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Apple Watch Series 8, Watch 7, Watch Ultra and Watch SE compared: Which Watch to buy?


Apple Watch 2022: All models in comparison

  The new flagship The current standard model The previous year’s model The low-priced alternative The previous SE’s model
Product
Image
Apple Watch Series 8
Apple Watch Series 7
Apple Watch SE (2022)
Apple Watch SE
Specifications
  • 49 mm
  • Retina LTPO OLED display
  • Dual GPS + LTE
  • Apple S8 and U1
  • Pulse sensor, ECG, SpO2, emergency call SOS, new fall/accident detection, IP6X certified, temperature detection
  • Bluetooth 5.0, WLAN
  • 32 GB memory
  • 41 mm / 45 mm
  • Retina LTPO OLED display
  • 396 x 484 pixels (45 mm, 1143 mm²)
  • 352 x 430 pixels (41 mm, 904 mm²)
  • GPS or GPS + LTE
  • Apple S8 and U1
  • Pulse sensor, ECG, SpO2, emergency call SOS, new fall/accident detection, IP6X certified, temperature detection
  • Bluetooth 5.0, WLAN
  • 32 GB memory
  • 41 mm / 45 mm
  • Retina LTPO OLED display
  • 396 x 484 pixels (45 mm, 1143 mm²)
  • 352 x 430 pixels (41 mm, 904 mm²)
  • GPS or GPS + LTE
  • Apple S7 and U1
  • Pulse sensor, ECG, SpO2
  • Bluetooth 5.0, WLAN
  • 32 GB memory
  • 40 mm / 44 mm
  • Retina LTPO OLED display
  • 368 x 448 pixels (44 mm, 977 mm²)
  • 324 x 394 pixels (40 mm, 759 mm²)
  • Choice of GPS or GPS + LTE
  • Apple S8
  • Pulse sensor, emergency SOS, new fall/accident detection
  • Bluetooth 5.0, WLAN
  • 32 GB memory
  • 40 mm / 44 mm
  • Retina LTPO OLED display
  • 368 x 448 pixels (44 mm, 977 mm²)
  • 324 x 394 pixels (40 mm, 759 mm²)
  • Choice of GPS or GPS + LTE
  • Apple S5
  • Pulse sensor
  • Bluetooth 5.0, WLAN
  • 32 GB memory
Advantages
  • Car Crash Detection
  • Temperature sensor to predict ovulation and menstruation cycles
  • More accurate sleep monitoring
  • International roaming for calls abroad
  • Better information about your workout
  • New low power mode for up to 36 hours of battery life
  • Bigger, brighter screen
  • Charges up to 33% faster compared to Watch Series 6
  • IP6X certified: Waterproof plus now dust protection
  • Wears great on the wrist
  • Seamless integration with the iPhone
  • Offers core Apple Watch features
  • A wide range of fitness features
  • Integrated GPS (you can leave the iPhone at home)
  • 3 months of Fitness+ included
  • Affordable price
Cons
  • Nothing new, but: Apple Watch only works with iPhone
  • 90 minutes to charge from 0 to 100%
  • Power adapter not included in the box
  • No dust-resistant rating
  • No Always-on Display (AoD)
Rating

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Read the Apple Watch Series 8 review Read the Apple Watch Series 7 review Read the Apple Watch SE 2022 review

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Product-wise, the big shakeup has begun for the Apple Watch after the September event. In the Apple Store, the Watch Series 8 replaces the Watch Series 7, the old SE is replaced by the new, slightly improved version—and the Apple Watch Ultra is in the portfolio for the first time. For comparison, you can still find the Apple Watch 7 and the first Apple Watch SE in the table above, which you can still find on sale at third-party retailers.

The Watch SE is priced at $249, the Apple Watch 8 costs at least $399, and the new flagship Apple Watch Ultra costs $799.

Apple has given all Watch models new features. All the new watches have the same emergency SOS, accident detection and a new compass app, for example. Of course, there are differences as well. Temperature detection and IP6X certification are available for the Apple Watch Series 8 and the Watch Ultra, but the inexpensive Watch SE is left out in the cold. Below, we clarify how the models differ from each other and which model is right for you.

Jump to:

  1. The best: Apple Watch Ultra
  2. The latest: Apple Watch Series 8 vs. Watch Series 7
  3. The cheapest: Apple Watch SE (2022) vs. Watch SE
  4. Buying guide: Which Apple Watch is the best?
  5. Apple Watch Studio
  6. Software: WatchOS 9
  7. All Apple Watch generations at a glance

The most successful watch in the world is: a Smartwatch! Over the past few years, Apple has achieved the feat of becoming the largest watch manufacturer in the world. Their effort has left the entire Swiss watch industry behind. According to Strategy Analytics, Apple has already sold about 50 percent more watches in 2019 than all Swiss watchmakers combined (30.7 versus 21.1 million units).

The success of the Apple Watch certainly has a lot to do with the fact that the iPhone and watch work so perfectly together. In fact, you can now make payments, open doors, take your pulse or blood oxygen levels via the watch. It kind of feels like the future is on your wrist. But the main reason to own a smartwatch for many people is and probably revolves around the issue of “health”.

Apple Watch Ultra: It doesn’t get any better than this

  The new smartwatch flagship
Product
Image
Apple Watch Ultra
Specifications
  • 49 mm
  • Retina LTPO OLED display
  • Dual GPS + LTE
  • Apple S8 and U1
  • Pulse sensor, ECG, SpO2, temperature sensor, depth gauge
  • Oceanic+ app, 86 decibel loud siren, action button.
  • Emergency call SOS, new fall/accident detection,
  • IP6X certified, temperature detection
  • Bluetooth 5.0, WLAN
  • 32 GB memory
Benefits
Disadvantages
Rating

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With the Watch Ultra, Apple has presented a brand-new smartwatch flagship, which is intended for extreme athletes and outdoor fans. Accordingly, the watch is even bigger, even more robust and equipped with a battery that is supposed to last twice as long as the Apple Watch 8.

The processor and many features are shared by all 2022 Apple Watches, but the 49 mm size and the additional, freely assignable action button show that things are different with the Ultra. Of course, all the new features of the Watch 8 are also available on the Apple Watch Ultra, but there are a lot of exclusive features to marvel at. For example, the display is twice as bright (up to 2,000 nits at peak), and divers will be happy about the EN-13319 certification.

Apple Watch Ultra repair and service fee in the US
Apple Watch Ultra—the best that smartwatch fans can currently wish for. / © Apple

This guarantees that the watch is waterproof down to a depth of 40 meters. In combination with the Oceanic+ app, which is also exclusive to the Ultra, the diving depth, water temperature, diving time and ascent speed can be displayed. Speaking of certification: The IP6X certificate is joined here by the military standard 810.

Apple has also stepped up a gear in terms of hardware compared to the “normal” Apple Watch. Titanium is now only available for the Ultra, and the guys and gals from Cupertino have installed a siren that is up to 86 decibels loud. The crown is also a bit bigger and designed in such a way that you can now also operate it with gloves.

So you can see that Apple packs everything into this device that can currently be put into a smartwatch. Apple has thus created a new flagship watch that will certainly not only interest extreme athletes. However, Apple also charges a decent price for this top hardware: $799 are due if you decide to buy this model.

You can pre-order it now and it will be delivered on September 23. You only have one color to choose from, and there is also only the GPS+Cellular variant. On the other hand, you can choose between several wristbands that were also only developed for the Ultra model and are supposed to meet the special demands of outdoor use.

The Apple Watch mid-range: Apple Watch Series 8 and Apple Watch Series 7

  The 2022 model The 2021 model
Product
Image
Apple Watch Series 8
Apple Watch Series 7
Specifications
  • 41 mm / 45 mm
  • Retina LTPO OLED display
  • 396 x 484 pixels (45 mm, 1143 mm²)
  • 352 x 430 pixels (41 mm, 904 mm²)
  • GPS or GPS + LTE
  • Apple S8 and U1
  • Pulse sensor, ECG, SpO2, emergency call SOS, new fall/accident detection, IP6X certified, temperature detection
  • Bluetooth 5.0, WLAN
  • 32 GB memory
  • 41 mm / 45 mm
  • Retina LTPO OLED display
  • 396 x 484 pixels (45 mm, 1143 mm²)
  • 352 x 430 pixels (41 mm, 904 mm²)
  • GPS or GPS + LTE
  • Apple S7 and U1
  • Pulse sensor, ECG, SpO2
  • Bluetooth 5.0, WLAN
  • 32 GB memory
Advantages
  • Car Crash Detection
  • Temperature sensor to predict ovulation and menstruation cycles
  • More accurate sleep monitoring
  • International roaming for calls abroad
  • Better information about your workout
  • New low power mode for up to 36 hours of battery life
  • Larger, brighter screen
  • Charges up to 33% faster compared to Watch Series 6
  • IP6X certified: Waterproof plus now dust protection
Cons
  • Nothing new, but: Apple Watch only works with iPhone
Rating Read the Apple Watch Series 8 review Read the Apple Watch Series 7 review
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Let’s move on to the regular Apple Watch Series. Compared to the Apple Watch 7, the Apple Watch 8 represents a rather uncluttered update. In fact, as far as the design and display are concerned, everything has remained the same.

The display is neither brighter, nor has it become higher-resolution or larger. Instead, we see a difference under the hood, where the S8 chipset now does its work. However, Apple has not yet gone into detail about the exact difference compared with the S7.

New sensors and features are coming to the Apple Watch Series 8, such as a new temperature sensor for cycle tracking. With its help, the time of ovulation or the next period can be determined, but this sensor should also play a role in the diagnosis of various diseases.

Apple Watch Series 8
The Apple Watch Series 8 comes in new colors. / © NextPit

The fall detection has been expanded by “Crash Detection”, which now also detects car accidents. In addition, Apple installs a new gyroscope as well as a new accelerometer in the Watch Series 8. Also new features are emergency SOS and a new compass.

The Apple Watch Series 7 is the first Apple smartwatch to be equipped with the ultra-wideband chip U1. In the future, this should ensure that cars or hotel doors, for example, can be opened with the Apple Watch. There are already hotels in the U.S. that use this technology.

Like the Series 7, the Apple Watch Series 8 is available in either a 41- or 45-millimeter version. While there was a titanium option last year, only stainless steel and aluminum are available for the Series 8—titanium is reserved for the Apple Watch Ultra. All in all, you can choose between Midnight, Polaris, Gold, Graphite, Silver, Space Black and (PRODUCT)RED. The price starts at $399.

The entry-level class: Apple Watch SE (2022) vs. Apple Watch SE

  2022 model 2021 model
Product
Image
Apple Watch SE (2022)
Apple Watch SE
Specifications
  • 40 mm / 44 mm
  • Retina LTPO OLED display
  • 368 x 448 pixels (44 mm)
  • 324 x 394 pixels (40 mm)
  • GPS or GPS + LTE
  • Apple S8
  • Pulse sensor, emergency SOS,
  • new fall/accident detection
  • Bluetooth 5.0, WLAN
  • 32 GB memory
  • 40 mm / 44 mm
  • Retina LTPO OLED display
  • 368 x 448 pixels (44 mm)
  • 324 x 394 pixels (40 mm)
  • GPS or GPS + LTE
  • Apple S5
  • Pulse sensor
  • Bluetooth 5.0, WLAN
  • 32 GB memory
Advantages
  • Wears great on the wrist
  • Seamless integration with the iPhone
  • Offers core Apple Watch features
  • A wide range of fitness features
  • Integrated GPS (you can leave the iPhone at home)
  • 3 months of Fitness+ included
  • Affordable price
Cons
  • 90 minutes to charge from 0 to 100%
  • Power adapter not included in the box
  • No dust-resistant rating
  • No Always-on Display (AoD)
Rating Read the Apple Watch SE 2022 review

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If we look at the SE models, which are or were both launched with an MSRP of $249, we do not notice any major differences. That is why we do not have to compare what has changed in the SE class since the last model. Dimensions, display and almost all hardware specifications remain unchanged.

Okay, of course there is actually a change under the hood: Instead of the S5, you will now find the same Watch S8 processor in the 2022 version of the Apple Watch SE that is also installed in the Ultra and the Apple Watch Series 8. Apart from that, much of the technology remains the same, but there are new features that we already know from the more expensive models: Emergency SOS and the new accident detection will also be available on the Apple Watch SE.

Apple Watch SE review
Both versions of Apple Watch SE now offer Low Power mode / © NextPit

You can no longer get the old model from Apple itself, but you can find it on Amazon and elsewhere and pay 20 dollars less, which is only $249. But honestly: With a difference of only 20 bucks, I would rather buy the brand-new model, wouldn’t you? It remains the case that the Apple Watch SE 2 cannot perform an ECG and you cannot determine the blood oxygen level. However, you will pay much less than for the more powerful models.

Buying guide: Which Apple Watch is the best?

Here’s how to choose your Apple Watch based on features

Let’s just start with the exclusion strategy: Can you imagine doing without an always-on display, the ECG feature, the blood oxygen feature, and the temperature detection? In that case, you can tick off the Apple Watch SE. The same applies if you want to benefit from the fast charging feature.

But there are also differences between the Series 8 and the new Ultra that can decide which model is the right one for you. Apple itself also addresses the Apple Watch Ultra accordingly by declaring extreme athletes and adventure fans as the target group.

So, if you are really out in nature for mountaineering, hiking or extreme sports, you will benefit from several features of the Apple Watch Ultra. These include a doubled battery life of up to 36 hours, a freely assignable action button, a siren, and an all in all larger and more robust form factor than the standard model. Divers are also likely to jump at the top model not only because of the depth gauge, but also because of the Oceanic+ app.

How to choose your Apple Watch based on price

Besides the features, it’s probably the price tag that will help you make your decision. $249 are called for the Apple Watch SE, at least $399 for the Apple Watch Series 8 and finally a hefty $799 for the Apple Watch Ultra. If you did not care about any of the features listed above, the SE is probably the right choice.

With this watch, you can enter the Apple Watch universe at a reasonable price, have a brand-new S8 processor and all basic functions on board thanks to watchOS 9. Occasional running tracking, the new accident detection, emergency SOS and much more ensure that you can be happy all around even for $249.

However, if you have identified certain features above that you do not want to do without, you will have to bite the bullet and purchase one of the more expensive smartwatches. It is up to you and your demands whether you will pay $399 or even twice as much. You should really consider whether you will be happy with the larger model and its additional features. For the majority of Apple fans, the Apple Watch Series 8 should easily suffice.

Apple Watch Studio

Since 2019, Apple has offered in both its stores (physical and virtual) the so-called Apple Watch Studio. Customers can combine any available Apple Watch case with all available bracelets. This way, any number of combinations can be created, allowing buyers to piece together their own personalized Apple Watch.

Apple Watch Studio webpage
Apple Watch Studio lets you piece together your own Apple Watch to suit your mood. / © Apple (Screenshot: NextPit)

Software: watchOS 9

This year, Apple announced watchOS 9 during its developer conference, WWDC22, in June. In the meantime, we also know which Apple Watch will receive the watchOS 9 update. As was expected, the Watch Series 3 has been removed from the list. The following models will be updated with the new software version.

As you can imagine, the new Apple Watch Series 8 already has watchOS 9 installed. Users can look forward to the following new features:

  • New compass app
  • Oceanic+ (Ultra only)
  • Accident detection
  • improved temperature detection
  • New watch faces
  • Workout app
  • Alarms during workouts
  • Health app: Sleep Stages
  • AFib will be even more accurate
  • Medication monitoring
  • Additional data protection

Read what are the new features and what else you need to know about watchOS 9 here. If you want to use the new software, make sure you have the watchOS 9 installed on your Apple Watch.

All Apple Watch generations at a glance

If you’ve always wanted to see all Apple Watches at a glance, you’ve come to the right place. NextPit has listed all models for you.

Apple Watch: Model overview over the years

Year Models Highlights / Innovations
2022 Apple Watch Ultra
  • 49 mm size
  • Dual GPS
  • Temperature detection
  • Emergency SOS
  • Depth gauge
  • Oceanic+
  • Siren
  • Action button
Apple Watch Series 8
  • Temperature detection
  • Accident detection
  • Emergency SOS
Apple Watch SE (2022)
  • Temperature detection
  • Accident detection
  • Emergency SOS
2021 Apple Watch Series 7
  • Brighter Always-On Display
  • Fast charging
  • Larger display
  • IPX6 certification (waterproof and dustproof)
2020 Apple Watch Series 6
  • New Always-On Display
  • SpO2 Sensor
Apple Watch SE
  • ‘Gimped’ model without always-on display, ECG and SpO2
  • SoC from the Watch Series 5
2019 Apple Watch Series 5
  • Always-On Display
  • Compass
2018 Apple Watch Series 4
  • Larger displays: 44mm and 40mm
  • ECG function
2017 Apple Watch Series 3
  • Comes with optional LTE (via eSIM) and can also make calls without an iPhone
  • Altimeter
2016 Apple Watch Series 2
  • Apple S2 marks a dual-core SoC in an Apple Watch for the first time
  • Ceramic instead of gold for ‘Watch Edition’
  • IP68 certification
  • GPS sensor
Apple Watch Series 1
  • Slightly improved SoC (780 MHz instead of 520 MHz)
2015 Apple Watch
  • First ever smartwatch from Apple!
  • Two different sizes: 38 mm and 42 mm
  • Gold edition debuted with $10,000 price tag

This best list was revised in November, 2022. Existing comments were maintained. 



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