Apple Watch Family Setup 220907

Apple Watch Series 8 Vs. Watch Ultra Vs. Series 7 vs. SE comparison

During its “Far Out” event, Apple announced the iPhone 14, iPhone 14 Pro, new AirPods Pro earbuds, and an all-new Apple Watch. We’re used to seeing an annual refresh of the Apple Watch, where one series flagship gets another flagship — but this year saw the introduction of three new models: Apple Watch Series 8, Apple Watch Ultra and the new Apple Watch SE. These watches are designed to offer new options in the entry-level, flagship (for generalists) and specialty markets.

At the bottom of the new lineup, the new Apple Watch SE continues the 2020 SE formula. It’s a “bargain” model, sacrificing niceties like an always-on display for a much lower price. Apple’s SE brand of budget-level products are rarely the most exciting, but at least the arrival of this Apple Watch SE will help end the decadent reign of the Apple Watch Series 3.

Higher up the spectrum, the Series 8 has the usual progression of previous top-tier Apple Watches, now with a new temperature sensor built-in. And for the first time, there’s a third model to sit on top, one entirely with a different set of capabilities. Despite the new Samsung-sounding moniker, the new Apple Watch is designed to cater to the ultra-hardcore outdoor crowd — who typically turn to brands like Garmin for their needs.

A side-by-side lineup of Apple's new Apple Watches for 2022.  Left: Apple Watch Series 8. Center: Apple Watch Ultra.  Right: Apple Watch SE (2022).

We’ve never seen three different Apple Watch models launch at once before.
Image: Apple

So that’s a whole lot of Apple Watch. But how do the features and specs shake out in this new lineup? And if you’re thinking of picking one up before you pick one up on sale, are there any big improvements here over the outgoing Series 7? We’ve only gotten a glimpse so far, but let’s take a look at the specs and see where we can find the biggest differences in these new units or look for any major flaws.

Apple Watch SE

Apple Watch SE

The 2022 Apple Watch SE looks like most Apple Watches before it.
Image: Apple

On the budget end, the Apple Watch SE brings a familiar approach: take some of the latest technology and put it in an old chassis to sell for less. That’s what the original Apple Watch SE did, and that’s what this new SE is doing now. The new SE looks like the previous SE, but it packs the S8 CPU and crash detection from the Series 8 and Ultra. Oh, and the back of the new SE is color-matched to the rest of the case, which is a sharp little treat.

You’ll miss out on the always-on display, ECG and blood oxygen monitoring — all absent from the previous SE as well. The new 2022 Apple Watch SE starts at just $249 for the 40mm model with GPS or $299 with cellular, so what you get is more money in your pocket. That’s $30 less than the starting prices of the first SE, which launches in 2020.

Apple Watch Series 8

Apple Watch Series 8 Vs Watch Ultra Vs Series 7

The Apple Watch Series 8 is a direct successor to last year’s Series 7.
Photo by Victoria Song / The Verge

In any other year, the new Apple Watch Series 8 would be the flagship offering. It continues the steady evolution of Apple’s Watch formula, which looks a lot like the Series 7, but now adds a sensor to detect your body temperature as well as improved period and ovulation tracking. It also gets car crash detection, which is prevalent on this entire crop of Apple Watches, because Apple is into car crashes right now. (The keynote video has an awful lot of doom and gloom.)

Unlike the SE, you’re not making major tradeoffs outside of the Ultra’s extra rugged features (more on that in a moment). The Apple Watch Series 8 starts at a regular $399 for the 41mm model with GPS, or $499 with cellular, or $30 for the larger 45mm version.

Apple Watch Ultra

1662656767 517 Apple Watch Series 8 Vs Watch Ultra Vs Series 7

The Apple Watch Ultra has a large, flat display with a protective bezel.
Photo by Chris Welch / The Verge

Finally, a new kid on the block is trying to tackle a whole new segment for Apple. The Apple Watch Ultra is Apple’s answer to rugged smartwatches and wearables from brands like Garmin and Polar, designed to be taken to the most remote locations for activities like hiking and rock climbing. The Apple Watch Pro is constructed from titanium and waterproof up to 100 meters. Its flat display measures 49mm across, making it the chunkiest Apple Watch yet. It also has a programmable action button on its side. On the connectivity side, it supports multiband GPS with trackback to help you navigate the most remote locations and retrace your steps on the way back. It’s selling for $799 in a single model with a pristine titanium finish and both GPS and cellular.

Apple Watch Series 8 vs Ultra vs SE (2022) vs Series 7

categoriesApple Watch Series 8Apple Watch UltraApple Watch SE (2022)Apple Watch Series 7
categoriesApple Watch Series 8Apple Watch UltraApple Watch SE (2022)Apple Watch Series 7
Starting price$399$799$249$399
ProcessorS8 with a 64-bit dual-core processorS8 with a 64-bit dual-core processorS8 with a 64-bit dual-core processorS7 with a 64-bit dual-core processor
watchOS versionwatchOS 9watchOS 9watchOS 9watchOS 8 (will be updated to watchOS 9 on September 12)
Water resistanceWater resistance up to 50 metersWater resistance up to 100 metersWater resistance up to 50 metersWater resistance up to 50 meters
Dust resistanceIP6X-ratedIP6X-ratedNo ratingIP6X-rated
ConnectivityWi-Fi, GPS, Bluetooth 5.0Wi-Fi, GPS, Bluetooth 5.0Wi-Fi, GPS, Bluetooth 5.0Wi-Fi, GPS, Bluetooth 5.0
Case materialAluminum, stainless steelTitaniumAluminumAluminum, stainless steel
LTEYes, starting at $499YesYes, starting at $299Yes, starting at $499
GPSL1 GPSPrecision dual frequency (L1 and L5) GPSL1 GPSL1 GPS
Built-in mic and speakerYesYes, a triple-mic arrayYesYes
W-series wireless chipW3W3W3W3
U1 Ultra Wideband supportYesYesNoYes
Altimeter is always onYesYesYesYes
the compassYesYesYesYes
Digital crown haptic feedbackYesYesYesYes
Heart sensorThird generation optical heart sensorThird generation optical heart sensorSecond generation optical heart sensorThird generation optical heart sensor
Temperature sensorYesYesNoNo
Case sizes41 mm, 45 mm49mm40 mm, 44 mm41 mm, 45 mm
presentationAlways On Retina LTPO OLED DisplayAlways On Retina LTPO OLED DisplayRetina LTPO OLED displayAlways-on Retina LTPO OLED display (1000 nits brightness)
Display Size (Approx.)41mm: 1.61-inches, 45mm: 1.77-inches1.93-inch40mm: 1.57-inches, 44mm: 1.73-inches41mm: 1.61-inches, 45mm: 1.77-inches
Screen brightnessBrightness up to 1000 nitsBrightness up to 2000 nitsBrightness up to 1000 nits
Screen resolution41mm: 352 by 430, 45mm: 396 by 484502 through 41040mm: 324 by 394, 44mm: 368 by 44841mm: 352 by 430, 45mm: 396 by 484
storage32GB32GB32GB32GB
Estimated battery lifetill 18 hoursUp to 36 hourstill 18 hourstill 18 hours
Family setup supportYes, with the cellular versionYesYes, with the cellular versionYes, with the cellular version
Fall identification?YesYesYesYes
Emergency SOSYesYesYesYes
ECG appYesYesNoYes
Blood Oxygen AppYesYesNoYes
Noise monitoringYesYesYesYes
High, low or irregular heart notificationsYesYesYesYes
Optical heart sensorYesYesYesYes
Crash detectionYesYesYesNo
Low-power modeYesYesYesAfter a future software update
Night modeNoYesNoNo
Additional sensorsDepth gauge and water temperature sensor, dive computer app
ColorsAluminum: midnight, starlight, silver and red; Steel: graphite, silver and gold; Hermes: Silver and Space BlackNatural titaniumMidnight, starlight and silverAluminum: midnight, starlight, blue, green and red; Steel: graphite, silver and gold; Titanium: Space Black and Titanium

Which Apple Watch is Right for You?

The Apple Watch has been a staple in Apple’s garden for years, but we’ve never had so many options at once. In the past, the question for most Apple users was whether to get an Apple Watch — the only game in town with this level of iOS integration. Now, finding the right one for you is something that takes a little more thought and consideration. Be sure to check out our spec comparison table and let us know in the comments if one of these sounds like the right choice for you.

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