Apple Watch SE 2 review: easy, low-cost, and good

Apple Watch SE 2 review: easy, low-cost, and good

MSRP $249.00

“The good Apple Watch SE 2 could not have all of the headline options of the Collection 8, however this simplicity is a part of its enchantment, because it does every part else its sibling can for lots much less cash.”


  • Snug to put on 24 hours a day
  • Complete, but simple-to-use health monitoring
  • Wonderful smartwatch software program and assist
  • Newest processor supplies all the ability wanted
  • Two-day battery


  • No always-on display screen
  • Sluggish battery charging

The Apple Watch SE 2 is the most cost effective approach into Apple wearable possession. It’s surrounded by technically extra superior fashions at larger costs, which means it’s vulnerable to being neglected. This could be a mistake, as what it ought to be doing is reminding you to actually take into consideration what you want out of your smartwatch earlier than deciding on which mannequin to purchase. Once you do that, there’s a great probability you’ll discover the Apple Watch SE 2 is a stronger proposition than the others. Right here’s why the Apple Watch SE 2 could possibly be the smartwatch for you.

Apple Watch SE 2 design

The Apple Watch SE 2 (or 2nd technology, because it’s additionally identified) is constituted of aluminum and is formed and sized precisely just like the 1st-generation Apple Watch SE and Apple Watch Collection 4, Collection 5, and Collection 6. It is available in Midnight, Starlight, or Silver colours, and has Apple’s powerful Ion-X glass over the display screen. There’s a alternative of both 40mm or 44mm case sizes, and it’s the 44mm model in Silver you see in our photographs.

The front of the Apple Watch SE 2.Andy Boxall/Digital Tendencies

It’s the again the place issues change in comparison with the older mannequin. On the SE 2, the case again is product of a nylon composite in a coloration that matches the aluminum case, and though that seems like a fancy approach of claiming it’s product of plastic, it’s hotter and smoother to the contact than strange plastic — and that’s necessary when it’s in opposition to your pores and skin.

The raised sensor array homes the second-generation optical coronary heart price sensor, which is identical one fitted to the primary SE and the Collection 5 watch, however it’s totally different from the third-generation sensor on the Apple Watch Collection 8 and Apple Watch Extremely. In the event you personal both the primary SE or the Collection 5, you gained’t discover any distinction when placing on the SE 2. It’s so gentle and cozy that you simply neglect it’s there till the splendidly judged haptics faucet your wrist. I’ve worn it day and evening with out it getting sweaty or irritating.

The nylon composite case back on the Apple Watch SE 2.Andy Boxall/Digital Tendencies

Throughout my time sporting the SE 2, I’ve struggled to provide you with adverse factors concerning the design and feeling while you put on it. The Collection 4 form was when Apple hit its stride with the Watch, and we gave it an ideal 10/10 rating in 2018. The SE 2 takes that very same successful design and squeezes within the newest technology. You’ll be able to match any Apple Watch band to the SE 2, and it really works with any of the Apple Watch charging equipment you should purchase. There’s no draw back to the Apple Watch SE 2 when checked out from this attitude.

The form, measurement, and display screen haven’t drastically modified over the previous 4 years, however they didn’t should. The Apple Watch SE 2 has not solely one of the recognizable smartwatch designs on the market, however can be one of many best and most snug watches to put on. It’s watch-like, however not a lot that ergonomics take a again seat and it turns into fatiguing to put on or unimaginable to maintain on in a single day. In order for you a smartwatch designed for the workplace, the gymnasium, sleeping, or casually hanging out on the weekend, the Apple Watch SE 2 is it.

The factor is, that very same assertion applies to the Apple Watch Collection 8, so shouldn’t you simply purchase that one?

Apple Watch SE 2 display screen and efficiency

Apple makes use of the identical S8 processor throughout all its newest smartwatches, so that you get the an identical stage of efficiency whether or not you purchase the most cost effective SE 2 or the costliest Apple Watch Extremely. The software program is identical, too, with watchOS 9 put in on all three. Every makes use of the W3 wi-fi chip to connect with your telephone, and the hyperlink is rock strong with an enormous vary. The SE 2 misses out on the ultra-wideband U1 chip, however since its performance remains to be restricted, you’re probably not dropping a lot for the time being.

The side of the Apple Watch SE 2 showing the Digital Crown.Andy Boxall/Digital Tendencies

The side of the Apple Watch SE 2 showing the speakers.Andy Boxall/Digital Tendencies

The front of the Apple Watch SE 2.Andy Boxall/Digital Tendencies

Nonetheless, the large distinction most will discover between the SE 2 and the Collection 8 is the dearth of an always-on display screen. The SE 2’s show stays black till you carry your wrist or a notification comes by way of, whereas the Collection 8 reveals a watch face always. The always-on display screen stays one of the compelling causes to spend extra to get the Collection 8.

It appears to be like wonderful, however it doesn’t actually add a lot exterior of that visible punch and with the ability to all the time see the time at no matter angle your wrist is at. Elevate your wrist, nonetheless, and the Apple Watch SE 2’s darkish display screen prompts immediately, so that you’re by no means ready that lengthy to see the time. You simply have to just accept the display screen will go darkish in any respect different instances.

The app grid view on the Apple Watch SE 2.Andy Boxall/Digital Tendencies

My Apple Watch is often hidden below a sleeve. Not as a result of I don’t like the best way it appears to be like, however as a result of it’s coming into winter, so it doesn’t matter whether or not the display screen is all the time lively or not. My level is, take into consideration how you’ll put on the Apple Watch, your regular alternative of clothes, and even whether or not you’ve worn a Fitbit or different usually screen-less health tracker previously. By doing so, it’s possible you’ll understand the dearth of an always-on display screen isn’t one thing you’ll truly discover.

Notifications reliably seem on the display screen after a flick of your wrist when the pleasant haptics warn you to an incoming message. You’ll be able to see photographs from tweets, reply to some messages, learn textual content in emails simply, and dismiss particular person notifications with a easy swipe. Set the Apple Watch SE 2 up fastidiously, and also you’re by no means bombarded with undesirable data. Calls are immediately recognizable, and the speaker is loud sufficient to be heard exterior.

Notifications on the Apple Watch SE 2.Andy Boxall/Digital Tendencies

Notification actions on the Apple Watch SE 2.Andy Boxall/Digital Tendencies

Quick Settings on the Apple Watch SE 2.Andy Boxall/Digital Tendencies

The Dock view on the Apple Watch SE 2.Andy Boxall/Digital Tendencies

Apps are quick to obtain from the App Retailer, and the selection is surprisingly giant. All of that is straightforward to handle both within the accompanying Watch app in your telephone, or the Grid view on the watch. The one annoyance with watchOS 9 is how the ability controls at the moment are an additional step away. Once you long-press the facet button, it’s a must to now press an awkwardly small icon within the prime nook to entry them, whereas the ability slider beforehand appeared instantly. You’ll be able to learn extra about how watchOS 9 features in our Apple Watch Extremely and Collection 8 reviews — and, keep in mind, it’s all precisely the identical.

Apple Watch SE 2 well being and health monitoring

The Apple Watch SE 2’s second-generation coronary heart price sensor doesn’t have an electrocardiogram characteristic, and it doesn’t monitor your blood oxygen both. The brand new temperature sensor isn’t on board right here, so detailed ovulation estimates aren’t doable. You continue to get notifications for abnormally excessive or low coronary heart price, cycle monitoring, fall and noise detection, crash detection, and fundamental sleep monitoring. The smartwatch is swimproof to 50 meters, it handles the Backtrack characteristic adequately, and it helps the superb new redesigned compass app. It additionally has the identical altimeter, accelerometer, and gyroscope because the Collection 8.

Workout mode on the Apple Watch SE 2.Andy Boxall/Digital Tendencies

Monitoring a exercise couldn’t be simpler. Press the Digital Crown to open the menu, choose the Exercise app, and faucet your desire. The app highlights exercises you employ usually, so there’s hardly ever any have to scroll by way of the in depth listing. Coronary heart price, lively calorie burn, and time elapsed are all clearly proven, and all of your music controls are only a swipe away. GPS connects within the background with none want to attend round earlier than beginning out in your stroll, run, or cycle. It’s all immediate, informative, and crucially, frictionless.

It’s the place the Apple Watch, on the whole, excels. There’s no have to sync it together with your iPhone — it simply does all of it for you. I haven’t questioned if new information has been uploaded from the Apple Watch SE 2 as a result of it’s all the time fully updated. You don’t have to consider it in any respect, and mixed with the very snug design, it means the Watch SE 2 blends completely in together with your life and not using a fuss. This ought to be a given, however it’s in no way on this planet of smartwatches.

Apple's Fitness app on the iPhone 14 Pro.Andy Boxall/Digital Tendencies

Apple's Health app on the iPhone 14 Pro.Andy Boxall/Digital Tendencies

Apple's Watch app on the iPhone 14 Pro.Andy Boxall/Digital Tendencies

The Apple Well being and Apple Health apps have some information overlap that makes discovering what you need somewhat irritating, plus you don’t get the identical stage of element within the information as you do with a Garmin, Polar, or Fitbit product. By itself, the Apple Watch SE 2 is good for the informal exerciser and isn’t actually for the marathon runner who calls for plenty of information — however third-party apps are there to offer extra data must you need it. Monitoring exercises back-to-back with the Apple Watch Extremely, I couldn’t see any significant variations in coronary heart price, calorie burn, or ease of use.

Apple’s Ring-based motivational system to succeed in your day by day exercise objectives could be very clear, however don’t anticipate the Watch or Apple’s apps to offer deep perception into the place you may enhance. If the smartwatch was pitched at hardcore exercisers, then this may be a priority, however it’s actually not. The Apple Watch SE 2 fits individuals who aren’t fascinated with pushing any bodily limits, and is as an alternative very best for folks involved about their total well being and need an correct, easy-to-use tracker full with an informative, not overly advanced app platform behind it. If you wish to see how way more correct the Apple Watch Extremely’s GPS is over the SE 2, we cowl it intimately within the Apple Watch Extremely review.

Apple Watch SE 2 battery and charging

There will probably be instances you miss the always-on display screen should you purchase the Apple Watch SE 2, however there will probably be others while you’ll be grateful it’s not there, utilizing somewhat bit extra energy from the battery. Apple states the Watch SE 2 will get the identical 18 hours of use because the Collection 8, however in my expertise, except you’re monitoring GPS exercises on daily basis, that is on the conservative facet.

The Apple Watch SE 2 on charge.Andy Boxall/Digital Tendencies

With a single non-GPS tracked exercise, all the standard notifications, a everlasting connection to your telephone, and sleep monitoring, the Apple Watch SE 2’s battery will final two full days. It could want Apple’s Low Energy mode on the finish of the second day, which deactivates sure options to increase remaining energy, however not should you didn’t monitor your sleep.

Sleep monitoring is one thing it’s possible you’ll need to surrender too, because the Apple Watch SE 2’s charging is gradual, and doing so in a single day is preferable. It makes use of the identical magnetic puck as different Apple Watch fashions, however there’s no quick charging, and it takes greater than two hours to go from a couple of p.c to full capability. It takes an hour much less to totally cost the Collection 8.

Apple Watch SE 2 value and availability

The Apple Watch SE 2 begins at $249 for the 40mm mannequin with a Sport Loop, Solo Loop, or Sport Band. The 44mm SE 2 begins at $279 with the identical band choices. Add mobile connectivity, and the worth goes as much as $299 for the 40mm and $329 for the 44mm SE 2. Within the U.Ok., the Apple Watch SE 2 begins at 259 British kilos for the 40mm model and 299 kilos for the 44mm mannequin, whereas including mobile will take the worth to 319 kilos for the 40mm and 349 kilos for the 44mm.

Questioning should you want mobile? How usually do you allow dwelling, or need to go away dwelling, with out your telephone? If the reply is rarely, then you definitely in all probability don’t want it. If you wish to go on a run with out your telephone, however nonetheless need to keep up a correspondence, it’s useful. Keep in mind you’ll pay about $10 monthly additional so as to add it onto your telephone contract.

How less expensive is the Apple Watch SE 2 than the Collection 8? In order for you the 41mm model with a easy band, then it’s $399, or $429 for the 45mm model, making it $150 cheaper.

The Apple Watch SE 2 might be all of the Apple Watch you want

Don’t even take into consideration shopping for a non-Apple Watch on your iPhone. Not one of the others which will work with iOS have the identical stage of integration — from replying to Messages to using the App Retailer tothe simplicity of setup. It makes wearables that aren’t the Apple Watch much less useful and, usually, extra annoying.

The Apple Watch SE 2 on a mans wrist.Andy Boxall/Digital Tendencies

The selection comes all the way down to which of the Apple Watches you can purchase, and for as soon as, the most cost effective could very properly be one of the best one for you. The ECG, blood oxygen monitoring, and always-on display screen are excellent options and do justify the extra value of the Collection 8 over the SE 2. However ask your self if they’re options you may justify for your self. The ECG could possibly be a lifesaver for some folks, whereas blood oxygen monitoring solely actually turns into informative if you wish to monitor sleep, however many individuals will merely by no means use them in any respect.

Don’t get caught up pondering the lacking options make the Apple Watch SE 2 too fundamental both. The simplicity, and the way a lot occurs within the background, is an enormous a part of its enchantment. In the event you’ve appeared exhausting and might’t see how the additional Collection 8 options would match into your life, then save your cash and purchase the Apple Watch SE 2. It does completely every part else the Collection 8 can do virtually faultlessly, and is a pleasure to put on and personal.

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