In the middle of the great moment of the Apple Watch Series 6, the company seeks the balance between devices of different generations ( which it has done in very different ways in recent years with other product ranges ). From the first co-drivers called the iPhone 5C to the last generation of the iPhone SE , introduced this year, the formula tries to adjust the exact ingredients that produce alchemy : a powerful device and that does not sacrifice any important component of the great launch of the year , but focused on those who are not looking for the top features of these latest models.
The first iPhone SE sentenced the success of the proposal that did not work with the iPhone 5c , and that in the middle of 2020 Apple has repeated with a new phone of this range including the heart of an entire iPhone 11 and maintaining the familiar aesthetics of the iPhone 8: The deal here was to offer the ultimate in power and performance, but skipping the generational design.
With the Apple Watch SE , we live an important reflection within the brand: the first one is that the surname “SE” leaves the iPhone family for the first time ( if we ignore the mythical and legendary Macintosh SE, which we will talk about one day ) and that certifies not only the success of the proposal, but that Apple dares to repeat it with a new device. In fact, in the Watch they have even changed it a bit: let’s see what.
Apple Watch SE, only the important
How would you define a current Apple Watch ? I’m sure this question is the one that was asked at Apple to raise an SE model. It is about connecting the common points of the whole between the Series 6 and the last two great models, the Series 4 and the Series 5. In this hypothetical Venn diagram painted on a blackboard, only those essential features would remain in the area of intersection.
If the company had followed the idea of the iPhone SE, it would have offered a new model based on the Series 3 design , with the technology of the Series 6. However, here the ends are too far apart and a better option is to achieve a shorter string . So they opted for a cocktail thought with the precision of experience ( mixed, not shaken ) and in my opinion at the right point of balance.
For starters, the layout: we have the Series 4 screen ( which is the same as the Series 5 Retina OLED display, but without the “always-on” mode ). An excellent screen , comparable in design to the current generation of Series 6 ( except for the always-on screen, which in this model also has higher brightness if this mode is active ), compatible with the same straps and accessories. Too bad we don’t have more colors for the boxes of this Apple Watch SE , I think the company could have taken the opportunity to launch even more daring colors than blue or red that are still only available in the Series 6, especially in these times of the Family Settings .
Apple Watch Series 6: Design and battery
On the wrist it works the same as the Series 6, if it weren’t for the exclusive colors of the top model or the always-on screen, it would be impossible to differentiate them. That in this SE the screen is not always on is important when tying it to the next point: the heart of this device is the same as the Series 5 , with the same specifications 1GB of RAM and internal storage ( 32GB, Apple does not yet offer models with different storage level on no clock ).
The combination of the dual-core 64-bit S5 “system on chip” and the Series 4 display gives us an instant upgrade: battery performance . The S5 was thought to manage the performance of this “always-on” display and now that it doesn’t have to, we get a significant performance bonus. To put it to the test, I subjected the watch to three types of tests : the first, the hours it takes to discharge to 50%, the second, continue using it all night without charging it, monitoring the sleep mode and checking the battery level 24 hours later to load it. The third is a test to find out the level of charge that is achieved in 60 minutes.
Shock test 1: total hours to get from 100% to 50%
- Conditions : Apple Watch SE LTE ( no connectivity ) with all notifications turned on ( including handwash reminder which is not activated at the factory ). 30 minutes of exercise consisting of an outdoor run with GPS activated without an iPhone connection and listening to music downloaded from the watch directly to the AirPods Pro throughout the exercise. The time begins when the Apple Watch SE is disconnected from the charger.
- Results : Disconnecting it from the charger at 9:15 a.m., 50% is reached taking into account the previous conditions at 22:21, that is, 13 hours later.
Download test 2: subsequent use of sleep monitoring during the night until reaching 24h without charging
- Conditions : The Watch remains on the wrist without charging from the previous test, no conditions are changed or anything disabled. At 1:15 pm the 8-hour Sleep Mode is activated, which the watch will monitor throughout the night.
- Results : The watch wakes me up 8 hours later having monitored my sleep throughout the night, with 30% battery remaining. The sum of the two tests indicates that with normal use, physical exercise, sleep monitoring and daily use, 70% is discharged in 24 hours.
Load test: battery level recovered in 60 minutes
- Conditions : Use the wireless charging base included in the package with an iPhone 5W USB adapter for 60 minutes (not included, as well as not included in the Series 6). The charging base or charger does not improve or worsen the charging result – in fact, any charging base from the original Apple Watch to the new watches introduced a few weeks ago are identical. This technology is proprietary to Apple and does not follow the Qi standard that is used by the iPhone or the charging case of the second generation AirPods or AirPods Pro (and that Apple should consider adopting in the future here too).
- Results : In one hour, the Apple Watch SE goes from 29% to 71%, + 42% battery in 60 minutes. This model does not include the “fast charge” included in the hardware of the Apple Watch Series 6.
These tests are designed to take into account how long our journey can be to reach 50% download, and how many days it could be repeated. In my tests, as you can see, a day at 50% would be 13 hours uninterrupted, which is a good number if at that moment we take off the watch and without charging we want to use it the next day the same hours, reaching an autonomy of two days of work.
The second and third tests help us to find out if we can wear the watch without charging all day and all night, using sleep monitoring – and how much we could recover in 60 minutes the next morning while we charge it before leaving home and use it again. Here the numbers are not as good as in the Series 6, which approximately reaches + 80% in an hour, but even so with only 60 minutes of recharging we could leave the house with the clock practically charged: 24 hours later in this test still We would have 30% that added to the approximate + 40% would give us a 70% battery to spend the day without problems. Generally speaking of energy efficiency, it is ahead of the Series 5 and behind the Series 6.
The sensors included in this combination of common sets that we talked about at the beginning select the most important of the Series 4, the Series 5 and some of the Series 6. Along the way we lose the last measurements that have marked these two generations, the electrocardiogram and the measurement. of blood oxygen, which are now only available in the Series 6.
Those who have defined the Apple Watch experience for the brand have been reserved for the SE: heart health continues to be monitored by means of a cardiac sensor that works on demand or in the background, and that can warn us of arrhythmias or atrial fibrillation ( irregular heartbeat). Of course, the GPS system is maintained, which has been improved with the compass and the new barometric altimeter compared to the Series 5 – which consists of a new hardware that allows to measure the height in real time without impacting the performance of the battery.
This new sensor is useful to geolocate our location more precisely, since it uses the height as one more parameter to locate ourselves in the spatial plane. Of course it is also useful to measure the development of our workouts taking into account the most precise factor of the inclination of the plane: when taking into account the calories going up a hill with greater effort depending on the type of exercise.
The acoustic health sensor, which measures decibels in real time and warns us when prolonged exposure can be harmful to our ears, the detection of falls, the international emergency call in models with LTE (the watch automatically knows all the emergency telephone numbers in the world and is able to call itself in a dangerous situation).
Taking advantage of the analysis of this Apple Watch SE I have tested the Cyprus green Solo Loop strap, which is also perfectly compatible with this model. It is very light (made of liquid silicone rubber), with the same anchorage as any other normal strap, but above all very comfortable for those of us who spend the day with the computer, the buckles annoy us when supporting the wrist. You practically do not notice that you are wearing it and that lightness is appreciated in the day to day, especially doing sports (it is resistant to sweat too). Of course, a tip: if you order a Solo Loop online, do not go up a size or round up with the measurement tool that Apple offers. The material of these straps can tend to get bigger and may become loose in the future if you buy them too large.
The right distance
The company has managed to adequately combine the most important aspects that define today’s Apple Watch: a good screen, good sensors and good health and sports options that only leave out what is not essential to enjoy the device if we are not going to need. All this paired with a still very powerful S5 that pushes in autonomy and slows down in price – and now we have an Apple Watch practically created to measure, without sybaritisms, for anyone who wants to enter the ecosystem or take the leap from a Series 3 ( which is where the change will be evident) without compromises that diminish the experience.
The day to day is that of an Apple Watch of the latest batch, fast in interface, opening and changing applications (as fast as a Series 5 and more agile than a Series 4) and with the same precision in training and health as a Series 6 on the factors they have in common. This Apple Watch SE is a step behind the Series 6 in the general, and is in the same group of the Series 5: better on battery, but without ECG sensor or always-on screen – yes, cheaper which makes it clear aspirant to the attack and with some improvement such as the new compass and barometric altimeter as motivations.
Apple’s proposal is interesting when creating an attractive version for the consumer, highlighting the best aspects of the “Apple Watch” concept of the last five years, creating a model that is highly thought out to seek power, price and balance in all its aspects – designed for those who come from a Series 3 generation or earlier, or want to see the Apple Watch on your wrist for the first time. Especially for those users where the “all or nothing” of before left them undecided: now they can choose an intermediate link but contemporary with the generation that not only does not sacrifice anything essential, but also enhances those strengths that define this range.