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Here’s how to pick between the Apple Watch Series 6, SE, and older models

Here’s how to pick between the Apple Watch Series 6, SE, and older models

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It’s getting a little difficult to find the right match

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Apple has announced two new smartwatches: the Apple Watch Series 6 and Apple Watch SE. Usually, each new Apple Watch slots in at the top of the company’s lineup, making the older ones a little less expensive as a result, but this year’s cadence is different. The new Apple Watch SE looks very similar to the new $399 Series 6, but it lacks a few of its highlight features to reach a lower $279 price.

So which one should you buy, and how do these smartwatches compare to each other? Should you spring for the Series 6 over the SE? What about the Series 5 that came out last year? And are you really missing out on much if you just get the cheapest Series 3 Watch? It’s getting complicated to suss out the differences, so we’re going to spell out the specs below to make your buying decision a little more clear.

Apple has a comprehensive look at all of the specs of each model right here, but if you just want a quick look at specs, check out the table below. And just to note: we haven’t used the Series 6 or Apple Watch SE yet, so don’t let these specs solely guide you; numbers don’t always tell you everything you need to know about tech.

Apple Watch specs comparison

CategoriesApple Watch Series 6Apple Watch SEApple Watch Series 5Apple Watch Series 3
Starting price$399$279$399$199
ProcessorS6 dual-core processorS5 dual-core processorS5 dual-core processorS3 dual-core processor
watchOS versionwatchOS 7watchOS 7watchOS 7watchOS 7
Water resistanceWater resistant up to 50 metersWater resistant up to 50 metersWater resistant up to 50 metersWater resistant up to 50 meters
ConnectivityWi-Fi, GPS, Bluetooth 5.0Wi-Fi, GPS, Bluetooth 5.0Wi-Fi, GPS, Bluetooth 5.0Wi-Fi, GPS, Bluetooth 4.2
LTEYes, $499Yes, $329Yes, but hard to findYes, but hard to find
Built-in mic and speakerYesYesYesYes
W-series Wireless chipW3W3W3W2
U1 Ultra Wideband supportYesNoNoNo
Always-on altimeterYesYesNo, but still has an altimeterNo, but still has an altimeter
CompassYesYesYesNo
Digital Crown haptic feedbackYesYesYesNo
Heart sensorsecond-gen optical heart sensoroptical heart sensorsecond-gen optical heart sensoroptical heart sensor
Case sizes44mm, 40mm44mm, 40mm44mm, 40mm38mm, 42mm
DisplayAlways-on OLED Retina displayOLED Retina displayAlways-on OLED Retina displayOLED Retina display
Display size (approx.)44mm: 1.78-inch, 40mm: 1.57-inch44mm: 1.78-inch, 40mm: 1.57-inch44mm: 1.78-inch, 40mm: 1.57-inch42mm: 1.65-inch, 38mm: 1.5-inch
Screen resolution44mm: 368 x 448, 40mm: 324 x 39444mm: 368 x 448, 40mm: 324 x 39444mm: 368 x 448, 40mm: 324 x 39442mm: 312 x 390, 38mm: 272 x 340
Storage32GB32GB32GB8GB
Battery LifeUp to 18 hoursUp to 18 hoursUp to 18 hoursUp to 18 hours
Family Setup supportYes, with cellular versionYes, with cellular versionYes, with cellular versionNo
Fall detection?YesYesYesNo
Emergency SOSYesYesYesYes
ECG appYesNoYesNo
Blood Oxygen appYesNoNoNo
Noise monitoringYesYesYesNo
High, low, or irregular heart notificationsYesYesYesYes
Optical heart sensorYesYesYesYes

Apple Watch Series 6 /

Starts at $399, available starting Friday, September 18th.

Preorder at Apple

Apple Watch SE /

Starts at $279, available starting Friday, September 18th.

Preorder at Apple