I recently purchased the Apple Watch SE 2, (upgrading from my Series 3 *gasp*) and I must say, it’s a compelling choice for anyone looking to enter the world of Apple wearables without breaking the bank. Despite being surrounded by more technically advanced models at higher prices, the SE 2 holds its own and serves as a reminder to assess your actual needs from a smartwatch before making a decision.
The design of the SE 2 is reminiscent of its predecessor and the Apple Watch Series 4, 5, and 6, with a sleek aluminum build and the choice of Midnight, Starlight, or Silver colors. The durability is enhanced by the Ion-X glass covering the screen. You can choose between 40mm or 44mm case sizes, catering to different wrist sizes. The new nylon composite on the back of the SE 2, matching the color of the aluminum case, feels warm and smooth against the skin, which is crucial for a device worn throughout the day and night.
The second-generation optical heart rate sensor, though not the latest model found in the Series 8 or Ultra, performs adequately for everyday use. I found the watch incredibly light and comfortable, to the point where I would often forget I was wearing it until the haptic feedback gently reminded me.
In terms of aesthetics, the Apple Watch SE 2 maintains the iconic design language Apple has perfected over the years. It’s versatile enough for the office, gym, or casual weekend wear. The ability to interchange bands and use any Apple Watch charging accessory adds to its appeal.
Performance-wise, the SE 2 is powered by the same S8 processor found across all the latest Apple smartwatches, ensuring smooth and responsive operation. The absence of the ultra-wideband U1 chip is barely noticeable, given its current limited utility. However, the lack of an always-on display is the most significant difference from the Series 8. While this feature is visually impressive, the practical impact is minimal, as the SE 2’s screen wakes up quickly with wrist movement.
The watchOS 9 runs seamlessly on the SE 2, offering a robust and intuitive user experience. The connectivity to the iPhone is strong and reliable, ensuring you’re always connected. Notifications are easily managed and responded to, and the watch’s speaker is loud enough for clear calls even outdoors.
Health and fitness tracking on the SE 2 are robust, despite lacking some features like the ECG and blood oxygen monitoring found in the more expensive models. It still offers key health notifications, fall and crash detection, and basic sleep tracking. The workout tracking is straightforward and efficient, with instant GPS connectivity and clear display of essential metrics.
The Apple Watch SE 2 fits seamlessly into daily life, syncing effortlessly with the iPhone and providing all the necessary updates and tracking without any fuss. While the Apple Health and Fitness apps might not delve into the granularity that some fitness enthusiasts might desire, third-party apps can fill this gap.
Battery life is where the SE 2 really shines. Without an always-on display, it conserves more power, and I found it could last up to two days on a single charge with moderate usage. However, the charging speed is slower compared to the Series 8, taking over two hours to fully charge.
Priced starting at $249, the SE 2 is significantly more affordable than the Series 8. The decision to opt for cellular connectivity depends on your lifestyle and whether you often find yourself wanting to leave your phone behind.
In conclusion, the Apple Watch SE 2 is a smartwatch that covers almost all bases of what you would expect from a modern wearable. It’s perfect for those who want a straightforward, efficient, and comfortable smartwatch without the need for advanced health features. Its integration with iOS and the overall Apple ecosystem is seamless, making it a joy to use. If the extra features of the Series 8 don’t seem essential to your lifestyle, the Apple Watch SE 2 is an excellent choice that offers great value for money.