Apple Watch SE 2 Review: Budget-Friendly Fitness Companion or a Flop

Apple Watch SE 2 Review: Budget-Friendly Fitness Companion or a Flop?

  • Apple Watch SE 2 offers core fitness tracking features like activity tracking, workout modes, heart rate monitoring, and sleep tracking at a lower price point compared to other Apple Watches.
  • The SE 2 is a perfect fit for first-time smartwatch users, budget-conscious fitness enthusiasts, and anyone comfortable with a basic display.
  • Compared to pricier models, the SE 2 misses out on an always-on display, blood oxygen sensor, ECG app, and potentially has less accurate GPS.

Smartwatches have become an extension of ourselves, and Apple continues to reign supreme in this market. The Apple Watch SE 2 stands out as a more affordable option within their lineup, but is it a worthy purchase or a disappointment for budget-conscious users? Let's dive in and find out.

Apple Watch SE 2 Specs

Below, we’ve shared the Apple Watch SE 2 specs:



Display Type

Retina LTPO OLED, 1000 nits (peak)

Display Size

1.78 inches

Display Resolution

448 x 368 pixels (~326 ppi density)


Apple S8

Operating System

watchOS 9.0, up to watchOS 10.3.1

Water Resistance

50m water resistant


Accelerometer, gyro, heart rate (2nd gen), barometer, always-on altimeter, compass



Cellular (Optional)

Yes (supports international roaming and emergency calling)




Li-Ion 296 mAh, non-removable

Battery Life

Up to 2 days

Case Material


Back Material

Nylon composite and sapphire crystal


1.16 oz


Fall Detection, Crash Detection (cellular models only), Emergency SOS, International emergency calling, GymKit, Apple Pay

A Fitness Powerhouse (for Most)

The Apple Watch SE 2 isn't just about looking good; it's a powerhouse for fitness enthusiasts (and beginners alike) thanks to its comprehensive suite of features. Here's a closer look at what makes it shine:

  • Performance Built to Last: The SE 2 boasts the latest Apple S8 SiP processor, the same chip powering the pricier Series 8. This ensures smooth performance while running fitness apps, tracking workouts, and navigating the watch's interface. You can be confident that the SE 2 will handle future software updates seamlessly, keeping your fitness companion up-to-date.
  • Activity Tracking Made Easy: The SE 2 comes pre-loaded with the Activity app, your one-stop shop for monitoring daily movement. It uses a combination of the accelerometer and gyroscope to track your three Activity rings: Move, Exercise, and Stand. These rings provide a clear picture of your overall activity level, motivating you to close them each day for a healthy lifestyle.
  • Workout Tracking for Every Activity: Whether you're a runner, swimmer, cyclist, or prefer HIIT workouts, the SE 2 has you covered. It offers a wide range of built-in workout modes that track specific metrics relevant to each activity. You can see your pace, distance, heart rate zones, calories burned, and more, all on your wrist. The watch can also automatically detect workouts like running and walking, eliminating the need to manually start tracking.
  • Heart Rate Monitoring: Stay informed about your heart health with the SE 2's second-generation optical heart sensor. It continuously monitors your heart rate throughout the day, providing valuable insights into your overall fitness level and exertion during workouts. You can also receive alerts for unusually high or low heart rates, potentially indicating a health concern.
  • Sleep Tracking for Recovery: Quality sleep is crucial for overall health and fitness. The SE 2's sleep-tracking capabilities help you understand your sleep patterns. It monitors your sleep stages (light, deep, and REM) and provides insights into your sleep quality. This information can help you identify areas for improvement and develop healthy sleep habits.
  • Safety Features for Active Lifestyles: Taking a tumble? The SE 2 has built-in fall detection that can automatically send an SOS alert to emergency services if you're unresponsive. Cellular models go a step further with Crash Detection, which can detect a potential car crash and initiate contact with emergency services, providing peace of mind during active adventures.
  • Comfortable Design and Long Battery Life: The SE 2's comfortable design ensures you can wear it all day without feeling weighed down. It comes in two sizes (40mm and 44mm) to fit various wrist sizes, and the lightweight aluminum case feels sleek and comfortable. The impressive battery life, lasting up to 2 days on a single charge, means you can focus on your workouts and activities without constantly worrying about recharging.

These features, combined with the SE 2's seamless integration with the Apple Health app and various fitness apps, make it a powerful tool for anyone looking to elevate their fitness journey.

Cutting Corners?

While the SE 2 excels in core fitness tracking, it does lack some features found in pricier models. The display isn't always on, a feature many users have come to appreciate. It also forgoes the blood oxygen sensor and ECG app, which cater to more advanced health monitoring. Additionally, the design remains unchanged from the previous SE model, so those seeking a fresh look might be disappointed. One of the Apple Watch problems is GPS accuracy. Although it is sufficient for casual users, serious athletes relying on precise location tracking might find it lacking.

Fitness Companion or Flop?

The Apple Watch SE 2 strikes a balance between affordability and essential features. It's a fantastic option for first-time smartwatch users, budget-conscious fitness enthusiasts who prioritize core tracking, and anyone comfortable with a basic display. However, serious athletes or those wanting advanced health features like blood oxygen monitoring and ECG might be better suited with the Apple Watch Series 8.

Verdict: Not a Flop, But Know Your Needs

The SE 2 is far from a flop. It offers excellent value for those who prioritize core fitness tracking features at a lower price point. If you're new to smartwatches, on a budget, and want a great fitness companion, the SE 2 is a strong contender. You can easily buy a used Apple Watch SE 2 at Phone Daddy for a reasonable price. However, if you crave the latest design or advanced health features, the Series 8 might be worth the extra investment.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is the Apple Watch SE 2 waterproof?

Yes, the Apple Watch SE 2 is water-resistant up to 50 meters, making it suitable for swimming and showering.

Does the SE 2 have cellular connectivity?

Yes, you can choose an SE 2 model with built-in cellular connectivity. You can use it for making calls and sending texts directly from your wrist, even without your phone nearby.

What iPhone models are compatible with the Apple Watch SE 2?

The Apple Watch SE 2 is compatible with iPhone 8 or later (including the second-generation iPhone SE) running iOS 16 or later.

How does the SE 2 compare to the Apple Watch Series 8?

The Series 8 offers several additional features compared to the SE 2, including an always-on display, blood oxygen sensor, ECG app, and potentially more durable materials. However, the SE 2 remains a strong choice for those who prioritize core fitness tracking at a lower price point.

Should I get the Apple Watch SE 2 or another smartwatch brand?

This depends on your needs and preferences. The SE 2 excels in its tight integration with the Apple ecosystem, user-friendly interface, and robust app selection. However, some competitors might offer longer battery life or specific features at a similar price point. Consider researching other options and reading reviews before making your decision.

Is the Apple Watch SE 2 worth the money?

Overall, the SE 2 offers excellent value for budget-conscious fitness enthusiasts who prioritize core tracking features like activity tracking, workout modes, heart rate monitoring, and sleep tracking. If you can afford it and crave advanced health features or an always-on display, the Series 8 might be a better fit.

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