Apple Watch SE packs essential features, larger screen for just $279

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Apple Watch SE
Some of the best Apple Watch features at a great price.
Photo: Apple

Take advantage of some of the best, most essential Apple Watch features at a brilliantly low price with the new Apple Watch SE. Unveiled alongside Apple Watch Series 6 on Tuesday, the more affordable model packs an egde-to-edge display, a super-speedy S5 processor, fall detection, and more.

The best bit? It’s priced at just $279!

Like the Apple Watch Series 6, the new budget model leans on the Apple Watch Series 4’s familiar design. It does away with the the big bezels and aging processor you’ll find in Apple Watch Series 3, but keeps prices nice and low.

The stripped-down SE model misses out on Apple Watch’s newest features — as you might expect. There’s no blood oxygen monitoring and no ECG. But for those new to Apple Watch, and those upgrading from a Series 3 or earlier, it’s a no-brainer.

Apple Watch SE makes high-end features more accessible

Cupertino unveiled the original Apple Watch in 2015. Severely underpowered and focused on fashion, that model was followed by yearly updates that added many fitness- and health-related features.

While Apple Watch SE lacks some of the hardware components needed for things like measuring the blood’s oxygen saturation, it packs a dual-core S5 chip that makes it twice as fast as Apple Watch Series 3, fall detection, and a swim-proof design.

Apple Watch SE features
The budget Apple Watch is better than ever.
Photo: Apple

It also offers Apple’s new Family Setup feature, which allows you to manage additional Apple Watch models that are used by kids. And in keeping with Apple’s efforts to be environmentally friendly, it’s also made from 100% recycled aluminum.

Replacing the entry-level Apple Watch Series 3, which started at $199, with the SE model gives potential first-time buyers a more fully featured device from as little as $279. It could help Apple continue to dominate the smartwatch category.

New features in watchOS 7

Like Apple Watch Series 6, the Apple Watch SE will run watchOS 7, which Cupertino introduced this summer during its virtual Worldwide Developers Conference keynote.

Key new health-related features in the operating system include “holistic” sleep tracking and a hygiene app that reminds wearers to wash their hands for a full 20 seconds. There’s also a bunch of new faces on the way that Apple previewed on Tuesday.

watchOS 7 new faces
New Apple Watch faces coming in watchOS 7.
Photo: Apple

On the fitness front, watchOS 7 adds four new workouts: dance, functional strength training, core training and cooldown. The Apple Watch’s companion Activity app on iPhone gets a new name — Fitness — and a new design that streamlines your activity and workout data.

The new Apple Watch software also comes with some functional and fashionable upgrades. watchOS 7 adds shareable watch faces so users can swap their favorite setups.

You can order Apple Watch SE today before it makes its official debut on Friday, September 18.

Lewis Wallace contributed to this report.