Apple Watch SE vs Apple Watch Series 3

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Apple Watch SE vs Apple Watch Series 3
This year, alongside the premium Apple Watch Series 6, Apple released a more affordable Apple Watch, dubbed the Apple Watch SE, on a mission to make the Apple Watch and its features available for more people.

The company says that the Apple Watch SE packs all the essential Apple Watch features in a Series 6 design. Despite its premium look and features, its price tag starts at $279. The Apple Watch Series 3, on the other hand, is still being sold by Apple and its price tag is even lower than the SE, starting at $199.

So, which one of these two Apple Watches is right for you if you’re on a budget? We decided to compare Apple Watch SE vs Apple Watch Series 3, both affordable Apple Watches, and help you find out what is just right for your needs.

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In terms of design, on the first look, both smartwatches look quite similar. They feature Apple’s popular rectangular display design; however, there’s a difference in sizes. The Apple Watch SE comes in two case size variants: a 40mm and a 44mm one, while the Apple Watch Series 3 stands at either 38mm or 42mm case size.

More color options are available on the Apple Watch SE

You can get the Apple Watch Series 3 with either Silver or with Space Grey aluminum case, while the Apple Watch SE offers three options for its aluminum case: Gold, Silver, and Space Grey. As for the bands, the Apple Watch SE again has more options: the new Solo Loop with no overlapping parts, which stretches when you put it on or take it off, a Sport Loop option, and a Sport Band option, all in a lot of cool colors to fit your outfit and style.


Here again, the newest Apple Watch SE wins ‒ it has a bigger display than the Apple Watch Series 3, precisely 30% larger, according to Apple. The resolution of the Apple Watch SE is again slightly bigger than the Apple Watch Series 3 (the bigger 44mm version being at 368 x 448 pixels) assuring the display is sharper. The SE also features an Always-On altimeter with real-time information on the altitude you are on if you happen to be on a hike.

An interesting fact is that here both smartwatches have the same brightness of 1000 nits and both feature Retina OLED displays, although the display found in the SE features an LTPO OLED technology, which, without getting too technical, is more power-efficient and therefore offers better battery life management.

Software and Performance

The software and performance department is where most of the differences between the two models are concentrated.

While both watches feature heart rate monitoring and heart rhythm related notifications, along with Emergency SOS, the newer Apple Watch SE adds on some additional health features. It has fall detection, noise monitoring, and international emergency calling.

What’s more, with the Apple Watch SE you can benefit from the new service Apple has announced, Family Setup, allowing you to set up the Apple Watch for your kids or older relatives that don’t have an iPhone to pair it with.

Keep in mind that the Apple Watch Series 3 is also going to receive watchOS 7 which brings new features such as sleep tracking, new watch faces, updates to Siri, and hand-washing detection.

No Blood Oxygen and ECG app

If you’re interested in blood oxygen monitoring or ECG, unfortunately, you won’t find them here as none of those two models feature these options.

S5 chip vs S3 chip

In terms of performance, the Apple Watch SE comes with a newer and faster S5 chip that, according to Apple, is up to 2 times faster than the S3 found on the Series 3.

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What’s cool is that both smartwatches are water-resistant for a maximum of 50m of water submersion, making them swim-proof, so don’t worry if you want to monitor your heart rhythm when you’re doing swimming laps.

Battery life

According to Apple, both the Apple Watch Series 3 and the Apple Watch SE can go up to 18 hours of battery life, so in this category, we don’t have a clear winner.

Price and availability

You can get the Apple Watch SE for $279 for the GPS version and from $329 for GPS + Cellular. The older Apple Watch Series 3 is offered only with GPS connectivity for $199.
So, which one do you think wins? Are you interested in buying one of these two affordable Apple Watches? Tell us in the comments!

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