Skip to main content

Here’s how the new Apple Watches compare to each other on paper

Here’s how the new Apple Watches compare to each other on paper

/

The new Series 8, Ultra, and SE have their share of similarities and stark contrasts

Share this story

Three colorful configurations of the 2022 Apple Watch SE smart watch.
The Apple Watch SE (2022) is the new entry-level model, with the Apple Watch Series 8 and Watch Ultra above it.
Image: Apple

During its “Far Out” event, Apple announced the iPhone 14, iPhone 14 Pro, new AirPods Pro earbuds, and a whole slew of new Apple Watches. We’re used to seeing an annual refresh of the Apple Watch, where a Series flagship begets another flagship — but this year marks the introduction of three new models: the Apple Watch Series 8, Apple Watch Ultra, and a new Apple Watch SE. These watches are designed to offer new options at the entry-level, flagship (for generalists), and specialized markets.

At the bottom of the new lineup, the new Apple Watch SE continues the 2020 SE’s formula. It’s the “bargain” model, sacrificing niceties like an always-on display for the sake of a much lower price. Apple’s SE brand of budget-tier products are rarely the most exciting ones, but at least the arrival of this Apple Watch SE helps end the decrepit reign of the Apple Watch Series 3.

Higher up the spectrum, the Series 8 carries on the usual progression of prior top-tier Apple Watches, now with a new temperature sensor built in. And for the first time, there’s a third model to sit at the top, one with an entirely distinct set of capabilities. Despite the new Samsung-sounding moniker, the new Apple Watch Ultra is designed to cater to the hardcore outdoorsy crowd — ones that normally turn to brands like Garmin for their needs.

A side-by-side lineup of Apple’s new Apple Watches for 2022. Left: Apple Watch Series 8. Center: Apple Watch Ultra. Right: Apple Watch SE (2022).
We’ve never seen three separate Apple Watch models launched all at once before.
Image: Apple

So that’s a whole lot of Apple Watch. But how do the features and specs shake out across this new lineup? And are there big improvements here over the outgoing Series 7 if you’re contemplating picking up one of those on sale before they’re gone? We’ve only gotten a brief hands-on so far, but let’s take a look at the specs and see where we can find the biggest differences or look for any major omissions in these new units.

Apple Watch SE

Apple Watch SE
The 2022 Apple Watch SE looks like most Apple Watches before it.
Image: Apple

At the budget end, the Apple Watch SE brings us a mostly familiar approach: take some of the latest tech and put it in an old chassis to sell for less. That’s what the original Apple Watch SE did, and that’s what this new SE is doing now. The new SE looks a lot like the prior SE, but it packs the S8 CPU and crash detection from the Series 8 and Ultra. Oh, and the rear of the new SE is color-matched to the rest of the case, which is a sharp little treat.

What you lose out on is the always-on display, ECG, and blood oxygen monitoring — all of which were missing from the previous SE, too. But what you gain is more money in your pocket, as the new 2022 Apple Watch SE starts at just $249 for a 40mm model with GPS or $299 with cellular. That’s $30 cheaper than the starting prices of the first SE when it launched in 2020.

Apple Watch Series 8

The Apple Watch Series 8 is the direct follow-up to last year’s Series 7.
The Apple Watch Series 8 is the direct follow-up to last year’s Series 7.
Photo by Victoria Song / The Verge

In any other year, the new Apple Watch Series 8 would be the flagship offering. It continues Apple’s steady development of its watch formula, looking a lot like the Series 7 but now adding a sensor to detect your body temperature as well as improved period and ovulation tracking. It also gets the car crash detection that is prevalent on this entire crop of Apple Watches because Apple is apparently really into car crashes right now. (The keynote video had an alarming amount of doom and gloom.)

Unlike the SE, you’re not making any major tradeoffs outside of the extra rugged features of the Ultra (more on that in a moment). The Apple Watch Series 8 starts at the usual $399 for the 41mm model with GPS or $499 with cellular, or add $30 to either of those for the larger 45mm version.

Apple Watch Ultra

The Apple Watch Ultra features a large, flat display with a protective bezel.
The Apple Watch Ultra features a large, flat display with a protective bezel.
Photo by Chris Welch / The Verge

Lastly, the new kid on the block is trying to tackle a whole new segment for Apple. The Apple Watch Ultra is Apple’s answer to rugged smartwatches and wearables from the brands like Garmin and Polar, designed to be taken to very remote places for activities like hiking and rock climbing. The Apple Watch Pro is built from titanium and waterproof to 100 meters. Its flat display is 49mm across, making it by far the chunkiest Apple Watch. It also features a programmable action button on its side. On the connectivity side, it supports multiband GPS with trackback to help you navigate very remote locations and retrace your steps on the return journey. It’s being sold in a single model with natural titanium finish and both GPS and cellular for $799.

Apple Watch Series 8 vs Ultra vs SE (2022) vs Series 7

CategoriesApple Watch Series 8Apple Watch UltraApple Watch SE (2022)Apple Watch Series 7
Starting price$399$799$249$399
ProcessorS8 with 64-bit dual-core processorS8 with 64-bit dual-core processorS8 with 64-bit dual-core processorS7 with 64-bit dual-core processor
watchOS versionwatchOS 9watchOS 9watchOS 9watchOS 8 (update to watchOS 9 on September 12th)
Water resistanceWater resistant up to 50 metersWater resistant up to 100 metersWater resistant up to 50 metersWater resistant up to 50 meters
Dust resistanceIP6X-ratedIP6X-ratedNot ratedIP6X-rated
ConnectivityWi-Fi, GPS, Bluetooth 5.0Wi-Fi, GPS, Bluetooth 5.3Wi-Fi, GPS, Bluetooth 5.0Wi-Fi, GPS, Bluetooth 5.0
Case materialAluminum, stainless steelTitaniumAluminumAluminum, stainless steel
Weight (grams)41mm: 32g (aluminum) 42.3g (steel); 45mm: 38.8g (aluminum) 51.5g (steel)61.3g40mm: 26.4g (GPS) 27.8g (cellular); 44mm: 32.9g (GPS) 33g (cellular)41mm: 32g (aluminum) 42.3g (steel) 37g (titanium); 45mm: 38.8g (aluminum) 51.5g (steel) 45.1g (titanium)
LTEYes, starting at $499YesYes, starting at $299Yes, starting at $499
GPSL1 GPSPrecision dual-frequency (L1 and L5) GPSL1 GPSL1 GPS
Built-in mic and speakerYesYes, triple-mic arrayYesYes
W-series Wireless chipW3W3W3W3
U1 Ultra Wideband supportYesYesNoYes
Always-on altimeterYesYesYesYes
CompassYesYesYesYes
Digital Crown haptic feedbackYesYesYesYes
Heart sensorThird-generation optical heart sensorThird-generation optical heart sensorSecond-generation optical heart sensorThird-generation optical heart sensor
Temperature sensorYesYesNoNo
Case sizes41mm, 45mm49mm40mm, 44mm41mm, 45mm
DisplayAlways-On Retina LTPO OLED displayAlways-On Retina LTPO OLED displayRetina LTPO OLED displayAlways-On Retina LTPO OLED display (1000 nits brightness)
Display size (approx.)41mm: 1.61-inch, 45mm: 1.77-inch1.93-inch40mm: 1.57-inch, 44mm: 1.73-inch41mm: 1.61-inch, 45mm: 1.77-inch
Screen brightnessUp to 1000 nits brightnessUp to 2000 nits brightnessUp to 1000 nits brightness
Screen resolution41mm: 352 by 430, 45mm: 396 by 484410 by 50240mm: 324 by 394, 44mm: 368 by 44841mm: 352 by 430, 45mm: 396 by 484
Storage32GB32GB32GB32GB
Estimated Battery LifeUp to 18 hoursUp to 36 hoursUp to 18 hoursUp to 18 hours
Family Setup supportYes, with cellular versionYesYes, with cellular versionYes, with cellular version
Fall detection?YesYesYesYes
Emergency SOSYesYesYesYes
ECG appYesYesNoYes
Blood Oxygen appYesYesNoYes
Noise monitoringYesYesYesYes
High, low, or irregular heart notificationsYesYesYesYes
Optical heart sensorYesYesYesYes
Crash detectionYesYesYesNo
Low-power modeYesYesYesAfter a future software update
Night modeNoYesNoNo
Additional sensorsDepth gauge and water temperature sensor, Dive computer app
ColorsAluminum: midnight, starlight, silver, and red; Steel: graphite, silver, and gold; Hermes: silver and space blackNatural titaniummidnight, starlight, and silverAluminum: midnight, starlight, blue, green, and red; Steel: graphite, silver, and gold; Titanium: space black and titanium

Which Apple Watch is right for you?

The Apple Watch has been a mainstay in Apple’s garden for years, but we’ve never had this many choices all at once. In the past, the question for Apple users was mostly just whether or not to get an Apple Watch at all — as it’s the only game in town that has this level of iOS integration. Now, finding the right one for you may be something that takes a bit more thought and consideration. Be sure to check our spec comparison table and let us know in the comments if one of these feels like the right choice for you.

Correction September 8th, 1:49PM ET: The Apple Watch Ultra supports Bluetooth 5.3, not 5.0, as previously listed in this article. We regret the error.

Update September 8th, 2:48PM ET: Added the weights of all the listed Apple Watch models to the comparison table.

Today’s Storystream

Feed refreshed Two hours ago Midjourneys

A
Youtube
Alex CranzTwo hours ago
After DART smashed into Dimorphos, I can’t stop thinking about the best “blow up an asteroid” story.

LucasArts and Steven Spielberg came up with The Dig, a game about an astronaut, scientist, and journalist blowing up an asteroid and finding a spaceship inside, and they did it years before Bruce Willis, or NASA. You can still buy and play it on Steam!


R
Instagram
Richard Lawler6:38 PM UTC
Everything looks better in slow motion.

Apple’s Dynamic Island alert system isn’t sitting still around your iPhone 14’s front-facing camera array. We’ve been enjoying its contextual animations — and even an Android copycat — since it was unveiled, but take a look at it here, captured at 240fps, to see exactly how iOS applies animations that make it feel a bit more lively.


Asian America learns how to hit back

The desperate, confused, righteous campaign to stop Asian hate

Esther WangSep 26
R
External Link
Russell Brandom5:47 PM UTC
Oracle will pay $23 million to settle foreign bribery charges.

The SEC alleges that Oracle used a slush fund to bribe officials in India, Turkey and the United Arab Emirates.

This behavior is sadly common among software companies doing business overseas, and it’s not unique to Oracle. In March, a former Microsoft executive claimed the company spent as much as $200 million a year in bribes for foreign officials.


E
External Link
Emma Roth3:16 PM UTC
Celsius’ CEO is out.

Alex Mashinsky, the head of the bankrupt crypto lending firm Celsius, announced his resignation today, but not after patting himself on the back for working “tirelessly to help the company.”

In Mashinsky’s eyes, I guess that means designing “Unbankrupt yourself” t-shirts on Cafepress and then selling them to a user base that just had their funds vaporized.

At least customers of the embattled Voyager Digital crypto firm are in slightly better shape, as the Sam Bankman-Fried-owned FTX just bought out the company’s assets.


M
Twitter
Mary Beth Griggs2:46 PM UTC
NASA’s SLS rocket is secure as Hurricane Ian barrels towards Florida.

The rocket — and the Orion spacecraft on top — are now back inside the massive Vehicle Assembly Building. Facing menacing forecasts, NASA decided to roll it away from the launchpad yesterday.


A
External Link
Andrew J. Hawkins1:30 PM UTC
Harley-Davidson’s electric motorcycle brand is about to go public via SPAC

LiveWire has completed its merger with a blank-check company and will make its debut on the New York Stock Exchange today. Harley-Davison CEO Jochen Zeitz called it “a proud and exciting milestone for LiveWire towards its ambition to become the most desirable electric motorcycle brand in the world.” Hopefully it also manages to avoid the cash crunch of other EV SPACs, like Canoo, Arrival, Faraday Future, and Lordstown.


A
The Verge
Andrew Webster1:06 PM UTC
“There’s an endless array of drama going on surrounding Twitch right now.”

That’s Ryan Morrison, CEO of Evolved Talent Agency, which represents some of the biggest streamers around. And he’s right — as you can read in this investigation from my colleague Ash Parrish, who looked into just what’s going on with Amazon’s livestreaming service.