May 28, 2023

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I’m testing the new Apple Watch Series 8 and Apple Watch SE second generation ahead of their release on Friday.

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If you already have an Apple Watch, the $399 Series 8 doesn’t have enough new features to justify an upgrade. Most of the worthwhile innovations are available on the Watch OS 9 software, which you can download as long as you have an Apple Watch Series 4 paired with an iPhone 8 or later.

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The Apple Watch SE, on the other hand, has received a huge makeover. The new SE has a starting price that is only $249 less than the first generation SE. It’s Apple’s most affordable watch and comes with new upgrades that include a new Apple S8 processor – which makes for faster and smoother performance – low-power mode, sleep tracking, crash detection, and more for you family member Able to set SE. without iphone.

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Except for the $150 price difference, the Series 8 and SE are pretty much the same. The benefits you’ll get from paying a premium for the Series 8 are a few more health tracking features and a bigger screen.

The $799 Apple Watch Ultra, made for those who are into extreme sports, won’t be available until September 23rd, and we’ll have it covered when we get our hands on it.

Apple doesn’t break out its watch revenue for the iPad, iPhone, and Mac. However, the company’s wearables, home and accessories business — which includes the Apple Watch, HomePod, AirPods and Apple TV — saw sales of $8.08 billion in Apple’s latest quarter, up from $8.78 billion a year ago. The two watches that go on sale Friday probably won’t have much impact on this business segment, but the pricey Ultra – if successful – could help drive wearable sales for the company’s next fiscal year, which begins in October. Is.

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So does the new AirPods Pro 2, which I’ll review later.

That’s why I’d hold off on splurging on the Series 8, and why the SE is a great value.

The Series 8 has a bigger screen and always-on display

The Series 8 comes in two sizes: 41mm and 45mm. Like the new iPhone 14 Pro or Pro Max, the Series 8 comes with an always-on display, which means you can see the time even when your watch is idle. You can choose a case that is either aluminum or stainless steel. Aluminum comes in black, tan, silver and red. Stainless steel comes in black, silver and gold.

The second-generation Apple Watch SE only comes in aluminum at 44mm or 40mm, and doesn’t have an always-on display. It is available in Black, Tan and Silver colours.

While aluminum is about to look a little cheaper, you can feel a little better knowing the production process that Apple is now using for the 2022 SE, reducing carbon emissions by more than 80%.

I appreciate the size of the SE. The Apple Watch 8 felt a bit clunky when I was using it, which is a complaint I’ve heard from my other female friends. I also found that since the SE is lighter in weight, it was more comfortable to use for sleep tracking.

Both SE and Series 8 have the same S8 processor

Despite being a cheaper model, the SE has the latest S8 processor, which is the same one inside the new Series 8. Apple says the upgrade makes the SE 20% faster than the first-generation SE, which debuted in 2020.

The Series 8 also has a U1 chip, which the SE doesn’t have. This chip allows you to use location tracking in the Find My app.

Both watches felt as if they worked with me at the same speed. It was as easy as navigating between the Workout app, Mindfulness, and the Weather app on any clock without a glitch.

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SE has fewer health facilities but is important

The SE has heart rate and fall detection, while the Series 8 can measure blood oxygen levels and has an ECG app for monitoring heart rhythms.

The Series 8 features a new temperature sensor that enables menstrual cycles to be tracked with retrospective ovulation projections.

While I appreciate the inclusion of women’s health in Apple’s new watch, I have a hard time understanding how retrospective ovulation will provide essential data for women who are trying to conceive. Instead of giving you data about when you ovulated in the last month, other wearables like Ava Fertility tell you when you’re actively ovulating so that you can check your fertility if you’re trying to conceive. can take advantage of.

Heart rate notifications on the new SE can alert users to an abnormally high or low heart rate or irregular rhythm, which Apple says has helped save lives.

The Series 8 has an advancement that could provide users with important information. It now has AFib monitoring, which will help diagnose people with atrial fibrillation, the most common type of irregular heartbeat.

When it comes to sleeping, both watches offer extensive sleep tracking, although as I mentioned, the smaller and lighter SE is a bit more comfortable to wear to bed.

The new crash detection feature is available on both the SE and Series 8.

Series 8 has better battery life

The Series 8 charges very quickly. Apple says it can recharge from 0 to 80% in 45 minutes and up to 100% in about 75 minutes. I definitely noticed a difference when charging my Series 8.

When the Series 8 is in low-power mode, it lasts up to 36 hours. Both watches have “all-day” battery life of up to 18 hours.

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If Apple were to buy me the Series 8, they would have given it as much battery life as the new Ultra, which claims 36 hours in regular mode and 60 hours in low-power mode.

It’s disappointing to have a wearable lasting only 18 hours or less. A few months ago, I started using the Aura Ring, which gives me many of the same metrics as the Apple Watch, except I forget I’m wearing it and need to charge it every three and a half to four days. it occurs.

Which one should you buy?

If you’ve never owned a smartwatch and just want basic functions, like notifications and activity monitoring, the SE is a great value. If you’re concerned about your health, and want to get an early warning if things are going wrong, the Series 8 can give you some extra peace of mind.

The SE is perfect for shopping even for a kid who’s too young for a smartphone. Maybe you don’t want them to go to social media or text, but setting them up with SE lets you track their location and contact them in an emergency.

If you already have a more recent model Apple Watch, I wouldn’t suggest upgrading. I hardly noticed any difference when using a Series 8 compared to my Series 7, or Series 5. New health tracking features like temperature sensors don’t seem like enough to justify the price, especially since ovulation tracking is backward-looking.

Correction: This article has been updated to reflect that the acronym AFib stands for Atrial Fibrillation. The wrong word was used in the previous version. It has also been updated to remove references to the Apple Watch, a health device being used by people who have already been diagnosed with AFib. Apple states in a footnote on its website that the Watch is not intended for such use.