Apple Watch SE Review: Balance Between Price and Performance

Apple Watch SE

Apple has been in the smartwatch game from early on and they have proven themselves with their Apple Watch series to techies and fitness enthusiasts alike. They have stayed relevant with their evolving designs and immersive health-tracking abilities. The one drawback? Compared with many other smartwatches, Apple's products tend to come in at a higher price point.

Enter the Apple Watch SE. First launched in 2018, it fills a niche by providing a fairly comprehensive set of features for a more budget-friendly price. If you're looking for a top-of-the-line fitness tracker or smartwatch that doesn't cost an arm and a leg, you should take a serious look at this Apple Watch.

What exactly does this smartwatch do? We have saved you the trouble of clicking through a long string of Apple Watch SE reviews. We have performed tests and done the research for you—check out this full Apple Watch SE review from the ACTIVE Reviews Team.

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A Quick Look At the Apple Watch SE

apple watch se


  • Color options: Silver, Gold, Space Gray
  • Features: Fall detection, heart rate notifications, easy integration with iPhone
  • Sizes: 40mm or 44mm cases
  • Compatibility: Apple Music


Apple's entry into the smartwatch field has been well-received. In fact, with their advanced array of sensors and health-monitoring apparatus, Apple's watch line has helped make the wearable fitness space much more accessible and much more adaptable to every lifestyle.

The Apple Watch SE isn't quite as decked out with sensors and features as some of Apple's other products, including the Series 6. If you're looking for something with all the bells and whistles, you may wish to look elsewhere. But if you want something that covers all of the basics in a durable, easy-to-use, and cost-effective way, the Apple Watch SE is the best option out there.

What We Like

  • Reasonable price point
  • Solo Loop wristband provides a snug, secure, comfortable fit
  • Heart rate notifications
  • Fall detection and Emergency SOS features
  • Fitness Ring
  • Easy to integrate with your iPhone
  • Plenty of fitness features and workout modes
  • Works well with Apple Music
  • Battery life lasts about 18 hours, on par with other Apple Watch products

What We Don't Like

  • No always-on display mode
  • Slower to charge than other Apple Watch products
  • Some apps may be slower to load

Design and Display

You can get the Apple Watch SE in a few basic colors—silver, gold, or space gray—all of which look sporty and elegant. There are fewer color options available than with other Apple Watches, including the Series 6, but you can add color by swapping in and out the band for different colors. The Apple Solo Band provides a snug fit without the need for clasps or buckles—it’s a small detail, but anyone can tell you that a comfortable and dependable band can make or break a smartwatch’s design. The touchscreen display is vivid, bright, and easy to use, even while you're mid-run.


While the Apple Watch SE doesn't have quite as many fitness-tracking features as some of the other watches in the Apple line, it still has enough to keep it effective. We especially like the integrated Fitness Ring, which precisely assesses your level of motion and activity. Additionally, there are a variety of long-term fitness tracking options plus 40 different workout modes. Very few smartwatches offer the breadth of the utility of the Apple Watch SE.


The Apple Watch SE is available for as little as $279. That's a reasonable, mid-range price that makes it more attainable than higher-end Apple Watches, though it's also a little pricier than competitors like Fitbit.

Color Options

Available in silver, gold, and space gray, the Apple Watch SE doesn't offer as wide of a range as other Apple Watches. With that being said, all three colors are sleek and coordinate well with different band colors. There are plenty of wristband options that allow you to play around with different hues, patterns, and materials to personalize your Apple Watch.


Beyond the Fitness Ring, the Apple Watch SE also shines with its heart rate notifications, a wide range of workout modes, fall detection, and ease of integration with other Apple products. For outdoor adventures, it provides a compass, an altimeter, and GPS. Also, for peace of mind, it includes an Emergency SOS feature, with a built-in mic and speaker. The lack of an always-on display mode is one of its more conspicuous limitations.


There are a couple of different case sizes available, although it's really just a matter of your personal preference. Neither is so small that it's difficult to read the screen, and neither is so big that it becomes cumbersome as you workout.


The Apple Watch SE works well with a lot of apps and platforms, but the easiest option is to integrate it with other Apple products, including Apple Music. Bear in mind that you must have an iPhone and Apple ID to set up and use any Apple Watches.

BUY: Apple Watch SE

FAQs About Apple Watch SE

When was the Apple Watch SE released?

The Apple Watch SE has been around since September 18, 2020.

How do I charge my Apple Watch SE?

The Apple Watch SE is compatible with both the Magnetic Fast Charger and the Apple Watch Magnetic Charging Cable. The second is for use with earlier editions of the Apple Watch, but is also compatible with the SE. There is no need to be precise when you charge the watch—just bring the charger’s round connector to the back of the Apple Watch and it will automatically snap into place, properly aligning itself.

What's the difference between the Apple Watch SE and the Apple Watch 6?

The Apple Watch SE is a lower-priced option, and as such, comes with fewer features. For example, the Apple Watch 6 offers blood oxygen readings and other respiratory features, which the SE does not. The Apple Watch 6 also has faster charging, though the total battery life is about the same. Ultimately, the Apple Watch SE represents the best option for cutting-edge features and reasonable pricing.

Is the Apple Watch SE waterproof?

It is not waterproof, but it does offer water resistance up to 50 meters.

Can I shower with an Apple Watch SE?

While the Apple Watch SE is water resistant, exposure to soap and suds can cause damage. It's most prudent to take it off before showering.

How long does it take to charge an Apple Watch SE?

It may take up to 2.5 hours to get a full charge

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