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Apple Watch SE vs Series 3 – Which is a Better Investment?

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Last Updated on November 9, 2020 by Jude Simeone

Released alongside Apple Watch 6 was Apple Watch SE, a cheaper but lower-end smartwatch lacking an always-on display, ECG, and blood oxygen tracking. Although Apple Watch SE is available in Cellular and GPS models, it’s only available in aluminum material just like Apple Watch Series 3. In this comparison, we’ll compare the differences between Apple Watch SE vs Series 3 to find out which is a better smartwatch. The cellular model of Apple Watch 3 has been discontinued, so this comparison is between the GPS model of Apple Watch SE and the GPS model of Watch 3.

Apple Watch SE vs Series 3 – Specifications Compared

 Apple Watch SE (44mm) (GPS)Apple watch series 3
Apple Watch SE (44mm) full specsapple watch series 3

EDITOR'S RATING

Design:
4.6 out of 5 stars (4.6 / 5)
Battery:
3 out of 5 stars (3.0 / 5)
Fitness tracking:
4.7 out of 5 stars (4.7 / 5)
Features:
4.5 out of 5 stars (4.5 / 5)
Price:
4.1 out of 5 stars (4.1 / 5)
Average:
4.2 out of 5 stars (4.2 / 5)
Design:
4.5 out of 5 stars (4.5 / 5)
Battery:
3 out of 5 stars (3.0 / 5)
Fitness tracking:
4.6 out of 5 stars (4.6 / 5)
Features:
4.5 out of 5 stars (4.5 / 5)
Price:
4 out of 5 stars (4.0 / 5)
Average:
4.1 out of 5 stars (4.1 / 5)

WHERE TO BUY

View @ Amazon Check @ Amazon

ABOUT DEVICE

Device nameApple Watch SE (44mm) (GPS)Apple Watch Series 3
Device typeSport/Fitness smartwatchSport/Fitness smartwatch
Predessesor__Apple Watch Series 2
Successor--Apple Watch Series 4
Released dateSeptember, 2020September, 2017
Ideal forUnisexUnisex

DISPLAY

Display typeLTPO OLEDLTPO OLED
Display size1.78 inches (44mm)1.65 inches (42mm)
Display resolution448 x 368 pixels (44mm)390 x 312 pixels (42mm)
Pixel density----
Input typeTouchscreen
1 button plus
Digital Crown with haptic feedback
Touchscreen
a button and a
digital crown
Always-onNoNo

BODY

ShapeRectangular/curvedRectangular/curved
Dimension44 x 38 x 10.4 mm42.5 x 36.4 x 11.4 mm
38 x 36.4 x 11.4 mm
Weight36.2 grams52.8 grams (42m)
Casing materialAluminumAluminum (GPS)
Stainless steel
(Cellular)
Strap/band materialSolo loop
(silicone)

Braided loop
(Silicone and Polyester)
Elastomer
Bezel MaterialCeramicsCeramics
Strap size125 - 210mm125 - 210mm
Screen protectionSapphire crystal glassSapphire crystal glass
Water resistant/ProtectionYes, IP68, 5ATMYes, IP68, 5ATM
Swim-proofYes, recommendedYes, recommended
Color(s)Space gray
Gold
Silver
Red
Blue
Black, silver, white

MEMORY

RAM1GB0.768GB
Internal storage32GB8GB
Memory card slotNoNo

CONNECTIVITY

BluetoothBluetooth v5.0Bluetooth v4.2
Bluetooth callingYesYes
Wi-FiYesYes
NFCYesYes
GPSA-GPS/GLONASS/GALILEO/QZSSA-GPS/GLONASS/GALILEO/QZSS

CELLULAR TECHNOLOGY

TechnologyNo2G/3G/4G
SIMNoe-SIM
BandNoNo

NOTIFICATIONS

Email alertYesYes
SMS alertYesYes
Calls alertYesYes
Event reminderYesYes
WeatherYesYes
Third-party appsYesYes

FITNESS TRACKING

Sleep apneaNoNo
Sleep trackingYesYes (Third-party app)
StepsYesYes
Floors climbedYesYes
Heart rate monitoringYesYes
CaloriesYesYes
DistanceYesYes
StressYesYes
VO2 Max.YesYes
Blood oxygenNoNo
Blood pressureNoNo
Menstrual cycle trackingYesNo
Swim trackingYesYes
Under-water heart rate tracking__No
Preloaded mapsYesYes
On-screen workout modesNoNo
Triathlon modeYesYes
ECG TrackingNoNo
Preloaded sport modesYesYes
Safety trackingYesYes

MEDIA

Audiomp3/mp4mp3/mp4
Music streamingYesYes
Bluetooth musicYesYes
RadioNoNo
LoudspeakerYesYes
MicrophoneYesYes
CameraNoNo

SENSORS

AccelerometerYesYes
Barometer/AltimeterYesYes
Heart rate monitor (HRM)YesYes
CompassYesNo
Gyroscope YesYes
Ambient lightYesYes
Pulse Ox.YesNo
ECGYesYes
ThermometerYes, (App)Yes, (App)
Other sensors____

PLATFORM

Operating system (OS)WatchOS 7WatchOS 5.0
ChipsetApple S5, 64bitApple S3
CPUDual coreDual core
GPUPowerVRPowerVR

BATTERY

Type of batteryNon-removable Li-ion batteryNon-removable Li-ion battery
Battery capacity --279mAh
Battery lifeMixed usage: 18 hrsStandby :3 days+ , Mixed usage: 18hrs+
Charging typeMagnetic chargingMagnetic charging
Charging timeAbout 1-2 hoursAbout 1-2 hours
Battery saver modeYes__
Solar powerNoNo
Rapid chargingNo_

CLOCK FEATURES

Time/DateYesYes
StopwatchYesYes
AlarmYesYes

OTHER FUNCTIONS

Control cameraYesYes
Music controlYesYes
Find phoneYesYes
Text responseYesYes

MISC

Payment systemApple PayApple Pay
Compatibility iPhone 5s+
iOS 12+
iPhone 5s+
iOS 12+
Companion appApple watch APPApple watch APP
Customizable watch faceYesYes
Interchangeable band YesYes
Voice commandYesYes

BOX CONTENTS

Apple Watch SE (44mm)Apple Watch Series 3
StrapsStraps
Magnetic charging cable + USB adapterMagnetic charging cable + USB adapter
Quick start guideQuick start guide
NOTE: We can't guarantee that all the information on this table are 100% correct. Read full disclaimer. Please, report an error.
Official Site

READ ALSO

Apple Watch SE GPS/Cellular vs Series 3 Features Compared

FEATURESApple Watch SE (GPS)Apple Watch SE (Cellular)Apple Watch Series 3
Display1.78 inches
Brighter than Series 3
1.78 inches
Brighter than Series 3
1.57 inches
Share Watch FacesYesYesYes
Add Widget to Watch FaceYesYesYes
Always-On DisplayNoNoNo
MaterialsAluminumAluminumAluminum
Storage32GB32GB8GB
Memoji App
Allows you to send emojis as sticker in messages or use it as your watch face.
YesYesYes
Family Setup
Allows family members who don't own an iPhone to still enjoy all the features of an Apple Watch by adding and assigning numbers to different Apple Watches which can be managed from a single iPhone.
NoYes (Cellular)No
Smart Money With Apple CashYesYesYes
Find my App
A feature that lets you know the location of family members.
NoYes (Cellular)No
Cycling Maps
A feature that guides cyclists by showing direction, suggesting lanes, and more.
YesYesYes
Hearing Protection
Alerts you when you have reached the maximum recommended listening dose for the week, and also allows you to set maximum volume for your headphone.
YesYesYes
Handwashing App
Guides you to wash your hand for up to 20 seconds recommended by WHO. Also reminds you to wash your hands when you get home.
YesYesYes
Sleep TrackingYesYesYes
Incidental Fall DetectionNoYes (Cellular)No
International Emergency Calling
Allow you to call emergency contacts almost anywhere in the world.
NoYes (Cellular)No
Blood Oxygen Tracking
Monitors your blood oxygen to determine how well your blood absorbs oxygen.
NoNoNo
ECG tracking
Allows you to take an electrocardiogram test on your wrist that's capable of detecting irregular heart rhythm and can help you prevent atrial fibrillations.
NoNoNo
Fitness+
Apple introduces a fitness service that features workout plans and coaching from professionals around the world. $9.99/month after the first 3 months.
YesYesYes
ProcessorS5 chip dual-core processor and W3 wireless chip

2x faster than S3
S5 chip dual-core processor and W3 wireless chip

2x faster than S3
S3 chip dual-core processor and W2 wireless chip

Which is Better?

It obvious Apple Watch SE is a better smartwatch. Although less compact than Series 3, it has a larger display that allows you to see more at a glance. It also has a digital crown with haptic feedback that makes navigation easier.

Apple Watch SE is powered by a more refined S5 chip which offers significantly better performance than the S3 chip powering Series 3. And it has better sensors like an improved heart rate sensor and accelerometer. It also has a louder speaker and more storage capacity, 32GB vs 8GB of Series 3, and with Bluetooth 5.0 on Apple Watch SE, you get a longer range connection with better call quality than v4.2 on Series 3.

Moreover, if you choose to go for the cellular model of Apple Watch SE, you’ll get access to more features such as Family Setup, incidental fall detection, and international emergency calling which certainly makes it a more comprehensive smartwatch than Series 3.

Overall, Apple Watch SE is a better smartwatch to buy than Series 3. It’s a better investment as it gives you the best experience very close to what you get with Apple Watch 6.

However, Apple Watch Series 3 is a cheaper alternative and a decent entry-level smartwatch for Apple Watch lovers.

Apple Watch SE review

Prices

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