts. The Apple Watch SE is a lot of watch for a lot less than you expected.See price at AmazonSee price at AmazonGPS Cellular (40mm)See price at AmazonSave $19.99GPS (44mm)See price at AmazonGPS Cellular (44mm) The Apple Watch Series 6 launched at $399 for the 40mm Bluetooth-only model and $499 for the LTE model. When the  Apple Watch Series 7 launched, Apple stopped selling the older model directly, but you can still find one from retailers such as Amazon. We think the Series 6 stands up to the Series 7, with many of the same specs and features. The Apple Watch Series 8 and Series 9 each add a few more unique features to the line, making either of those devices a more worthwhile upgrade.

Apple Watch Series 6

Apple Watch Series 6Bright OLED display • Accurate GPS • Excellent health monitoringMSRP: $399.99One of the best smartwatches on the marketThe Apple Watch Series 6 is a powerful smartwatch with a pulse oximeter, a bright always-on display, and a fast and smooth software experience.See price at AmazonSave $436.99

Apple Watch Series 6 vs SE: Which should you buy?

Jimmy Westenberg / Android AuthorityWe consistently rank the latest Apple Watch as the best smartwatch you can buy. With its competitive price point, the SE is the lower tier of Apple Watches, so you will undoubtedly be making a few trade-offs. However, it’s a very capable smartphone companion offering most of the features people actually want. For example, blood oxygen monitoring is a hot-ticket item in wearables, but it’s not necessarily a deal-breaker for the average user.

With its competitive price point, the Apple Watch SE is still a great smartwatch for most shoppers. The Series 6 is the right pick for anyone with a little more cash to spare. It is especially helpful for anyone with a medical history of heart conditions or users specifically interested in advanced health monitoring. It’s a little pricey for an older device, but if you can’t live without its premium features, it’s not a mistake to buy. It’s a solid choice for added sensors without paying the premium price of the latest model.

With all that being said, both devices are growing increasingly old. The SE 2 was launched at a lower price point than the original, so unless you find the older model on sale, you are better off grabbing the newest option. It’s also worth shopping around to see if a Series 7 or Series 8 can be found for a comparable price as each of these boasts a larger displays and other generational upgrades.

Which Apple Watch are you considering?

1088 votesApple Watch SE52%Neither one3%

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