An Apple Watch Comparison – A Breakdown of Watches
Apple just made it challenging to know which Apple Watch to choose. They recently launched the new feature-packed Ultra and drastically reduced the price point of Apple Watch SE. Meanwhile, the Series 8 hasn’t changed much at all.
But how do these watches compare? In this article, we’ll help you understand the significant differences between them and hopefully, you should have an idea of which Apple Watch is right for you. We have a lot to cover, so let’s get started.
Apple Watch Comparison: Apple Watch SE vs. Apple Watch Series 8 vs. Apple Watch Ultra
Apple Watch SE
The SE is generally perfect for those looking for an Apple Watch with all the basic innovative features but who don’t want to spend much money. For the record, it’s currently more affordable than the Series 8 and the Ultra.
Like all of its counterparts, it’s made of recyclable aluminum and features three colors: sunlight, midnight, and silver.
The Apple Watch SE doesn’t have as many health smart sensors as the Series 8 and the Ultra. For instance, it lacks sensors that detect body temperature and oxygen. However, the watch can detect your heart rate and general cardio fitness.
Apple hasn’t limited this model in terms of safety. Like the Ultra and the Series 8, it can detect a car crash and notify emergency services immediately. It can also detect a fall, track your compass steps, gyroscopes, and even has a high-g accelerometer.
Additional Features of the Apple Watch SE
Battery Life – The Apple Watch SE has up to 18 hours of battery life. Unlike its counterparts, it doesn’t have a low-power mode, so there’s no way to extend this limit.
Performance – The SE provides the same performance as the Ultra and the Series 8, thanks to integration with the S8 chip. As a result, you get the same speed and user interface responsiveness as you would if you purchased any other model in the series.
Pain Points of the Apple Watch
- The back isn’t made of ceramic. Instead, it’s a nylon composite material. This feature is present in all the launched models and shouldn’t bother you as much, considering the price.
- Its display isn’t always on and is smaller than the Series 8 and the Ultra. But it still provides brightness up to 1,000 nits, similar to that found in the Series 8.
- It isn’t dust resistant, so you’re likely to end up with the accumulation of debris a few years down the line if you’re not actively cleaning it.
- It doesn’t have the low-power mode, which can be a dealbreaker for those who want a wearable with a longer battery life.
Apple Series 8
The Series 8 is probably the watch many are looking at because it offers a good balance between the price point and the features. There’s a GPS version and GPS + Cellular version.
Some versions of Series 8 are made of aluminum and come in four colors: product red, midnight, sunlight, and silver. Other versions are made with stainless steel and come in three tones: gold, graphite, and silver. There are also two cases to choose from, one that measures 40 mm and another that measures 44 mm.
Features Available in Apple Series 8
A Built-in Temperature Sensor – Like the Ultra, Apple has introduced temperature sensors to the Series 8. This is helpful, especially when combined with women’s cycle tracking. Women can track their ovulation times without needing third-party apps. This health data is also well protected and cannot be read by Apple unless you explicitly share it. Other health-related aspects you can track with the Series 8 include oxygen levels, heart rate, ECG, and overall cardio fitness.
Support for Bluetooth 5.3 – Both Ultra, the SE, and the Series 8 have seen Apple upgrade from Bluetooth 5.0 to Bluetooth 5.3. This is advantageous, especially for those who want to pair the watch with other new Apple devices, including iPhone 14 and AirPods Pro 2. Bluetooth 5.3 supports longer distances, better audio, lower battery consumption, and better bandwidth.
Resistance to Dust – The Apple Watch Series 8 is certified IP6X dust-resistant, making it perfect for those looking for a product that stays cleaner for longer. This feature is also present in the Apple Watch Ultra but is absent in the Apple Watch SE.
Always-on Display – Unlike the SE, the Series 8 has an always-on display and a brightness of up to 1,000 nits. The size of the screen is about 20% larger than that of the SE. The Ultra also has an always-on display and has a brightness of 2,000 nits.
Battery Life – The Apple Watch Series 8 offers an 18-hour battery life, like the SE. However, you can extend the power to 36 hours by enabling the low-power mode. The Ultra is the winner of the three because it offers 36 hours of battery life under regular use.
Built-in security features – These sensors don’t work when the low-power mode is enabled. So, if you’ll be enabling the low-power mode most of the time, it’s best to go for the SE. You will get a lower price point and access to these security features and still have a decent battery life. Alternatively, you can go for the Ultra because it provides all the security features and longer battery life.
Pain Points of the Apple Series 8
- The Series 8 offers very few upgrades from the Series 7. The only new feature is the temperature sensor and car crash detection. Therefore, if you don’t need these features, you’re better off with its predecessor.
Apple Watch Ultra
The Apple Watch Ultra has garnered the most attention, and for good reason. It’s feature-packed and perfect for those who want something different from what we have seen from all the other Apple watches.
Unlike the SE and the Series 8, the Ultra is made of aerospace-grade titanium. This material gives the watch a good balance between ruggedness, corrosion resistance, and weight.
Of the three models in the series, the Ultra has the largest display size and a higher pixel density. It also has an entirely flat sapphire crystal glass panel protected by a titanium case, unlike Series 8 and SE, which are curved and have the glass wholly exposed.
Apart from the completely flat glass panel, the overall design of the Ultra is sleek, unique, and arguably appealing. The design is rounded at first but gets flat towards the display. On the left side, it has a striking orange action button that can be customized to track workouts or even waypoints.
The watch comes in a 49 mm case size, which might be too large for some people. Before the watch launched, some tabloid speculation was that it would not be compatible with existing bands. But as we can see, that’s not the case. You can conveniently sport any existing band, which measures between 42 mm and 45 mm.
Exciting Features That Are Unique to the Apple Watch Ultra
Improved Sound System and Microphones – The improved sound system is louder than all the Series 8 and the SE, making it perfect for calls. Now you can clearly hear what the caller is saying. It also has three microphones, which means the other person can clearly hear as well. The sound system integrates a loud siren that can reach as far as 600 feet away. Plus, the notifications are loud enough that it’s hard to miss them.
Larger and Brighter Display – If you’re after an Apple Watch with a more extensive and brighter screen, you can consider the Apple Watch Ultra. The brightness is about 2,000 nits, twice that in the SE and the Series 8. You can see what’s on the screen under direct sunlight.
Durability – The Apple Watch Ultra is designed with durability in mind, thanks to the titanium case that protects the inner glass. Your watch won’t get any random scratches or easily break when you drop it on surfaces. With the SE and the Series 8, the glass is not protected. Hence, a slight knock might break the watch.
A Handy Action Button – This watch features an action button that we don’t see on the SE and the Series 8. This button is mounted on the side that can be customized to serve various functions. These include marking waypoints, controlling your scuba dive computer, and monitoring workouts. The crown can also double as a button.
Waterproof, Swim-proof, and Depth Sensor – While all three models are water-resistant, the Ultra goes slightly higher. It supports a water depth of up to 40 meters, making it the perfect choice for scuba divers and athletes. Even better, the watch integrates an app you can use as a dive computer. The watch also has an EN13319 certification, making it the only one of the three watches in our comparison you can dive with.
Health and Safety Tracking – Like the Series 8, the Ultra tracks various health aspects, including blood oxygen, heart rate, sleep, cardio fitness, and much more. It also has all the safety sensors we see in the Series 8 and the SE, except that it has a built-in siren that you can fire in an emergency or when you’re lost in the woods.
An Incredibly Long Battery Life – This is perhaps what many people covet about this watch. The battery lasts up to 36 hours of regular use, unlike the Series 8 and the SE, which only have 18 hours of regular battery usage. Even better, the Ultra’s battery life almost doubles when you enable the power-saving mode. You can now track your sleep or go for long hikes without your Apple Watch battery dying on you.
Pain Points of the Apple Watch Ultra
- Some people might find the Ultra too large or heavy because of its colossal design. This is especially true for those with smaller wrists.
- It can be very uncomfortable, especially if you wear a long-sleeve shirt or suit.
- While it is an excellent option for those who want to track their sleep because of its longer battery life, its thickness and weight can be uncomfortable, making it difficult to stay asleep.
Which Apple Watch Is Right for You?
The right Apple Watch for you is the one that fits your preferences and budget and has the feature pack you need.
If you are looking at Series 8, it’s best to go for the Cellular + GPS version. To back up this advice, the Series 8 has car crash detection and ovulation tracking.
The SE is the best option if you’re looking for an Apple Watch with basic features. It’s also best for gifting to others and for kids who don’t have an iPhone yet. However, if you’re buying it for your kids, go for the Cellular version.
The Ultra is best if you want an Apple Watch with rich features. The 36-hour battery life makes it convenient. It also offers a new and fresh design, making it perfect for those who find the generic design in previous models too redundant. The 49 mm chassis might be too large and heavy for people with smaller wrists. It’s best to visit the nearest Apple Store and try it physically before you decide to purchase.
Which Apple Watch has the highest speed and performance in the 2022 series?
You don’t have to worry about which Apple Watch you should buy based on the speed. All three models run on the S8 chip; as a result, they offer the exact same load times, responsiveness, and speed.
Which Apple Watch has the most storage in the 2022 series?
All three models have 32 GB storage for apps, music, audiobooks, and podcasts. Therefore, storage shouldn’t be a differentiating factor when looking for the best model.
Get the Right Apple Watch for Your Wrist
Undeniably, the Apple Watch is one of the leading wearables in the tech space, and for good reason. You can control many things using the watch – more than you can with an analog watch. When choosing the best watch for you, examine the features you might want, your preference as to the look and feel of the watch, and the money you’re willing to spend.
We hope this comparison guide has helped you identify which Apple Watch is right for you.
Which of the latest Apple watches are you planning to buy? Please let us know in the comments section below.