For the first time since its launch in 2016, there are three Apple Watch models to choose from that all look very similar at first glance. But upon closer inspection, you’ll find that there are very distinct differences between them that go much deeper than their price differences. Here’s how they stack up.
DESIGN AND DISPLAY
Apple hasn’t strayed very far from its original square design over the seven generations of the Apple Watch, so there’s not a huge difference between the three watches.
Series 3: 38.6 x 33.3 x 11.4mm
SE: 44 x 38 x 10.4mm
Series 6: 40 x 34 x 10.4mm (40mm); 44
x 38 x 10.4mm (44mm)
But your wrist won’t notice the difference. Apple has the best and most recognizable watch design in the smartwatch industry, so any of the three will look and feel great on your wrist.
Where they differ, however, is with the display. The Series 3 has Apple’s older display, so it’s smaller (38mm model, 563 sq mm; 42mm model, 740 sq mm) and has square corners. The SE and Series 6 have larger displays (40mm model, 759 sq mm; 44mm model, 977 sq mm) with rounded corners to match the display body.
While the SE and Series 6 have identical display specs, only the Series 6 has an always-on option, which lets you see the time even when your wrist is lowered. Apple also says the always-on display is 2.5 times brighter than last year’s model, which will certainly help in bright light.
Our pick: While the sizes and designs are very similar, the displays make all the difference with the Series 6 and SE. And we really liked the Series 5’s always-on display.
COLORS AND MATERIAL
While all three watches are available in silver and space gray aluminum like always, you have considerably more options as you go up the line. The Apple Watch SE adds a gold color, while the Series 6 has new blue and Product(Red) hues.
If you upgrade to one of the cellular models, you can get silver, graphite (DLC), or gold (PVD) stainless steel, or natural titanium or space black titanium. Additionally, the Series 6 and SE are available in Nike (silver and space gray aluminum) and the Series 6 offers a Hermes edition in silver and space black stainless steel.
Around the back, you’re getting a composite cover with the Series 3 and an upgraded ceramic and sapphire crystal back on the SE and Series 6.
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