Apple Watch Series 8, Watch SE 2 First Look: Minor but CRUCIAL changes inside
The Apple Watch lineup got an update too in 2022 alongside the iPhone lineup and this year, there are three models. The hero is the Apple Watch Ultra aimed at serious athletes wanting to defy the rules of adventure. However, for the more sane ones, Apple announced the Watch Series 8 and Watch SE 2nd Gen, both of which are minor updates on paper. However, the updates are crucial to keep them relevant in the ever evolving smartwatch market, especially for the Watch SE 2nd Gen.
And now we have the latter two with us. The Apple Watch Series 8 comes to us in a 45mm variant dressed in a shade of Midnight, while the Watch SE 2nd Gen is smaller at 40mm and dressed in Starlight. Both watches have the straps in the same colours as well and both support LTE connectivity. While we get ready to adapt to these new Apple Watch models, here is a quick look at them.
Apple Watch Series 8: Same same?
The Apple Watch Series models haven't brought drastic changes over the last few years and that shows how superior the hardware is. After trimming away the display bezels on the Series 7 last year, Apple retains the same design and adds just one new sensor – the temperature sensor. This sensor helps female users to track their ovulation period but not fever detection or general body temperature count.
The Series 8 also gets Crash Detection using the S8 chip and new algorithms Apple developed for the iPhone 14. And thanks to all the new health tracking features from watchOS 9, you get to track your sleep in greater depth, more workout data, new watch faces, and the lot. Plus, the combo of ECG + Blood Oxygen saturation tracking + heart rate tracking remains from the Watch Series 7.
Right out of the box, the Apple Watch Series 8 feels almost the same to wear as the Series 7. All the health tracking functions seem to work just as good as they did on the Series 7. Sadly, the temperature sensor won't be of any use to us male users but there's always a hope in the future. All in all, it feels great to wear.
Apple Watch SE 2nd Gen: A true SE!
The iPhone SE brings you the latest Apple Silicon chip at a very low price – thanks to an old body. The same goes for the Apple Watch SE 2nd Gen this year – you get the latest S8 chip from the Series 8 in the body of the old Apple Watch SE, which itself was based on the Series 5 design. The original Watch SE is still no slouch and the new one struggles to show any difference.
Right out of the box, the Apple Watch SE 2nd Gen feels almost the same, but a teeny weeny bit eager to open apps, and faster on the animations. Apple claims 20 percent performance gains with the S8 chip, which also allows features like Crash Detection, Low Power mode, and international roaming.
The display bezels are thicker but on par with most rival watches. The back of the new Watch SE is made of nylon composite material, which feels like plastic but makes it lighter on the wrist. The Watch SE can only track heart rate; no Blood Oxygen saturation and ECG yet. YOu can do basic workout training as well and enjoy almost all of watchOS 9's big upgrades. And yes, you can still call and send texts like the outgoing model.
The Apple Watch Series 7 was great last year and Apple doesn't have enough headroom to improve with the Series 8. The temperature sensor is a good addition but is highly limited in functionality; this might deter many to upgrade from a Series 7, and Series 6. We will look into it over the coming weeks to see whether there is any other reason to buy it.
The Apple Watch SE 2nd Gen, on the other hand, is a fine refresh – it has the faster S8 chip, new safety features, and the lighter build; all that at the same price as before. Is that enough for a first-time Apple Watch buyer? Stay tuned for our full reviews.