Which Apple Watch Should You Buy Among Series 6, Series 3, and the SE?

Apple now sells the Watch Series 6, the Watch SE, and the Watch Series 3, but which one should you get if you want to enter the premium wearables space? The good news is that you have three great options to choose from. The bad news is that the price difference reflects the usability potential with precision.

Starting with the Series 6, this Watch sports the Apple’s latest and greatest S6 chip can measure oxygen levels in your blood, comes with a new “solo loop” band, an improved and brighter always-on display, an always-on altimeter, and various build-related improvements. The price for this product was set at $399.

The SE is a step-down, using the S5 chip of the previous generation, which is roughly 20% behind in energy consumption and performance compared to the “standard” Series 6 offering. Apart from that, it has almost everything that its “bigger” brother has, including the same sensors (apart from the VO2), the display, bands, sports tracking, and emergency features, etc. The price of Watch SE is $279.

Finally, the Watch Series 3 stands in the line of offerings as a blast from the past, but it’s still a perfectly capable device. Originally released back in September 2017, it is powered by the S3 chip, has in-built GPS, OLED retina screen, a heart sensor, emergency SOS, Apple Pay support, and water resistance of up to 50m. That said, you can do sports with it just fine, and it will only set you back $199.

Apple Watch Series 6 Apple Watch SE Apple Watch Series 3
Release Date September 2020 September 2020 September 2017
Processor 64-bit dual-core S6 chip 64-bit dual-core S5 chip Dual-core S3 chip
Apple Wireless Chip W3 W3 W2
Battery Life Up to 18 hours Up to 18 hours Up to 18 hours
Connectivity GPS / GPS + Cellular GPS / GPS + Cellular GPS / GPS + Cellular
Bluetooth Version 5.0 Version 5.0 version 4.2
Size 44 mm & 40 mm 44 mm & 40 mm 38mm & 42mm
Display (Type) Always-On Retina OLED Retina OLED Retina OLED
Display Area 962 sq mm 962 sq mm 740 sq mm
Materials & Finishes Aluminum Aluminum Aluminum
Colors Silver, Space Grey, Gold, Blue, Product Red Silver, Space Gray, Gold Silver, Space Grey
Heart Rate Notifications YES (high and low) YES (high and low) YES (high and low)
Heart Sensor Optical Optical Optical
Safety & Emergency Blood Oxygen, Irregular heart rhythm notification, International emergency calling, Fall detection, Noise monitoring Irregular heart rhythm notification, International emergency calling, Fall detection, Noise monitoring Emergency SOS
Compass YES YES NO
Water Resistance up to 50m up to 50m up to 50m
Mobile Payments Apple Pay Apple Pay Apple Pay
Interchangeable Bands YES YES YES
Price Starting at $399 Starting at $279 Starting at $199

In general, the best choice for you depends on what you need from a wearable device today. If we were to pick something, the Watch SE bridges the gap between the high cost of the Series 6 and the technological deficiency of the Series 3 very nicely, doing subtle compromises that most people won’t miss to cut down $120. Compared to Series 3, the SE offers a whole lot more for only $80 more.

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