Apple Watch Series 8 or Apple Watch SE: Which to Buy?

Estimated read time 8 min read

The catalog of Apple Watch available in their Cupertino stores has been increasing over the years. In a short time, they have gone from having a single model, which was the corresponding Series, to now having up to 3 different models. In this post, we will compare the budget version, the Apple Watch SE 2022, with the Apple Watch Series 8. Keep reading, and we will tell you all about them.

Specs Comparison

Before delving into discussing all the differences and similarities between these two Apple watches, a good way to understand them is to first know all the features of both devices. Therefore, below you will find a table with the technical specifications of the Apple Watch Series 8 and SE 2022.

Apple Watch Series 8Apple Watch SE
Starting price$399$249
Size41mm or 45mm40mm or 44mm
FinishesAluminum or stainless steelAluminum
ColorsAluminum: Midnight, starlight, silver, Product Red; Stainless steel: Graphite, silver, goldMidnight, starlight, silver
SoftwareWatchOS 9WatchOS 9
Screen904 sq mm display area (41mm); 1,143 sq mm display area (45mm)759 sq mm display area (40mm); 977 sq mm display area (44mm)
Health sensorsBlood oxygen, electrical heart (ECG), third-gen optical heart, temperatureSecond-gen optical heart
Health featuresHigh and low heart rate notifications, irregular heart rate notifications, blood oxygen, nighttime wrist temperature deviations, cardio fitness level, cycle tracking, retrospective ovulation estimates, sleep trackingHigh and low heart rate notifications, irregular heart rate notifications, cardio fitness level, cycle tracking, sleep tracking
ChipApple S8 SiPApple S8 SiP
DurabilityIP6X dust resistant; water resistant up to 50mWater resistant up to 50m
SafetyEmergency SOS, international emergency calling, crash detection, fall detectionEmergency SOS, international emergency calling, crash detection, fall detection
BatteryUp to 18 hours with fast charging, support for low power modeUp to 18 hours, support for low power mode
Other featuresGPS, optional cellular, Compass Backtrack, always on altimeter, Family Setup, speaker, microphone, activity and exercise tracking, Apple Pay, GymKit, ultrawideband supportGPS, optional cellular, Compass Backtrack, always on altimeter, Family Setup, speaker, microphone, activity and exercise tracking, Apple Pay, GymKit


One of the main differences between these two models lies in the display. The first thing you need to know is that the sizes are different, and although you won’t notice a drastic change overnight, it’s true that the extra offered by the Series 8 is appreciated when looking at the watch, especially because some complications can display more information, making them more complete. Below are the screen sizes of both models.

But beware, this is not the only difference, as there is another one that can also impact the user experience with one watch or the other. Since the Apple Watch Series 5, the always-on display is present in these models. This means you can always check your watch to see the time and the information your complications provide, whereas with the SE, the screen will go black when you turn your wrist. Many users may think that the Series 8 will consume more battery due to this, but no, it offers the same battery life.

The always-on display is truly useful, as you always have the opportunity to see what’s on your watch face, even when you’re engaged in activities like workouts, you won’t have to activate the screen to view the metrics since they will always be visible.

Health Sensors

Another significant difference between the Series 8 and the SE is in the sensors. Since the SE is more affordable, Apple has to make some cuts in certain aspects, and one of them is the sensors available on both devices. Below is a list where you can check what each of them offers.

Apple Watch Series 8

  • Blood oxygen sensor.
  • Electrical heart rate sensor.
  • 3rd generation optical heart rate sensor.
  • Temperature sensor.

Apple Watch SE

  • 2nd generation optical heart rate sensor.

As you can see, the difference is quite evident between these two models, since in the end, the presence or absence of these sensors causes one to have certain functions available and the other different ones. On one hand, the Apple Watch Series 8 has an app to measure blood oxygen, will give you heart rate notifications, has the possibility to perform electrocardiograms, will monitor your sleep phases along with your body temperature for better menstrual cycle control, while the SE will only measure your heart rate and sleep phases.


You are probably thinking about how the battery section can be included among the differences between these two watches when just a few lines above, we told you that they have the same autonomy. Well, that’s because there’s something else that must be very important to consider when talking about the battery, and that is the way both devices are charged.

Both have the same charging method, but with a substantial difference, and that is that the Apple Watch Series 8 is compatible with fast charging, and that is something that, undoubtedly, is vital for users of this device. Unfortunately, Apple Watches need to be charged almost every day, but it’s not the same to take 1 hour and a half or two hours to have your Apple Watch fully charged in just a few minutes.

Security & Emergencies

One of the aspects that these two Apple Watch models have in common is their ability to look after people’s health. Despite the SE not having as many sensors as the Series 8, there are two essential functions that are common in both watches: fall detection and accident detection.

Fall detection is one of the functions that has saved the lives of many users who wear an Apple Watch on their wrists. It works in such a way that when it detects that a person has fallen, it sends a notification, and if it doesn’t receive a response within a few seconds, the Apple Watch itself calls emergency services for assistance. And now, this has been complemented with accident detection, so the Apple Watch can also notify emergency services after a traffic accident.

Sports Activity & Sleep

One of the reasons why users end up buying an Apple Watch is because of the significant contribution it makes to their daily lives in promoting a much more active and healthy lifestyle. The Apple Watch rings encourage people to exercise and move more during a typical day, and you can track your progress and compete with others who also have an Apple Watch.

The workout app plays a fundamental role in this case, as it provides the perfect tool for recording a wide variety of sports and physical activities. Additionally, you have all the options from the App Store that greatly enhance the possibilities of both devices, both for the Apple Watch Series 8 and the SE.

Sleep tracking is also essential for leading a healthier life, and in this case, both models perform wonderfully, offering exactly the same functions. Apple has significantly improved the measurement it performs of the different phases of sleep, but you also have options on the App Store, such as AutoSleep, which is the best app in this regard.

Price Difference

We have reached one of the key points of the comparison, and that is that, in the end, the price of each model will determine whether many users opt for one or the other. We don’t usually say that a device is expensive or cheap because it ultimately depends on the performance that each user gets from the device. Therefore, it is always essential to choose the one that best suits your needs.

The Apple Watch Series 8 starts at $400 for the 41 mm model, while the Apple Watch SE costs $250. As you can see, the difference in features between the two models is entirely reflected in the price difference. Now, each user has to determine whether the options present in the Series 8 are worth paying more for compared to the SE.

Which Should You Buy?

Whenever we carry out a post like this, from the editorial team of La Manzana Mordida, we like to tell you our opinion and, from our point of view, which product is more worthwhile in each case. However, you have to keep in mind that this is our personal opinion, which is influenced by specific tastes and needs. We encourage you to be yourself and decide based on your own needs which one best suits you.

The most cost-effective Apple Watch model is undoubtedly the Apple Watch SE, as it is practically the same device as the Series 8, except for the sensors and the screen. However, they are really similar in day-to-day functionality. It is true that the advantages of the screen size and Always On Display in the Series 8 are very appealing and give it a differential touch. Similarly, for users who want to monitor their health through the different measurements provided by the Series 8, it may be worth paying that extra amount of money. In other cases, each user has to decide whether the differences are truly worth the extra price.

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