What’s the difference between Series 6 and SE anyway?

What’s the difference between Series 6 and SE anyway?

At Apple’s virtual event on Tuesday, the company launched two new smartwatches: the Apple Watch Series 6 and the Apple Watch SE. Both devices run WatchOS 7, but because the Watch SE is a more affordable version of Apple’s flagship Watch line, it has fewer features and a less advanced S5 chipset. The devices have cellular and Wi-Fi only variants and ship out Sept. 18.

a bunch of different cell phones: Apple

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The Watch Series 6 starts at $399 (£379, AU$599) while the Watch SE costs $279 (£269, AU$429). If you’re interested in either wearables but are not sure which one you should get, read on for our deep dive on how these two compare.

Everything announced at Apple’s Event



Design: Similar looks, but Series 6 has more design options

a bunch of different cell phones: New Apple Watch: What's the difference between Series 6 and SE anyway?

New Apple Watch: What’s the difference between Series 6 and SE anyway?

Both the Watch Series 6 and the SE have the same display and resolution, so you’ll get the same viewing experience. They’re also water resistant so you can swim with them, and they work with Apple’s two new bands, the Solo and Braided loops

The Watch Series 6, however, has more design and color choices. In addition to the standard silver, grey and gold aluminum colors, the Series 6 comes in blue and red. It also has steel and titanium variants, with different color options in both materials. Hermès, the luxury fashion company and longtime partner of Apple Watch also has new bands of its own for the Series 6.

Lastly, the Series 6 has an Always-on display. Originally introduced in the Watch Series 5 last year, it means that the display is constantly on and you don’t need to raise your wrist or tap the screen to look at the time or check for notifications.

The Watch Series 6 with its new loop bands. Apple

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The Watch Series 6 with its new loop bands. Apple

Hardware: Watch Series 6’s blood oxygen sensor

The Watch Series 6 has the latest S6 chipset from Apple while the Series SE has the S5 system. While the Watch SE’s setup isn’t as advanced as the Series 6, Apple said the SE is twice as fast as 2017’s Series 3.

One major update that’s only on the Watch Series 6 are sensors that measure your blood oxygen levels. Known as an oximeter, it can gather important information about your breathing and blood circulation in 15 seconds, and lend key insight about your overall respiratory and cardiac health. It’s particularly important for those affected by COVID-19, since blood oxygen levels are indicative of how severe the disease is affecting your body.

a watch on a cellphone: The Blood Oxygen app. Apple

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The Blood Oxygen app. Apple

The accompanying Blood Oxygen app will take measurements in the background, like during sleep, but users can manually activate a reading too. Data is viewable through the built-in Health app , where you can see your levels and track trends over time.


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Both watches also have an optical heart sensor to measure heart rate. But the Watch Series 6 also has an app for its electrical heart sensor (abbreviated as ECG or EKG), which debuted on the Watch Series 4, to detect irregular heart rhythms.

Lastly, Watch Series 6 has an Ultra Wideband, or U1 chip. Available in iPhones starting with the iPhone 11 line, this chip is for “spatial awareness,” and it helps devices find other devices more precisely when they’re in close proximity. When it debuted last year, Apple said this chip would improve AirDrop, a service that lets iPhone users quickly share files with nearby iPhones. Tantalizingly, Apple added that “that’s just the beginning” of its uses. Many believe that the U1 chip is actually laying the groundwork for a long-rumored Apple tile tracker.

Software features: Both run WatchOS 7

New to WatchOS 7 and available on the Watch Series 6 and Watch SE is Family Setup. This enables users to pair their iPhone to someone else’s Apple Watch, be it a family member like a young child or an elderly adult. You can then apply controls, like limiting contacts and app downloads, or automatic location tracking. The other user is also not required to have an iPhone of their own. WatchOS 7 comes with a number of new watch faces as well, including ones for Memoji stickers.

These updates are included on top of several standard Apple Watch features like fall detection, noises level monitoring, emergency SOS contact and an alimeter to measure elevation levels.

a close up of a cell phone: The Apple Watch Series SE. Apple

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The Apple Watch Series SE. Apple

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