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Apple Watch Series 6 vs Apple Watch SE: which should you buy in 2020?

Apple Watch Series 6 vs Apple Watch SE

At its September 2020 event, Apple updated its smartwatch lineup, introducing two new smartwatches: Apple Watch Series 6 and Apple Watch SE.

Apple Watch Series 6, the successor to Series 5, is the latest flagship smartwatch from Apple. it boasts the blood oxygen sensor, always-on display, and S6 chipset, the most powerful chipset you can find in the current Apple Watch lineup. Series 6 starts at $399 (£379, AU$599).

Apple Watch SE, with the same naming tactics as iPhone SE series, is a grand new model of Apple Watch. It’s a more affordable version in the Apple Watch family, with a fewer features and a less advanced S5 chipset, starting at $279 (£269, AU$429) only.

If you’re going to buy the latest Apple Watch but don’t know which one is right for you, you’ve come to the right place! After reading this article, you’ll learn:

Differences between Apple Watch Series 6 and Apple Watch SE

Materials and finishes

The prices of Apple Watch vary depending on their materials and finishes. Series 6 is available in three case materials: aluminum, stainless steel and titanium, while Apple Watch SE has the aluminum model only.

As for case finishes (colors), both of them have silver, gold and space gray in the aluminum model. Blue and (Product) Red are available on the alumninium model of Series 6 ONLY.

For Series 6 stainless steel model, its case finishes are available in silver, graphite (DLC) and gold (PVD).

The titanium model of Series 6 comes in titanium primary color and space black.


Both Series 6 and Apple Watch SE are equipped with the retina display (368 by 448 pixels in the 44mm case and 324 by 394 pixels in the 40mm case). The aluminum model of Series 6 and Apple Watch SE have lon-X glass displays.

A major difference between the two is that the display on Series 6 is always-on, while Apple Watch SE requires you to raise your wrist to wake the display. With Series 6, you can always see the time and infomation that’s most important to you.

Another difference is that the stainless steel and titanium model of Series 6 have sapphire crystal displays, which are extremely strong and scratch & shatter resistant.


The latest S6 SiP with 64-bit dual-core processor powers Series 6, which is 20% faster then Series 5 and Apple Watch SE, both of which are powered by S5 chipset.

What’s more, Series 6 features the same U1 ultra-wideband chip in iPhone 11, giving it the ability to precisely locate and communicate with other U1-equipped devices. Unfortunately, Apple Watch SE doesn’t have U1 chip.

Health and wellness features

Series 6 boasts the most advanced health and wellness features ever in Apple Watch family. With the Blood Oxygen app, you can easily measure your blood oxygen levels. The ECG app allows you to record your heartbeat and rhythm using the electrical heart sensor on Series 6 and then check the recording for AFib, a form of irregular rhythm.

Although the Blood Oxygen app and the ECG app are not available on Apple Watch SE, it supports high and low heart rate notifications and irregular heart rhythm notifications like Series 6.

Battery life

Battery life is always essential in a smartwatch. According to Apple, both Series 6 and Apple Watch SE offer all-day battery life (up to 18 hours).

Although the battery capacity of Series 6 doesn’t improve much compared with Series 5, the good news is that the charge time on Series 6 is 1 hour faster than that of Series 5 and Apple Watch SE. It just takes about 1.5 hours for Series 6 to charge from 0% to 100%, while Apple Watch SE need about 2.5 hours.

Comparison chart

Apple Watch Series 6Apple Watch SE
Display size & resolution44mm case: 368×448 pixels
40mm case: 324×394 pixels
44mm case: 368×448 pixels
40mm case: 324×394 pixels
Always-on display✔️
Materials and finishesAluminum, steel and titaniumAluminum
ColorsAluminum: silver, space gray, gold, blue and red
Stainless steel model: silver, graphite and gold
Titanium model: titanium and space black
Aluminum: silver, space gray and gold
Interchangeable bands✔️✔️
ChipS6 SiP with 64-bit dual-core processor
(Up to 20 percent faster than S5)
S5 SiP with 64-bit dual-core processor
OSWatchOS 7WatchOS 7
ConnectivityWi-Fi and Cellular option ($100 more)Wi-Fi and Cellular option ($50 more)
Battery lifeAll day (18 hrs.)All day (18 hrs.)
Always-on Altimeter✔️✔️
Water resistant
Yes, up to 50 mYes, up to 50 m
Emergency SOS✔️✔️
emergency calling
✔️ (requires GPS + Cellular model)✔️ (requires GPS + Cellular model)
Fall detection✔️✔️
Automatic workout detection✔️✔️
Noise monitoring✔️✔️
Family Setup
(GPS + Cellular models)
Blood oxygen sensor✔️
Blood Oxygen app✔️
Electrical heart sensor✔️
ECG app✔️
Optical heart sensorThird-generationSecond-generation
High and low heart rate notifications✔️✔️
Irregular heart rhythm
Digital Crown with haptic feedback✔️✔️
Second-generation speaker and mic✔️✔️
PriceStarting at $399 / £379 / AU$599 (40mm aluminum)Starting at $279 / £269 / AU$429 (40mm aluminum)

Still not sure which Apple Watch to buy in 2020? Read ahead to find your answer.

Series 6 vs Apple Watch SE: which is right for you

In this section, we’ll help you figure out which Apple Watch is right for you from the following aspects:

Apple Watch Series 6 or Apple Watch SE?

The more you pay, the more you get. According to the comparison chart above, you should choose Apple Watch Series 6 if you need any of the following features:

  • S6 SiP with 64-bit dual-core processor
  • Stainless steel or titanium model
  • Always-on display
  • Blue or red color
  • Blood Oxygen app
  • ECG app
  • U1 ultra-wideband chip

If you don’t need those exclusive features on Series 6 in your daily life, or if you don’t think those addtional features on Series 6 worth $120, Apple Watch SE may be a better choice. For those users who have never worn an Apple Watch before, Apple Watch SE provides them with a relatively affordable price to dive into the ecosystem of Apple products.

GPS or GPS + Cellular?

The Family Setup feature is only available on the GPS + Cellular version of Apple Watch Series 6 and SE. So, if you need to use the Family Setup feature to help your family members activate their Apple Watch, you must choose the GPS + Cellular version.

My Apple Watch is the GPS version. The reason I choose the GPS version is quite simple: it’s less expensive and has a longer battery life. In addition, I almost always keep my iPhone nearby. So I believe the GPS version is better for me.

Based on my own experiences, personally I would recommend that most people choose the GPS version. However, you should consider the GPS + Cellular version if you want to

  • answer calls, send text messages with just the Apple Watch while workout outdoors or when your iPhone is not nearby.
  • listen to music / podcast online on the Apple Watch when your iPhone is not nearby.
  • use the Family Setup feature on your iPhone to help your family members activate the Apple Watch.
The Apple Watch should have the same carrier as your iPhone so that you can connect the Apple Watch to a cellular network. If you’re not sure whether your carrier supports Apple Watch or not, check the details on Apple Watch carrier support page on Apple’s official website.

Which specific model should I choose?

I believe you have already figured out which Apple Watch to buy and whether you need the GPS + Cellular version or not. However, if you’re still wondering which specific model you should choose, just read ahaed.

For Apple Watch SE, there are two models: Apple Watch (standard) and Apple Watch Nike.

Apple Watch SE (standard)
Apple Watch SE Nike

The main difference between Apple Watch (standard) and Apple Watch Nike is Apple Watch Nike has the exclusive Nike series watch faces. Besides, Apple Watch SE Nike doesn’t have the gold case finish model.

Nike series watch faces

Both Apple Watch SE (standard) and Apple Watch SE Nike starts from $279. So if you want to buy a gold color Apple Watch SE, you need to choose Apple Watch SE (standard), otherwise, I’d recommend Apple Watch SE Nike, becuase you can get extra Nike series watch faces without paying more.

For Apple Watch Series 6, although there are 4 models: standard, Nike, Hermès and Edition, once you understand the differences among each model, you can make your decision quickly and easily!

Apple Watch Series 6 (standard) aluminum model and Apple Watch Series 6 Nike share the same price, all starting from $399. If you don’t need the new blue or red color, and if you don’t need the stainless steel model, Nike model may be a better choice.

Apple Watch Series 6 Nike

Series 6 Hermès is available in stainless steel case meterial only, and the price starting from $1249, while Series 6 Edition is available in titanium only, starting from $849. For most people, the Hermès and Edition models are more like luxury products.

Apple Watch Series 6 Hermès
Apple Watch Series 6 Edition

Bonus Tip: how to find the latest Apple Watch coupons and deals

Now you’ve decided to buy the specific Apple Watch Series 6 or Apple Watch SE you want. Before you place the order, you can always grab the latest Apple Watch coupons and deals first! We’ll also update our article: Latest Apple Watch deals & sales when there are new Apple Watch deals, so check back often!

By Justin Zeng

Justin is a technical writer. As a Microsoft 365 Certified: Modern Desktop Administrator Associate, he loves exploring new technologies and writing technical how-to tips to help people fix their computer / phone issues. When he's not writing, there's a 99 percent chance he's reading, playing video games or listening to music.


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