Are you considering upgrading your Watch Series 3 to an Apple Watch? Here is a complete guide on Apple Watch SE vs Series 3 to help you decide which one to choose.
During its September event, Apple unveiled the new Watch SE model along with the Apple Watch Series 8 and Apple Watch Ultra. The Apple Watch Series 3 has been replaced by it as the new smartwatch entry point from Apple.
It might not be immediately obvious which of these two models is better for you because they combine the more affordable Apple Watch options and share many features, such as a Retina Display, water resistance, and an optical heart sensor. If you want to save some money, is it worthwhile to buy the older, less expensive Series 3?
Learn more by reading on!
- Watch Series 3: 38.6 x 33.3 x 11.4mm, 26.7g (38mm) / 42.5 x 36.4 x 11.4mm, 32.3g (42mm)
- Watch SE: 40 x 34 x 10.7mm, 26.4g (40mm) and 44 x 38 x 10.7mm, 32.9g (44mm)
Both the Apple Watch SE (2022) and Series 3 feature a rectangular casing with rounded corners. Both have a Digital Crown on the right edge, a separate button below it, and the heart rate sensor is located on the underside. The Watch SE (2022) also has a color-matched under-casing, whereas the Watch Series 3 does not have haptic feedback on the Digital Crown.
The Watch Series 3 was available in 38mm and 42mm case sizes when it first launched, while the Watch SE (2022) comes in 40mm and 44mm options – the extra millimetres translate to a larger display on the Watch SE (2022) within the same footprint.
For reference, the Series 8 is available in 41mm and 45mm options, and with those sizes come once more larger displays. However, all straps are interchangeable among models, so if you have a 38mm Apple Watch Series 3, your straps will fit on a 40mm Watch SE (2022) or a 41mm Watch Series 8, while the 42mm straps will fit on the 44mm and 45mm models.
The Watch Series 3 came in stainless steel, aluminium and a ceramic option when it first arrived, while the Watch SE is only available in aluminium. If you want titanium, you should look at the Watch Ultra, and if you want stainless steel, you should look at the Watch Series 8. However, only the Watch Series 3, Watch SE (2022), and Watch Series 8 offer water resistance up to 50 meters.
- Watch Series 3: Retina OLED Display, up to 1000nits
- 42mm: 740sqmm, 312 x 390 pixels
- 38mm: 563sqmm, 272 x 340 pixels
- Watch SE: Retina LTPO Display, up to 1000nits
While Apple doesn’t give display size information for its Apple Watch models, the Watch SE (2022) has a 20 per cent larger display than the Watch Series 3 and it’s noticeable in the flesh. In contrast, the Watch Series 8 is even bigger, reaching the casing’s edges, necessitating the additional millimeter over the Watch SE (2022).
Retina OLED displays can reach 1000 nits on the Watch Series 3, while Retina LTPO displays are available on the Watch SE (2022). It too has up to 1000nits brightness. The biggest difference between the two displays is the size though.
The screen will be dark when your hand isn’t raised because neither device has the Always-On feature that the Watch Series 8 has. The Watch Series 3’s ceramic and stainless steel models are covered by sapphire glass, while the aluminum model is covered by ion-X glass. Ion-X safeguards the screen for the Watch SE (2022).
- Watch Series 3: S3 chip, W2 wireless chip, 8GB capacity, up to 18 hours
- Watch SE: S8 chip, W3 wireless chip, 32GB capacity, up to 18 hours
The S8 chip, which powers the Series 8 and the Apple Watch SE (2022), is the same. The skin temperature sensor and the SpO2 sensor, which are used to monitor blood oxygen levels and help women detect when they are ovulating, are two sensors that are absent, but otherwise the hardware is the same.
The device has a W3 chip, an always-on altimeter, a compass, an accelerometer that can measure up to 256 g-forces, and a gyroscope. There’s also 32GB storage capacity and a U1 chip on board.
While the Series 3 utilizes the S3 chip and W2 wireless chip, the Watch SE (2022) or Watch Series 8 offer a significant performance upgrade. The Watch Series 3 also has just 8GB capacity, and a barometric altimeter. The accelerometer can only measure up to 16 g-forces, and there is no compass.
- Watch Series 3: watchOS 8
- Watch SE: watchOS 9, Car Crash Detection, Fall Detection, International Emergency Calling
The Watch SE (2022) runs on watchOS 9, so it offers a ton of features, the most useless of which is the sophisticated sleep tracking. The Sleep Tracking feature on the Watch Series 3 does not include Sleep Stages, making it less useful.
The Watch SE (2022) has a few additional features due to the hardware upgrade it received over the Watch Series 3. There are features like Fall Detection, International Emergency Calling, and Car Crash Detection, for instance.
When it comes to delivering smartphone notifications, the Watch SE (2022) and Watch Series 3 both perform superbly. They also both have features like Emergency SOS and high- and low-heart-rate notifications.
Both allow for the monitoring of body temperature and blood oxygen levels. For those features, you need the hardware within the Series 8.
The Apple Watch SE has four times as much storage as the Apple Watch Series 3—32GB as opposed to just 8GB.
If you plan on downloading large amounts of music, podcasts, or photos to your Apple Watch, the Apple Watch SE is a much more convenient option. On the Apple Watch, storage is generally not a top priority, so 8GB will be sufficient for most users.
Conclusion: Apple Watch SE Vs Series 3
The Apple Watch SE (2022) offers a big jump up in performance over the Watch Series 3, whilst also offering a larger display within a very similar footprint, delivering a better viewing experience.
Additionally, the Watch SE (2022) comes with a number of extra features that make it worthwhile to upgrade from the Series 3, including improved sleep tracking, car crash detection (though ideally you won’t need it), and general enhancements to storage, processing speed, and software compatibility.
Why is the Apple Watch SE So Much Cheaper?
It costs $30 less to purchase a second-generation SE Apple Watch than a first-generation model. The SE comes with a new S8 chip, sleep tracking and crash detection. The Apple Watch Series 8 hasn’t undergone enough improvements to warrant an upgrade.
Is Apple Watch SE Worth Buying?
With a faster processor, better battery life, and a lower price than the previous model, the second-generation Apple Watch SE is an excellent budget-minded alternative to the Series 8.
Can Apple Watch SE Make Calls?
Apple Watch Series 8, Apple Watch SE, and Apple Watch Ultra cellular models with an active service plan allow you to make calls, send texts, and so much more — all without your iPhone.