Apple Watch SE 2022 Review
Apple introduced the first Watch SE in 2020 as a more affordable alternative to the flagship Watch Series 6 released at the same time. Then the younger model featured a previous generation processor and a price of $279.
Apple Watch SE comes in a cardboard box with a couple of boxes inside. One of them contains the watch itself, some documentation and instructions, as well as a charging cable with a USB Type-C connector on one side and a round magnetic wireless charger on the other. Packages:
- Strap: The other box contains a strap. Our test sample was equipped with a traditional “silicone” (actually it is made of PTFE) with a metal clasp. There are three elements in the box: one standard half of the strap with an eyelet and a metal clasp, as well as two halves with holes that have different lengths: S/M and M/L. Thus, each user will be able to choose the appropriate strap length. It seems to be a trifle, but nice.
- Colors: Immediately, we note that Apple offers numerous straps for its smartwatches with a giant selection of colors, designs, and materials. In addition to the above, one-piece “silicone” straps of various sizes are offered without a clasp; braided nylon options with fasteners, Velcro and one-piece stretch; metal straps of different textures; as well as leather models. The last two options, however, are pricier. But the main thing is that everyone will find a solution to their taste.
- Apple S8: As you can see, the main difference between the new Apple Watch SE and the old ones is the fresh Apple S8 platform – the same is used in Watch Series 8 and Watch Ultra. According to Apple, the watch has become 20% more productive than its predecessor, built on the Apple S5 chip. The new watch really works quickly and smoothly, there was not a single glitch, stuttering, or slowdown during use.
- Display: The new Watch SE differs from the older Watch Series 8 in smaller displays with much wider frames. Moreover, older watches have more sensors. For health monitoring, the Watch SE has only a heart rate sensor, but no sensor for taking an electrocardiogram, a blood oxygen level sensor, and a body temperature sensor.
Design and construction
Apple doesn't seem to be abandoning the design concept of the very first Apple Watch back in 2014. Since then, in terms of design, Apple has only increased the screen, and with it the dimensions, but in general, the idea has remained the same. And this is not bad at all: Apple watches are recognizable, devices from many other manufacturers are made for them, and users of “apple” watches are still actively buying. Although in fairness it must be said that the design of the new flagship Watch Ultra has really changed noticeably, but this is not about them. Design:
- Casing. The new Watch SE has a rectangular, almost square case with rounded edges. The frame is made of aluminum and can be painted in silver, gold or black, in all cases with a matte finish. Therefore, small scratches that will inevitably appear in the process of wearing a watch should not be evident. The novelty is offered in two sizes: 40 and 44 mm. We ended up with a 40 mm version.
- Screen. Our sample has a 1.57-inch screen with a resolution of 394 × 324 pixels and a brightness of up to 1000 cd/m2. It performs really well even in bright sunlight: the text remains well readable, and the picture is bright and saturated, with all the details. The larger 44- the millimeter version of the screen has a diagonal of 1.78 inches, a resolution of 448 × 368 pixels and a brightness of 1000 cd / m2. In both cases, OLED displays are used, which are protected by durable Ion-X glass.
- Always-On. Unfortunately, the screen of the Apple Watch SE does not support the Always-On function, which older models have and allows you to constantly display time and other important information on the screen. And it is not clear why Apple did not include this feature in the younger watch because they also use an OLED display that can save battery power. It looks like an artificial limitation to put the older Apple Watch Series 8 in a better light.
- Digital Crown. As for the controls, in addition to the touch screen, on the right side of the watch there is a Digital Crown swivel wheel, which is also the “Back” key, and below is a flat oblong key. Which is mainly needed to open the list of running applications. It can also be used to call an emergency service.
- Microphone and speaker. On the right side, between the button and the wheel, there is a microphone hole. And on the left side of the watch case, there are only two speaker slots. The latter is used for notifications, calls or listen to voice messages. Note that the sound of the clock is very loud.
- Strap. The strap is attached in special grooves with a locking latch – as a result, it sits securely in place, but it will not be difficult to detach it if necessary. As already mentioned, Apple offers a wide range of straps, and there are enough non-original products on the well-known Chinese marketplace, so you can change them at least every day.
- Materials. The inside of the Watch SE (2022) is made from a nylon-based composite that matches the frame of the watch. In the center is a slightly convex glass circle, under which is the heart rate sensor. By the way, due to this bulge and the magnets located under it, it is convenient to connect the watch to the charging cable.
Interface and functionality
As with the design of the watch itself, Apple is in no hurry to change the look of the interface of their watchOS operating system. The main menu is still a scattering of round icons of various applications. For navigation and control, the screen is mainly used, less often the Digital Crown. The interface is convenient. watchOS 9.0:
- Instead of changing the interface, Apple is working on expanding the functionality, adding new features with each version of the watch's operating system. Watch SE (2022) runs on the latest watchOS 9.0 operating system, which has received numerous interesting innovations. Apple itself highlights new watch faces, enhanced Workout app features (more on that in the next section), and a new Medications app : it will remind you of the need to take certain drugs, vitamins, and supplements at the appointed time and will allow you to mark whether you took them or not.
- Separately, Apple Watch SE, pleased with its communication capabilities. Thanks to the watch, as it turned out, you can not only read messages, but also to fully communicate in instant messengers without taking your smartphone out of your pocket. In addition to text messages, the watch can play and send voice messages, show photos and stickers (in particular, in Telegram). True, in the case of stickers, only static ones are supported – animated ones are not displayed.
- You can reply directly from your watch with a sticker, emoticon, voice message, or text that you can dictate by voice, handwritten (not available in all languages), or typed on your smartphone. The only disappointment was the lack of support for video playback and, accordingly, video messages.
- In addition, there is a standard option for most smartwatches to accept or reject a call. Moreover, you can call someone or answer a call right on the watch because they have both a speaker and a microphone built into them. And in the case of the model with LTE, you don’t even need to connect to an iPhone to make calls.
- Because the Apple Watch SE has NFC, you can make contactless payments with Apple Pay using your watch. Of course, many other watches offer similar opportunities. It's just very convenient, although not very relevant now for the USA.
- Apple is also celebrating an updated compass app, which can remember the route passed by the user and, if he gets lost, will help to find the way back step by step. This feature is seen as extremely useful for those who often relax in nature, like to pick mushrooms or berries, and generally spend a lot of time outside the city. By the way, For orientation in the stone jungle, Watch SE has a Map's application in which you can get directions and look for various objects in the vicinity, such as shops and cafés.
- There are also standard functions, perhaps for all smartwatches, such as a smart alarm clock, calculator, music playback control on a smartphone. And the music can be saved on the watch itself.
- Apps on the watch can be displayed as a list or as several circle icons, as shown in the screenshots above. The second option is standard. It is possible to install additional applications from the App Store. Also note that the watch automatically installed applications that were already on the iPhone and have a version for watchOS.
- At the end of this section, we'll also say a few words about the clock app for iPhone. More precisely, about three applications. Yes, unlike many manufacturers who pack everything related to smartwatches into one smartphone application, Apple has its own way.
- To work directly with the watch, the Watch application is used. Here you can adjust the clock (screen brightness, volume, vibration, interface and much more), select and configure watch faces, specify which applications can send notifications and in general, which applications will be installed on the watch.
- The second app is Fitness. All data about the user's physical activity is collected here, including information about the number of steps per day and other activities. But the most important thing is you can view detailed statistics about your workouts, including how far you've walked, how your heart rate has changed, and more.
- Finally, the third app for interacting with the watch is Health. Here, in addition to the report on daily activity, you can find information about changes in heart rate during the day and night, about the duration and quality of sleep, as well as about its stages.
Health and fitness
Apple pays great attention to the ability of its watch to track the health and general condition of the user. However, the Watch SE is quite limited in this regard compared to the regular Watch Series 8 and many competing solutions. As already mentioned, of the health sensors, there is only an optical heart rate monitor. It can measure your heart rate, and the watch can report if your heart rate is too high, too low, or irregular. In addition, sleep stage tracking is supported. Health and training:
- Useful functions. But the younger Apple watches cannot take an electrocardiogram and determine the level of blood oxygen saturation, unlike their older counterparts and many competitors (including much more inexpensive ones). There is nobody temperature sensor either. In fact, most users won't even notice that the watch doesn't have these features. It is that the lack of a temperature sensor can upset the female audience. It's all about that this sensor is tied to the work of an updated system for tracking menstrual cycles with the ability to predict ovulation. Instead, there is an outdated system that allows you to simply keep track of the cycle.
- Care. It also drew attention to the fact that Watch SE actively cares about the user's condition. They regularly remind you that you've been sitting too long, and it's time to get up and stretch, that you should take your mind off your smartphone, that you need to drink water to maintain fluid balance in the body. Watch SE also takes care of the user's hearing: the watch will warn if the ambient noise level is too high.
- LTE. More Watch SE (2022) can detect a user's fall and call for help. The cellular (LTE) version of the watch can call the emergency services itself and send a message with information about your current location to selected contacts in case of an emergency. Watches without cellular support will do the same thing, but through the connected iPhone. Of course, if everything is fine with you, you can cancel the emergency call. Moreover, an emergency call can be made at any time by holding the lower (flat) button of the watch for a long time.
- Crash Detection. In addition, the new Watch SE has a Crash Detection function, which is used to detect accidents. As Apple explained, it relies on the readings of various watch sensors: the new more sensitive gyroscope and accelerometer, microphone, barometer, and GPS. Their readings are processed by an Algorithm trained on data from more than 1 million hours of driving in real conditions and accident records. If a car accident is detected, the watch will try to contact rescuers and emergency contacts, just like in case of a fall.
- Fitness features. The fitness features of the Apple Watch SE (2022) cannot be ignored. The watch can track a huge number of types of physical activity: from ordinary walking to practicing Chinese martial arts. There are over 80 sports and activities in total, plus you can set up your workout in the “Other” section. For each workout, you can choose the duration, the number of approaches and distance, as well as indicate the number of kilocalories that you plan to burn. The watch will be able to independently determine that you are doing sports and turn on the appropriate training mode, and during stops, they offer to pause the calculation of indicators.
- Sports. For the duration of the workout, you can turn off notifications so as not to be distracted, or leave only the most important ones. The watch will also tell you when to slow down due to too high a heart rate. And after playing sports, the user will receive statistics that have become even more detailed: for example, now you can even find out the power of running. Maximum details are displayed in the Fitness app on your smartphone (see screenshots at the end of the previous section). But if the built-in sports experience is not enough, you can expand it using various third-party applications, such as Nike Run Club and others.
- Without iPhone. That you don't have to bring your iPhone to workouts with the Apple Watch SE, even with non-cellular versions of the watch. The distance traveled can be tracked using the built-in GPS, GLONASS and other satellite navigation systems. You can also download music to the watch's memory, including from third-party applications including music services such as Spotify. The watch supports the connection of wireless headphones via Bluetooth, and not only by Apple.
Battery and autonomy
Apple doesn't specify the battery capacity of the Watch SE (2022). The company notes only that their battery life, like the older Watch Series 8, is 18 hours. It is generally accepted that manufacturers overestimate autonomy indicators, but in this case, Apple was clearly modest. Autonomy:
- GPS. When not too active, that is, mainly for reading notifications and replies to them, with active continuous heart rate monitoring and an average screen brightness, the watch can work up to two days (but not a day): for example, from yesterday morning to today's evening? If you have to use GPS, for example, to monitor the distance during a workout, then, of course, you will have to charge the watch every day.
- Power saving mode. Immediately note the new power saving mode, which appeared not only in the new Watch SE, but also in all other Apple smartwatches that received an update to watchOS 9. This mode disables regular heart rate measurement and related these notifications. Besides, the Wi-Fi module in the watch is limited, so notifications from applications may be delayed.
- Economy. The watch itself will offer to activate the energy-saving mode when the battery charge drops to 10%. As experience has shown, in this mode they can hold out for about 3.5 hours. Furthermore, the power saving mode can be turned on manually through the settings or the quick access menu (click on the icon with the percentage of charge). The watch will turn off the power saving mode during charging when the battery capacity is more than 80%.
- Charging power. Apple's charging power does not specify, but it took less than an hour and a half to restore the charge from zero to 100%. The charging speed did not change when connected to an Apple 20W charger or when connected to a laptop's USB Type-C port. Somewhat upset that the watch does not support traditional wireless charging and reverse charging from a smartphone. In truth, The iPhone does not officially have such a function.
Conclusions and Impressions
Usually, when it comes to the cheapest products in the assortment of a company, this immediately means a mountain of compromises. This also applies to the Apple Watch SE, but only in part – here are the “victims” compared to the main Watch Series 8 are not as significant. Outcome:
- The younger watch is as fast and smooth as the older version. They provide almost all the same features, such as contactless payment or GPS navigation, and there are versions with LTE support. As mentioned above, not everyone will notice the absence of ECG sensors and oxygen in the blood. Perhaps the main disadvantage is a smaller screen with thicker bezels. But given that the interface is mostly dark, it's not that striking.
- By the way, Watch SE also has an unobvious advantage over Watch Series 8 – less weight, apparently due to the plastic back cover instead of the glass one. The younger novelty is really very light, you absolutely do not feel it on your hand.
- The difference is definitely essential. Recall that Apple products are not officially delivered to the USA now, but this does not prevent them from appearing even in large stores.
- Apple itself says that the previous Watch SE was mainly bought by users who previously did not have smartwatches at all or exactly models from Apple. And they probably really very well suited for the role of the first smartwatch. Of course, if you are an iPhone user.