Apple Watch 8 vs Watch SE 2 2023: review, specs and features

After wearing two Apple Watches (the Series 8 and the SE 2) for two months and wearing an Apple Watch every day for eight years, I decided that the SE 2 is the best choice for most people because it’s cheaper and has all the important features with only a few small changes.

The Series 8 has a better screen and a few extra features, but none of them are a must-have. Let’s talk about the five most important reasons you should think about Series 8. And if you agree with a few of these reasons, like I do, it might be a good idea to go for the upgrade. It can be hard to choose between the $399 Apple Watch Series 8 and the $249 Apple Watch SE when you want to buy a new Apple Watch.

If you’re not a big scuba diver or rock climber, or if you just want to look like one, the $799 Apple Watch Ultra is probably not something you’re thinking about. The Series 8 and SE are both made for people who want to keep an eye on their health and fitness levels every day but don’t need the Ultra’s larger screen, longer battery life, and extra features made for the outdoors.

Price and availability

First, let’s look at how much these two models cost so you can see how they might fit into your budget. The new way to get an Apple Watch is with the Watch SE (2022), which starts at $249 in the US and £269 in the UK. Starting prices for the Apple Watch Series 8 are $399 in the US and £419 in the UK. Both of these prices are for the model that only has GPS.

Apple Watch 8 vs Watch SE 2 Comparison Table

Apple Watch SE 2Apple Watch Series 8
Battery18 hours
45 min to 80% charge
18 hours
45 min to 80% charge
SoftwareWatchOS 9WatchOS 9
Dimensions and weight44mm:
44 x 38 x 10.7mm
40 x 34 x 10.7mm
45 x 38 x 10.7mm
Aluminum: 38.8g
Stainless steel: 51.5g
41 x 35 x 10.7mm
Aluminum: 32g
Stainless steel: 42.3g

Apple Watch 8 vs Watch SE 2 Design

Apple Watch 8 vs Watch SE 2

Even though both devices look like the first Apple Watch, which came out in 2015, Apple has made some small changes to the design over the years. Both look like Apple Watches because they have a square case and a digital crown and power button on the right side. But the Series 8 has two sizes, 45mm and 41mm, that are bigger than the SE 2’s 44mm and 40mm. It also comes in aluminum or stainless steel for the case, while the SE 2 only comes in aluminum.

As you can see, the sizes are very similar, and the only difference between the models is how much they weigh. Both can be submerged in water up to 50m deep and can be used while swimming. However, Apple warns that neither will work well if you go scuba diving or waterskiing. If that’s your thing, you might want to save a little more money and get the Apple Watch Ultra. The Apple Watch Series 8 also has IP6X dust resistance, so if you often mess around in the attic or go to the beach, it may give you a little more protection.

Apple Watch 8 vs Watch SE 2 Features

Apple Watch 8 vs Watch SE 2

Apple’s latest S8 chipset is used in both models, so there is no difference in how fast they work. This is great news for SE shoppers who just want a watch that can run their favourite apps without slowing down. Both models are said to have a battery life of 18 hours per charge, and the low-power mode adds another 18 hours to that.

Consider getting the Ultra model if you want your Apple Watch to last a little bit longer. Unfortunately, the Series 8 charges faster than the SE 2, going from dead to 80% full in 45 minutes instead of 90 minutes for the SE model. This small thing could be important for people who charge their watches in the shower or while getting ready in the morning.

Let’s talk about ways to stay healthy. The Apple Watch is great because it has a lot of sensors that keep track of different parts of your health. But if this is very important to you, there is one model you should get.

The Apple Watch SE 2 and Series 8 have basic fitness tracking features like a heart rate sensor, sleep tracking, the new crash detection feature, fall detection, and tracking of your menstrual cycle. But the Apple Watch Series 8 is the better health watch overall. It adds an ECG, a SpO2 sensor, and a new body temperature sensor that helps track cycles.

Apple Watch 8 vs Watch SE 2 Health tracking

Apple Watch 8 vs Watch SE 2

Apple’s top-of-the-line watches, like the Series 8, have become all-in-one health trackers that can take an ECG from your wrist and check your blood oxygen levels. The Series 8 and Ultra are the first to have temperature sensors. This means that they can check your wrist temperature overnight and show you if it has changed from your baseline. Temperature sensing has to be set up over five nights because the watch needs that much time to figure out what your normal wrist temperature is.

Apple says that the temperature of the wrist at night can be a sign of the temperature of the whole body, and that changes could be caused by illness, jet lag, or exercise. Since the Apple Watch doesn’t have a readiness score like the Oura or Fitbit, I could see how this information could help me decide if my body needs more rest.

I hope that in the future, Apple will use wrist temperature readings to add new features and gain new insights. You can see a chart right now that shows how your nighttime temperature readings differ from your baseline. But it seems like it’s mostly up to you to figure out what these readings mean.

Apple Watch 8 vs Watch SE 2 Battery life

Apple Watch 8 vs Watch SE 2

Apple says that each charge lasts about 18 hours for both models, which should be enough to get you through the day. If your battery dies a little sooner than you’d like, the new fast charging feature in the Series 8 should help you get back to a healthy level of power a little faster. Still, the SE 2 doesn’t take long to charge, so it shouldn’t be too much of a problem.

Apple Watch 8 Pros and Cons


  • Same great design and display
  • Crash detection
  • New watchOS 9 workout interface
  • Longer battery life with low power mode


  • Over-familiar design
  • Sub-par 18-hour battery life
  • Wish it borrowed the Apple Watch Ultra’s siren

Watch SE 2 Pros and Cons


  • Comfortable to wear 24 hours a day
  • Latest processor provides all the power needed
  • Two-day battery
  • Impressive battery life


  • No always-on screen
  • No ECG built in
  • Battery life lower than Fitbits
  • Not as cheap as Apple Watch 3

Which one should you consider?

When it comes to the most important features and functions, the Apple Watch Series 8 and SE have a lot in common. Both can keep track of workouts, show iPhone alerts, let you know when your heart rate is high or low, and find irregular heart rhythms.

They both have safety features like SOS for emergencies, fall detection, and car crash detection, which is only available on Apple’s smartwatches from 2022. The new Compass app is also coming to both watches, as well as the Series 7, Series 6, and the first-generation SE. It has a new feature that lets you trace your steps.


Which is better Apple Watch SE 2 or Series 8?

The Apple Watch Series 8 is the best choice for people who want more from their smartwatch. It has a bigger screen, better health monitoring features, and a variety of colours and finishes.

What is the difference SE and Series 8?

The main difference, and the one you’ll notice most when you use it, is that the Watch Series 8 has a bigger, edge-to-edge display that is always on. On the Watch Series 8, you also get faster charging and a few extra features that some people might find useful, like tracking your body temperature.

Dian Erwin
Dian Erwin
Dian Erwin is a writer for Bollyinside, covering topics related to computing, such as laptops, tablets, Windows, and iOS. Tony spends much too much of his free time on Twitter, reading speculative fiction novels, playing video games, and reading comic books. He also enjoys reading video game manuals.


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