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Apple Watch Sequence 8 vs. SE: Which One Is Proper for You? | NEWSRUX

This story is a part of Focal Level iPhone 2022, CNET’s assortment of reports, suggestions and recommendation round Apple’s hottest product.

Deciding on a brand new Apple Watch might be difficult, particularly in the event you’re selecting between the $399 Apple Watch Sequence 8 and the $249 Apple Watch SE.

Until you are an avid scuba diver or rock climber — or wish to seem like one — you are in all probability not contemplating the $799 Apple Watch Extremely. The Sequence 8 and SE are each supposed for on a regular basis wearers that wish to control their well being and health ranges, however do not want the Extremely’s bigger display screen, longer battery life and further options tailor-made for the outside. 

Each the Sequence 8 and SE run on Apple’s WatchOS 9 software program, have the corporate’s latest chip and are among the many first to detect automobile crashes. That is along with the performance Apple’s watches have supplied for years, like the flexibility to trace exercises, detect arduous falls and mirror iPhone alerts.

Which one is best for you depends upon what you need in a smartwatch. As somebody who primarily makes use of my Apple Look ahead to logging train, viewing notifications and checking the time, there’s little that I missed when switching from the Sequence 8 to the SE after testing each.

The largest motive to decide on the Sequence 8 over the SE proper now could be its further health-tracking smarts, reminiscent of its new wrist temperature measurements, blood oxygen saturation readings and the flexibility to take an electrocardiogram. The Apple Watch is not a medical gadget and should not be handled as such. However those that need extra knowledge on their cardiac and respiratory well being to share with their medical doctors may discover the Sequence 8 to be the higher selection.

I feel the Sequence 8’s major advantages will grow to be extra clear over the long run. Temperature sensing continues to be new, however I like the thought of with the ability to see how modifications in my baseline temperature could correlate with how I am feeling that day. The Sequence 8’s ultrawideband chip, which is not current within the SE, can also really feel extra useful in a future the place unlocking your automobile together with your telephone or watch is simply as frequent as utilizing Apple Pay on the checkout counter.

Apple Watch Series 8 with rainbow display on blue background

The Apple Watch Sequence 8 (pictured) has an always-on show, not like the SE. 

Scott Stein/CNET

A bigger display screen with an always-on show

In case you have been to ask me what I’ve missed most about utilizing the Apple Watch SE, it is the always-on show discovered on the Sequence 8 and different flagship Apple Watches since 2019. With out an always-on show, the Apple Watch SE’s display screen simply turns right into a black field on my wrist, which is not precisely probably the most engaging look. 

When carrying the Sequence 8 (or the Sequence 5, 6 or 7), I can view my watch face anytime with out having to lift my wrist or contact the watch. I do not assume the always-on show alone is value paying an additional $150 in the event you do not care concerning the different well being extras that include the Sequence 8. However I do want the always-on show was commonplace throughout all Apple Watches at this level.

The Apple Watch Sequence 8 additionally has a bigger show and is available in 41- and 45-millimeter case sizes, in comparison with the 40 or 44mm SE. Having a much bigger show is sweet, however the one factor I missed is the Sequence 8’s QWERTY keyboard for typing responses to textual content messages (the Sequence 7 has this too). On the SE, you possibly can nonetheless scribble letters, dictate phrases or ship canned responses, however I like the pliability of with the ability to shortly sort a few phrases. Those that desire bigger textual content sizes can also wish to select the Sequence 8 over the SE.

The Sequence 8 can be obtainable in a pricier stainless-steel end, and the aluminum model is available in an extra Product Crimson colour possibility not obtainable on the SE. 

Apple Watch Series 8 and iPhone with Health app showing temperature readings

The Apple Watch Sequence 8’s temperature knowledge reveals up within the Well being app. Readings are relative, so you may solely see will increase or decreases, not absolute numbers.

Scott Stein/CNET

Extra well being monitoring

Apple’s flagship watches just like the Sequence 8 have advanced into complete health-tracking gadgets, with the flexibility to take an ECG out of your wrist and monitor blood oxygen ranges. The Sequence 8 and Extremely are the primary to get temperature sensors, enabling them to test your wrist temperature in a single day and present whether or not you have deviated out of your baseline. It takes 5 nights to arrange temperature sensing, for the reason that watch wants sufficient time to ascertain your baseline wrist temperature.

Apple says nighttime wrist temperature might be an indicator of total physique temperature, and modifications may presumably be attributable to sickness, jet lag or train. Because the Apple Watch does not have a readiness rating like Oura or Fitbit, I may see this data being helpful for serving to me determine whether or not my physique wants further relaxation.

I am hoping Apple weaves wrist temperature readings into new options and insights sooner or later. Proper now, you possibly can see a chart displaying how your nighttime temperature readings deviate out of your baseline. But it surely usually looks as if it is as much as you to interpret these readings. 

A chart from the Apple Health app showing wrist temperature data from the Apple Watch Series 8.

A chart from the Apple Well being app displaying wrist temperature knowledge from the Apple Watch Sequence 8. 

Lisa Eadicicco/CNET

The Apple Watch is not a medical gadget and may’t provide you with a warning if you’re sick, so it may be arduous to know methods to use this knowledge. That is a part of the rationale why I by no means test my blood oxygen ranges; it is simply one other statistic that I am undecided what to make of. I have been carrying the Apple Watch Sequence 8 constantly for a few weeks, however I am nonetheless undecided what to do with this temperature knowledge. 

My nighttime wrist temperature is fairly near my baseline more often than not, however it’s often a fraction of a level greater or decrease. Generally my deviations are as excessive as 0.37 levels Fahrenheit above my baseline or 0.55 levels beneath the norm. I am unable to join the dots between these deviations and what could have occurred to trigger them. It is also tough to put on the Apple Watch Sequence 8 constantly in a single day since I’ve to cost it throughout some evenings.

Nonetheless, having one other knowledge level like wrist temperature opens up some fascinating alternatives for the longer term. I am hoping Apple finds new methods to crunch all of those statistics collectively to allow new insights and actionable recommendation. Till then, nighttime wrist temperature is yet one more metric you possibly can probably share together with your physician in the event you’re not feeling effectively, however it’s tough to inform how helpful it really is. 

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For now, the biggest application for the Series 8’s temperature sensing will likely be fertility tracking. Apple says the Series 8 and Ultra can provide retrospective ovulation estimates and improved period tracking, potentially making the Series 8 a better choice for those who are interested in using it for family planning purposes. That information can be helpful because it provides users with data from their own bodies, rather than just making estimates based on the length of their cycle.

“But this actually gives you real life data because the time of ovulation can vary from person to person from month to month,” said Dr. Angela Bianco, MD, director of maternal fetal medicine at the Mount Sinai Health System. “Some people ovulate earlier in their cycles, others ovulate later in their cycles.”

Again, the Apple Watch isn’t a medical device and shouldn’t be treated as such. It also shouldn’t be used for contraception.

“I stress that women who are trying not to get pregnant should not use this because there can be errors in the data,” said Dr. Alexis Melnick, an OBGYN at NewYork-Presbyterian and assistant professor at Weill Cornell Medicine. “And you can have a cycle that is variable that may not follow the regular pattern.” 

Apple says data stored in the health app — including female health statistics like ovulation estimates — is encrypted when your iPhone is locked with a passcode, Face ID or Touch ID. The same goes for data backed up to iCloud. 

You’ll also want to make sure two-factor authentication is enabled for your iCloud account, which should be turned on by default. This ensures that health data is end-to-end encrypted, meaning Apple cannot read or access your data. To make sure two-factor authentication is on, open the Settings menu on your iPhone, tap your name and choose the Password & Security option. 

Apple Watch SE on wrist showing battery percentage

The Apple Watch SE doesn’t have fast charging like the Series 8. 

Lisa Eadicicco/CNET

Other extras, like faster charging and ultrawideband

While the Series 8’s extra health sensors are the biggest reason to potentially choose it over the SE, there are a few other extras to consider. The Series 8 can charge more quickly than the SE, as it inherits the fast-charging capabilities of the Series 6 and 7. The Apple Watch Series 8 charged from 70% to 80% in 10 minutes, while the SE charged from 70% to 77% over the same time period. For each watch, I used the included charging cable and the same power adapter plugged into the same outlet. Both watches have Apple’s new low power mode, which dials back certain features like automatic workout detection to extend battery life.

The Series 8, like the Series 6 and 7, also have Apple’s U1 ultrawideband chip. Ultrawideband is a wireless protocol for proximity sensing that’s become common in new flagship phones and smartwatches. Ultrawideband is primarily used for finding misplaced items and gadgets using Apple’s Find My service, or for unlocking your car with more precision than Bluetooth. 

If you have a car that’s compatible with ultrawideband, for example, you can unlock your vehicle automatically as you approach it with your Apple Watch. Ultrawideband is said to be more secure and precise than Bluetooth when functioning as a key, which you can read more about here. It’s a nice perk, but it’s likely not a necessity for everyone. At least not yet. 

The bottom line

The Apple Watch Series 8 and SE have a lot in common when it comes to core features and functionality. They can both track workouts, show iPhone notifications, provide high and low heart rate notifications and detect irregular heart rhythms. They also both come with safety features like emergency SOS, fall detection and car crash detection, the latter of which is exclusive to Apple’s 2022 smartwatches. The new Compass app, which includes a new feature to help you retrace your steps, is also coming to both watches as well as the Series 7, Series 6 and first-generation SE. 

If you like using Apple Pay or syncing your Apple Watch to the treadmill at your local gym through GymKit, you’ll do just fine with either the new SE or the Series 8. They both have the same processor, support low power mode and run on Apple’s new WatchOS 9 update. 

The difference really comes down to health tracking. By choosing the SE, you’ll miss out on the Apple Watch’s ECG app, blood oxygen sensor and new temperature sensor. Whether those features are necessary depends on what you hope to get out of your smartwatch. Do you primarily want to track workouts, or are you looking for deeper health metrics to share with your doctor? 

You’ll also get a few perks that make the Series 8 a better iPhone companion, such as a larger always-on display, faster charging and ultrawideband support. Of those features, I personally find the always-on display to be most useful. 

Overall, the Series 8 seems poised to become more useful over time, especially after I’ve had more time to test the temperature sensor. Ultrawideband is another feature I’m expecting to become more useful in the long term as using mobile devices as digital keys starts to become more common. But for now, ultrawideband alone shouldn’t be a deciding factor; it’s more about the sum of how all of these parts come together. 

The Series 8 is the right option for those who want more health-tracking features and are willing to pay a premium for it. The Apple Watch SE is the best choice for those who are upgrading from an older watch or are buying an Apple Watch for the first time and just want an Apple Watch that feels new and has all of the core features. But if you have a recent Apple Watch like the Series 5, you can probably hold off on upgrading entirely unless you really want Apple’s new health upgrades. 

Apple Watch Series 8 vs. SE

Apple Watch Series 8 Apple Watch SE
Starting price $399 $249
Size 41mm or 45mm 40mm or 44mm
Finishes Aluminum or stainless steel Aluminum
Colors Aluminum: Midnight, starlight, silver, Product Red; Stainless steel: Graphite, silver, gold Midnight, starlight, silver
Software WatchOS 9 WatchOS 9
Screen 904 sq mm display area (41mm); 1,143 sq mm display area (45mm) 759 sq mm display area (40mm); 977 sq mm display area (44mm)
Health sensors Blood oxygen, electrical heart (ECG), third-gen optical heart, temperature Second-gen optical heart
Health features High and low heart rate notifications, irregular heart rate notifications, blood oxygen, nighttime wrist temperature deviations, cardio fitness level, cycle tracking, retrospective ovulation estimates, sleep tracking High and low heart rate notifications, irregular heart rate notifications, cardio fitness level, cycle tracking, sleep tracking
Chip Apple S8 SiP Apple S8 SiP
Durability IP6X dust resistant; water resistant up to 50m Water resistant up to 50m
Safety Emergency SOS, international emergency calling, crash detection, fall detection Emergency SOS, international emergency calling, crash detection, fall detection
Battery Up to 18 hours with fast charging, support for low power mode Up to 18 hours, support for low power mode
Storage 32GB 32GB
Other features GPS, optional cellular, Compass Backtrack, always on altimeter, Family Setup, speaker, microphone, activity and exercise tracking, Apple Pay, GymKit, ultrawideband support GPS, optional cellular, Compass Backtrack, always on altimeter, Family Setup, speaker, microphone, activity and exercise tracking, Apple Pay, GymKit

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