Apple Watch SE (2022) vs Apple Watch SE (2020): Should You Upgrade?

Sample picture for testing only

Image: Apple

the original Apple Watch SE It’s been a consumer favorite since its launch in 2020. It provided a nice middle ground between the aging Series 3 and the latest and greatest apple watch flagships of the past few years. But, Apple decided it was time for an upgrade and created the All new SE With features derived from the latest generation Series 8.

Also: Want a new Apple Watch? We compare the top 5 models available

Let’s go over what changed between the two models to help you decide whether you should get your order for a new Apple Watch SE in asap, or you should just snag the original model while it’s still on some store shelves, or even as a used product.


Apple Watch SE (2022)

Apple Watch SE (2020)

an offer

40 mm: 324 x 394 pixels Retina LTPO OLED | 44mm 324 x 394 Retina LTPO OLED display

40 mm: 324 x 394 pixels Retina LTPO OLED | 44mm 324 x 394 Retina LTPO OLED display


40mm: 27g | 44mm: 33g

40mm: 30.7g | 44 mm: 36.4


S8 SiP (a rebranded version of the Series 8 chip)

S5 chip (identical to Series 5 chip)

storage 32 GB 32 GB
battery 18 hour lithium ion battery 18 hour lithium ion battery
tentacles GPS, Altimeter, Optical Heart Sensor, Accelerometer, Gyroscope, Ambient Light Sensor, High Gravity Accelerometer GPS, altimeter, optical heart sensor, accelerometer, gyroscope, ambient light sensor
Connection Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 5.0, LTE (GPS + Cellular model only) Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 5.0, LTE (GPS + Cellular model only)

Case materials and colors

Aluminum: Midnight, Starlight, Silver

Aluminum: space grey, gold, silver

The electronic identification number level

Water resistant to 50 metres

Water resistant to 50 metres

price Starting at $249 Starting at $200

You should buy the Apple Watch SE 2022 if…


The back panels have also been updated to match your chosen body material

Image: Apple

1. You want the fastest, budget-friendly Apple Watch

The revamped Apple Watch SE uses a modified version of the same S8 chip used in the just-launched Apple Series 8 Apple Watch. This, according to Apple, makes it 20% faster than the original Apple Watch SE, and almost as fast as the Series 8. Considering the significant price difference between the new SE and the Series 8, this makes the 2022 SE’s retail price an outright steal. It’s even more dramatic if you consider that the same chip also powers Apple’s $800 Apple Watch Ultra.

2. You want to keep track of your family’s safety

Aside from sharing the chip, the SE (2022) and Series 8 also get the new high-gravity accelerometer chip needed to support Apple’s new crash detection feature. This new security measure allows Apple Watch SE (2022) (as well as the iPhone 14 and Series 8 lineup, Apple Watch Ultra) to immediately contact the emergency services and your emergency contacts, if you are involved in a car accident. Apple’s decision to bring this feature to its more budget-conscious model means you don’t have to spend $400+ to get the peace of mind it provides.

3. You are a hiker or outdoor enthusiast

The SE (2022) supports Apple’s redesigned Compass app, including new waypoints and an undo feature. This means you can set your own guide points when you’re out in the wild, as long as you have a stable GPS signal. This is excellent for routing enthusiasts as well as those who just want an extra layer of security when going camping. For that matter, it’s a great way to drop a pin on your car so you can find it later in the stadium parking lot!

Also: How to enable Activity Sharing on your Apple Watch

You should buy the Apple Watch SE (2020) if…


Image: Apple

1. You want the cheapest modern Apple Watch out there

The prices of the original Apple Watch SE are already lower than the launch price of the new SE (2022). These price tags are guaranteed to drop further. Now you can pick up the much-loved original two-year-old SE for just $200 on a regular basis, sometimes less, while supplies last. You can always buy a used model from a reputable seller as well, and the prices will likely come down a lot if you’re willing to settle for a sweet-loved Apple device.

2. I really liked the shades of Space Gray or Gold

While silver remains on the revamped Apple Watch SE (2022), the older Space Gray and Gold colors have been replaced by the newer Midnight and Starlight. Sure, it’s a minor detail for a lot of people, but maybe you have a Space Gray iPhone, or a Gold MacBook that you have to color-coordinate with. In this case, your best bet is to get one of the older SE (2020) models before they sell.

3. You’re looking for a boy’s Apple Watch

Just a few years ago, many parents might have been worried about their kids bugging them to buy their first smartphone. Now we have smartwatches to deal with, too. The 2020 Apple Watch SE could be a perfect fit for this. Most kids (especially those too young to drive) won’t need any of the new features introduced by the 2022 update, and they’ll love all the extra connectivity the 2020 SE offers. Best of all, it can be had for a price that doesn’t hurt too much when the little one comes home and tells you he fell into the sewer… somehow.

More: Apple Watch SE vs Apple Watch Series 7: Which should you buy?

Alternatives to consider

Open to other smart budget prospects? Consider these recommended devices from ZDNET:

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