There are a few key differences between them. The Series 6 is the flagship Watch and has a brand new health sensor that no other Apple Watch has. The SpO2 sensor measures your blood oxygen levels, both in a Blood Oxygen app as a 15-second spot check, and also continuously throughout the day and night (if you wear your watch to sleep). It also carries over the electrical heart sensor from the Series 4 and 5, which enables electrocardiograms that are cleared by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to diagnose atrial fibrillation (an irregular heart rhythm that can lead to stroke or other serious health issues).
And, like the Series 5 before it, the Series 6 also has an always-on display. This year’s model has a screen that’s 2.5 times brighter when not in use than the Series 5, which is useful for activities.
But the Watch SE is cheaper, and if you don’t need to know your blood oxygen levels or take an ECG on demand, well, it’s probably the better option. You’ll sacrifice an always-on display, too, but the screen wakes almost immediately when you raise your wrist, so it might not be that big of a deal. And the SE has the Series 5's processor, which is plenty fast.
“But wait,” you might be thinking, “there’s also the Apple Watch Series 3!”
No. I mean, yes, there is, but no, you shouldn’t buy that one. It might be the cheapest Apple Watch, but it’s also three years old, with a processor to reflect that. Would you buy a 3-year-old iPhone? I would hope not. If you find one on clearance or have one gifted to you, by all means. But don’t spend $200 on a watch that might not even support next year’s software upgrade.
If you need more help with your decision, check out the video above. We dive into all the differences between the three watches you can buy right now and help you figure out which Apple Watch is the best one for you.
Our reviews of the Apple Watch Series 6 and Apple Watch SE will be up next week, so stay tuned!